Looks Good, Sounds Better!
Waaaaay back at CTIA, Kevin shared with us some of the ultra sexy accessories that were coming out. One of these happened to be the Discovery 925 Bluetooth Headset from Plantronics….. I’ll wait for you to stop drooling….
Out of all of the Bluetooth accessories I’ve reviewed for CrackBerry.com, I always found myself going back to the Discovery 665; it was a reliable, high quality and moderately priced product. You could say that, in terms of function and appearance, it was totally tubular (is that still cool?). Stepping away from their well recognized ‘bullet’ design, the Discovery 925 adds a touch of flair with its head-turning, slim ‘V’ look. I’ve said in the past, the function will never be replaced by fashion, and it’s seldom that the two can co-exist. More and more, colleagues (and I) have been scoping out what the other mobile folks are yakking on. Some may be beautiful, but using them can be a beast.
Will Plantronics dodge the bullet by dodging their own bullet design? Let’s find out.
A true tech-cessory?
Even the packaging is beautiful, should I open it or use it as a centre piece? Less than a minute of tittering with childish levity and the Discovery 925 is out and about. Along with the headset, you are also given small, medium and large sized gel ear tips, the AC Adapter, micro USB cable and a carrying case. This isn’t an ordinary case you’re looking at either. True, the leather brandishing the Plantronics logo, is a splendid change from the clunky plastic cases out there. The case also houses a rechargeable battery, which will provide one full charge for the 925. Now you can carry fewer cables with you more often. One would think that such a case would add quite a bit of bulk, but the case slips nicely inside a pocket, briefcase or bag. Once inside the case, your headset is secured in place by both the charging port and the magnetic flap at the top.
The cosmetic differences between the 665 and 925 are quite numerous. As I mentioned, we’ve come to expect the ‘bullet’ design from Plantronics. A powerful Bluetooth device housed inside a humble shell. Perhaps, someone at Plantronics decided “Hey! We’ve got it, why not flaunt it?!” The hollow VFrame designed boom mic is accentuated beautifully with the diamond shape.
Its sexy measurements work out to be:
Inside the boom mic, the Discovery 925’s antenna can be found. With such dimension, you would assume this headset carries weight, and would possibly need an ear loop. On the scale, the 925 weighs in at only 0.28 ounces, so it won’t weigh you down. Good on you Plantronics, as there is no ear loop needed nor required. The controls have been made discreet, as to not take away from the suave sophisticated look that is the Discovery 925. The multi-control button is found on the diamond, the Plantronics logo in the centre, so you know what geniuses were behind it. The Indicator light is found behind the logo, blinking either blue or red to indicate connectivity and battery life. The single button for volume control was a new concept for me, but it seemed to fit the overall design. It has three volume levels to choose from by simply tapping the button.
With the multi function button you have access to the usual controls; answer/end/reject calls, voice activated dialing and redialing.
Speaking of fit, I have never had a Bluetooth headset (sans ear loop) that had fit so well. I always had problems with this type popping out at the most inconvenient moments, like at say 100 km/h. The ultra soft gel, coupled with the stabilizing tip, makes for a headset with comfort, stability and easy “plug and play”. The headset can be worn for extended periods of time, as no discomfort was experienced. Once the right size gel is found, it tightly grips the ear insert. I sometimes had trouble with the ear tip on the 665 popping out as I tried to take it off. I knew the 925 would stay put and keep me connected.
When the Discovery 925 is powered on, its QuickPair technology makes it ready to go in pairing mode. Follow the typical initial set up step and you’re all set to be seen and heard. The headset also incorporates Bluetooth 2.0 plus Enhanced Data Rate (EDR). Its range is 33 feet. The talk time of the headset comes in at an average 5 hours of talk time and 7 days of standby time. With the multipoint technology activated, the standby time is reduced to roughly 5 hours. The Discovery 925 takes 3 hours for a full charge whether you are charging by the USB, Case or AC Adapter. When charging at home, you can connect the headset directly to the adapter, rather than following an adapter>case> headset connection. If you follow the latter, the headset will be charged first and then the case. To check your battery life, look towards your multi-function and volume buttons. Press and hold for 2 second and your status will be revealed; One Red Flash means full power, 2 flashes means ½ power and 3 flashes tells you to find a charger.
Like the 665, the Discovery 925 is equipped with Audio IQ noise control technology. Note that I said noise control, not noise cancellation. To quote myself from the Discovery 665 review:
According to Plantronics, “Audio iQ is the future of smart headset design.”
Its digital signal processing adjusts the voice levels automatically for both incoming and outgoing audio. For the incoming, it will adjust the volume level, based on the noise level around you. Kind of like some cars that increase the volume of the stereo the faster you go. For the outgoing it will attempt to reduce the background noise by up to 50%.
Audio IQ is the industry’s first DSP technology that optimizes audio levels on both side of the call and works just as, well if not better, on the Discovery 925 than the Discovery 665. There seemed to be a much richer, full bodied sound experienced. I could easily hear the caller with the Air Conditioner blasting, horns honking, even the window opened slightly. My background noise, though just barely audible, wasn’t a nuisance to my caller. My outgoing audio was in fact clearer. I applaud both Audio IQ and the physical design of the Discovery 925 for this. The VFrame draws the extended mic closer to your face and mouth, giving more focus on what YOU are saying. I find that I’m using a Bluetooth headset more and more outside the car. I’m now double-checking the grocery list with my wife while in the store and carrying conversations from the car to my office.
Have you noticed that the Plantronics line is currently named after NASA Spacecrafts? (Discovery, Voyager and Explorer) I find it fitting seeing as how “That’s one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind.” was first transmitted through a Plantronics headset!
Appealing to my eyes and ears, the Plantronics Discovery 925 is in fact a successful successor to the 665. It’s almost as though the 925 and Audio IQ were made for each other. It’s the most comfortable, non-ear looped headset I’ve tried, hands down! Though a bit on the pricy side ($149.95, but it's available from ShopCrackBerry.com for a crazy $89.95), you are getting more than just a beautiful piece of technology. There’s quality to be found everywhere, from the headset design, the sound, even the gorgeous carrying/charging case. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go strut my stuff with my sexy new headset.