Adriana's Gift Guide: BT earbuds, pt 3 (Plantronics)

| December 19, 2009

According to the National Retail Federation, more than 50% of shoppers are procrastinators! If you’re among them, check out these last-minute holiday gift items.

Plantronics Discovery 975
SUMMARY: Elegant, simple design meets function and high usability. Not only does this earpiece have sophisticated looks and excellent call quality, but the addition of a leather-look carrying case/mobile charger makes it an excellent and practical choice for discerning BT users.

PRICE: $129.99

Even though there’s a microphone arm, it is small, sleek and vaguely kind of futuristic. The looks of this earpiece alone is a stunner, with gun-metal grey boom and black, leather-like accent. And the charging case (which offers triple the talk time of the earpiece alone) has a little LED display with dual indicators that reveal the battery levels of both the case and the earpiece.

Just like with the Novero earbud, this one comes with rubberized ear attachments that offer a snug and secure fit. I could even see taking this one jogging — not that I could run and talk at the same time, but you get the idea. It’s not going to fall out of the ear with a hard jerk of the head. In fact, I have a tendency to move my head and arms a lot when I talk — as you may have noticed in any of my vids — and I’ve yet to feel like this could fall out in normal use.

Calls sounded really good, both inside and outside. It has a wind-noise protection feature that works well in breezes. (Hurricane-force winds may be another matter, but let’s face it: How often are you or your loved ones in hurricanes?)

Really, the only bad thing I could find about this product was the name. (Hey, Plantronics — Discovery 975 is not exactly a snappy moniker.) But who cares what you call it when a BT earpiece actually looks like a piece of art.

Talk Time: 5 hours (headset alone); charging case adds 10 hours
Standby: 7 days


Plantronics Voyager Pro
SUMMARY: This is the type of BT earpiece that executives are known for sporting around town, which means it’s not going to be a favorite among everyone. What it does have in its favor, however, is a powerful microphone and earpiece, ergonomic “around-the-ear” design and a flip action that lets users comfortably wear this in the right or left ear. This is the one for people who take call quality ridiculously seriously, and for less than what many of its peers cost.

PRICE: $99.99

Okay, so yes — the Voyager Pro has a tendency to make any user look like a corporate suit at best, or a Time/Life operator at worst. But looks aside, the sound is just spectacular. Friends have had no problems hearing me with any of these headsets, but the Plantronics earpieces offered the best clarity in both directions.

I had a hard time adjusting to the big, over-the-ear arm at first, but after a while, I grew to appreciate that extra feeling of security. Plus, not everyone likes having an earpiece fit too snugly in the ear — which can become uncomfortable during long, extended calls. I also loved the ability to flip the earpiece around so I could use it in either ear.

Just like the Discovery 975, the Voyager Pro also offers AudioIQ noise canceling, as well wind-noise protection. Between the two earpieces, I probably favor the Discovery 975 more (I’m a sucker for beautiful looks), but for $30 less, the Voyager Pro is a great value and a good fit for people who need a comfortable earbud all day long.

Talk Time: 6 hours
Standby: 5 days


Next, check out the MoGo Talk for the iPhone or the rhinestone-studded PinkTooth by chicBuds. You can also click to see the Plantronics Discovery 975 and Voyager Pro, Novero's TheFirstOne, or The Jabra Stone and the Halo.