Fuel for Thought
Bulky Headsets Are Not The Only Option For Great Sound Quality
Some drivers are always looking for the latest and best in bluetooth devices, others will find one that works for them and use it for a long time. I tend to be one of the latter group. For years I have used a Blue Parrot 250-XT headset while on the road. It has been a real workhorse. Dependable, well built, excellent noise cancelling, long battery cycle and superb audio. It worked from day 1 and still works today (with a slight boom microphone issue), and I still keep it for a back up should my current device fail for any reason. After about 7-8 years of use, I replaced my Blue Parrot 250-XT with another Blue Parrot, this time it was the 350-XT. This was over a year ago. The 350-XT has performed quite well. Just like it’s predecessor, the 250-XT, the 350-XT also has been reliable, has excellent noise cancelling and superb audio but also has a very long battery cycle. Not once have I had to charge it from it going dead.
If you like the “over the head” bluetooth models, you can’t go wrong with a Blue Parrot 250-XT or 350-XT. Both have performed very well. I have yet to try the 450 model from Blue Parrot, as I tend to keep and use what works for me.
Recently, I decided to find an “on ear” bluetooth as I have grown tired of the bulk that comes with the “over the head” models. As stated above, I have used the “over the head” models for years, but I am not one to use it outside of the truck and I decided if I could find a suitable “on ear” model that could come close to the sound quality of the 250 or 350 models that was what I wanted to try. Years ago (pre 250-XT), I tried a few “in ear” and “on ear” bluetooth devices and could not find one with good sound (for me) and good noise cancelling (for callers). After a lot of research, I decided to try the Plantronics Voyager 5200.
I have really been enjoying the new Plantronics 5200. It is lightweight, feels comfortable and then there is the sound quality. It is crystal clear and the noise cancelling works great. As for the fit, it comes with three different sizes of ear pieces, so getting a good fit was easy.
After a few uses, I got used to where to find the buttons on the new headset (there are only 4 buttons and the on/off switch). It charges up in just about a half an hour and then has about 7 hours of talk time. If you change the settings to use HD voice it seems to reduce the talk time to about 5-6 hours. As for the sound, it is very clear and callers have yet to complain about background noise (Yes, I have asked them about it). Initially, I had the volume turned up too high and I did get reports of an echo or reverberation from some callers, but once I turned the volume down a notch or two, the echo and reverb comments went away.
While this is a review of the bluetooth devices I have used, no, I was not asked by any manufacturer for a review, this should be obvious since I reviewed competing devices, but I wanted you to know these are just my personal experiences with these devices.
If you are looking for an “on ear” device, the Plantronics Voyager 5200 is an excellent choice, just as the Blue Parrot 250-XT and 350-XT are excellent “over the head” models.
Having all three of the models in the truck allows for some options and a back up in the event of one failing. If you are tired of wearing the bulky over the head models, it may be worth a second look into the on ear models, they have improved tremendously over the years.
See you down the road,