Tuesday, April 23, 2024

REVIEWED: Plantronics Voyager Focus UC

Lightweight and super-comfy, this Bluetooth headset with Active Noise Cancelling (ANC) impresses for home-and-away office work

Hurray for unified communications! Designed for those business travellers who need to do a lot of work and make a lot of calls, Plantronics Voyager Focus UC is the first wireless product with a mic AND active noise-cancellation technology. We’ve been impressed before the noise-cancelling talents of the Plantronics BackBeat PRO for consumers, so this one was intriguing.

Lightweight design

Despite only weighing 152g, the main unit of the Voyager Focus UC is really well made. It feels tough and solid while also feeling incredibly light when being worn. Before you don it, flip the standby switch to ON, and position the boom mic so it’s accessible from the left or right-hand side, according to what you prefer. The volume dial will be on the other side.

Easy pairing

It’s a cinch – just push-up the ON switch, and a voice in your ear then says ‘pairing’ followed (if you’ve switched-on Bluetooth on your phone or laptop) by ‘pairing successful’. If you’re using the oldest laptop in the world, there’s a BT-600 wireless adaptor in the box that also to a USB slot in a laptop or PC.

High quality calls

You can then answer and hang-up phone calls (if paired with a phone) or take Skype/VOIP calls from a computer, all by pressing the button on one of the ear-cups. Call quality is really high; seriously impressive clarity is on offer here. One tiny annoyance is that there’s always a robotic woman telling you what’s going on – ‘volume maximum’, ‘mute on’, ‘pairing successful’. Although I guess it’s comforting, in a way …

Bring the noise

The other ear-cup has play, pause, FF and RW buttons for when you’re listening to music. Music is impressive, though perhaps not as much as voice – it’s heavy on the treble. However, what the Voyager Focus UC is really aimed at is productivity, and it’s here where it plays its ace-card; Active Noise Cancelling (ANC).

Actively impressive

All business travellers have heard of ANC, and if you know your stuff, you’ll also know that it’s way, way (WAY) more impressive than the marketing-speak-not-actually-any-good phrase ‘Active Noise Isolation’. Which is basically some foam. On the Voyager Focus UC, it’s ANC all the way – switched-on using a toggle button on the bottom of one of the ear-cups – and it does help with keeping muffled conference calls clear of background noise.

Home-and-away offices

Many users of this are going to be in offices – hence the provision of a charging stand that is neither essential nor recommended for travel (you can just recharge them via microUSB) – but if you’re in a hotel room, the ANC isn’t going to be of much use. Still, such is the quality and lightweight-ness of the Plantronics Voyager Focus UC in all other areas that it’s definitely worth considering for home-and-away offices.

Price as reviewed: £180

Buy the Plantronics Voyager Focus UC