Plantronics Voyager 835 Bluetooth Headset
At a Glance
Plantronics Voyager 835
This slightly more affordable headset in the Plantronics family includes a car charger, but has inconsistent audio quality.
Of the Bluetooth headsets we tested for our latest roundup, the Plantronics Voyager 835 ($120 as of December 1, 2008) is nothing to write home about: Basically, it looks like a plain black stick in your ear. Despite its boring design, its clear plastic earhook clamps over my ear nicely, providing a secure fit.
The Voyager includes a single earbud cover, but I found this was a smidgen too big for my small ear canal. The cover does have a spout-like tip, which helped anchor it. And the earhook's solid feel made up for the one-size-doesn't-fit-all earbud.
To turn on the headset or to start or end a call, you press the call control button, which is a narrow indented portion on the unit. Easier said than done, however; I fumbled around trying to find it initially. Ditto for the volume buttons. One side of the headset houses the volume up and down controls; the tiny "plus" symbol is only slightly raised, with the down button (with no marker) below it. Once I became familiar with the buttons' precise locations, my experience improved. Plus, I liked the solid feedback I got when pressing them.
Unfortunately, during some calls, recipients had trouble hearing me. My voice sounded either far away or hollow; other times, my voice broke up a bit. Occasionally, my voice came through more clearly--but it was never as sharp as the quality from its cousin, the Discovery 925. On the plus side, background noise was not distracting.
The $120 Voyager comes with a car charger, a terrific extra, but the device is still pricey, considering the limitations of the overall package: No ear wear alternatives and no USB charger.
A final quibble: Nearly every time I secured the Voyager on my ear, I hit one of the volume buttons, and it beeped. Mildly annoying.
(For more on selecting the right headset for you, see our Bluetooth headset buying guide.)