Bluetooth communications has been one of those areas which has only taken off in specialist circles. To date, you wouldn't expect to find a Bluetooth headset stuck in the ear of anyone other than a high-flying businessman, a courier or a receptionist. But now, as every device capable of communicating seems to feature a Bluetooth adaptor, from mobile phones to PDAs, the technology is taking a role as the ultimate go-between, bringing computer-based, mobile and fixed-desk communications closer together.
The Voyager 510SL from Plantronics is one such device. Kindly donated from our friends at Anyware, we took delivery and put it through its paces. Now we can't imagine life without it.
The Voyager 510SL sports a 6-hour talk time and 100-hour standby time on a full battery, which is Lithium Polymer. It supports the Bluetooth 1.2 standard, and is compatible with any other Bluetooth 1.2 device which supports headset and hands-free profiles.
The headset can be carried to a maximum of 10 meters from the base station (either the deskphone adaptor or mobile device), and weighs approximately 0.5 of an ounce.
The deskphone adaptor can be used with either analogue or digital phones, and supports AFH (Adaptive Frequency Hopping) to minimise interference from any existing Wi-Fi/WLAN infrastructure (which operates on the same 2.4GHz spectrum as Bluetooth).
The microphone on the headset features noise-cancelling technology and as well as something called WindSmart, designed to reduce the ambient noise caused by wind whistling past the speaker. There's a single button on the side for one-button call pickup (which only works with the deskphone adaptor, not a paired BlueTooth device).
BlueTooth pairing means that you can connect the headset to two units simultaneously, like the deskphone and a BlueTooth-enabled mobile phone.
The handset lifter fits most standard desk phones, and simply raises the handset when the headset is engaged. A small microphone plugs into the back of the lifter and is positioned over the deskphone speaker - this allows you to hear incoming rings through the headset.
In addition to the call answer button control, the headset also has mute and volume buttons, and supports voice-activated dialling (which also has to be supported by the handset).