Lifehacker Tests Plantronics' Voyager Legend

The latest Plantronics Bluetooth headset has a big ego on it — why else would you call it the Legend?

At $129, the Voyager Legend is on the pricey side, but then it's promoted as a premium Bluetooth headset. There's still an undeniable social stigma associated with wearing a Bluetooth headset, although as I wrote elsewhere this week, that seems strange to me given our obsession with smartphones and the hefty fines (or even heftier death) that can ensue from not using Bluetooth while driving.

$129 buys you a relatively light headset at 18 grams, but it's certainly not a small creature; you're going to be rather obvious wearing or using it at any time. The fit is reasonably comfortable, although it doesn't snugly cover the ear, so some external sound will get through that way.

The boom arm uses a triple microphone array for noise cancellation; in both ad-hoc calls and deliberate testing — using this as the background "noise" at high volume — I couldn't really fault it. It's also capable of taking advantage of HD Audio if you're using a handset that supports that feature — to date, only Telstra's implemented HD Audio. Still on the audio track, the Legend supports voice accept or ignore commands for incoming calls, but in my tests, this was a bit hit and miss; for every time it picked up my voice accepting a call, there was another where it resolutely failed to pick it up, leaving me shouting "Answer" to total strangers.

The Legend is sweat proof and works intelligently when paired via inbuilt sensors. If you're not wearing the headset and it's paired and on, putting it to your ear will automatically answer an incoming call with audio going through the headset only. This worked a whole lot better than the voice commands did; it's also still feasible to tap a button to answer or reject calls, thankfully.

Charging on most Bluetooth headsets is via microUSB, but the Legend opts instead for a custom magnetically attached cable. The magnetic attraction is quite strong (you can see it in action on my head here), but it'd be a bit on the painful side if you lost or damaged the custom cable.

The Legend supports Plantronics Vocalyst service and is firmware upgradeable, but annoyingly the software to do so is Windows only; I could jump from my working Mac over to my testing Windows box to update the Legend, but not every buyer will have that option. The software works well enough, although it's rather odd that the Vocalyst location selector has "Australia (Melbourne)" as the local option. I know that's where the local Plantronics office is located, but hey — we're a more-than-one-city-country!

The Voyager Legend a decent headset at a premium asking price, and for that kind of money you'd want to be someone who's comfortable wearing a Bluetooth headset pretty much all day long. It's comfortable to do so for extended periods, despite the rather large size, so if you're a heavy-duty Bluetooth user, it comes recommended. Those who only need a headset some of the time could easily save a few bucks and buy a cheaper model.


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