Firstly, I’d like to mention that I have had this device for just over 4 months. Usually I would have written a review long before now, but I have learnt that very often the first few months of any new product are prone to hiccups.
I am glad I waited, the latest (as of writing) firmware version 218 has resolved an issue that is related to Skype for Business. I will mention the issues I had at the end of this post.
First impression was that it looks very elegant. Comes in either a white or Grey finish. The Over-the-head band is substantially more robust in look and feel. Its well padded Over-the-head with a breathable type of material finish resting on your head. The ear cup cushioning is soft and comfortable.
- I really liked that there are 2 levels of ANC, 1 for Office and another for noisy environments
Smart sensors allow you to answer calls by simply putting on the headset and automatically mute your calls or pause your music by taking it off
- The controls have been well thought out and repeat the layout of the Voyager Focus UC.
- A 3.5mm jack! So stoked that this has been included as it extends the usability massively
- Open Mic to amplify background noise, I don’t use this too much but it is a nice feature I have played with from time to time. I feel like it amplifies my hearing
- No boom microphone! This is only the second headset I have reviewed without a boom. Last time around I was just a little disappointed BUT Plantronics have done a great job with the 8200 UC. Its really set a new benchmark and in my opinion leads the market in this specific respect. A pair of dual Omni-direction microphones make this possible
- Dynamic mute alert detects and notifies you when you talk while on mute
- Doubles as a business headset and a music headset, don’t discount this fact!
- The battery just goes on and on! I have had 2 days of good use (about 5-6 hours each) and 26 days on standby on my current charge..its still going!
- The soft case is classy and I do like the additional pocket that stows away cabling. Which by the way , comes with a USB cable, 3.5mm cable, USB dongle and a flight adaptor
Testing included hundreds of Skype for Business and Microsoft Teams calls as well as at least 250 hours of listening to music on Spotify (via a combination of PC and iPhone)
I found that the call quality was really good. When in the office I didn’t really need ANC enabled but it certainly reduced the office noise callers were usually hearing when calling me. Working from the local Coffee Brewers I cranked up the ANC (very noisy environment) and although the audio experience was slightly less natural, the ANC took care of the noise so well that I could continue my conversation.
I also noticed that the inside surface of the ear cup is smooth and covered in a slightly padded material. So when your ear makes contact with the inner surface its not irritating.
|Talk Time||Up to 20 hours|
|Standby Time||Up to 1 month|
|Range||Up to 30 Meters\98 Feet|
|Audio Performance||Active Noise Canceling|
|Earpiece/Headset Weight||289 grams\10 oz|
|Connects To||PC, Tablet and Mobile|
|Skype for Business Certified||Yes|
|Lync/Skype for Business||Yes|
|Headset Family||Plantronics Bluetooth|
|High Density Environments||Yes|
|Limited Warranty||1 year|
|Digital Signal Processing||Yes|
|PC Wideband Audio||Yes|
Suggestions for improvement
- I would like to see an option for a hard case like the BackBeat PRO 2 SE has. I am even prepared to pay extra for that. It’s probably not necessary but would certainly give me peace of mind when I am out and about.
- I think it may be worth providing a larger ear cup option to avoid any wear fatigue with persons having a slightly larger ear. The inside of the cups measures 60mm\2.36in, this is the same size as other units I have tested so this seems to be a norm across most brands.
The only negative I can really mention is that this is not an entry level unit and so comes at a price and its not cheap. However, in this category its still one of the more affordable headsets.
Do update the firmware when you receive your Plantronics Voyager 8200 UC. I got mine on the initial release firmware 115. After a lot of testing I was stumped by a clicking noise on Skype for Business calls. The good folks at Plantronics replaced the unit promptly but the issue continued. Once I updated to firmware version 218 the 8200 UC was brilliant!
Alasdair Mitchell said:
Great review. How would you rate them compared to the Sennheiser 660s?
Paul B said:
Hi Alasdair, Jason’s comments make a really good comparison. The 660 was a whole new experience but just lacked that business usability. Its too good at cutting out noise and so when not talking I always find callers asking me if I am still there as they get this absolute silence. The 8200 feels designed for business use and delivers an excellent listening experience too.
Good review. I would like to add a little niggle I have with the 8200’s. The USB dongle gets lost in the carry pouch. I know it’s a really minor thing but it they go to the effort of an extra pocket for the leads, couldn’t there be a corner for another zip pocket to keep the USB dongle from floating around?
I also want to congratulate Plantronics on the quality and wear-ability of the headset, I regularly wear mine for a 4 hour stretch with music or on calls and they’re as fresh and comfortable in hour 4 as they are in hour 1.
To answer another commenter, there is no comparison with the Sennheiser 660. The 8200’s are designed for work environment with great battery life, voice pickup, stunning sound quality and ANC. The 660’s are designed for quiet home wired use.
Paul B said:
Hi Jason, thanks for your comments. Couldn’t agree more. Gotten so used to my USB dongle always plugged in that I’d forgot about its disappearing act in the pouch.
Aaron C said:
Jason”s comment seems to imply that the ANC and battery is better in the Voyager 8200 compared to Sennheiser 660 MB. Do you agree?
Paul B said:
I would have to say that the Sennheiser MB660 does have better ANC having tested both on a recent long haul flight. The battery on the Voyager 8200 IMHO is certainly better, perhaps the weight eludes to the reasons.
Aaron C said:
Thank you for responding. Initially, I got the MB660 UC and they were good, especially the ANC. But I wanted Skype for Business Certified (I am not exactly sure what this means but I hope it means that when I hit answer it will pick up a skype call) so i took them back. Which is the MB660 US MS version. The battery seemed really good. I used them for about 7 hours a day for 4-5 days and battery was still good (for the first week).
I have just received the Voyager 8200 UC only to find out that I may have miss read the product page, I interpreted it to mean they were Skype for Business Certified. But just like with sennheiser there appears to be a different model for this, the B8200 UC. I’ll see if I can answer a skype call with them. I did try once with MB660 and it did not seem to work, unfortunately.
My issues to far are: the volume button rattles when I move my head. Why was the usb glued to the card? clearly they need a place to put it, i.e. in a hard case or in its own pocket. Just silly design. There was no flight adapter in my case. :(.
Aaron C said:
Edit: to previous reply. The Voyager 8200 UC is Skype for Business Certified.
Just thought I’d pipe up about the new VOYAGER 6200 UC headset that was recently released and I had the honour of getting a demo unit from our friends at Plantronics. It has a very unique design with a neck band and ear buds protruding up from it with the microphone(s) in the band and a charging plate.
When I received the email saying they were on their way I was quite prepared to love them and even give up my Focus UC set in favour of the lighter earbudded 6200. Unfortunately, after a week of use this hasn’t happened due to a design decision that I just can’t get on with.
So the good about the 6200’s. They have a great battery life, Plantronics are really excelling at their battery optimisation. I had these running for 10 hours on “listen” with a few hours “talk” in one day and there was still plenty of talk time according to Plantronics Hub. The charging plate is a great idea and can be attached to a monitor or wall so the units are out of the way when charging and clip in place. The 6200’s are so light and comfortable to wear around the neck as well, the design keeps the wires from touching your cheek even when turning your head. It’s a minor point but something I thought I’d mention. As Plantronics have been doing recently, call quality with the ANC is superb. Their directional ANC on calls really does drop out the background noise almost completely when talking only picking up my voice. Music is clear and crisp as well and I would put it up there with other great headsets for sound quality.
The not so good and the reason I couldn’t get on with them is the ear buds themselves. Doing the Plantronics course they mention they have 250+ molds of human ears that they test their products with. I think the 6200’s could do with a bit more testing with those molds. I regularly use ear buds and have the “mpow swift” and “Ultimate Ears Super Fi 5 Pro” as my go to sets for gym and have never had problems with the buds falling out. The 6200’s just don’t have the snug “in ear” fitting and feel of other earbuds no matter which size bud you put in it. Talking to my colleague that also tried them, we think the problem is the bud part is not sized to go far enough into the ear canal to create a tight secure fit. With them on, they do not make a proper seal to keep noise out and over time they do ease themselves out of your ear requiring the need to push them in frequently.
Overall, if you can get on with the actual earbuds size/shape, the Voyager 6200 UC is definitely worth trialling. What it does, it does exceptionally well and is a great addition to the Plantronics line up. Unfortunately, they are just not for me.
Aaron C said:
Since there doesn’t seem to be a place on the web that compares Voyager 8200 (used for 1 day) to sennheiser MB660 UC (used for 1 week). Since I don’t know how to table them. I will try and bullet point them.
Price(NZ): Voyager is lower compared to the MB660 UC MS (Skype for Business certified) but similar to the non-MS version.
ANC: Voyager I could not tell much of a difference between the two levels. Where as I could for MB660. The MB660 is generally better here.
Battery: I found the MB660 to have an adequate battery and apparently according to Paul B, the Voyager is better.
Weight: MB660 lighter- see Paul B’s comment.
Bluetooth range: Voyager is better here, by quite a noticeable amount.
Digital assistant: Voyager is better here, much clearer about what is happening.
Pairing:similar it is slightly easier with Voyager.
Un-pairing: only tried this with the MB660, was surprisingly troublesome.
User Interface: Voyager has buttons on both ears, MB660 has touch pad. As a left handed person, I generally preferred voyager. MB660 was OK using my right had, but some actions could get mixed up easily (one tap vs two taps).
case: MB660 wins here, nice firm and everything has a place.
cables: MB600 has airplane adapter and adequate cable length. Voyager has no adapter and cable length for USB was disappointing, you will need to replace the cable if you want to use them and charge them.
Summary: voyager 8200 is better for office, the ANC is enough, especially if you add music, and able to respond if someone talks to you. Sennheiser MB660 UC MS, better for travel or noisy office space.
Aaron C said:
I forgot to add:
Build quality. While this appears to be better for the Voyager (without being able to compare them side by side) and seem like they will last longer. For example, their mics are protected and have metal band. Twisting the ear cups horizontally, is stiff. The Ear cups for MB660 seem almost too loose, but they do go flat better then the voyagers (i.e/ flat on to a table cups on the table).
However, the reason I only had a day’s use with the voyager is because of the loose volume switch. Which rattled, whenever I move my head horizontally or walk. Plantrontics said they will replace them. If I was In Australia I would get back a refurbished pair, which is not something I like the idea of. But I am in NZ. The supplier here, says the fault is normal. So currently, battling with them over that.
I got a new 8200 UC and my voice is fading withing 2-3 seconds on the the other end. It remain legible, but sounds like I am talking from the tin can. I have several other Plantronics headsets, all work brilliantly. On 8200 changing NC levels to OFF don’t make any difference. SW is up to date. Ideas?
Paul B said:
Check out the settings in the Plantronics Hub. I found that changing things like the range and HD audio impacted the headset. Of course you could have a faulty unit too.