Product Review: Plantronics Voyager 8200 UC

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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.

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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.

Highlights

  • 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.

Specifications

Talk Time Up to 20 hours
Standby Time Up to 1 month
Range Up to 30 Meters\98 Feet
Frequency Bluetooth v4.1
Audio Performance Active Noise Canceling
Call Answer/End Yes
Volume +/- Yes
Earpiece/Headset Weight 289 grams\10 oz
Wireless Technology Bluetooth
Connectivity Bluetooth/3.5mm
Connects To PC, Tablet and Mobile
Skype for Business Certified Yes
Lync/Skype for Business Yes
Device Type Bluetooth
Speaker Style Binaural
Wearing Style Over-the-head
Microphone Noise-canceling
Headset Family Plantronics Bluetooth
High Density Environments Yes
Integrated Busylight No
Digital Encryption 128-Bit
Limited Warranty 1 year
USB Port Yes
Mute Yes
Digital Signal Processing Yes
PC Wideband Audio Yes

Suggestions for improvement

  1. 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.
  2. 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.

NOTE

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!

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Troubleshooting Issue: Can’t manage Skype Response Groups from CSCP GUI

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Problem

The Response Groups tab does not show any configured Workflows, Queues or Groups. Also I am unable to configure any Response Groups.

Manage Response Groups

Response Group Workflow Page Blank

Troubleshooting

The Workflows do exist as my first check was to make sure they are visible and I can manage them from PowerShell. So permissions don’t appear to be an issue.

Attempting to add a group via the Control Panel I get the message “No workflows are assigned to current manager”.

Skype Response Groups No Workflows are assigned to current manager

Now that’s cryptic, why does the Control Panel think I am a Response Group Manager?

A quick check in Active Directory Group Membership for my account shows that I am a member of CSAdministrator BUT am also a member of CSResponseGroupManager.

 

Response Group Manager

I am certainly not supposed to be an RGS Manager.

Solution

 The CSResponseGroupManager group only allows access to manage groups that a user has been specifically assigned too. Removing my account from this group corrected the situation and I was able to manage all RGS as expected.
If a user was assigned as the group manager, then ONLY that particular group would be visible in the Control Panel.

Why you should be piloting MS Teams – Today!

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Microsoft Teams

Microsoft Teams promises to be a big deal. Of course not everyone is keen to jump on every solution, application and idea thats come out of the Microsoft factory. To be honest, in this day and age most have a hard enough time keeping up, no time to waste playing with technology that may not be hugely successful in the near future, or where little benefit is percieved.

Thats said, I’d like to point out why you should be piloting teams today.

On the surface, Teams appears to be a feature rich replacement for Persistent Chat (I was never a fan of PC, too many limitations). With integration to Exchange Online, Sharepoint Online  and OneDrive for Business users can work within a single pain. Add to that audio and video conferencing and you have a powerhouse application, or a “hub for teamwork”.

I need to point out though, at the time of writing this post, Teams is not geared at the Enterprise Voice Space. Microsoft have however indicated that ultimately it will evolve to include the Skype for Business feature sets as well.

So what..another Persistent Chat app. to distract people from getting on with the job, you say. I am as sceptical as they come and initially resisted a bit too.

I certainly dont have alot of spare time to waste, what I need is an app that will save me time, not consume my time. Spending much of my time looking for documentation, chasing folks for progress updates, finding out who is doing what and the like.

This is WHY I believe Teams will be the next BIG thing.

From my perspective, the most exciting part of Teams is how it keeps all of my content and collaboration in one place. Tracking progress on a project within a channel made easy. Been away for a few days, no problem, all the happening are recorded within your Team discussion. Keep everyone in the loop – All the Time!

Turn your frequesntly used apps and files into tabs at the top of any channel and Boom! All your content relative to the channel at your fingertips.

More about Teams comming soon, but for now, come on – you know you hate wasting time, take the lead. Happy piloting.