EVOLVE 65 UC Duo, Bluetooth"MS Optimized, USB via Dongle
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- Product Description - Jabra Evolve 65 UC stereo - headset - with Jabra LINK 360 Adapter
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The Jabra Evolve 65 UC is a professional headset designed to improve concentration and conversations. Premium noise cancellation technology gives you peace to work in a noisy, open office; effectively creating a concentration zone around you so you can stay focused. Wireless Bluetooth technology gives you up to 30 meters / 100 feet of hands-free connectivity to PC, smartphone and tablet. Up to 10 hours battery life eliminates battery concerns. Simply tap to connect devices with NFC. Dual connectivity enables you to connect your headset to your PC and one other Bluetooth device at the same time, so you can take the call on your preferred phone device. Busy light signals user availability. The microphone boom arm can be integrated into the headband when not on a call. Microphone mute on boom arm. Built for style and comfort with leatherette ear cushions. Soft pouch included.
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What I like:
+The headset is lightweight and easy to wear for extended periods.
+It comes with a soft pouch to store the headset in. It's small enough to put in my laptop bag easily, but big enough where it's not easily misplaced (e.g. one ear bluetooth headsets).
+Bluetooth range is respectable and plenty usable within the same room.
+Sound quality on the earphones is excellent for talk and serviceable (not terrible, not amazing, plenty listenable) for music.
+Sound quality on the mic is excellent and filters out a good amount of background noise. I've used it at the airport for calls without people on the other end realizing I was in a public environment.
+The unit can be plugged in via USB to the computer if bluetooth were unreliable/not desired for some reason.
+It can be paired to a cell phone and the PC at once, and if you are listening to audio on either device and a call comes in on either device, it will stop the music/other audio, go to the call, and then resume once done.
+It does get respectable battery life. Lync integration is good out of the box and better with the PC Suite software, but even without the software you can just plug it in and use it.
+Pairing cell phones is friendly with a friendly pair procedure for non-NFC devices and an even easier one for NFC devices (just hold the NFC cell phone up to the text NFC on the earpiece and your phone will ask to pair, say yes and you're done).
+The Busylight on the headset (a red light in the shape of a ring on the earpiece with the mic boom) turns red when you get a phone call or when you turn it on manually (by pressing volume up + volume down simultaneously). The manual mode is a great way to show people at a distance that you're busy/don't want to be disturbed.
What I don't:
- Jabra's magnetic headband storage for the mic boom when not on a phone call is a swing-and-a-miss. If you have a smaller head and don't move the earpieces down at all, then it works. If you have to bring the earpieces down, the boom does not have good enough contact with the magnetic strip in the headband and the headband just hangs out.
- Occasional audio glitches occur when listening to audio on the cell phone and the PC disconnects/reconnects - there last a couple seconds and I've only noticed it with music, not phone calls. This is a nitpick but it's annoying if you get up from your PC and you're using your phone to play music to the headset.
- I don't know if it's a peril of being connected with multiple devices but I have never received 10 hours talk/use (e.g. phone audio). I get many hours (around 7 or 8) without charging but 10 seems fanciful. I use the included Jabra link adapter and an iPhone 5S which both use Bluetooth 4.0 (lower power consumption than older versions) so I don't know where the issue is.
- The USB plug pops too easily out of the headset and can be displaced by minor movements while wearing. Since it connects via bluetooth, this doesn't typically result in call disconnection (unless you're using it via USB and the Jabra Link USB is not plugged in as well).
- The Jabra website reports a simultaneous device limit of one. (as in, it will only connect to one bluetooth device at a time) This is wrong. It supports two device connections at once. This sucks if you have a work phone, a personal phone, and the computer, because then you either have to not connect one of the devices or play a bluetooth toggle game to get the two devices you want to be currently connected. Can't we increase it to three, Jabra?...
-The Jabra Link 360 adapter is tiny. which is nice for form factor, but may be damaged if left in while you remove/put the laptop away in the laptop bag by strain. Jabra provides no place to store it within the pouch i.e. a smaller velcroed compartment, which means you have to let it sit loose in the larger headset bag. I'm concerned about losing it.
Neutral/things of note:
• If you're buying this, price probably isn't a huge factor for you (you're probably buying through work for Microsoft Lync use - if you're using a different application, then you should buy the Evolve 65 UC instead of this one)..
• I won't evaluate PC Bluetooth use directly with on-board bluetooth rather than included USBs. I've tried using the bluetooth in my laptops and it always results in an inferior initial setup process, connection reliability, and in some cases, battery life, vs the manufacturer included USB (Plantronics and Jabra). If you really need the USB port you can try but the manufacturers optimize the connection for the included USB.
•You can use the headset while plugged into a wall USB adapter or a different PC and have it use bluetooth with your Jabra Link on the computer with Microsoft Lync. It's a niche case but if you have a laptop with few USB ports (e.g. ultrabooks) it may be worthwhile to know.
• I had some quality issues until I installed the Jabra PC Suite and updated the firmware on the Jabra Link USB bluetooth dongle and the headset itself (and yes, they have separate firmware). Also, simultaneous connection of two devices didn't work until the firmware was updated.
• Stereo or mono is a personal choice. Stereo increases flexibility to use the headset for music, but may result in you unintentionally "yelling" when on phone calls because you don't really hear your own voice.
• You're not going to get the distance with wireless bluetooth that you will with something that offers a dedicated base (e.g. Jabra 94xx series with DECT). It's good, but don't expect to go to the other end of the house and remain connected to your PC.
• This lacks the active noise cancellation that the "bigger brother" Jabra Evolve 80 has. Personally with the stereo earphones over my ears it cancels enough noise, but just saying.,..
This headset is great for travelers or office workers who work from multiple locations and can't deal with bulky, non-portable headset base that want great, clear, and loud call quality, simultaneous connection with phone and PC, and want wireless.
Alternatives of note:
• If you spend most of your time on the road (literally in cars), you may want to get a one ear unit like the Plantronics Voyager Legend MS or Jabra Motion MS.
• If you spend the overwhelming majority of the time at one physical office at one location (e.g. a fixed desk just for you), the Jabra 94xx series is worth consideration. It has DECT wireless (further range than bluetooth), a base with options to pick up calls and mute, and in higher-end models, supports bluetooth for a smartphone connection to the base, and support for physical phones as well as virtual "unified communications" ones like Lync.
•If you don't want to deal with a battery, or having to use controls on the side of the boom is too big a barrier, and you want something cheaper, the Jabra BIZ 2400 is worth a look.
April 20th, 2015: I have to report that both the bluetooth (Jabra Link) and headset failed. Jabra support was extremely apologetic and both the bluetooth and headset are now having new replacements sent back. For the bluetooth USB, reviews appear to recommend removing the USB from the laptop when not in use to avoid strain; for the headset, I'm not sure why it failed. Either way, I still recommend the headset, although I will report further reliability issues (or RMA troubles) back here.
EDIT 2, April 24th, 2015: Jabra returned my failed headset within 7 business days of requesting the RMA (door-to-door time, as in day RMA requested and shipped out to replacment being received). They gave me a new unit with a later warranty expiration date (resetting the clock on the one year warranty with new wrapped original accessories (Link 360 USB, microUSB cable, pouch). Excellent and smooth RMA experience, I still recommend this headset without reservation
What you get for $200 is the best bluetooth mobile / Lync / WebEx / Gotomeeting headset out there, where you can listen to music in a pinch. However, if you are picky about headphone audio quality, you will still be carrying around a set of high quality headphones.
After a few months of using, I'll throw in a few extra points. I still haven't figured out how to switch between computer and phone. When I get a mobile phone call while on Skype, Lync, or WebEx, it switches audio to the phone automatically, even for texts or mobile phone alerts which aren't relevant, which will cut you out of the current web conference. This is extremely annoying. The Evolve needs some kind of "do not disturb" or easy way to switch audio between connected devices. That said, I've been using the headset for phone and web conferences at airports, hotel lounges, in my car, just about everywhere. It performs really well in these noisy environments, both for the call audio and the noise cancelling mic so the other party can't hear the noise.