Best mobile VoIP headset ever

Summary:I've been using the new Virtual Phone Booth from Plantronics for the past few weeks and it has utterly transformed my Skype (and Gizmo and Google Talk) experience. Formerly, I have either relied on the built-in microphone and speakers on my laptops (with the attendant howling and echoing that too often seems to plague VoIP calls) or used the excellent but too-bulky-for-travel Plantronics DSP 500 headset. That big unit has been a great solution for voice recognition and podcasting but is not exactly comfortable or convenient for all-day work.

Best VoIP headset ever

I've been using the new Virtual Phone Booth from Plantronics for the past few weeks and it has utterly transformed my Skype (and Gizmo and Google Talk) experience. Formerly, I have either relied on the built-in microphone and speakers on my laptops (with the attendant howling and echoing that too often seems to plague VoIP calls) or used the excellent but too-bulky-for-travel Plantronics DSP 500 headset. That big unit has been a great solution for voice recognition and podcasting but is not exactly comfortable or convenient for all-day work.

The Virtual Phone Booth is a pair of noise-isolating earbuds with an integrated microphone boom on that connects either directly through the microphone and headphone jacks on your PC or using an included USB adapter. The sound quality is excellent and the comfort is all-day, forget-you-have it-on. Folks I've been talking to via Skype and other services have repeatedly remarked on the excellent sound quality and in local tests with Audacity, the recording quality is more than sufficient for podcasing and screencasting duty. Volume and muting controls are built into a slim tub on the cord which also features a small clip to attach to your shirt.

The Virtual Phone Booth packs into an included hard case that's about the size of a candy bar so it slips into the gadget bag with no problem and gives me a completely portable solution with no compromises when I'm out and about or on the road. This unit is a definite keeper! The Virtual Phone Booth retails for about $110.00 and is compatible with both the Mac OS and Windows.

Plantronics Voyager 520
I've also been using the latest Bluetooth headset from Plantronics, the Voyager 520. I've used the Voyager 510, an over-the-ear boom style headset, for years as it's one of the most comfortable headsets I've used with excellent battery life and the relatively uncommon ability to multi-pair which allows me to use it with both a laptop and a mobile phone or with two mobile phones (yes, I am a gadget freak).

The 520 is a more conventional pod-shaped design that offers the same benefits and even better battery life. Plantronics has designed a new molded rubber earpiece that does a great job of isolating outside noise so that even in noisy environs on on a windy day the saound quality is excellent. The ear hook, unlike many headsets I've evaluated, is made from a very soft and flexible material that does not chafe or scratch. It's a single button design which makes adjusting the volume or using other functions very easy. Plantronics has also designed a nice desktop stand (pictured here) that makes it very convenient to pop the unit in for a quick charge.

The Voyager 520 retails for $99.00 and worked perfectly with my MacBook, Lenovo Tablet PC, Nokia N95 and Apple iPhone.

Topics: Unified Comms, Mobility

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