- ✓Good audio quality
- ✓good battery life
- ✓supports Handsfree and Headset Bluetooth profiles.
- ✕Large and heavy, making it uncomfortable in extended use.
Do you use a Bluetooth mobile phone that supports the Headset or Hands-free profiles? If you do, then the Plantronics M3000 -- a Bluetooth headset that works wirelessly within 10m of your mobile -- could be for you. If you're considering such a move, the most important factors are: the design (is it comfortable to wear; does it look stupid?); the functionality (how easy is it to make, receive and manipulate calls?); and the performance (how good is the audio quality; how long does the battery last?). We find that the M3000 scores well in some, but not all, of these areas.
The M3000 is an elongated ovoid measuring just under 8cm long and 3cm tapering to about 1cm wide; it's just under 3cm thick where the speaker is located, again tapering to about a centimetre at the end, where the noise cancelling microphone resides. That's quite a bulky unit to hang on your ear (two earloops are supplied, one large and one small), and there's no getting around the fact that you look faintly ridiculous when wearing it. More seriously, it's not particularly comfortable to wear for any length of time, and Plantronics should make an effort to reduce the size and weight of future models. Out of the box, the M3000 is set up for use on the right ear: to configure it for the left ear, you have to unclip the earloop, turn it around, and refit it. The face of the M3000 has a call control button and an LED that glows green or red, or alternates between green and red, depending on the circumstances. On the forward-facing side of the device is a small power-on/mute button and a volume up/down rocker. The rear-facing side carries the port for the AC adapter. All of the controls are identifiable by touch, although the mute button can prove hard to locate in a hurry.
Installation & setup
Once the M3000 has been charged using the supplied AC adapter (Plantronics recommends an overnight charging session first time out, although subsequent recharges should take 90 minutes or so), you need to pair it with your phone (which obviously needs to have Bluetooth turned on). You make the M3000 discoverable by other Bluetooth devices by pressing the call control and volume up buttons for a couple of seconds, until the LED flashes green and red alternately. You then find the M3000 with your Bluetooth phone, enter a passkey (four zeroes) if necessary, and you're done. All this worked fine with our test mobile, an Ericsson T68.
The M3000's basic functionality is straightforward. To answer an incoming call via the headset, you wait for it to ring and then press and release the call control button. The same action will transfer a call from your mobile to the headset, and also end a call. You can initiate calls via the headset using voice dialling, if your mobile supports it. All of these basic features worked fine on our T68. If your mobile supports the Hands-free Bluetooth profile, a number of extra features are available. You can transfer a call from the headset back to the mobile by pressing and holding the call control button for a couple of seconds. The same action will reject an incoming call, while pressing the call control button twice will redial the last number. Unfortunately none of these extra features worked on our T68.
Audio quality, clearly a key consideration, is good: the headset can deliver plenty of volume, and call recipients reported generally decent sound thanks to the unit's noise-cancelling microphone. That said, if you're outdoors in windy conditions, your correspondents might have trouble making you out, but that's not a problem unique to the M3000. Battery life is another plus point. Plantronics claims 8 hours talk time and 200 hours standby time, and although we didn't put the former claim to the test, we certainly didn't need to recharge the M3000 more than once a week.
As far as functionality and performance goes, the M3000 is a winner. Where it falls down, however, is on its design: it's just too big and heavy to sit comfortably on the ear. You might get away with it at home or in the office, but we suspect few people will have the front to walk and talk in public with this aural appendage.
|Additional Features||noise canceling circuit|
|Headphones Form Factor||Over-the-ear mount|
|Sound Output Mode||mono|
|Microphone Operation Mode||mono|
|Audio Controls||answer/end, mute, volume|
|Controls||Mute, volume, answer/end|
|Service & Support||1 year warranty|
|Transmission Range||33 ft|
|Run Time (Up To)||8 hour(s)|