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Published on Fri, Apr 16, 2010

By: The LACar Editorial Staff


We review Plantronics’ top-of-the-line Bluetooth headset By Roy Nakano Plantronics knows Bluetooth. As the maker of the best-bang-for-the-buck Voyager 520 and the state-of-the-art Voyager PRO, the company has mastered the art of Bluetooth headset design. For the Discovery 975, Plantronics sets out to provide the Lexus of Bluetooth earpieces—a top-of-the-line unit with all the creature comfort trimmings. The 975 is actually the next generation of the Discovery 925, which received critical acclaim for its audio quality and lightweight design. With the 975, Plantronics incorporates AudioIQ2 and WindSmart® technologies—both aimed to improve audio quality. The latter is claimed to deliver a natural sounding voice in harsh noise environments, coupled with a high level of inbound audio quality, comfort, and durability. AudioIQ2 is Plantronics’ newest version of AudioIQ digital signal processing (DSP) technology, incorporating two microphones to capture the user’s voice and simultaneously cancel background noise. There are no special buttons needed to activate the noise-canceling capabilities — AudioIQ2 works automatically wherever the user is having a conversation. Plantronics Discovery 975 addresses wind noise with multiple layers of WindSmart technology. It features grooved vents on the boom and acoustic fabrics that surround the microphones to block wind. In addition, electronic filters within AudioIQ2 are said to remove wind noise during conversations and help deliver a clearer voice to the listener. The headset includes a 20-band equalizer that works with AudioIQ2 to automatically adjust the volume and spectral balance of incoming calls to comfortable listening levels based on the ancillary noise surrounding the user. The Discovery 975 comes with a rechargeable carrying case that Plantronics says can triple talk time from five hours to up to 15 hours while protecting and storing the earpiece. The new case includes an LCD screen that displays the battery and earpiece charge levels, as well as Bluetooth connectivity. With the rechargeable case, users don’t have to worry as much about finding a wall outlet. At eight grams (0.3 ounces), the Plantronics Discovery 975 is certainly one of the lightest headsets around. The 975 features a boom, which captures speech close to the mouth. The earpiece uses the same gel ear tips used on the Discovery 925, and we can say that the 975 is the most comfortable Bluetooth earpiece we have ever used. The fit is stable, but not as secure as the Plantronics Voyager 520 or Voyager PRO. Stick to the latter if you plan on wearing your piece while engaging in active sports. Notwithstanding all the automation, the Discovery 975 does include some manual controls: one button for powering on/off and call/answer/end and another button for volume control and mute. The 975 also features voice prompts for low battery warnings, mute status and Bluetooth connectivity. With all this going for the 975, the question remains: Does it deliver the goods? The answer is an unequivocal “yes”. In almost every meaningful measure, it trounces the competition we have tested. Comfort is at the top of the class. Despite the sleek aesthetics of this deluxe Bluetooth unit, the 975 is in the upper echelon of sound quality. There’s another unit that sounds better, but it’s also a Plantronics unit—namely, the Voyager PRO. Another Plantronics unit, the value-oriented Voyager 520, can also go toe-to-toe with the sound quality of the 975. But neither the radar screen. If ultimate sound quality is your end game, then look no further than the Voyager PRO. For ease of use, being easy on the pocket, and all-around goodness, it’s still the Plantronics Voyager 520 for me. Ergomonics 9.5/10 Audio Quality 9.6/10 Aesthetics 9/10 VITAL STATISTICS Name of unit: Plantronics Discovery 975 Bluetooth headset Price: $129.99 (retail) $99 (street price) Product version: Bluetooth 2.1 Weight: 0.3 ounces Compatible mobile devices: universal Additional features: AudioIQ2, uickPair, WindSmat, volume control, answer/end button, multipoint technology. Headphone type: monaural, in-ear, ear-bud Transmission range: 33 feet Run time: 5 hours Packaging Content: Plantronics Discovery 975 Bluetooth earpiece Three ear tips Charging Dock AC & remote Charger/Carrying Case User manual For more information about the Plantronics Discovery 975, go to Source: Manufacturer review sample


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