Review: Plantronics Discovery 975 Bluetooth Headset | webOS Nation
 
 

Review: Plantronics Discovery 975 Bluetooth Headset 11

by Derek Kessler Fri, 02 Oct 2009 10:15 am EDT

Plantronics Discovery 975 Bluetooth Headset

There are headsets that are stylish, and headsets that sound great, but the Plantronics Discovery 975 Bluetooth Headset is one of the few that successfully combines the two qualities. Sporting the diamond-shaped base of the preceding Discovery 925, the Discovery 975 has a sleek boom packed with microphones and windscreens that give it surprisingly good voice quality. It’s sleek, it sounds good, but is it comfortable? Yes. In fact, it’s not hard to say that the Discovery 975 is one of the best headsets on the market.

Voice Quality

No matter how good a headset looks, its worth nothing if it doesn’t sound good. Thankfully, the good looks of the Discovery 975 are backed up by exceedingly good sound quality for both ends of the conversation. The speaker is large, loud, and provides great clear audio with only the slightest hint of static. Apart from the static, the headset’s speaker actually provides better sound than the Pre itself.

Likewise, the microphone on the headset also gives better sound to the other end of the line than the Pre does. Crammed into that slender boom are dual microphones that work in tandem with Plantronics’ Audio IQ isolation algorithms. While such voice isolation usually yields a metallic almost robotic sound, the Discovery 975 also uses a special equalizer to restore that human quality to your voice after cutting out the background. The boom also houses a series of windscreens and acoustic dampeners that cut down on the buffeting noise of wind. While this all does a decent job for standing outside in a moderate breeze, it won’t do you much good in a gale (or the an open car).

Worth noting is a strange but quiet echo that was heard not only by my callers, but on my end as well. At first it was a touch on the distracting side, but eventually I became accustomed to it.

Plantronics Discovery 975 Bluetooth Headset

Controls

If there’s one area to knock the Discovery 975, it’s the same area that so many high-end headsets can be knocked on: the lack of buttons. I don’t know what it is that has driven so many headset manufacturers to eschew the traditional volume up/down rocker in favor of a volume cycling button, but apparently Plantronics is one of those manufacturers. There are two buttons: power/call and the volume cycling button. Normally I can deal with the volume cycling, but the Discovery 975’s is so small that it was simply easier to use the volume rocker on the Pre.

Comfort

I’ve always been an ear hook kind of guy, but the Discovery 975 has changed my mind on that requirement. The problem with most non-hook headsets I’ve used is that they just were never secure, but mostly because the “ear gels” were never soft or not shaped well for the sort of all-day-comfortable fit I’ve always desired. The three ear gels the Discovery 975 ships with are truly gel-like, they’re soft but thick enough to provide plenty of buttressing against the inside of your ear, and all are large enough that they don’t demand to be inserted into your ear canal.

Plantronics Discovery 975 Bluetooth Headset

Style

So the Plantronics Discovery 975 bluetooth headset measures up on the sound and comfort fronts, but will it do you any style favors? Yes, it will. The physical design is quite simple, just a leather texture-capped diamond and a dark silver microphone boom. The call/power button is hidden as the base of the boom, as is the white/red LED light. The large ear gel could very well be an ugly bit on the otherwise attractive headset, but Plantronics made the wise decision to make the ear gels transparent, so they only really show in directly light. Overall, the Discovery 975 is one of the most attractive headsets out there, ranking right up with the Jawbone Prime and Jabra Pura in terms of aesthetic design.

Plantronics Discovery 975 Bluetooth Headset

In the Box

The Plantronics Discovery 975 comes with the standard assortment of user guides, a Micro USB charger that does work with the Pre, two replacement ear gels, a clip for the charging case, and the charging case itself. The charging case serves as a dock of sorts for the headset and packs enough juice to recharge the headset twice over. The small display on the left side reads both the power rating for the headset and the case, as well as displaying a bluetooth icon when the docked headset is connected to your phone. Removal is an easy affair, thanks to a small lever behind the Micro USB plug. Simply push down on the lever and the headset pops up off the plug. While the charging case will be useful for those that spend several hours a day on the phone (the Discovery 975 is rated for five hours talk time), for most it will be more useful for extended trips away from your charger at home. Even then, you’ll be dragging along a Micro USB charger for your Pre, so the point is somewhat moot.

Plantronics Discovery 975 Bluetooth Headset

Conclusion

Few headsets offer the complete package. With excellent comfort, superior sound quality, and beautiful styling, the Plantronics Discovery 975 bluetooth headset is a best-in-class headset. The best praise that I can give to any headset is to say that it will become my primary headset. That is praise that I can give to the Plantronics Discovery 975 - it is simply the complete package.

The Plantronics Discovery 975 Bluetooth Headset is available in the PreCentral Store for $119.95, a savings of 8% off the list price of $129.95.

Pros

Superior speaker quality

Cons

Tiny volume button