Feature Articles

Hands-free and Hassle-free Communication

By Rico Franco - 23 Oct 2018

Hands-free and Hassle-free Communication

Form and function in one package is mostly aspirational in most cases, but not always a reality. Mostly, there are things that look good but don't always perform as expected, or things that perform quite well, but could definitely use more than a little aesthetics.


Plantronics, however, has ventured to put both qualities in one small package, the Voyager Edge, a seemingly unobtrusive hands-free communication device that is a clear threat to the competition.


Plantronics, a well-loved name in the field of audio and communications, understands that while there are larger hands-free devices in the market that give the impression that it is more powerful, efficient, or feature-laden, the basics of the need for the device should be a primary consideration. The light and sleek design of the Voyager Edge is an obvious plus as this makes the weight profile negligible, compared to other similar devices that become somewhat cumbersome after being worn for some time.


There are many instances wherein driving is not always as comfortable or as pleasant as it should be, particularly when it's a very long one. Having a hands-free unit that weighs almost next to nothing and performs quite well is definitely a boon in such instances. This is most obvious when there is a constant need for communication and coordination with other motorists, or when there is a need to keep track of what the GPS app is telling you about directions.

Hearing is Believing


The audio level of the Voyager Edge is clear enough to be heard even when there is music playing in the background, which is typical of family trips or excursions with friends. This is important to note as there are units with audio that can easily be drowned out by ambient noise or sounds, making it so easy to miss something that should really be listened to. In most cases, drivers get lost because of not being able to hear that seemingly unimportant detail as dictated by the GPS, or told by someone else on the other end of a call. Conversely, the microphone should also be efficient enough so that the person at the other end of the call, someone who might be completely dependent on the directions you are giving to them, will find their way to their destination. More than the ambient sound inside the vehicle, there is also the matter of driving with the windows down, where there is the tendency to have even more sound interfering with the call. The efficient microphone of the Voyager Edge is housed within a long, thin boom, which picks up voice audio much more efficiently than in other units.


The earbud on the Voyager Edge has two contrasting groups arguing the pros and cons of it. There are those who find the rubber sleeve covering the earbud a bit too rigid and inflexible, which some actually find uncomfortable and somewhat less secure, since there is the feeling that it might fall off at any time. On the other side of the argument are those who believe that there are definite benefits to the design. Many people don't think that shoving something deep into the ear for prolonged periods of time is anywhere near healthy, and this notion makes the Voyager Edge ideal because the pliable rubber sleeve is designed to make the earpiece sit comfortable just outside the ear entrance, which still allows the ear to "breathe".


This placement may seem less than secure to some, but the design of the ear tip actually allows the user to position it until it is situated comfortably and snugly at the ear entrance, where it will stay until such time as it is removed. A further look at the earpiece itself will reveal that a lot of thought and consideration went into the device of the Voyager Edge. The entire profile of the earpiece makes it slender and sleek, and yet physical control buttons could be found along the side of the slim boom microphone. Even the design of the ear tip stabilizer loop shows how much attention to detail goes into it. There are those who latch the loop onto the inner fold of the ear, providing a more stable perch on the ear. Once snugly fitted and made proof against being dislodged, the earpiece will not move around so much, removing the need to constantly adjust it until it fits back in. While there are many who swear by the convenience provided by a hands-free set, there is also an equal or greater number who prefers not to use the device because of the need to constantly adjust it until the sensation of it falling off is resolved. The particular design of the Voyager Edge is testament to this fact, and to the fact that Plantronics understands how much of an issue this is with users, hence the design that went into the Voyager Edge.

Convenience is in the Answer


The entire purpose of having an in-ear hands-free device is convenience, so it is only fair to expect features that provide ultimate convenience from any such unit you purchase. This convenience also extends to the effort you put when answering a call. Many complain that while their device may be quite comfortable to wear, the conversation they had with the person on the other end was not exactly clear, either due to poor connection of the device to the phone itself, or poor technology integrated into the hands-free device itself.


The Voyager Edge supports Bluetooth 4.0, the most stable version so far, and has a group of three microphones that all functioning to transmit voice better while eliminating ambient noise as much as possible. Answering a call has been made easier with the on-board dual-capacitive sensors that could actually detect if the device is currently worn or not. There is an option to give a voice command to "Answer" a call, or simply place the Voyager Edge in the ear to automatically accept a call. The device also supports at least four other languages other than English, which is quite a trick for such a small device.