Although there are plenty of wireless headsets for mobile phones out there, thanks to Bluetooth, if you’re using an ordinary landline phone and want the same functionality, your options are much more limited. Plantronics, which manufactures a wide range of headsets for various platforms, has now released the CS70 – a wireless headset that looks and feels very similar to an ordinary Bluetooth headset, but uses DECT technology.
It is much smaller than most other DECT headsets out there and it is designed to be worn for long periods of time as it is pretty light at 22g. It has an integrated answer/hangup button, volume controls and a microphone mute function. The boom mic can also be rotated to fit either ear and even removed and replaced.
Sound quality is obviously going to be an important issue if you spend all day on the blower and here the CS70 performs very well. The clarity at both the caller and the receiver’s end is very clear, with zero background hiss and the mic design helpfully eliminates most breathing noises, so you don’t risk sounding like some kind of phone prowler. The mute function is also very handy for keeping background noises out of the conversation/conference call as well.
Especially if you are indulging in long conference sessions, comfort is another important factor and once again the CS70 comes up with the goods. The lightweight design helps a lot and although the headset looks a little unusual, it does a good job of balancing the weight over your ear. The end result is that it is comfortable to wear over long periods of time if you need to.
Furthermore, the battery life backs this up well and should be good for over 5 hours of talk-time and 28 hours of standby time.
Bluetooth excels because it has an amazingly comprehensive pairing mechanism. Unfortunately no such system exists for normal landline handsets and this causes some problems. Firstly, the CS70 isn’t compatible with every phone out there. For basic headset integration you’ll need a phone with a detachable handset and the right type of connector. This then needs to be attached to the fairly bulky base station – however, it does still leave you with all your normal functions, which is good.
The next problem is that you’ll still need to pick up your normal handset to answer the calls – unless you pick up the HL-10 accessory as well. This is a handset lifter that slides under your normal handset and will operate a motorised lever when you want to receive or make a call.
There are a few settings to tweak to suit your preference and you can set it to a number of different angles to suit different phone types. However, with my phone, the problem wasn’t getting it to such an angle to release the hang-up switch; instead it caused the handset to fall off each time. Again this is a compatibility issue so it’s well worth checking out the Plantronics website, which has a compatibility guide.
Compatible with most popular business telephones
Volume and mute functions
Boom swivels for use on either ear
Up to 5 hrs talk time, 28hrs standby time
100m range – up to 50m in a typical office
Removable voice tube
The CS70’s few faults lie in its struggle to bring a more modern concept of wireless communications to your old-school desk phone. However, the high quality headset does help to balance out those negatives and could make your life a whole lot easier – just be prepared to sacrifice a little desk space for it.
By Al W | December 5th, 2006