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Bluetooth Headset and Car Kit Reviews

Plantronics Discovery 925

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Editor's rating (1-5):
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Review posted August 2008 by Tong Zhang, Senior Editor

The Discovery series Bluetooth headsets are the flagship mono Bluetooth headsets in Plantronics’ portfolio. The Discovery 925 is the newest addition to the Discovery series, and it features Plantronics’ AudioIQ and newly added multipoint technology that allows one headset to have active connections with two mobile phones. It also has an intriguing design, updated Bluetooth v2.0 +EDR and comes with a carrying/charging case that has its own battery. The pairing was easy with the Discovery 925 and the sound quality ranged from good to excellent. And the new headset also has improved range compared to previous Discovery models. On top of all that, it’s one of the most fashionable Bluetooth headsets we’ve seen!

Plantronics Discovery 925

A Head Turner

NASA space missions inspired the Plantronics Discovery series, and the Discovery 640 and the Discovery 655 Bluetooth headsets had space-inspired designs and comfortable forms. The Discovery 925 takes a new turn in design and makes the headset even less bulky than the previous Discovery headsets, and Plantronics calls it the VFrame design. Combine that with the shiny chrome body, the clear ear buds and three highly accessorize-able colors (Onyx Black, Alchemy Gold and Cerise Pink), and you’ve got a headset that stands out from the crowd. The V-shaped boom also ensures that the microphone gets closer to your mouth. The earpieces on previous Discovery models were tiny and the ear gels were tapered to fit reasonably deep into your ear canal. The Discovery 925 changes that design and it now has a larger earpiece with round ear gels in three sizes. The new headset no longer sits deep into your ear; rather it rests comfortably outside of the canal. This design will cause less trouble for sensitive ears, but for those who are used to the Discovery 655 and 640 headsets, this will take some getting used to. The headset is secure enough in your ear that it won’t fall of if you turn your head suddenly, but it might not sit securely through a jog.

The Plantronics Discovery 925 Bluetooth headset has an even cleaner design with a single multi-function button that handles all tasks and a volume key that cycles through volume levels. We are glad to see one thing remained from the previous Discovery design: the carry case, which also acts like a charger. When stored in the case, the Discover 925 plugs into the charging base and gets charged through a charging port at the bottom of the case. You can use the included AC charger or USB cable to charge the headset without taking it out of the carrying case.

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Pairing and Features

The Plantronics Discovery 925 has Bluetooth v2.0 + EDR and works with mobile phones that support Bluetooth Headset and Hands-Free profiles. The Discovery 925 has a “QuickPair” feature that we’re seeing more and more on new Bluetooth headsets. This feature puts your headset into pairing mode the first time you turn it on. You can use your phone to search and pair with the headset using the default pass code “0000”. Alternatively you can press and hold the call button until the LED flashes blue and red. We tested the Plantronics Discovery 925 Bluetooth headset with several phones and it paired with all easily. Plantronics added a new feature to the Discovery 925 pairing scheme: multipoint technology. It allows the headset to have two active connection partners, a feature that comes in handy for those who keep a work phone and a weekend phone. The multipoint connect gives you the ability to pick up a call on a second phone (previously paired) but you must hang up the call on the first phone.

Plantronics Discovery 925

The Plantronics Discovery 925 supports popular Hands-free profile features such as last number redialing, call rejecting and voice dialing. Voice dialing worked well with all the phones we tested. Like previous Discovery headsets, the Discovery 925 has AudioIQ technology, an advanced DSP algorithm that intelligently raises human voice above background noise and regulates volume based on ambience noise.

Voice Quality and Range

The Plantronics Discovery 925’s voice quality ranged from good to excellent when working with the dozen phones we tested. The DSP worked well with most phones and AudioIQ regulated call volume effectively. The range has improved compared to the last generation Discovery headsets, and call features and voice dialing all worked well. Here are the test details for some of the handsets with we tested the Bluetooth headset:

When working with the Nokia E71 (Bluetooth v2.0 +EDR):
The Plantronics headsets have always gotten along with most Nokia phones in our tests, and the Discovery 925 is no exception. The voice quality on both incoming and outgoing ends was great with very clear audio and no digital distortion. The AudioIQ was effective at regulating call volume and elevated callers’ voices above the background noise. The range was better than the previous Discovery models with the Nokia, reaching 18-20 feet.

When working with the HTC Touch Diamond (Bluetooth v2.0 + EDR):
The Plantronics Discovery 925 worked very well with the HTC Touch Diamond, a phone that gets along well with many Bluetooth headsets currently on the market. Both incoming and outgoing voice quality was very good: clear and loud. The DSP worked very well too. Our call recipients could hardly hear road noise in a sporty sedan and in very noisy environments AudioIQ did kick in and put our voice above the noise level. The range between the Discovery and the Touch Diamond wasn’t the best in our tests, reaching only 10 feet before we started noticing audio degradation.

When working with the Apple iPhone 3G (Bluetooth v2.0 + EDR):
The iPhone 3G is less picky about Bluetooth headset partners than the last generation iPhone and it worked very well with the Plantronics Discovery 925. Both incoming and outgoing voice were very clear with good volume. The DSP filtered out low to moderate road noise but our call recipients could hear some background noise from very noisy roads. The AudioIQ did well with the iPhone, and the range was also very good reaching at least 20 feet.

When working with the HP iPAQ 910c (Bluetooth v2.0 +EDR):
The Discovery 925 worked well with the iPAQ 910c considering the phone has average call quality through its built-in earpiece and speaker. Both incoming and outgoing voice were clear with good volume. The DSP had good performance with the iPAQ, filtering out most noises at low to mid-levels. Very noisy places still generated some noise through the Discovery 925 but your voice will overcome background noise thanks to the AudioIQ technology. The range was also good, reaching about 18-20 feet.

When working with the LG Chocolate 3 (Bluetooth v2.1 + EDR):
The Chocolate 3 phone had decent performance with most Bluetooth headsets we tested it with but not exceptional. We had a similar experience with the Discovery 925. The voice quality was reasonably clear and loud, but on some occasions both incoming and outgoing voices were a little digitized. The DSP showed less power compared to its performance with other phones: road noise was louder and our callers could hear cars passing by. The range however was very good between the Chocolate 3 and the Plantronics, reaching at least 20 feet.

Battery Life

The Plantronics Discovery 925 has a rechargeable Lithium Ion battery and has very good battery life. The claimed talk time is 5 hours and our tests showed that number was right on target. The claimed standby time is 7 days and in our tests, the headset lasted several days longer. You can charge the headset with the included AC charger (100-240V) or USB cable directly or via the carrying case that has nickel metal hydride rechargeable battery. The headset takes about 3 hours to fully charge. If you have the multipoint feature turned on but not using two phones at the moment, turn it off to extend battery life.

Plantronics Discovery 925

Conclusion

The Plantronics Discovery 925 is a very worthy successor to the popular Discovery 655 Bluetooth headset. If you are looking for a Bluetooth headset that sounds great with many new phones on the market and has good voice quality and a strong DSP, don’t pass up this headset. The flashy design and fashion colors are bonuses if you are fashion conscious. As long as you don’t mind the non-in ear design, this is a great Bluetooth headset to have in your gear bag.

Pro: Very sleek and light design. Great voice quality when working with many current phones. Amazing battery life.

Con: In-ear style fans might not like the new earpiece design.

Package contains: the headset, three clear ear gels (different sizes), carrying/charging case, AC charger, USB cable and printed User Guide.

Technical Specs:
-Bluetooth v2.0 + EDR
-Profiles supported: Headset and Hands-Free Profiles
-Claimed talk time: 5 hours
-Claimed standby time: 7 days
-Headset weight: 8 grams
-Battery: Lithium ion rechargeable
-AC adapter: 100-240V

 

List Price: $149.95 with one-year warranty

Web site: www.plantronics.com

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