What's hot:Slim and professional design, excellent DSP and voice guidance is great.
What's not: Voice isn’t very clear with most phones.
Review posted February 2011 by Tong Zhang, Senior Editor
Plantronics is an established brand in both the Bluetooth headset and corded mobile headset markets, and the M100 Bluetooth headset is their new mid-tier Bluetooth headset. The Plantronics M100 is a slim headset that has a dual mic DSP, wind noise reduction and integration with the iPhone. The headset has Bluetooth v2.1 + EDR and pairs with two devices. The M100 also has excellent voice instructions for many functions including pairing, call management, voice dialing and reminders for charging the battery and range.
The Plantronics M100 is thin and light. It currently comes in a professional charcoal gray color front casing with dark blue accent lines and cover on the back. Plantronics plans to add four more colors: green, red (Apple stores), teal blue (Best Buy stores) and pink. The headset has a simple yet very functional design with a power on/off switch on the left, volume rocker on the right and a hidden talk/multi-functional button on the front near the top. The multi-function button clicks when you press it. A charging port lives on top of the headset. The power switch is particularly useful when combined with the headset’s voice instructions, as you turn on the headset the voice guidance will walk you through pairing, give you battery talk time and more. It’s also handy for conserving the battery as you can turn it off completely when you are done using it at night.
You can wear the Plantronics M100 with just the ear gel or with an ear hook for added security. The headset comes with three ear gels in different sizes, and you should be able to find one that fits well in your ear. The M100 stays in securely if you are walking, driving or sitting; but you will likely need the ear hook if you are joggling or running. The headset is light at 0.32 oz. (9 grams) and you should have no trouble wearing it throughout a day.
Pairing and Features
The Plantronics M100 can pair with 2 devices simultaneously but it connects and works with one device at a time. To turn on the multipoint (for pairing with two devices), press and hold the talk button while turning on the headset until the LED flashes blue twice with audio confirmation. When you turn on the headset for the first time, it will put itself in pairing mode automatically and give you step-by-step voice instructions on how to pair with your mobile phone. The clear voice instructions take the guesswork out of pairing, and it’s great for first time Bluetooth headset users. Subsequent pairing is also easy: with the M100 turned on, press and hold the talk button until the LED flashes blue and red alternately and voice instructions for pairing come on. The Plantronics M100 paired with all devices we tested it with easily.
The Plantronics M100 Bluetooth headset supports most common call management features via Hands-free profile, including answer and rejecting calls, redialing last number, voice dialing and in-call mute/unmute. It also offers an extra layer of integration with the iPhone: when the headset is connected, the iPhone will show the battery level and connection status on its activity bar. The M100 doesn’t work with system sounds on the devices we tested it with, only call audio.
Voice Quality and Range
As the M100 carries a relatively low $79.99 price tag, Plantronics didn’t implement its excellent AudioIQ 2 technology found on their high end headsets. Instead the M100 has third-party audio software along with dual mics for noise cancelling and a wind reduction DSP. The dual microphones live on the side of the headset as opposed to near the tip, and this provides some shielding from the wind as well. The DSP works very efficiently on the M100, filtering out almost all road noise and wind noise on all the phones we tested. The in-call audio quality is another story however. Without AudioIQ technology, the M100 sounds subpar compared to other Plantronics headsets such as the Discovery Series headsets and the Voyager headset series. We tested the Plantronics M100 with several devices and below are our findings:
When working with the iPhone 4:
The Plantronics M100 isn’t a great companion for the iPhone 4 due to lack of clarity in voice quality. The incoming voice is clear and we could certainly hold a smooth conversation. Outgoing voice has distortion, and our call recipients told us our voice was “fuzzy” and it took a bit of time for them to figure out what we were saying at times. The DSP is super effective when working with the iPhone 4, filtering out most road and wind noise. Range between the headset and the iPhone 4 reached 25 feet before losing the connection.
When working with the BlackBerry Curve 3G 9330:
The Plantronics M100 had similar voice quality when working with the BlackBerry Curve 3G 9300 on T-Mobile as with the iPhone 4. Incoming voice was a bit digitized and less natural compared with the iPhone 4’s incoming voice, but outgoing voice had slightly more clarity. Volume was good on either end, and the DSP was very effective. Even cars passing right by didn’t generate any noise, and wind noise was kept to a minimum. Range was about 20-25 feet.
When working with the Samsung Eternity II:
The Plantronics M100 had decent voice quality when working with the Samsung Eternity II on AT&T. Both incoming and outgoing voice had loud volume with some digitized voice but we held conversations smoothly. The DSP again eliminated most background noise and dealt with wind noise very well. The headset lost its connection with the phone at about 20 feet.
The Plantronics M100 has good battery life with at least 5.5 hours of talk time in our battery tests and about 5 days of standby. The headset comes with an AC charger and takes about 1.5 hours to fully charge. The built-in voice will give you “Battery Low” or “Recharge Headset” prompts and the LED will also flash when the battery is running low.
The Plantronics M100 has the newest Bluetooth software with a super strong DSP that stops road noise and wind noise in their tracks. It’s slim and easy to wear, and battery life is good by Bluetooth headset standards. Though the M100 carries the name of Plantronics, it doesn’t have Plantronics’ excellent audio pedigree. Voice quality on most phones is middle of the road and it can hold conversations without the impressive voice clarity that many Plantronics headsets boast.
Pro: Slim and professional design, excellent DSP and voice guidance is great.
Con: Voice isn’t very clear.
Package contains: the Plantronics M100 Bluetooth headset, AC charger, 3 eargels, an ear hook and printed Get Started Guide.
-Profiles supported: Headset and Hands-Free
-Claimed talk time: 6 hours
-Claimed standby time: 10 days
-Headset weight: 0.32 oz. (9 grams)
-Battery: Lithium Ion battery
-AC adapter: 100-240V.