Bluetooth Headset and Car Kit Reviews
Plantronics Discovery 640
Discuss this product
Check out our review of the newer Plantronics Discovery 655
Last summer, we reviewed Plantronics third generation
M3500 Bluetooth headset which leverages Plantronics'
Audio IQ technology and an integrated Digital Signal
Processor (DSP) to enhance the audio clarity in noisy
environments. The voice quality was so good on the
M3500 that we gave it our Editor's Choice award.
The only thing seemed to have slipped Plantronics'
mind with that headset was in the style department.
The 27-gram M3500 felt heavy and looked large on
anybody's ear. But come this year, Plantronics released
a new generation of Bluetooth headsets that cut down
on weight and size, but increased style and usability.
Among them, the Plantronics Discovery 640 Bluetooth
headset leads the pack with a very lightweight, comfortable
to wear design and great sound quality you've come
to expect from a Plantronics product.
Some headsets are good looking; the Plantronics
Discovery 640 took it one step up. The Discovery
640 is just over 2 inches long, weights only 9 grams.
The design is simple yet sleek. The top of the headset
slopes down at an angle and is capped by a multi-function
button that can turn on and off the headset, put
the headset in pairing mode among other functions.
You will find an LED surrounding the multi-function
button. The front of the headset has a long volume
up and down rocker. The button is integrated into
the body of the headset and is easy to push when
the headset is in your ear. The Plantronics headset
has an in-ear style design and comes with three soft
gel ear tips in different sizes. The ear tip stays
in your ear very securely thanks to the ear tip design
and the light weight of the headset, and the soft
gel makes it comfortable when wearing the headset
for a long period of time. You will find the mic
at the bottom of the headset and a small charging
connector on the back of the headset.
The Plantronics has a Bluetooth radio that's
v1.2 and works with both Hands-free and Headset profiles.
We tested the headset with mobile phones in both camps
including the LG VX9800
(The V), the Nokia
6682, the Nokia 9300, the Treo
650 and the E-TEN M600 Pocket PC Phone. The Plantronics
paired with all easily. To pair the headset, press the
multi-function button when the headset is off. When LED
flashes blue and red alternately, the headset is in the
pair mode. Use your phone to discover and connect to the
headset using 0000 as the default pass code. The Discover
640 has the multipoint technology implementation; this
allows you to use the headset with two Bluetooth audio
The Plantronics supports voice dialing, call rejecting
and mute features if your mobile phone has these features.
You can initiate, answer and end a call using the multi-function
button. To mute while on a call, hold the volume up and
down buttons simultaneously until you hear a beep, and
do the same to unmute. If you carry the headset in the
carrying pocket, the carrying pocket will vibrate when
a call comes in, and when you take the headset out of the
carrying pocket, the headset will answer the call.
The voice quality on the Plantronics Discover
640 is very good. The incoming calls are clear and loud
when receiving calls from several cell phones and land
lines. You won't hear any hint that you are using a Bluetooth
headset on a cell phone. The outgoing voice quality varies
a bit. The LG VX9800, Nokia 9300 and Nokia 6682 saw the best outgoing
voice quality with great noise cancelling and clear sound
quality. The only device that experienced slight sound
quality degradation is the Treo 650 which is a trouble
maker for most of the headsets
we've tested except the
Treo 650 Wireless
by Palm. The outgoing voice volume through the Treo 650
is lower than on the other devices and there is occasional
crackling noise and it's a slight tinny on the outgoing
The Bluetooth range between the Discovery 640 and the
handsets did not reach claimed 33 feet. This is not uncommon
as we found most of the headsets could not offer the 10
meter range in wireless-polluted areas such as the Silicon
Valley. The Cardo Scala 500 had one of the best ranges
and barely made 30 feet in our test. The Plantronics can
get up to 20 feet with most of the phones in our test,
except again the Treo 650 which can't make over 10 feet
before you can hear crackling noise and break-ups in the
incoming voice. The Bluetooth v1.2 is better than the previous
version, but not that much better.
The Plantronics Discovery 640 comes with a rechargeable
Lithium Ion battery. The claimed talk time per charge is
5 hours, which comes close to our test result which was
about 4 hours. We found that it's convenient to use the
AAA battery charging adapter on a short trip as you don't
need to bring an A/C charger, only a triple-A battery which
is small and can be found anywhere. A single battery will
extend your talk time for at least 10 hours if not more.
The standby time is a little over 2 days which is on the
low end compared to other Bluetooth headsets. The headset
will give you various warnings via both the LED and sound
alerts when the battery is running low.
There is a lot to like about the Discovery
640. If you are one of the "in ear" headset
users, the Plantronics is not to be missed, as long as
you are not using a Treo 650.
Pro: Sleek design with an excellent packaging and presentation.
Super lightweight and very comfortable to wear for long
period of time. The incoming voice quality is excellent
and the outgoing voice quality is very good on most of
the devices. The headset is easy to use and operate. Supports
some most common phone features such as voice dialing,
mute and more.
Con: The outgoing voice quality and volume didn't perform
well on the Treo 650 which is a big market to miss. Bluetooth
range isn't super: average when working with most phones
and poor with the Treo 650. The battery life is on the
low end of the pack compared to other Bluetooth headsets.
Package contains the Discovery 640
headset, a headset carrying pocket works like a charging
station, a battery charger with a AAA battery chamber,
one AAA battery, charging adapters for handsets by Nokia,
Sony Ericson, Siemens and Motorola, three soft gel ear
tips in different sizes, an optional ear stabilizer,
and a chrome carrying case that is designed all the items
above in one small case. Finally, an A/C adapter.
-Profiles supported: Hands-free and Headset.
-Claimed talk time: Up to 5 hours on a charge, increasing
to 15 hours using the included AAA charger.
-Claimed standby time: Up to 70 hours.
-Range: 33 feet.
-Headset weight: 1/3 oz. (9 grams).
-Battery: Lithium Ion.
-AC adapter: 100-240v.