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Plantronics M3500 Headset

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Review posted July, 2004 by Tong Zhang, Senior Editor

Plantronics, based in California, has a long history of making headsets. They introduced the first lightweight communications headset back in 1962. Their latest Bluetooth wireless headset combines some of their existing high quality voice technologies with Bluetooth, extending the company tradition in making quality headsets for this new mobile world.

The third generation M3500 Bluetooth headset, leverages Plantronics’ Audio IQ technology and an integrated Digital Signal Processor (DSP) to enhance the audio clarity in noisy environments. Audio IQ is Plantronics’ proprietary technology that analyzes the incoming call and raises the softer portions of the signal without causing distortion. The M3500 also incorporates active noise and echo cancellation technology, which help reduce noise when transmitting your voice. What do all these technologies mean to you? Better voice quality! In our tests, the M3500 has the best voice quality on both incoming and outgoing voices to and from land lines among all the headsets we’ve tested. On mobile lines, the voice quality is less impressive but still on top of the list among all the headsets we’ve reviewed. The noise canceling technology indeed works well.

The Plantronics M3500 is “middle of the road” in size compared to other headsets, bigger than the Bluespoon Chameleon and smaller than Logitech Bluetooth Headset. The M3500 weighs in at .95 oz (27 grams), which is light enough for you to wear it for long period of time without feeling the weight. The M3500 comes with two size ear-loops, so you should try both and see which one is more comfortable for your ear. The ear-loops can fit either right or left ear and are easy to take off and snap on. The M3500 sports a clean design with the Talk button on the front face of the headset. The button is large enough for you to push quickly when making or receiving a call. There is a LED embedded in the Talk button to show headset’s power status and Bluetooth status. There is a power On/Off button on the right side of the headset, which also acts as Mute button when in a call. Below the power button is the Volume Up and Down rocker. There is a power jack on the left of the headset for you to charge the unit. The M3500 supports some common headset features such as switching voice between the handset and the headset, mute, call reject and last number redial functions.

The Plantronics M3500 supports both Headset and Hands-free profiles. Pairing the M3500 with Bluetooth enabled cell phones and PDAs is very easy. The headset behaved quite well when we paired it with Sony Ericsson P800, Nokia 3650 as well as the Dell Axim X30. To pair the headset, push down the Talk button along with the Volume Up button until you see the LED flashing red and green alternately. After you hear the confirmation tone, you are ready to use the headset to make and receive calls on the cell phones. On PDAs that support audio profiles such as iPAQ 5555, Dell Axim X30 and ASUS A716, you can use the M3500 to listen to system sound, MP3, video and gaming sound once the headset is bonded with your PDA. In our test, only the ASUS A716 didn’t behave well with the M3500. The range of the Bluetooth came close to 30 feet in our test except with the XDA II, which needed to be within 15 to 20 feet of the headset (the XDA II has shorter Bluetooth headset range compared to some other phones).

The M3500 comes with a 170mAh, 2.4v battery that’s rechargeable and user replaceable. The user manual suggests that you replace the battery once a year. When fully drained, the battery takes a few hours to charge. The battery life seems to be very close to Plantronics’ claimed talk and standby time in our tests. It’s also very nice to have both wall charger and in-vehicle lighter adapter in the package.

Plantronics M3500

Plantronics M3500


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A light weight Bluetooth wireless headset with very high audio quality. Pro: Comfortable to wear, solid Bluetooth implementation. All the audio technologies built into this headset improve the quality of the voice for both LAN line and mobile line, especially in noisy environment. Decent battery life and comes with both wall charger and auto-charger. Con: Battery life is good, but can’t compete with Logitech’s long battery life. MSRP is high.

The package includes the M3500 Bluetooth Headset, two ear-loops in different sizes, an AC charger, an in-vehicle charger, a leather pouch with belt clip and strap holder for the headset, and a printed User Guide.

Price: 169.95

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