As a sales executive, a quality headset is one of the most important tools I have in my tool belt. For the past few years, I relied on the excellent Plantronics Savi W745 because I could connect it simultaneously to both my iMac and iPhone. A few weeks ago Plantronics sent me their Voyager 6200 UC headset, and I got a chance to test and compare it to my trusted Savi 745. Continue reading to learn more about how both office headsets compare and why I have had such a hard time picking a winner.
Office Headsets Comparison
Requirements on office headsets
A lot of folks work from home these days, including me. When you don’t work in an office, you won’t get the benefits of the infrastructure such environments provide. But that doesn’t mean you can’t be as productive at home as you are while working in a corporate building. With the proper equipment and self-discipline, I would even argue that you can be more productive at home than anywhere else.
My demands on “infrastructure” include a reliable internet connection and quality headphones with an excellent microphone, so people on the other end of the line can hear my voice clearly. There is nothing worse than lousy audio quality during a conference call or presentation in front of customers.
Plantronics Savi 745
- Outstanding audio quality
- Lightweight and comfortable to wear
- Uses DECT 6.0 protocol
- 350 ft (106 m) range
- 7h battery life
- Limited mobility
One of the many things I love about the Savi 745 is its incredible reliability and versatile connectivity options. For example, I can connect the unit directly to my iMac via USB while the headset uses the reliable DECT protocol to communicate with its base station.
When I first purchased the Savi 745, I had some issues related to the Bluetooth connection to my iPhone, but these issues have long been resolved. I don’t know for sure what caused those issues, iOS or the Plantronics firmware, but you can read more on that in my dedicated review of these otherwise excellent headphones.
The Savi 745 has a decent battery life of approximately 7 hours on a single charge. That should generally get you through a regular working day. But battery performance (of any battery) degrades over time, and I have been on some calls where I ran out of battery. The great thing about the Savi 745 is that you can hot-swap the battery during a call without interruption. Even better, the base station of the Savi 745 has a dedicated compartment that charges the spare battery while it’s not in use.
Besides Bluetooth and USB, you can connect the Savi 745 also to a regular desk phone via an old-school phone cable. I have not used a desk phone in years, but the capability is there in case you need it.
A key differentiator of the Savi 745 is that it uses the DECT protocol to communicate with its base station. DECT offers an incredible range of up to 350 feet, which is 10x as far as Bluetooth. That range came in handy on various occasions, for instance, when I had to fetch something from another room while I was on a call. To give you an example, I was recently troubleshooting an issue with my paper shredder with the manufacturer over the phone, and I had to get a screwdriver from the garage, which is out of Bluetooth range from my office. The Savi 745 could easily handle that distance without losing connectivity to its base station. That’s because, on average, DECT is better and more reliable over longer ranges than Bluetooth. The downside of DECT is its relatively weak 64-bit encryption, compared to the AES-128-bit encoding of Bluetooth 4/4.1.
The issue with the Savi 745 is that I have gotten into a habit of putting the headset back in its docking station to charge when I’m done with a call, even if my iPhone is connected to it via Bluetooth. So every time I walk out of the office and try to answer a call or invoke Siri on my iPhone, the iPhone’s microphone won’t pick my voice unless I manually disconnect the headset first. The solution to this problem would be to keep the headset on my ear all day or to remember disconnecting BT before walking out of the office. Neither solution is very appealing to me.
Audio & Microphone Quality
The audio and microphone quality of the Savi 745 is excellent, in part because of support for Wideband audio. Additionally, the physical design of these headphones puts the noise-canceling microphone in close proximity to my mouth.
Overall, I have come to the conclusion that nothing beats a good microphone that is physically positioned close to the origin of the voice it should pick up.
Savi 745 vs. Voyager 6200 UC
The Savi 745 is an outstanding wireless headset that I would recommend to anyone in a heartbeat. It’s pricey but worth its money. My previous employer bought it for me a few years ago and had enjoyed using it since then. The main reason why I’m considering replacing it with the Voyager 6200 UC is that I can take it with me anywhere I go without having something plugged into my ears all day. Instead, I can wear the neckband and pop in one or both earbuds on-demand.
Plantronics Voyager 6200 UC
- Up to 9 hours of talk time
- Active noise canceling (ANC)
- Four noise-canceling microphones
- Full mobility – no base station
- Smart voice alerts
- Support for digital voice assistants (i.e., Siri)
- 98 ft (30 m) range
- Bluetooth is more prone to interference than DECT
The Voyager 6200 UC is a hybrid between wireless headphones and an excellent headset for the office. That unique combination is what attracted me to this headset in the first place. Thanks to its neckband design, I can comfortably wear it all day and only pop in the earbuds for calls.
The Voyager 6200 UC has worked incredibly well for me, but I had one occasion where the Bluetooth connection to my iMac had dropped. To resolve the issue, I merely turned the headphones off and then back on. Since I’m using a beta version of macOS, I don’t know if the operating system or the headset caused the problem. The Bluetooth connections to my iPhone X and iPhone Xs have been flawless, despite that I’m also running beta versions of iOS.
Plantronics’ wireless headset features an impressive battery life of up to 16 hours, including up to 9 hours of talk time. That means I can use the Voyager 6200 UC for up to two hours longer than the Savi 745 on a single charge. Of course, the 6200 UC doesn’t have a hot-swappable battery, and, instead, I have to re-charge it once the battery runs out. The good news is that you can fully recharge the battery in about 1.5 hours. Or, you can put the headset back on its charging disk in-between uses to keep it charged throughout the day.
On the first business trip that I took the Voyager, I packed the charging disk because I didn’t realize that the headset had a separate micro-USB port for charging. On my second trip, I left the charging disk at home and, instead, I used the excellent Nomad Universal Cable* that I always carry in my backpack to recharge them.
The primary disadvantage of the Voyager 6200 UC over the Savi headset is that it doesn’t support the DECT protocol. Instead, Plantronics wholly relies on Bluetooth 4.1 to connect the 6200 UC to a computer or mobile phone.
To get the most out of the Voyager 6200 UC as a computer headset, it requires a USB dongle, which some users might find annoying. Of course, you can pair the headset to your computer without a dongle, assuming your BT chipset supports the following Bluetooth profiles:
- Audio Transmissions,
- Hands-Free (HFP) and
- Headset (HSP)
But to use the Plantronics Hub application to configure and manage the headset, you need the dongle. I have connected the Voyager to my iMac using the BT600 dongle. But for my MacBook Pro and iPhone, I use a direct BT connection.
Audio & Microphone Quality
I haven’t done any scientific measurements and comparisons between the Voyager 6200 UC and the Savi 745 regarding audio quality. But my objective assessment is that the Savi 745 outperforms the Voyager. I assume that is because of two reasons:
- The microphone is physically closer to my mouth
- The DECT protocol offers better reliability and transmission quality than Bluetooth
That doesn’t mean that the Voyager has poor audio! On average, the 6200 UC offers good audio quality, both from a speaker and microphone perspective.
In noisy environments, and primarily if the noise originates in front of you, the Voyager 6200 UC shows signs of trouble suppressing that background noise. I suspect that is because the four microphones of the headset are front-facing and have issues differentiating between your voice and background noise. The other day I called my wife from the airport, and she reported loud background noise. For comparison, I connected my Bose QuietControl 30 headset, which also features a neckband design. According to my wife, the Bose performed even worse. My conclusion is that if you work in noisy environments, you need a microphone that’s close to your mouth.
On the other hand, what makes the Voyager 6200 UC headphones an ideal travel companion is the active noise cancelation (ANC) feature. I used to travel with dedicated noise-canceling headphones and even recently purchased a pair of Bose QuietControl 30 because I grew fond of the neckband design. On a recent trip to Las Vegas, I brought both the Bose and the Plantronics to see which one would offer the better noise-cancelation. Unsurprisingly, the Bose performed slightly better, but they lack most other features of the Voyager 6200 UC.
Voyager 6200 UC vs. Savi 745
Overall, the Plantronics Voyager 6200 UC offers a well-rounded package that makes them an attractive choice for many users, including me. The headphones are packed with useful features, such as a dedicated mute button, voice alerts that warn you if you speak while on mute, active noise cancelation, support for digital voice assistance, and more.
I realize that the Voyager 6200 UC might not be the best-in-class headset in every category, but with all features combined, they are one of my favorite office headphones.
Plantronics Savi 745 vs. Voyager 6200 UC
After having used the Plantronics Voyager 6200 UC for a few weeks, I’m still torn. I don’t work in a noisy environment, but occasionally our kids cry or scream outside my office. On every occasion, the Savi 745 suppressed that background noise like a champ. In some cases, I couldn’t believe that the person I talked to didn’t hear the mayhem that was going on right in front of my office door. I’m almost sure that the Voyager 6200 UC would pick up at least some of that noise.
On the other hand, the Voyager is ridiculously comfortable, and I love how I can take them anywhere I go. Add mute, and voice alerts and I’m sure you understand why I like these headphones so much.
So where does that leave me? For now, I’ll keep using the Voyager 6200 UC, but I won’t sell my Savi 745 yet. I’ll make my final decision in a couple of weeks and will update this article then.
What office headset do you use? Let me know by leaving a comment below!