There’s a little leather-covered box that sits at the back of my desk. It’s the recipient of small items of technology that for some reason I can’t really use but also can’t stand to just throw away. It held until recently an impressive selection of Bluetooth cordless headsets.
Seriously, I bet I’ve purchased eight of those little beasts over the years, ever hopeful that each would be the one that was actually usable…possibly even a pleasure to use…but I was always disappointed. This cycle has gone on for long enough that I’d pretty much written off Bluetooth devices as a pointless waste of time.
Over the period that I’ve been writing this blog I’ve tried to cultivate a good relationship with manufacturers in the space. As it says clearly on my disclosure page, sometimes I review stuff. Sometimes it’s offered to me, other times I just buy it myself.
In the case of Plantronics I’ve done both. I’ve purchased some of their wares, and after reading what I had to say about those items, the company has offered me some newer gear to try. Amongst the things that they’ve offered there was a Bluetooth headset, but you’ve not seen me write anything about that little device. I suspect it would have gone into the little leather box.
However, a couple of months ago as I was making plans for Astricon it occurred to me that it would be seriously cool to actually give the HDVoice presentation using a wideband capable wireless headset & a small Asterisk server. That would be the ultimate sort of “eating my own dog food.” So I approached Plantronics and asked what they could offer. They responded by sending me a Savi Go convertible Bluetooth headset.
In truth, I was still skeptical. I would have been more comfortable with the Savi Office WO-100 which is DECT based. But that device is considerably more costly…and simply was not offered. Oh well, beggars can’t be choosers. I had already invested a considerable sum in support of the Astricon HDVoice presentation.
The Savi Go comes packaged with a charging stand and a USB Bluetooth dongle. There’s also a USB charging cable that’s more convenient for portable use than the charging stand. Finally, they provide two options for wearing the headset. There’s a simple hook that goes around the ear (as pictured above) and also a more traditional over-the-top headband (pictured below.)
I’ve used it with my laptop while traveling, my desktop while in my office, and finally with my trusty Blackberry Pearl. I’ve used it with various soft phones including Skype, Eyebeam, PhonerLite, PhoneFromHere‘s Java/IAX2 plug-in, the newly launched Blabbelon voice chat service for gamers and the Vivox voice chat application for Facebook. It works well with all of them.
It’s a class 1 Bluetooth device which means higher RF power output. It’s supposed to provide a 100 foot range when used with the mating USB dongle, which is about consistent with my experience thus far. The range is shorter when paired to a cell phone, but that’s not typically a problem in the real world.
The device is certified for use with Microsoft’s Office Communication Server (MS OCS) but that means nothing to me except that truly is wideband capable. From what I can tell MS only certifies devices that can provide a genuine wideband (aka HDVoice) call experience. MS OCS uses a combination of their own RTA codec for point-to-point calls and Polycom’s Siren14 for conferencing.