Pondering The Plantronics Savi Go…Further, Please.

Over the past few months I’ve unconsciously made a curious transition. You see, last summer all of my requirements for mobility around the office were met by the Gigaset S675IP that I have installed. When I had to work near a server at my workbench I just grabbed the S67H handset and went over there. Often I used the Gigaset handset with a wired headset for calls lasting a long time.

More recently I’ve been making use of the Plantronics Savi Go convertible blutetooth headset. In fact, it’s been a real treat to use (review here). The class 1 Bluetooth interface provides about 100 feet of range, more than enough to wander around my home office. Well, everything but going to the coffee machine, which is still more distant, in the house.

Using the Savi Go headset alone, without an accompanying handset, is more convenient than I would have thought. Specifically, I find that it’s much more convenient than the combination of the Gigaset handset and a wired headset.

The Savi Go is just the audio device in support of a soft phone, in my case Counterpath’s Eyebeam v1.5. Herein lies the problem. The hardware and the software are not well integrated. Each does what they set out to do very well, but certain conveniences get lost betwen the two.

For example, if I am on a call and have drifted away from my desk…hey, I have short attention span…then I don’t have any way to perform a mic mute. That’s the most basic thing that I might wish to do. I might also wish to hang up, or initiate another outgoing call to establish a small conference. You get the idea?

When I was using the Gigasets I had this functionality because I had the handset near me. Using the Savi Go headset I don’t have the same functionality.

In truth, it’s not strictly Plantronics fault. The headset is doing what it was designed to do, superbly in fact. Yet my use of the headset is increasingly defined by what functionality of the soft phone I can remote to my location.

If we were talking about giving a presentation using PowerPoint there are a variety of wireless gadgets designs to help people make such presentations with cordless ease and convenience. I think that we should have similar kinds of devices to make the core functions of soft phones similarly accessible.

That imples that there be some kind of standard API for accessing the functions of the software. It’s one thing to create a hardware accessory for Powerpoint, where Powerpoint is by far the leading software of its kind. In the soft phone/UC marketplace there may not be such a clear leader. That makes the likelihood of such a hardware accessory very slight at the moment.

The solution I seek might go another path. Perhaps I should be using the Savi Go in conjunction with the Gigaset SL78H handset, which has Bluetooth capability. However, the Bluetooth feature on the SL78H does not support wideband audio. That significantly reduces its value to me.

Quite possibly I should be using something like the Plantronics Calisto Pro Series DECT phone, which integrates a DECT phone with a Bluetooth headset. In fact, it looks like the headset that comes as part of the Calisto Pro is the very headset that comes in the Savi Go. However, it’s not clear to me that the Calisto Pro is HDVoice capable.

As good a solution as I have at the moment, there’s always something a little more that would make it more ideal. There’s more to be learned so that I might implement better solutions. While that’s sometimes frustrating, it’s often exciting.

This coming Friday the VoIP Users Conference will feature Plantronics as our guest. It’s our opportunity to discuss all things headset related; wired, wireless, Bluetooth, DECT 6.0, DSPs, noise reduction technologies…whatever. We’ll be talking headsets with the market leader…and I for one am hoping to learn something.

  • Joakim

    I was wondering if you have tried the Savi Go with Apple Hardware.
    Like using it with the built in bluetooth on a MacBook and/or the usb dongle?
    I use a .Audio 655 on a MacBook, and it works great. But something with wireless would be even better.

    • Afraid not, as I don’t have any Apple hardware around here. FWIW, I use the BUA-200 Bluetooth dongle on my desktop PC. I’ve used it on my laptop & netbook as well. No issues at all.

      I’ve used the laptop/netbook built-in Bluetooth but it’s Class 2 so range is limited to 30 feet. I like the range provided by the Class 1 dongle so I tend to prefer it in all cases.

      I pace around the room a lot when I’m on long calls, like when calling home as I travel on business. The 100+ foot range is very convenient.

  • Tim

    Great site BTW, I just started looking for a new VoIP phone and I’ve enjoyed your reviews a lot. However in this review, I’m quite confused by your “I don’t have any way to perform a mic mute” comment. I was so shocked to read that that I went and downloaded the User’s Guide for the Savi Go from Plantronics and sure enough on page 10 it says how to mute the mic using the call control button (hold it in the down position for 2 seconds). I’ve owned several plantronics headsets, wired and bluetooth, and they all had a mute capability (most had a dedicated button, but less is more these days it seems). Did I just misunderstand your comment, or is this the feature you were talking about?

    • You’ve caught me in it as I was not aware of that function. However, what I’m really and truly after is a convenient physical interface to several soft phone functions. The mute function is present in the headset but I think that there could be a more convenient way to do it.

      • Tim

        I agree 100% about the soft phone function control, that would be a nice feature, especially if done in an open/inter-operable way so that you can mix&match Hardware/Software to your own personal preferences.