Lightning Strikes Beats

BeatsHeadphonesWhiteI’ve not been a fan of Beats by Dr. Dre. I’ve purchased a couple of their lesser headsets and found them wanting. So it was that the purchase of the company by Apple didn’t really rock my world view, although the sum involved brought with it a bright spotlight. Lacking for other information there was a lot of speculation as to the underlying logic. It was certainly a curiosity.

Apple’s recent announcement that they will be abandoning the use of the ubiquitous 3.5mm TRS plug for the lightning connector is however very interesting. While it doesn’t change anything about the performance of the products, this announcement casts a new light on the value of the Beats deal. It makes a certain amount of sense if Apple wants to take the whole realm of headsets beyond analog connections, even beyond USB connections.

Digital connections, whether USB or other, make a lot of sense. Such connections remove the variability of the hosts on-board audio interface. In the case of a computer, being at arms length from the internals of the device reduces the likelihood of noise induced into the analog stages of the electronics.

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#VUC477: Alan Smith Presents The Logitech Mobile Speakerphone P710e

Logitech P710e speakerphone 300pxFriday, February 21st the VUC will be host to Alan Smith, Senior Global Product Manager, Audio Products; Logitech for Business at Logitech. Alan will be introducing use to one of their newest audio tools, the Logitech Mobile Speakerphone P710e.

The P710e is a USB connected desktop speakerphone like many others before it. In addition to USB connectivity it sports a Bluetooth radio, allowing it to be paired to up to 8 different devices. It can act as a stand for a cell phone or tablet, so you can enjoy high-quality hands-free audio for video calls without your arm going numb or giving your partner shaky-cam inspired motion sickness.

I have had one of these devices for the past couple of months and found it very useful. So much so that I’m working on a full-length review, although that’s still likely a week or two down the road.

– Michael “End Point” Graves

P.S. – If you’re the sort who likes to be prepared you can check out my past experiences with portable speakerphones here:

Deal Alerts: BT Headset Revisited & Adjustable Aluminum Laptop Stand

Tis the season, etc, etc. This has me watching the daily bargain sites a little more than usual. Today’s email flood brings two items worth a mention.

Back on December 5 I told you about the Plantronics Voyager Legend Bluetooth headset being offered for just $39. That was a short-term deal that expired after just 24 hours. Today I find that the same company is repeating the offer, but this time it’s at a section of their website that sustains the offer until the inventory is gone. If you were indecisive and missed the earlier offer you can still get one. It’s unlikely to arrive before the holidays, so it’s more of a self-gift than a stocking stuffer.

The Daily Deals site has an offer of an Adjustable Aluminum Laptop Stand for $30. Normally this sort of thing would not catch my eye. In this case the very fact that the seller has provided a number of supporting images is key to attracting my interest.

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Deal Alert: Plantronics Voyager Legend BT Headset For $39

Tis the season to be frugal. Does you holiday gift list include someone who could use a premium Bluetooth headset? Here’s a good candidate; Daily Steals is today offering the Plantronics Voyager Legend for just $39.

This the very headset that I have been using for the past year. It’s the follow-on to the Voyager Pro HD that I reviewed in-depth. It’s improved in almost every way.

Amazon has the device listed at around $70, while MRSP is $99. That make the $39 offer very attractive indeed. That is, if you need such a trinket. It’s too good an offer not to share.

Update 12/8/2013: Not a day or two after I saw this offer I saw another online discount store offering the same device for $109, marked down from a reported $129 list price. That’s just silly since Amazon has the device (Plantronics Voyager Legend Bluetooth Headset – Retail Packaging – Black) for just $69.

Prescribing The Ideal Bluetooth Headset For A Small Office

Recently someone found this site while hunting around for insight about the ideal headset for their small office. Not finding exactly the answer they were looking for they emailed me the following note.

I came across your blog and I love it. I run a digital agency from my home office in Manhattan, and I’m looking for a high quality over-the-head boom mic bluetooth headset to use on my late-model Android phone for client calls. Despite all my research, I can’t seem to find a really good high quality boom mic bluetooth headset. I purely want to use this in my home office, as do several of my freelancers who also work from home. Any suggestions? Cost isn’t the issue, quality is what I care about most.

Thank you,

Zachary

Well, Zachary, thanks for the kind words. I can see that we share a common belief that it’s worth the effort to communicate well. I share your frustration with respect to the kind of tool that you’ve been seeking. The solution isn’t obvious, but I can offer you some guidance nonetheless.

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Deal Alert: Plantronics Savor M1100 BT Headset

savor_m1100_cThis morning’s email reveals that Daily Steals is offering the Plantronics Savor M1100 BT headset for a rather modest $20. While not a device that I’ve tried myself the M1100 was well reviewed by TMC back in 2012 when it first shipped.

The review includes a good deal of technical detail about its capabilities. The fact that it supports wideband audio and A2DP are key features in my realm.

Plantronics own page for the product indicates that it’s been discontinued. After 18 months that completely to be expected. If you need a BT headset, it’s hard to see how you could go wrong with this M1100 for a paltry $20.