Experimenting With The Plantronics MDA200 & Various Cordless Headsets

A few people have commented offline about my recent review of the Sennheiser DW Pro2 DECT headset. The major thrust of opinion seems to be that the DW Pro2 is simply unreasonably expensive. As I said in the review, that’s your call to make dear reader. However, such commentary has driven me to consider an alternative.

For the past week I’ve had a Plantronics MDA200 in-house. I’ve had some time over the holiday break to try it with the various headsets that I have on-hand. It happens that I currently have a Plantronics Voyager PRO UC v1, Voyager Pro UC v2, Savi Go and Savi W430 hereabouts. This assortment seems a reasonable basis for experimenting with the MDA200.

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Searching For The Perfect Cordless Headset

Let there be no doubt, I’m manic. I find myself on something of a quest to find the perfect cordless headset. Over the past year or two I’ve tried a number of different makes & models. Some have been very good indeed, but none have been ideal.

As I transition my desktop phone from a Polycom Soundpoint IP650 to a VVX-1500 I find myself wanting something more. To be more specific, I would like support for very high-quality wideband audio, even beyond G.722. The VVX-1500 supports Siren14 and G.719 so let’s actually hear the difference, right?

To be fair, nothing that I’ve tried thus far was designed to support use with a hard phone. In using the headset with the VVX-1500 I need support for an “electronic hook switch” (a.k.a. EHS) connection. That allows the phone to go off-hook from the headset so that I could answer or hand up a call while distant from my desk.

Oh, and by the way, by “distant” I mean to achieve some serious range, ok? I suspect that means DECT over Bluetooth, but class 1 Bluetooth might work, too. Remember, the coffee machine is some 70 feet away…and my personal productivity is definitely influenced by my coffee intake.

So, a while ago I began asking around, speaking to people that I know use of this type of hardware. I asked for specific recommendations.

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Deal Alert: Refurbished Polycom Hardware at E4 Technologies

Have you ever felt like you want to experiment with HDVoice but just can’t justify the cost? Would you like to try a truly superior SIP desk phone…but are facing a serious budget crunch? We all face such issues from time to time. I am reminded of this as I find that VUC sponsor E4 Technologies has come into possession of a group of refurbished Polycom phones, and is selling them off at some pretty attractive prices.

Their most recent shipment of refurbished Polycom goods includes some Soundpoint IP650s, IP550s and even Soundstation IP7000 conference phones. All these models (pictured above) are G.722 / HDVoice capable. For the truly budget conscious they also have some entry-level Soundpoint IP331 models that are not HDVoice capable.

With the coming of the holidays perhaps this is just the thing you need to affordably upgrade the VoIP Geek in your life?

Notice: On the basis of my personal experience with E4 I recommend them as a vendor, and I do use Polycom gear. I have no direct connection to either E4 Technologies or Polycom. I do appreciate the fact that E4 sponsors the VoIP Users Conference.

Deal Alert: San Disk Cruzer Micro 4GB $8.95 @ BUY.COM

I can hear you now. “What! Why would Graves be recommending a plain vanilla USB memory stick? Not especially cheap nor especially large? He must be mad!” That may well be true, but it remains comfortably beside the point.

As you may know we do like our Polycom SoundPoint desktop phones around here. In fact, the IP650 has perched upon my desktop longer than another other single device. One of it’s great conveniences is the software option called the Polycom Productivity Suite, which I purchased for all my IP650s.

This software includes the ability to record calls locally on the phone with just one or two button presses. This has been tremendously useful for podcasting, technical and normal business applications.

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Polycom Display Sizes Compared

My recent review of the Polycom SoundPoint IP335 raised an interesting question in some readers minds. Several readers wanted to know about the comparative sizes of the LCD displays across the various SoundPoint models. Since I have the IP335, an IP450 and my trusty IP650 in-house at the moment it was just a matter of time before I could take some photos to illustrate the differences.

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A Holiday Family Gathering: The SoundPoints

The holidays are a time for family gatherings. There are many facets to this reality. In the week leading up to the holidays I was provisioning a couple of new phones for coworkers, and a sample of the new Polycom SoundPoint IP335 arrived. So it was that there was a little gathering of the Polycom SoundPoint family on my bench; my own favorite the IP650, the IP450 that we generally use within Pixel Power, and the new low-end IP335 model. Big brother, middle sibling and Junior…all HDVoice capable.

As I get some user time on the IP335 I’ll be making some notes and sharing my thoughts. The question I need to answer myself is whether the IP3xx series represents the best value in the range? Or do we keep using the more costly IPx50 models as we add more extensions?