Going wireless with Plantronics M155 and Android

Plantronics M155 headset

My old Motorola bluetooth headset that I’ve used for more than 6 years has been wearing out. The plastic rubber got ugly and started to break apart. Time to get a new headset.

After a while of browsing through the store shelves, I have to confess that the main reason I got the Plantronics M155 Bluetooth Headset
was because it had a “Android compatible” sticker in the box. It’s maddening that you go to a tech store to buy gadgets for your house and all you see everywhere is iPod/iPad compatible stuff with the ugly 30 pin connector and nothing to attract Android users. Hope this gets better with the new iPhone5 connector and manufacturers think more about broader device compatibility.

I like using mobile headsets, first of all, because of security concerns. Driving with one hand while holding the phone with the other, while it is still permitted/tolerated in some states in Mexico, it is not a good idea. Also, it’s way more comfortable to use the headset and answer quiclky with the push of a button. With this device I don’t even need to push a button, it has voice command recognition so it answers when I say “Answer” when a call arrives.

Lately, when taking a walk with my dog or while doing errands, I’ve been listening to music using the wired headphones that came with my Galaxy Nexus. But only used them on one ear, so I wouldn’t isolate all sound from my surroundings. I don’t want to get run by a car I didn’t hear coming.

Many times I had to switch from listening to music on my headphones, to listening to music on my car’s speakers (using a line-in cable) and connecting my bluetooth headset while in the car. Then, getting out of the car and switch back to wired headphones. The Plantronics M155 made the whole thing simpler because it has support for streaming music and when I plug the aux cable for the car speakers it switches automatically to the line out.

At first I thought that the grip wouldn’t hold and that I would need the over the ear loop that comes in the package. I took it to the gym using the default rubber thing that comes with it, and to my surprise, it didn’t fall off at all, even while at the treadmill. So although small and simple by the looks, it is well designed.

Volume levels and sound quality are good. Voices are very clear, and although I haven’t asked about it, I think ambient noise reduction is okay.

It has a manual on/off switch, which I like a lot, since my prevous Motorola model had one button that I had to hold for several seconds to power on or off. This was bad when travelling, I threw it in my backpack and it would turn on by itself if it got pressed against something. Then I took it out with the surprise that it had been on for a while and the battery was drained. The manual on/off switch is a must for such small gadgets. It’s also faster to power up since I don’t have to wait, which can be critical when you forget to turn your headset on and started driving away.

I expected more from the “Android compatible” labeling. I’m not talking about the label itself, but about the app. First, there is no QR code for me to get to the right app. I had to search for it by name on the Google Play Store. Then, after I installed it, all it does is just to report the status and battery of the device. No configuration or custom options for buttons or behaviors.

The battery on the device so far has proven to be great. I streamed music for 2.5 hours and still had 2 more hours of talk time. Plantronics claims that it has a 5 hour talk time, but I’m yet to find out. So far so good anyway. And the nice detail that it tells you how much talking time you have left when you power on the device is great. No more surprise hangups or having a dead device without any hints like with my previous headset.

Another good thing is the carging method. The Motorola model charged with a mini USB cable, and sometimes I couldn’t have that around with me at all times to charge it when needed. The Plantronics M155
charges with a micro USB, same as the phone, so that makes it easier to charge using the same cable, which I usually have one around, or quickly borrow one from another Android phone user.

So far I’m happy with the purchase. Being cables free while driving and now also while listening to music has been a nice experience. Specially when you walk your dog and sometimes the leash entangles with the headphones and she pulls the cable and gets them unplugged either from your phone, or worse, from your ears.

By Gabriel Saldaña

Gabriel Saldaña is a web developer, photographer and free software advocate. Connect with him on and Twitter