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Plantronics Marquee 2 Bluetooth headset review

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Some years ago I wrote about the first version of this Bluetooth headset and it was great. Since then, Plantronics has launched a second version, the Marquee 2, model name is M165. It is not new, it’s been a few years already in the market, but the reason why I’m writing about it now is because it simply is the best Bluetooth headset out there.

The battery is great: it lasts 7 hours of talk time and about 14 (or more) of idle time. One time I dropped it while turned on at my wife’s car and found it a day and a half later with still about 2 hours of battery life!

On to the practicality of the device. It has voice commands to answer calls, so if you’re driving or washing the dishes, you don’t even have to touch a button. Now, there are other devices that have this too, but most of them are above the $50 USD price. The Plantronics Marquee 2 is only $35 USD.

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Another good feature is the physical switch to turn it on/off, a button for volume and a button for commands. This is very important for reliability. I have a Moto Hint, it’s a beautiful piece of hardware, but it is extremely unreliable. With the physical buttons you are sure that the device is on/off and that it does exactly what you want when you need it. No accidental presses, no battery drain surprises because you thought you turned it off and it wasn’t. Also every time you turn it on, a voice tells you how much battery time is left. No need for an app with an indicator or a special button press to get that info.

The hardware design is roughly the same as the previous M155 version. It now comes in white and black and it has a matte finish. It is very light and comfortable. It comes with several ear holder sizes to adjust it and also a loop if you feel more secure with that. It’s not long like the famous top quality Plantronics Voyager, which I wouldn’t feel comfortable using in the street. This one is very discreet and small, and you can put it safely in your jeans right side pocket (yeah, that small one that almost no one uses).

About the sound quality, for $35 USD it is surprisingly good. A decent high volume, loud enough to hear music or conversations in a busy street. Noise cancelling is not the best in the market but you get a clear sound across. I’ve done tests with the Jawbone Icon HD which is almost twice as expensive and every time my test subjects on the other side of the line tell me that when I’m on the M165 it sounds like I’m using the handset microphone and with the Jawbone Icon HD I sound very far away. Oh and you can also use it to listen to music, not only calls.

In general, I can’t stop recommending this device for price, sound quality and reliability. If you’re looking for a Bluetooth headset, you won’t be disappointed with this one.

If you would like to buy the Plantronics M165 you can get it for a good price at this link. Buying it from that link will also support this blog.

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Tell me your experience with this or with any other headset you recommend in the comments section. Also if you like this bluetooth headset review.

Say hi to me on Twitter: @gabrielsaldana or on Instagram: @gabrielsaldana.

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personal

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.