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The best Bluetooth headsets in the test


hands-free calls – these Bluetooth headsets make it possible

18 . 03. 2020), 15: 15 | by

Content from our partner Wirecutter, A New York Times Company

Bluetooth headsets in the test: Voyager was the winner 5200 from Plantronics. Wirecutter / Michael Hession

For this wirecutter test, we checked the best Bluetooth headsets and more than 80 hours spent researching. Over the past few years we have taken over 18 Models under the microscope, more than Then we invested hours 2018 again for the latest update, whereby we tested three new models. In the end, Voyager 3200 from Plantronics, which we believe best mono bluetooth headset for making calls, whether you are in a quiet office or a noisy café. The Voyager 5200 from Plantronics offers the most comfortable and secure seat and the best controls for call management among all the headsets we tested. It also has better microphone quality than traditional headphones or most Bluetooth headphones. His battery life, which can last for most of a working day, rounds off his profile. The test was carried out by Wirecutter.com carried out in America. Products that are available in Germany but not in America may therefore be missing. You are reading the German translation.

Update 18. 3. 2020: The product recommendations continue to apply , we have updated the prices.

Our favorite for a Bluetooth headset: Plantronics Voyager 5200

  • Source: Amazon / Plantronics

    Plantronics Voyager 5200 Bluetooth headset

    Das Voyager 5200 is comfortable enough to wear it all day, has a decent battery life and offers very good sound.

In our tests, the Voyager 5200 from Plantronics in numerous environments the consistently clearest incoming and outgoing audio. Its ear hook design sometimes requires the use of two hands to put it on. Nevertheless, it is easily adjustable and comfortable enough to be worn all day. His earphone also offers a secure seal for optimal sound quality and his battery offers enough power for five hours and 40 minutes of talk time. In contrast to every other model that we have tested, it contains the complete package. The Voyager 5200 also has all of the software features that Plantronics headsets have acquired over the years made some of our favorites, such as the ability to answer and reject voice calls.

Our second place recommendation for a headset: Plantronics Voyager 3200

  • Source: Amazon / Plantronics

    Plantronics Voyager 3200

    This model comes with a good sound quality in quiet Environments.

We would advise you only to the Plantronics Voyager 3200 if Voyager 5200 shouldn't be available, or you can't get used to the fact that putting on the 5200 – Model requires both hands. The Voyager 3200 has a more conventional in-ear design and fits not as sure as our top recommendation. Its sound – both incoming and outgoing – is not consistently good compared to that of our favorite, but was able to prove itself in clearer environments with clear audio. And although this device has a slightly longer battery life, the additional 20 minutes is only a minor advantage.

Our budget recommendation for a Bluetooth headset: Jabra Talk 2

  • Source: Amazon / Jabra

    Jabra Talk 2 Bluetooth headset

    This Jabra model has an acceptable comfort and micro quality for occasional use

The Jabra Talk 2 is not nearly as comfortable as our previous recommendations and its incoming audio quality is not as brilliant either. Nevertheless, in both points it is acceptable to look for a cheap solution. Meanwhile, its microphone quality for calls is a good deal better than that of stereo Bluetooth headphones worth around 70 Euro. In our battery test, it offered almost seven hours of talk time and thus lasted more than an hour longer than our favorite.

Why you can trust this test

Here at Wirecutter we have been testing and writing since 2013 via Bluetooth headsets. Since 2008 rated and wrote Marianne Schultz on consumer technology products, including smartphones and a variety of accessories. Daniel Vargehese, who 2018 for the update responsible for this guide, has already used a lot of different microphone types and headphone configurations in amateur and professional circles in the past – after all, he is a musician, podcast producer and college radio DJ at the same time.

Who needs a bluetooth headset?

If you spend the majority of your time on the phone and you want a hands-free function with high microphone quality, long-term comfort and call management functions that match those of classic earphones or Bluetooth Headphones are far superior, you have come to the right place with mono Bluetooth headsets.

Interesting: you can still listen with one ear to what is happening in your environment (while commuting). These headsets are equipped with noise-canceling microphones, so that you can hear your conversation partner better. There are also additional buttons for more convenient call acceptance, which are not available with conventional earphones or headphones. Their design is focused on comfort that lasts all day. Some models are equipped with voice dialing / voice response systems.

On the other hand, do you belong to the type of person who only uses the phone a little? Then the headphones that came with the mobile phone will probably be enough for you. Music lovers who only make occasional calls are better off with a good pair of stereo Bluetooth headphones with a microphone – buying advice and recommendations for full-fledged Bluetooth headphones and Bluetooth – We also have earphones for you. (We'll talk about Bluetooth headphones below).

If you already have a working Bluetooth headset, you probably don't need a new device – especially if you have more than 70 Spent euros on it. In recent years, the technology behind Bluetooth headsets has hardly changed: the last generation of headsets, which we 2018 have tested, offers only minor improvements compared to the previous models. So you can use the same headset for a few years without having to do without new, exciting features or significantly better performance.

A cheap headset that doesn't work as well as you like is, or you are not convinced with its features, you can confidently replace with one of our recommendations. Each model presented guarantees you not only better sound quality but also improved noise suppression and voice or gesture control. If other people are complaining that you sound like a robot while on a call, or you can't activate Siri or the Google Assistant using your headset, it may be time for a technically advanced device.



So we chose

Here are three of the headsets that we 2018 have tested for the update of this guide (from left to right): Plantronics Voyager 3200, Jabra Talk 2 and Plantronics Voyager 5200. Wirecutter / Michael Hession

After we looked through purchase advice sites such as PCMAG and reviews .com as well as user reviews on Amazon, we have created a list of the criteria that we believe excellent Bluetooth headsets should meet.

Comfort and fit: You will probably not want to use Bluetooth headsets that tweak or cause any other inconvenience in the long run – no matter how good they sound. If you use this device for long phone calls or carry it for long distances in the car or office, the comfort should be so great that you forget that you are wearing a Bluetooth headset at all. And because everyone has different ears (like this video the “ Ear wall “within the industrial design laboratory of Plantronics so well illustrated), we have Keep an eye out for headsets that are available in different sizes and accessories for a comfortable fit.

Microphone quality: A great Bluetooth headset should transmit audio, that sounds great and is understandable regardless of the environment in which you answer the call. To ensure this and to reduce the ambient noise, the microphone should have some noise suppression. Without this feature, your voice may sound muffled or robotic, or worse – your conversation partner on the phone couldn't understand you.

Speaker quality: In addition to the microphone, the speaker quality also sets the tone for Bluetooth headsets. Good speakers ensure that you can immediately understand what someone is saying to you during a call. We certainly don't expect a mono Bluetooth headset to compete with the audio quality of a great pair of stereo headphones. But since calls made over Wi-Fi or cellular signals tend to have more noise and audio problems than calls over physical lines, it is imperative that your headset avoids making the incoming sound even worse.

Battery life: Given the small size of most headsets, you shouldn't expect exceptionally long battery life. The headset should still be able to survive most of a normal working day. We think five hours of actual talk time is the bare minimum of a good headset – unless you're on the phone continuously, five hours should be enough for an eight-hour shift. (Some headsets are available with a battery-powered storage box that charges the headset as soon as you put it in. Alternatively, such boxes are offered separately. The battery life can be extended a good deal. However, you cannot answer calls while the headset is charging will – so it should be able to work for a while without charging.

Control: As a bare minimum you should be able to do this using buttons on the headset answer and reject calls yourself or adjust the volume. If you can control this with the sound of your voice, that would be a nice plus point, but not an absolute necessity.

Easy charging: We test and consider only the models that are charged via a micro USB cable and not via a proprietary cable and charger. So you can take any standard cables and chargers. You should not be prevented from using your headset if you forget or lose the supplied cable.

Appearance: Let's face it – see Bluetooth headsets kind of silly. That is why we are looking for models that are as unobtrusive as possible.

Few models could combine all criteria. For our update in the year 2018 we ultimately have only three new headsets tested: the Plantronics Voyager 3200 (a replacement model for our stamped-in earlier favorite), the Jabra Talk 2 (a well rated, newer model), and that Marnana Bluetooth headset (popular on Amazon, but suspiciously cheap). We tested these new models and compared them with our previous recommendations: the Plantronics 5200 (our former second place) and that Plantronics Explorer 500 (the previous budget recommendation).

So we tested

For our tests in the year 2018 we have updated and slightly compressed versions of those qualitative and quantitative tests that we have used in the past. In the past few years, in order to test comfort and fit, we have made four headsets of our test group and their respective accessory sets available to four people and asked each test participant to evaluate the comfort of each device. Although this procedure cannot necessarily be called a comprehensive study, it gave us at least an idea of ​​how the comfort of each model would behave for a number of people. In this update, we used the results and feedback from this survey to adjust our criteria for the selection and testing of three new models.

So that we can To test battery life, we let each Bluetooth headset play a mix of music and stand-up comedy programs using an iPhone connection and recorded how many hours the headset's battery had enough juice to do this. Since stereo audio and mono phone calls use different Bluetooth protocols, this test does not correlate perfectly with the talk time, but since the difference for each headset should be proportional, we can use this test approach to compare the battery performance directly – without having to make calls for hours and chew one ear off our conversation partners.

Testing the battery life during his morning commute through several different noise environments such as in a quiet apartment, in an office, near a squeaky train and inside a lively café Daniel Varghese a picture of how clearly he could understand the audio transmitted from his cell phone and whether there were drastic acoustic concerns.

In order to finally test the microphone of each headset, he connected each device to his laptop and made an audio recording of how he wrote a poem by Shel Silverstein in three different noise environments recited. The locations of this test were a quiet home, a café, and the passenger seat of a friend's car (with the windows open, of course). A little later he listened to these recordings and judged whether he could understand all the words and whether the audio sounded distorted or muffled.

Detailed test report: Plantronics Voyager 5200

Our leader: The Plantronics 5200 Bluetooth headset has a comfortable fit and a clear sound. Wirecutter / Michael Hession

The Voyager 5200 from Plantronics is the best available handsfree Bluetooth headset. It is mainly thanks to its earhook design, which ensures a snug fit, and the included selection of earplugs, which ensure a secure seal, that this headset has a consistently cleaner input and output sound than any other model we have tested. And even though the ear hook construction caused some problems for our test participants when putting it on, the headset holds you comfortably in place. In addition, this Plantronics device was able to achieve its position as an outstanding leader with the following features: a talk time of more than five hours, simple coupling with any iOS or Android cell phone, easy-to-use control surfaces and an accompanying smartphone app for adjusting the settings .

All parts of Voyager 5200 – the boom, the earphones and the ear hook – are adjustable so that you can change the orientation of each piece. This allows the best fit to be set in and around your ear and the correct distance from your mouth. This complex adjustability gives Voyager 5200 a much more comfortable and secure fit than the rest of us tested models. While wearing the headset, we haven't seen any of the tweaking or other inconvenience that is common with these gadgets. It is a headset that you can comfortably wear all day long.

The ear hook design of the Plantronics Voyager 5200 impresses with its comfortable fit. Wirecutter / Michael Hession

None of the headsets we tested offer a sound – in-depth or equally starting – which can keep up with the sound of a pair of headphones in studio quality. In our test environments, Voyager 5200 but consistently best in the context of the speaker and micron font tests cut off – be it the quiet office space, a popular café or the passenger seat of a car. Thanks to the high quality speaker of the Voyager 5200 and the in-ear seal that you are using the adjustable fit of the device and multiple earplugs, the incoming sound was clear and understandable even in noisy environments. For the people we spoke to, the outgoing audio was just as clear. This is probably due to the four-microphone system of the headset and its noise-canceling functions, which help to isolate your voice.

Das Voyager 5200 has a good, but by no means exceptional battery life. In our tests it was five hours and 42 minutes of talk time. If that's not enough for you, Plantronics offers an optional Voyager 5200 – charging case, the additional 14 hours of talk time promises and at the same time protects the headset in a sturdy transport container. The total price of Voyager 5200 then clearly exceeds the 100 Euro mark. (Car commuters can also get the official Plantronics car charger, although each Micro USB charger should work fine. ) It takes less than two hours to get the Voyager 5200 fully charge.

The headset is user-friendly. It has physical buttons for switching on / off, volume, answering calls and voice control – each one of them is easy to find and operate. You can also answer a call simply by saying “Answer” if the headset is already switched on or if you are not wearing it by putting the handset in your ear. The Voyager 5200 has sensors that can detect when you are wearing it, in both situations it answers the call and sends the tone the headset.

Das Voyager 5200 supports Bluetooth 4.0 plus NFC coupling with compatible smartphones. In our tests, the headset could be connected to an Apple iPhone SE quickly and easily. The smartphone app from Plantronics also made it easier for us ls to adjust settings and update the firmware.

Small flaws, but no deal breakers

At first glance it is not immediately apparent how the Voyager 5200 should be attached. In fact, when we tried to install a new ear hook, we destroyed the first one we tested for this update. We then handled the second model a little more carefully – the guarantee covered the destruction of the first model. With more instinct, we appreciated the flexibility that the design of the Voyager 5200 offers : In addition to choosing from several sizes of plugs, you can adjust the orientation of the plugs for a better fit.

In an earlier test round, some testers with long hair or glasses informed us that the bulky shape of the Voyager 5200 made it difficult to put on. During our tests a year 2018 Daniel Varghese noted assumed that his glasses were not a disruptive factor. However, people with long hair may need to use both hands to attach the headset. After putting on the headset and adjusting the fit, all of our testers have found in recent years that it offers perfect comfort.

There is a little criticism: The Voyager 5200 does not support volume mirroring. Pressing a volume button on headsets with volume mirroring is equivalent to pressing the corresponding volume button on the phone. At Voyager 5200 the two volume controls, on the other hand, work independently of one another, so that they can be used, for example, even if the volume of your cell phone is turned up completely, you need to increase the volume of the headset in order to reach the maximum volume. We prefer reflection because it creates less confusion. If this feature is missing, this is by and large not a big deal.

Detailed test report: Plantronics Voyager 3200

The Voyager 3200 from Plantronics did not get it in first place made it, but in some respects even our Faovrite could outdo it. Wirecutter / Michael Hession

The audio quality of the Voyager 3200 from Plantronics is not as clear as that of Voyager 5200, its wearing comfort is also not so pleasant over a long period of time. The Voyager 3200 is thanks to his good performance and many of us estimated software features that it shares with other Plantronics models overall, in our opinion, the next best option if our favorite is no longer available. Furthermore, the 3200 a slightly longer battery life than that 5200, and although it doesn't have the same secure and comfortable fit, it's much easier with one Use your hand as that 5200, especially if you have long hair or glasses with a wide frame wear.

The speaker and microphone quality of the Voyager 3200 is decent, and during our tests in a quiet environment, the incoming sound was even slightly better than that of Voyager 5200. Inside a busy café or train, we observed that the volume had to be increased to understand the voice on the other end of the line. The microphone transmits audio that is clear enough, but not necessarily crisp. The person on the other end of the call should be able to understand you. However, your voice might sound a little dull or distorted.

The Plantronics Voyager 3200 has a more conventional design than our top recommendation . Wirecutter / Michael Hession

Do you have long hair or maybe wear glasses? If the answer to at least one of these questions is yes, the fit and design of the Voyager 3200 accommodate you more than that of Voyager 5200. The 3200 has a more conventional Bluetooth headset design with no integrated ear hooks ; To adjust the fit, you only need to replace one of the gel ear hooks or attach an optional plastic ear hook. Especially if you do without the ear hook, the headset will not get in the way of hair or glasses. Even with one hand you can do this 3200 also use. You have to make a compromise with this device with regard to the seat; the hold is not exactly secure and it sometimes felt like it was falling out. The 5200 is more comfortable for most people, but you can still use the 3200 wear for an entire working day.

In our battery tests, Voyager 3200 the Voyager 5200 – Model with a talk time of six hours and slightly exceeded five minutes. This corresponds to an additional twenty-minute conversation on a single charge – not nearly enough to ensure the secure fit and better sound quality of the 5200 to compensate. Should that 5200 available and the rather suboptimal wearing comfort with glasses or long hair for you no knockout Criterion, our favorite is still the better choice.

Detailed test report: Jabra Talk 2

Located in the lower price segment, the Talk 2 from Jabra was able to convince us anyway. However, there is room for improvement in terms of comfort and audio. Wirecutter / Michael Hession

If you only need hands-free calls occasionally, you can save with the Talk 2 from Jabra hard cash – its price is around a quarter of the cost our favorites ( Note of translation: Price fluctuations possible! ) – in return you have to forego comfort and audio quality. The Jabra Talk 2 is smaller than the Voyager 5200 from Plantronics, but its battery lasts more than an hour longer.

The Talk 2 comes with two earplugs and two plastic ear hooks. Finding a combination that would fit our ears was pretty easy – even though the headset tweaked the first time you put it on. After about 15 minutes, the slight pain gradually subsided and the headset finally felt during the seven hours of battery life in our tests very pleasant.

The Jabra Talk 2 is surprisingly comfortable and sounds better than all other models in this price range. Wirecutter / Michael Hession

The sound quality of inexpensive headsets can be bad, but the Talk 2 sounds good the right environment actually reasonable: During our test in a quiet office environment, both the speakers and the microphone worked as well as those of the Voyager 5200. In noisy environments, such as in a café or a subway station, the differences between the Talk 2 and our favorite became clear. In our microphone tests in a moving car, the sound was clear enough for us to understand words. However, the audio sounded unclean and sometimes robotic. If you make a real call, you will probably have to repeat what you said. We do not recommend the Talk 2 if you use your cell phone very often. For the occasional phone call using the hands-free function, it is still the best headset below the 60 Euro limit.

Bluetooth headset versus stereo Bluetooth headphones: which is better?

If you are thinking of buying a Bluetooth headset but regularly listening to music or other stereo audio, you can switch to wireless stereo instead – Grab bluetooth headphones (or use a pair that you already have). You can make hands-free calls and thus go about your day as you please, so you can listen to music between calls. On top of that, you will probably find it easier to understand the other person on the phone.

However, it could be more difficult for the other party to make out your words: The microphones of stereo Bluetooth headphones are usually not as good as those of wired headsets or Bluetooth headsets that are specifically designed with the phone in mind were. However, if you do not want to make regular calls, but rather only want to listen to music, you are better advised with over-ear or in-ear headphones than with the recommendations in this guide.

To Another related category, which is growing in popularity, includes so-called True wireless headphones . These are stereo Bluetooth headphones whose left and right earphones are not connected by a cable. Good True Wireless headphones actually deliver a pretty good sound when making calls and are just as comfortable to wear as Bluetooth headsets. However, those for whom we would make recommendations are much more expensive than our recommendations in this guide, and don't last more than five hours per charge (most include a charging case that can extend battery life between full charges). They are especially worth a look if you want to listen to stereo music wirelessly throughout the day and plan to answer calls regularly with the same headset – and of course you are willing to make a little more money jump.

Other Bluetooth headsets in the test

Plantronics Voyager Edge : Before that, our top recommendation, the Voyager Edge convinced with its excellent sound quality and comfort. We also noticed positively that it was supplied with a charger, which extends the talk time to up to ten hours. Plantronics has unfortunately stopped producing this headset. Some retailers still run it, but it will definitely disappear from the market over time.

Plantronics Explorer 500 : This headset used to be the case its clear sound around our budget recommendation. It shone especially in noisy environments. However, the Talk 2 headset from Jabra offers a similar audio profile at a lower price and lasted longer in our battery tests.

Marnana Bluetooth headset : This headset became the center of our attention because we wanted to get an idea of ​​what the simplest and cheapest option had to offer. We were shocked by how long the battery lasted: after ten hours of continuous audio transmission, we ended the battery life test. Unfortunately, the feel of this headset was painful in every configuration and orientation we tried – despite the fact that the device comes with a number of earplugs and additional earhooks. The microphone and speaker quality belonged to 2018 to the worst within our test group. Voices sounded muffled and robotic at the same time, music had a robust sound. Even if you don't want to dig deep into your wallet and are looking for a cheap budget alternative, we would not recommend this headset.

Here is a list of the headsets that we excluded in previous test rounds have, but are still available:

Jabra Eclipse : This headset runs out of juice very quickly: In our tests it only lasted three hours and 34 minutes with its own battery (it turned off after two hours – there was no obvious reason). It comes with a portable battery compartment, which according to Jabra is said to extend the talk time by seven hours. However, we did not further deal with the promise, as nothing else could really convince us on this headset.

Jabra Stealth : We liked the incoming audio quality and battery life of this headset, but its microphone quality was in the midfield .

Jabra Steel : This headset is characterized by dust, water and shock resistance and a well above-average five-year guarantee. The battery life and Bluetooth range were comparable to those of our previous favorite, the Plantronics Voyager Edge, but the Steel model cut 2016 in our hearing tests the worst. This is due to the unclear sound that the headset reproduced and thus impaired calls. Furthermore, due to the lack of volume buttons, you will need to take your cell phone with you if you want to adjust the volume.

Jabra Storm : In our hearing tests from the year 2016 we described the audio quality of the Storm model at best as “pretty good”. Furthermore, it is much larger than other headsets, which means that it loses some of its charm.

Jabra Style : Despite its name, this headset is not particularly stylish. It is much more important, however, that our testers did not fit well. Some testers also reported connection problems.

Plantronics Marque 2 M 165: In order to keep up with the audio quality of our recommendations, this headset should have had a noise reduction function.

Sennheiser Presence: In an earlier version of this guide, the presence model was based nd its convincing audio performance in a quiet office environment and its battery life that exceeds ten hours, actually the second-placed headset, after the leader at the time, Voyager Edge. However, it is now much more expensive than all of our other recommendations.

Samsung HM 1350: With this headset you can hear the low price. He also lacked A2DP audio.

Samsung MG 900 : Although this headset is relatively affordable and has a long battery life, in our opinion its audio quality allows a lot wish left. Our testers described it as “rough”.

Samsung MN 910 : This headset has a fairly long battery life, but the audio quality is only mediocre.

swell

The article “The best Bluetooth headsets in the test” is the German translation of the article “ The Best Bluetooth Headset “from thewirecutter.com . The test was conducted in the United States and was first published in English on the Wirecutter website. The translation is based on the version from 26. 03. 2019. The CHIP test center was not involved in the investigation. We removed products that were not available from Amazon Germany at the time of translation. These are the Bluetooth headsets: Nokia Luna and Blue Ant Q3.

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