Do you work in an environment where you need to use your desk phone, mobile phone, and Skype or other chat client from one headset and be able to switch among all three with a touch of a button? If you do, then check out the Plantronics Savi W720 wireless DECT headset system. This system comes with two main pieces, the base which connects up to three devices (desk phone, mobile phone, and computer) and an on ear headset. The base also houses the charger for the headset which can last up to 9 hours on a full charge. The headset has a range of up to 350 feet; I was able to walk outside to my mailbox (about 75 – 100 feet) while still being connected to a call.
The headset weighs in at 72 grams and has a microphone which will rotate about 330 degrees so you can have the microphone either on the right or left side although it tends to fall down below your mouth while walking around. The binaural (as opposed to stereo) earphones sound pretty good for voice but does sound muffled when listening to music. The earphones are well padded and are comfortable even when worn for an extended period of time although the on ear design makes my ears sweat after a while. On the earpiece, where the microphone is connected, are all of the control buttons; volume up and down, answer/end call button, and a mute button. If you are talking on one input and another call comes in, you can hold down either volume button for 1.5 second and switch to the second device while the first device is on hold.
The base connects to the PC via USB and to a mobile phone via Bluetooth. To connect and use a desk phone with this headset you have three options. The first option is to use just the supplied proprietary phone connection cable with one end plugged into the base and the other end plugged into the phone where the phone’s handset would normally be plugged in. The handset is then plugged in to a junction that is in the middle of the cable. When making or receiving a call, you have to pick up the handset to take it off hook, dial the number on the phone’s keypad, and then remember to hang the phone back up when the call is done which is easy to forget if you are walking around while talking. Since the phone cable is pretty short, the base would have to be located by the desk phone which will be an issue if your phone and computer are not close to each other as in my case. A second option would be to use the supplied cable in combination with a lifter which attaches to the phone and mechanically “lifts” the phone’s handset off the hook when you answer a call via the headset. The third option is to use an EHS cable that electronically takes the phone off the hook when a call is answered with the headset. In order to do this however, the desk phone must be a digital model that supports this functionality. I did not see any way that this could be hooked up to a cordless phone so if you want to use this with a land line, go out and buy a cheap $20 desk phone.
The headset also features several conferencing features that would be handy for an office setting. The base unit can be paired with up to three additional headsets so four people can be on a call without the need for a speaker phone. Believe me, if you work in a cubical farm, you coworkers will thank you. If you want to use this feature, you would be best off buying additional headsets from Plantronics since manufacturers implement the DECT (Digital Enhanced Cordless Telecommunications) “standard” differently. Another really cool feature is that you can combine the audio from any two devices (your desk phone and mobile phone, for instance).
As far as pricing, remember that this is a professional unit and the price reflects that. The Plantronics Savi W720 retails for $421.95 but can be found on Amazon for $226. You can get the optional handset lifter for around $40 or the EHS cable for $55 both on Amazon. If your only use for a headset is for Skype, Google+ hangouts, or gaming, you may want to opt for a less expensive option. However, if you want to be able to switch between multiple devices, connect multiple headsets, and have the freedom to roam about while talking, you may want to consider buying this system.