Need to buy a gift for somebody who loves technology but you can’t afford the big ticket items?
Plantronics Explorer 395 Bluetooth headset
Plantronics Explorer 395 - a Bluetooth headset for everyday use
- Comfortable, appealing price
- Some audio quality issues
While it doesn't offer the audio quality you get with more expensive technology, the Plantronics Explorer 395 is comfortable to wear, simple to use and offers reasonable-quality audio for its price
Price$ 89.00 (AUD)
The Plantronics Explorer 395 is a good-looking, easy-to-use Bluetooth headset that is obviously designed (and priced) for the casual user -- somebody who wants to be able to do hands-free calling but doesn't need to be glued to a mobile phone.
It comes in black or bronze with silver accents; the look is sleek and stylish in a Star Trek sort of way. And it is indeed simple to use. The headset has a separate on/off switch (which I always find easier than using the same button used for answering calls), a volume button that toggles between four settings, and a call start/end button.
What surprised me most, though, is that the Explorer 395 is more comfortable than any of the more-expensive headsets I've tried. While most headsets come with a variety of different-sized tips to choose from, so you can find the best fit for your ear canal, the Explorer offers an earloop and a single eartip that sits against, rather than within, your ear. The result is a firm but very comfortable fit that should suit most users. The headset was even comfortable while wearing glasses, although I had to take my glasses off while putting it on.
I found that while voices were usually clear and understandable, they occasionally came across as somewhat fuzzy. On the other end, one person reported that the audio was quite clear but a bit distant, while another said that the sound was clear but "not warm."
Barbara Krasnoff is reviews editor at Computerworld . When she isn't either editing or reviewing, she blogs at The Interesting Bits ... and Bytes ; you can also follow her on Twitter ( @BarbaraKrasnoff ).
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