Review: Plantronics CS55 Wireless Office Headset
Plantronics has established itself as a respected industry leader in the design, manufacture and support of lightweight headsets for a variety of applications and markets. For an example of the type of product that has brought Plantronics its long-standing success, one need look no further than the CS55 Wireless Office Headset System.
The CS55 has proved to be a key component in maximizing productivity, giving workers the freedom to roam the office to answer questions and address needs while maintaining lines of communication.
The CS55 is a headset with remarkable range. At Harcros Chemicals, I work in an office building that is partitioned with cinder-block walls and that has historically presented unwelcome challenges for our wireless equipment. Initially, my expectation for this product was merely that I could have my hands free to work on computer hardware while fielding support calls within the confines of my office. But I was amazed to discover that the headset’s range allows me to stay on calls while in an equipment room nearly 100 feet away and behind a few of those dense walls without a noticeable drop in clarity.
Speaking of clarity, the CS55 consistently produces landline-quality audio, afforded in part by its 1.9 gigahertz UPCS band. I could not distinguish between the call quality of my phone’s handset and the CS55 headset. In fact, I found that I could hear better using the headset because I could increase the volume.
The CS55 is also very lightweight and comfortable. It comes packaged with a traditional over-the-head strap assembly, but, if desired, can be worn around the ear, much like a Bluetooth earpiece, and comes with four ergonomic earloop fittings for that purpose. Also, because the unit is so lightweight (at less than an ounce), it is well suited for all-day wear without the discomfort and fatigue typically caused by heavier units.
Why It Works for IT
The CS55’s setup is very straightforward and can be completed in five to 10 minutes, even by novice users. The base station goes in-line between the handset and the cradle, and the power supply plugs into an electrical outlet. Because most IT departments support their own PBX equipment, this simple setup leaves less room for user error and ultimately results in fewer inbound support calls.
This is a product that literally works for IT. After purchasing a CS55 for one of our managers to try, we were so impressed with its outstanding range and 50-hour standby/10-hour talk time that we ended up purchasing units for our entire department. Now, our administrators can stay on calls while going to the server room, our operations manager can swap out backup tapes without hanging up the phone, and our support staff can attend meetings without the fear of missing an important call. Our only regret is that we did not purchase this product sooner.
My only complaint is a minor one, pertaining to the headband attachment that comes with the product. Aesthetically, the strap that goes over the head is flimsy, and the way it snaps into the headset prohibits the boom from being pivoted downward toward the mouth. This design makes the attachment seem more like an afterthought than a well-thought-out component. Though the noise-canceling mike is sensitive enough to retain a clear vocal volume, it just feels awkward to have the boom pointed so far away from one’s mouth.