The Plantronics Voyager Pro earned our Editor's Choice award earlier this year for having the best sound quality of any Bluetooth headset we've tried. However, the Voyager Pro was marred by its slightly bulky and unfashionable appearance. The new Plantronics Discovery 975, on the other hand, is a much more stylish Bluetooth headset. It is similar in appearance to its predecessor, the Discovery 925, but features the same noise-canceling properties as the Voyager Pro. It's not quite as comfortable as the Voyager Pro and the buttons are not as easy to use, but the call quality is incredibly good and it comes with a handy charging case that extends its battery life threefold. The Plantronics Discovery 975 is available for $129 retail.
Like the Plantronics Discovery 925, the Discovery 975 looks a lot like a giant hair pin. It also has a square-diamond top like the Discovery 925, but the 975 has faux leather covering on the front. From that square diamond is a long and skinny boom mic, which we think is more stylish than the triangular boom on the 925. Measuring 2.7 inches long by 0.8 inch wide by 0.5 inch thick, the Discovery 975 appears almost like a piece of jewelry when worn. That said, the design may not be for everyone.
At the base of the boom mic, in the middle of the square diamond, is the multifunction call button. On top of it is a very thin LED indicator line that glows white when it is powered up. Since the button is part of the overall boom mic, it requires a bit of pressure to push, which we found annoying. On the top left of the headset is a single volume key. To change the volume, you have to cycle through a few volume levels, instead of being able to increase and decrease like on a normal volume rocker. Not only is the volume button tiny, we would prefer a real volume rocker rather than a single button. The charger jack is on the top right.
Flip the headset around and you'll find an earpiece similar in style to the Discovery 925. It has a nice ear tip gel cover, with a square loop that lets the earpiece sit snugly within the folds of the ear without the use of an ear hook. The Discovery 975 comes with a couple of other ear tip gel sizes for different-size ears. It was incredibly easy to put on and take off, which makes the Discovery 975 great for intermittent use. Do be sure to maneuver it so that the boom mic points toward the mouth for the best performance.
The Discovery 975 has the normal headset features, like answering, ending, and rejecting calls, plus it has voice-dial support, last number redial, call mute, and the capability to transfer calls from the headset to the phone and vice versa. It also has multipoint, which lets you connect up to two different headsets simultaneously. The Discovery 975 also features voice prompts that let you know when you've enabled or disabled call mute, the battery status, plus the Bluetooth connection status. The latter is especially handy when you wander outside your handset's Bluetooth range; the headset will automatically let you know that you've lost the connection.
We also quite like the portable leather charging case that comes with the Discovery 975. It looks a lot like a lipstick case, just as the one for the Discovery 925 did, but this one has an LCD screen that lets you know the battery life of the case and the headset. It also has a Bluetooth icon to show if the headset is connected. We like that it snaps into place securely, and that there's a lever you can press to take it out again. If you like, there's also a clip strap for the case, in case you want to attach it to your purse.
We tested the Plantronics Discovery 975 Bluetooth headset with the Apple iPhone 3G. The pairing process went quite smoothly, and we didn't even need to enter the PIN code (though this may vary depending on your phone). We have to say we were amazed with the call quality. We tested the Discovery 975 in a variety of environments: in a quiet office, in a moving vehicle, and in front of a desk fan blowing at normal speed. In all of the above situations, we heard our callers without much issue. There was a bit of static noise at times, even in the quietest scenario. We detected a low hum occasionally, as well. Still, callers' voices came through loud and clear.
Our callers said we sounded great. Our voices sounded natural, with plenty of volume in all three situations. When we were in the moving vehicle, they couldn't hear the road or engine noise at all, and didn't know we were in the car. They did detect a bit of radio music in the background, but it was quite faint.
The Plantronics Discovery 975 has the same WindSmart technology as is in the Voyager Pro, and it shows. We were surprised that our callers could still hear us when we were talking right in front of the fan. They said our voice sounded the same, and even though they could hear some wind (saying it sounded like it was raining on a metal roof), they could hear us just fine. Overall, we were incredibly impressed by the noise-canceling and wind-noise resistance on the Discovery 975.
The Plantronics Discovery 975 has a rated battery life of 5 hours talk time and 7 days standby time. The charging case adds an extra 10 hours of talk time.