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Plantronics is a well-established brand in the Bluetooth headset space, though it has so far mostly focused on mono Bluetooth headsets. As cell phones with stereo Bluetooth profiles become more popular, it is beginning to introduce more stereo Bluetooth headsets into its lineup. Until now, its stereo headsets were in the style of canned headphones, like the Pulsar 590A that debuted in 2005. Plantronics' latest stereo headset, dubbed the Pulsar 260, has a pendant-style design instead, which can be clipped to a belt or pocket, or you can choose to hang it around your neck with a lanyard. An array of optional earbud covers provides a comfortable fit no matter the ear size, and the pendant makes it really easy to answer calls and switch tracks without a lot of hassle. Though it retails at a somewhat pricey $109.95, we say it's worth it if you use your phone as a portable music player as well. To find more accessories like this, plus tips on how to use them, please check out our cell phone accessories help page.
The Pulsar 260 consists of two parts--the aforementioned stereo Bluetooth pendant, and the corded headset that attaches to the pendant. The pendant measures 2.5x1.0x0.6 and has a rather simple black and silver color scheme. On the front are the music player controls, which consist of the mute/play/pause, track shuttle, and volume keys arranged in a circle. They were raised sufficiently above the surface so they were really easy to press. Underneath that is a thin indicator light that flashes red when charging, glows a solid blue when fully charged, flashes red and blue when pairing, and flashes blue when it is connected to the headset. The indicator light also helps in finding out the battery status of the pendant when the headset is initially powered on--three red flashes indicate full strength, two indicate medium, and one indicates low battery strength. On the left spine is the power switch, and there's a belt clip on the back. If you wish to reset the device, there's a tiny reset button behind the clip.
On top of the pendant is a 2.5mm earphone jack, which is then attached to the corded headset. The headset looks like a pair of regular earbuds, except that it has a mic and call control button in the middle, which you can use to answer and end calls. The noise-isolating earbuds are the kind that rests inside the ear, so it's a good thing that Plantronics included three different earbud covers to accommodate different-size ears, resulting in a very comfortable fit. The headset also has a small clip along the cord, which you can use to position the mic closer to your mouth, like on a shirt collar. However, we did find the cord a little cumbersome to wear since it is so long (about 36 inches in length).
The Pulsar 260 comes with a lanyard, which you can then attach to the pendant and hang around your neck like a necklace. Another neat thing about the Pulsar 260 is that you can use it with a speaker system or your home stereo. Simply attach the pendant to the line-in port on your speakers with an included audio cable, and you can stream the music from your Bluetooth-enabled cell phone or audio player to the speakers.
We successfully paired the Pulsar 260 with the Helio Heat without any problem. Call quality was excellent on both ends, with hardly any static interference--callers could hardly tell we were using a headset rather than a cell phone. We also used the Pulsar 260 to listen to a couple of songs on the Helio Heat, and we were quite pleased with the audio quality of the songs as well. The bass was a little lighter than we would like, but we found it more than acceptable for a quick music fix. The song would pause and we would hear a couple of beeps whenever there was an incoming call. After hanging up, the song would then resume where it left off.
Other features of the Pulsar 260 include switching an active call from headset to phone and vice versa, last number redial, voice dial support, call mute, and call reject. The Plantronics Pulsar 260 promises 7 hours of music listening time and up to 9 hours of talk time.