Plantronics Savi Office Convertible Headset review: Plantronics Savi Office Convertible Headset
Plantronics Savi Office Convertible Headset
Plantronics is a household name in Bluetooth headsets, and deservedly so. Indeed, one of its most recent headsets, the Plantronics Voyager Pro, has earned an Editors' Choice award thanks to its superior noise-handling abilities. However, Plantronics also makes a number of home and office products, like the Plantronics Calisto Pro series from about a year ago. Its most recent enterprise solution is the Plantronics Savi Office system that works with both landline and VoIP/softphone solutions like Skype or Google Talk. However, the base model does not support Bluetooth for use with cell phones--that requires an additional $200 Savi Go model, which itself only works with cell phones and VoIP, not the landline. There is not yet a Savi headset that will work with all three communication systems. The Plantronics Savi Office system retails for a rather hefty $379.95, but that's about right for an enterprise-level product.
The Plantronics Savi Office system consists of a base unit and a couple choices of cordless headsets. Everything is in black and silver, and has a decidedly professional vibe. The base unit measures around 3.9 inches wide by 3.5 inches deep by 3.7 inches tall, and has a relatively small footprint. The right part of the unit is the headset charging module, which can be swapped out for another one, depending on your choice of headset. On the front of the base unit are two indicator lights; one for the base unit, and one for the headset charger. Also at the front of the base unit is a subscription button, which you press to activate the Savi Office system.
At the top of the base unit are the Desk Phone Talk button and the PC Talk button, both of which are easy to press. They also have LED indicators next to them. On the back of the base unit are the power jack, the telephone interface jack, the USB port, and the handset lifter jack (more on this later). On the left side of the unit is a small panel that opens to reveal the volume controls and configuration switch for the desk phone. The configuration switch is to ensure the base unit is properly connected to the phone.
You have a choice of two headsets with the Savi Office system. Both headsets use DECT 6.0 cordless technology to communicate with the base unit--they are not Bluetooth headsets. Both headsets have a 350-foot radius around the base unit. One is a large headset with a big boom, and is reminiscent of the ones telemarketers use. It measures almost 5 inches long, is around 0.8 inch wide and about 0.6 inch thick. On the front of it is a toggle--it can be pressed down to make a call, and rocked up and down to change the volume. On the back of it are the earpiece and an earhook. You have a choice of earbud covers, and you can even switch out the earhook for a headband that wraps around your head. Still, the earpiece felt slightly too big for our ears, and it didn't feel comfortable when worn.
The other headset included in the Savi Office system is very reminiscent of the Plantronics Voyager 510. Measuring almost 3 inches high by 0.5 inch thick by almost 5.5 inches long, the other headset also has a really long boom mic. We prefer this headset over the other one because the boom mic can be adjusted easier. The battery is housed in the rather large wraparound earhook, which we actually found to be quite comfortable despite its bulk. The volume controls are on the back, while the call button is located at the earpiece end of the boom mic. As for the earpiece, it's significantly smaller than the one on the other headset, and feels more comfortable in the ear. This headset also comes with an array of different ear bud covers.
Setup and features
Setting up the Plantronics Savi Office system is pretty easy. First you have to connect it to a power source, of course. To use it with a desk phone, you would attach the included phone cable to the base unit, and then connect your desk phone's receiver to the cable (the cable has a small hub built-in). Then you complete the circuit by attaching the end of the cable to the now-empty receiver jack on the phone. Now press the subscription button for the base unit to communicate with the phone. At this point, open up the panel on the side, and make sure the configuration setting is set to A, and that both volume controls for the desk phone are set to the number 3. To make a call, press the desk phone button on the base unit, press the call button on the headset, and lift up the phone receiver. You should be able to hear a dial tone. If you don't, you can change around the configuration settings and volume controls until you hear one. Once you do get a dial tone, you can make a call as you usually would.
If you're too lazy to lift up the phone receiver, the Savi Office system comes with an optional phone lifter accessory. It's essentially a lever with a motor attached. To use it, you place the lever underneath your desk phone receiver, and connect the cable from the lifter to the base unit. Now when you press the Desk phone button, the lever will then mechanically "lift" your phone receiver so that you can make a call. When we tried this on our desk phones in the office, it worked very well, but we still had to manually place the receiver back in place after we were done with the call.
To use the Savi Office system with VoIP applications on the PC, you'll need to install Plantronics' Persono Suite software. After that, just connect the USB cable to the base unit and the PC, and your PC will recognize the Savi Office hardware. Your audio control settings will change to reflect this. Make sure to press the PC Talk button on the base unit. Now when you make a call with a VOIP application, which Plantronics calls "softphone" applications, you can use the Savi Office headset. The Persono Suite software also lets you connect a softphone call with a desk phone call as a conference call. You can also use the headset with iTunes since it supports PC audio--you can set it so iTunes pauses whenever there is an incoming call, and resumes playback when the call ends.
Performance and conclusion
We're overall pleased with the audio quality from the headsets. We heard our callers loud and clear with plenty of volume. They sounded natural, with little background noise. On their end, callers said that we sounded like we were on a regular phone - they couldn't tell we were using headsets. They couldn't hear a lot of environmental noise either, perhaps due to the noise-canceling properties on both headsets.
Though the Savi Office is not ideal--we're not pleased that we can't use this with a cell phone--it delivers on its promise of a wire-free office environment so you're not tied down to your desk when making and answering calls.