Plantronics has always been a traditionally strong brand name in the Bluetooth headset market, with popular products such as the Plantronics Voyager 855 and the Voyager 520 that emphasize style and performance. This year, Plantronics has decided to take a tiny detour from the style department into the great outdoors with the Explorer 370. Yes, the Explorer 370 is probably one of the world's first rugged Bluetooth headsets, military-certified to withstand the elements. It is a bit on the bulky side, but sound quality is good and it's not too pricey at $79.95.
The Explorer 370 is one tough Bluetooth headset. Measuring 2.25 inch long by 0.9 inch wide by 0.5 inch deep, the Explorer 370 is slightly bulky, with a thick rubberized outer shell to help it withstand shock and drops in temperature. The whole headset is military-certified under code MIL Spec 810, meaning it has been subjected to a battery of military testing, including water immersion, impact shock, solar radiation, sand and dust, and extreme temperatures. Indeed, you can tell the Explorer 370 is solidly built. We tossed it around the office, throwing it from one end to the other. We even dunked it in some water, with no ill effect. The ear loop is securely fastened on to the headset as well. Even though the Explorer 370 is big and bulky, it's definitely well-suited for outdoor activities.
On the front of the Explorer 370 is a recessed nub, which acts as the headset's multifunction call button, while a LED sits underneath it. The volume rocker is on the right spine while the charger jack is on top. Though the call and volume buttons were easy enough to access and press, the rubberized coating on them made them feel a bit more resistant to pressure. The back of the headset is home to an ear tip that fits just inside the ear, plus an ear loop that can rotate to fit either ear. We're not fans of the ear tip; however, it felt a bit too insecure in the ear, and we had trouble putting it on with ease.
Despite its rugged exterior, the Explorer 370 has fairly basic features. Features include the typical answering, rejecting, and ending calls, last number redial, a low battery status indicator, plus the capability to transfer calls from the headset to the phone, and vice versa. We missed having voice dial support and would have liked call mute as well.
We paired the Plantronics Explorer 370 with the RIM BlackBerry Pearl without a problem, thanks to Plantronics QuickPair system that puts the headset in pairing mode immediately after it's turned on for the first time. Call quality was fairly good. Its volume was very loud, and voices sounded clear; however, callers sometimes thought we sounded a bit fuzzy. The Explorer 370 has a wind filter which does a great job of blocking out a majority of wind-related noise.
The Plantronics Explorer 370 has a rated battery life of 7 hours of talk time and a standby time of eight days. The Explorer 370 comes with an AC charger and a lanyard.