The audio is #1 feature in meetings. If your audio is not clear or you don’t hear what others say then the meeting quality and value is quickly degenerating. Of course there are other key elements in meetings as well. However Audio is the Number One. Too often sub-par devices with connectivity issues are used – hopefully in time issue is ancient history as hybrid work scenarios, the world today and tomorrow, are common. Without going to meeting rooms, I focus on one new personal Teams Certified device.
This time I am doing my first impressions (for a few weeks) post about Poly Voyager Focus 2 headset. Unlike many others that I have tested this one is on-ear version. Looking back at history on-ear is not my favorite nor often my choice. It doesn’t stop me from testing these, since I got this one for testing from Poly.
For technical details I recommend to check out Poly’s product information site. I won’t be doing a metered testing, this review focused on my actual use experiences of Voyager Focus 2 UC version with desk stand and BT700 dongle.
Some of my first notes about these
- Audio quality on calls and music is excellent
- Teams Certified device
- Teams-button opens Teams as it should and works like a charm
- Battery should last for 16 hours with ANC on. I will continue testing but I think that is not accurate. My current impression it is closer to 6-8 hours with maximum ANC setting. After 3-4 hours of use Poly Lens shows that 50% battery remain.
- The table stand rocks! Finally a stand that really works and it is extremely easy to use with this headset. If you do put the headset to the table stand it will charge there automatically (assuming USB is connected.. ) so when using these on desk this reduces the shorter battery life issue (unless you have to wear them over 6 hours without charging breaks).
- But who forgot that it is the year 2021? Micro-USB on a new headset is a big disappointment. On my use it means these are only for the desk use, not for traveling – despite being light.
- For on-ear headset these are surprisingly comfortable! More about this later – read on!
Focus 2 has three settings for ANC (Active Noise Cancellation) off, 1 and 2. I used these on setting 2 all the time. They do reduce some ambient noise off but since these are on-ear you always hear your surroundings somewhat. However they are quite good and when you have music on it surely does it’s job well. On a call louder noises can come through as well.
What is very important is that it has a boom mic and it also includes a noise cancelling Acoustic Fence. When testing it out in calls it works really well with Teams noise cancelling: together these really block out a lots of ambient noise. Recording a call with OBS however shows that Acoustic Fence benefits from Teams AI very well when it comes to cancelling ambient or disrupting noise. When switching between devices (From Sync 20 to Voyager Focus 2) some people said I was a lot more quiet when using Voyager Focus 2 (they had to put volume up higher) and the difference in my voice profile was significant: my voice was much more clinical. There are of course various reasons why some of those can happen but overall this headsets seems to do some changes to voice profile. What is important: audio is very clear and I think it is a key thing for calls.
When testing Focus 2 in various calls people didn’t have to ask me to repeat myself and there wasn’t any other indication on my audio. It simply works. However, I did experience some hiccups with boom-mic: it looks like that Teams doesn’t always follow the unmute action when boom is lowered. I got reminded that I was on mute.. This is very likely to be a software issue (yes, I had the latest version) since none of other Poly devices has had this effect before. But the result is, that I don’t rely on boom mic mute/unmute as much as with some other devices.
You can connect Focus 2 with the dongle (it comes with the new BT700) and you can also use Bluetooth to connect it to devices. Teams-button is good but I found that I didn’t use the volume buttons at all on the headset.
Build on the headset is solid. I need to emphasize that these are the best on-ear headset on comfortability I had tried so far. Really light-weight and I can actually wear these for some hours without breaks. I wouldn’t wear them all day but even as they are they are steps ahead of what I tried earlier. Using this for several consequential days did cause some aching to earlobes and I needed to have more breaks. Despite these – I was able to wear these longer than other on-ear headsets I tested earlier. Does this make these bad? No. It just proves that on-ears are having tough time with me and I prefer over-the-ears. But also that Voyager Focus 2 is the first on-ear headset I can consider. Logitech Zone wasn’t bad either.
BT700 and this headset is updated & configured using Poly Lens app. Just like other modern Poly devices.
I am not a fan of on-ear headsets, since I do prefer over-the-ear for better noise cancellation, better sit on my head/ears and usually a better battery lifecycle. However on hot summer days (yes, even Finland has those sometimes) on-ear does have a benefit over over-the-ear headset: it isn’t as hot nor sweaty at all.
Poly Voyager Focus 2 is surprisingly comfortable for on-ear headset even to me. Very light, very well sitting and combined with good quality. I would not wear these all day, but 2-3 hours is ok easily. At home office, when family was home occasionally and off randomly, I used Sync 20 for music & calls when I was alone at home and switched to Focus 2 when I wasn’t. With that on-off pacing it was a great combo for me.
Acoustic Fence is good – especially when used with Microsoft Teams calls. This is a very good headset for that – despite those hiccups I mentioned (leaving Teams on mute even when you lower the boom mic). I keep on experimenting with that if that was just random or happening more often.
Noise cancellation is good, especially when combined with music or in a call. Without added sound I it doesn’t cancel off traffic or other louder background noises. Partially because it doesn’t cover ears fully – it is designed to let through some noise so you can stay up to date about your surroundings better.
I have to add some extra note for the table stand. It makes it really easy to store the headset and put it on easy – and store then in the stand – and they charge there easily. The trick is that there is a thin slot that fits the stand – aligning charging pins automatically. The stand is really needed since the battery lasts for surprisingly short time (with full ANC that I use all the time).
I have to add here some other user’s experiences (who prefers on-ear headsets) with the headset I received recently: the headset is so light and comfortable that you almost forget you are wearing one. The same user also stated that the ANC was really effective for her – blocking majority of ambient noise.
Would I buy these for their price (shown to be over $300)? No, I would not. There are two major personal reasons: on-ear versus my preferred over-the-ear and short real life battery life (anything with full ANC on and battery lasts <10 hours is a real short battery life for me, unless we talk about earbuds). Those looking for a light-weight headset (lots of people don’t like heavier over-the-ear ones) this would be a really interesting option for home/office desk use.
I haven’t tested recent Jabra Evolve 2 65 on-ear model so I can not say which would be better but there are older alternatives from Logitech and Jabra . you can read from my older post. Which of all these headsets fit best for you can be a truly personal matter: if possible try to test them out first before buying to see which one sit the best on you and also check which has the best specs for your needs.
To me these are really nice desk use headsets as long as I don’t need the ANC experience I get with over-the-ear headsets and I can take them off now and then (instead of sitting the headset on for typical 8+ hours).