The Polaris HD Wireless Headset is made up of a base station which connects to your phone and/or PC, with a high definition wireless headset. The headset operated on the 1.8GHz frequency to achieve a range of a staggering 150m. The key feature of this device is not just the fact that it is wireless, that’s nothing new, but that it leverages wideband 150Hz – 8KHz audio bandwidth to deliver HD sound quality.
If you’ve used HD voice on a modern smartphone, you’ll know the big difference this makes during a call. It’s the difference between a person sounding the same way they do in real life vs the heavily compressed audio spectrum of traditional telephony.
It’s great to see both over the ear and over the head options for mounting the wireless headset. This will make it comfortable for all day use and better yet, the battery lasts an entire day, so if you’re constantly on the phone, you don’t have to worry about it going flat before home time. Polaris quotes 13+ hours talk time in narrowband mode and 9+ hours talk time in wideband mode, given most of us work 8 hours, this will get you through a very solid day’s work.
The HD Wireless Headset is smart and will automatically adjusts the amount of battery power it uses according to its distance from the base. If you spend your time close to the desk, then you’ll be using little power, but if you walk away (up to 150m) you’ll burn through the juice faster as it increases power to make the transmissions back to base.
One of the biggest frustrations with wireless devices is the time it takes to charge. Charging is done simply by placing the headset on the base. I found when the over the head mount was connected, it was a little awkward to dock the headset. The good news is that recharging is fast, going from 0% – 50% charge can be achieved in just 1 hour with a full recharge taking just 2 hours.
The base station features a resistive touchscreen. Whether its this or in-car touchscreens, resistive should be dead in 2013. While most operations will be done via software, when you do have to interact with the 3.5″ 320 x 240 res screen, it’s slow and clunky. It’ll get the job done, but feels like a step back in time while that slick smartphone waits in your pocket.
The base station allows access to adjust volume, although I preferred to do this via the rocker on the rear of headset. There’s also access to settings for the microphone level, brightness, mute, PC/ Desk-phone Switcher and Conference Calls.
The display also has really poor viewing angles. Gorgeous IPS displays have set the benchmark for impossible viewing angles and while the solution (turning the base to face you), it really is an area that could be improved.
Given the size of the device, it’s strange the base station isn’t a desk phone itself, by the time you have the headset, dock and phone, you’ll notice a decent part of your desk has now disappeared. I’d encourage Polaris to consider just making and all-in-one device in the next version. This would also simplify the setup and reduce the number of cables required.
One of my favourite features of the Polaris HD Wireless Headset is the ability to easily switch between phone and PC Audio. If you’re company’s software-based calling solution doesn’t integrate with your phone system, you’ll be left switching between two headsets. This gets old and fast. By having the ability to tap and switch between modes in just a couple of seconds, this quickly makes the device a lifesaver and productivity demon.
Listening to audio from the web, then taking calls seamlessly is now a practical option. It’s also great for those of us who regularly participate in webinars and conduct PC based video conferencing, while working in a company that still uses desk-phones.
The headset is compatible with both Windows and OSX via USB and is compatible with Microsoft Lync, Cisco, WebEx and other VoIP applications. The plug and play nature of the solution assures widespread compatibility with the HD Wireless Headset with all host telephone handsets.
Price and availability
You can get the Polaris HD Wireless Headset is available at a large range of retailers, but one of the best deals is for A$389.00 from mwave.com.au. You can get more information on the headset features and availability at http://www.hd-wireless.com.au/
So now the ultimate question, should you buy it. The HD Wireless Headset from Polaris is a solid device and definitely should be on your business shortlist. The price isn’t cheap, but for providing flexibility that desk phones simply can’t, in certain roles it’ll be a lifesaver.
Polaris say that setup is a breeze, but I’d debate that. There are actually a number of configurations available and you need to establish what telephony systems are in place currently in your business, then connect appropriately. I wish it was as simple as connecting power and the USB, but the reality is often much more complicated.
Overall the Polaris HD Wireless Headset provides decent audio and a lot of flexibility.