Business users are often on the hunt for a decent headset for the office, but since we’re all very used to hybrid working and moving between the home and office, it’d be nice to find a solution that works with you in any environment.
After first using the Voyager Focus UC way back in 2015 (Review here), it became my daily headset for a number of years. The design and functionality of the headset, combined with its lightweight (just 175 grams) and active noise canceling, all combined to make it a headset I really loved using.
Now, 6 years on from there, Poly has released the Voyager Focus 2 which takes that great product and makes it even better.
The stereo Bluetooth headset now comes with a more modern USB-C connector, however, it is still available with a USB-C option if you’re not quite ready to live in the future. The headset offers a crazy amount of battery life, as much as 19 hours talk time, but given how convenient and well designed the dock is, you almost never run out of battery because charging is made so easy.
After living with v2 for a couple of weeks now, it is clear the people at Poly really understand this market segment and what business professionals want from a headset.
Curves in all the right places
The design of the headset has a really refined finish to it, particularly when compared to the original. The headband is made of a matte black aluminum, which is not only strong, but has sections removed to reduce weight, a really important focus for the product, important for all-day use.
This band is complemented by a soft padded head band that adapts to the shape of your head and there’s a perfect distribution of the weight across the ear cups and the band. These 3 points of contact, combined with the lightweight design, enables you to wear the headset all day. I’m not joking when I say I’ve worn this thing for 8 hours straight without issue.
The design continues with the foldable microphone. Being able to fold it up when you’ve finished a call, ensures you have a hardware level of confidence you’re on mute. What’s great is this microphone can be rotated down in either direction, which means the symmetrical headset can be worn in either direction. Personally, I prefer to have the mic on the left, but you choose to have it on the right if you wish by rotating the headset 180 degrees.
The ear cups are coated in a glossy black circular finish that reminds me a lot of the surface of a record. On the left, you’ll find +/- volume controls, while pressing the center will play/pause any video or audio you have playing, great if you have someone engage you in conversation. On the right cup, there are no controls, which feels like a little bit of a missed opportunity.
The microphone stem is hard, so positioning can’t be adjusted to be closer or further from your cheek, but I found the placement to be great and I had feedback from meeting participants that it sounds great.
You can also find two hardware switches on the left ear, one to control power on/off and another to control the level of noise-canceling you want. While I don’t regularly change the ANC level, I do like the location of this button, it’s easy to find at the top, while the power switch is located at the bottom.
Overall I love the design, particularly the integrated charging port, which makes it easy to slide onto the dock and never have to be concerned that you may have miss-aligned it and have a full day of calls ahead with a flat battery.
How does it perform ?
In terms of audio quality, the Focus 2 really does a great job of delivering a great audio experience. If you’re like me and listen to music while you work, you’ll really appreciate this. Sure, there are big over-the-ear headsets that will perform better, but to get the kind of audio experience out of something this small and light is really incredible and a credit to the engineers.
Another big reason to consider this headset is the Active Noise Cancelling. This uses two digital MEMS microphones and 2 analog ECM microphones with the choice of 3 user settings – Off, mid or high. This works well for mild noise, like that annoying neighbour cutting the lawn next door, or dogs barking. This does have an impact on battery life, but given you’re getting all-day performance anyway, I left ANC on high. If you’re after a headset that means you completely isolate yourself from the outside world, then this isn’t for you, it is still possible to hear some noise, but that’s also not bad if a colleague does actually need your attention.
When it comes to volume, this headset is definitely plenty loud enough and when you do hit the top, you get a voice prompt to let you know the Volume is at the maximum. The same is true if you are reducing the volume and it reaches the minimum.
What is really impressive is the range of this headset. Leveraging the Bluetooth v5.1 spec, the Voyager Focus 2 UC allows you to walk up to 50 metres away from your computer, making it really great for still listening while you walk to the fridge or make a coffee while working from home, probably too convenient actually.
It is worth highlighting that the headset supports multipoint connectivity which allows it to connects to two devices at the same time, like your PC and your mobile phone. This means you don’t have to take off the headset to take calls, regardless if they’re on Teams from your computer, or on your phone. This is one of my favourite features and something I rely on heavily now.
Stand our features of this device
Smart sensors inside the headset enable it to determine if you’re wearing it or not. This is used to answer calls, simply by putting on the headset, and if you take off the headset, you’ll be placed on mute. For those times you’re just listening to music, or a podcast, you can take off the headset and your audio will pause and then resume automatically. This can also be true of video, but does depend a little on the app you’re running to play that video.
This simple, yet very important feature, helps to avoid the annoying experience of having to skip back through content to find the place where a colleague or family member approached you for a conversation.
One feature I really enjoy is the LED status light that’s built into the headset. When you’re on a call, those around you will know, thanks to the red illumination on the ear cup that flashes red when you’re on a call. This provides a great visual cue that shows you’re busy.
Not everything’s perfect
The center button on the left ear cup has also been used for the next and previous functionality. Single-click the button and you’ll play or pause audio, double-click and you’ll skip to the next track and triple-click and you’ll go to the previous track.
This feels needlessly complex, particularly given these buttons are a physical press, not capacitive touch. With the right ear cup completely void of controls, it would seem to me that would be a better place to offer media controls, rather than use a single button for multiple operations.
My other complaint is around the foldable microphone. While I do prefer a foldaway microphone, to a removable alternative, if you’re a little rough in folding it up or down, it is possible to foul the microphone arm on the headset. This makes me question how robust the design will be over the long term.
PRICE & AVAILABILITY
How much and when can you get one ?
The Poly Voyager Focus 2 headset is available now from Poly directly, or through one of their many resellers.
The product costs A$375 at Simply Headsets, down from the RRP of A$520. For those looking to kit out a whole office of employees, this may seem expensive compared to a basic $50-$60 headset and while that’s true, this headset offers much better comfort with a great lightweight design, and solid UC features to easily justify the price tag.
Remember this is available in both USB-C and USB-A versions, but seriously, you should have a USB-C dock by now.
After using the Poly Voyager Focus 2 headset for the past couple of weeks, I can highly recommend it to business professionals. The only question now is, who’s going to pay for it, you, or your boss.
Given the current hybrid work environment that most employees find themselves in, moving between locations with the headset is certainly possible. An occasional day in the office can be achieved by connecting the USB dongle to your laptop and just take the headset (it’d slip easily into a backpack). This is a pretty light footprint to transport, regardless of where your office ends up being.
If your working life is configured in a more permanent structure, like 2 days at home and 3 days in the office, then you may consider a Focus 2 headset for the office and one for home. This would be an incredibly nice place to live, given you could really leave the USB dongle connected to your dock, just disconnect the USB-C cable and then dock at work and vise versa. This would avoid having to cart the dock between locations as well.
Other than the small issue of skipping forward and back through playlists which is clunky at best, this is a really solid headset, one that I used day in and day out, listened to music, participated in Teams calls, made and received phone calls with and was really comfortable the whole time. The range is really generous and that enables its use in more applications, while also allowing flexibility in your location during calls (assuming your video can be off).
All things considered, the Voyager Focus 2 feels like the engineers and designers at Poly, really understood the requirements of their target audience and went about creating a fantastic headset to address that.