As we continue to navigate what work looks like going forward, many employees continue to work from home, and many of them work from anywhere. Employee’s workstation locations can often change, it’s hard to anticipate what types of background noises and distractions will be present in differing environments.
Since a quiet, private conference room may not always be available, your audio solution will need to be able to block unwanted noise and provide a microphone that picks up just your voice. Last week, Poly launched its newest Bluetooth headset solution, the Voyager Focus 2, and designed it specifically to combat the issues that work from anywhere users were encountering. This headset is unique because it has features to serve the hybrid workplace as a pure enterprise at work user and a work from home user. The Voyager Focus 2 could be the single headset solution that works at home, in the office, or anywhere connected to a phone or PC.
I have been using the Voyager Focus 2 Bluetooth headset for the last five days as my primary headset for collaboration and entertainment. I spend 4+ hours a day on the phone and video, so good audio matters a lot to me. I took this headset through my use case, including Teams, Skype, Zoom, and WebEx meetings, and took time to enjoy some Netflix and YouTube on my phone. Let’s dig into my experience.
Features & pricing
To preface, I think it’s worth looking at what features the Voyager Focus 2 Bluetooth headset offers. After looking through the specs, this headset does have some great audio features that will combat noisy external environments. I wanted to list them verbatim to give potential customers a quick look at the feature-packed Voyager Focus 2. The Voyager Focus 2 UC and charging stand is available for purchase now and starts at $349.95.
- Noise-canceling microphone with Acoustic Fencing
- Advanced Digital Hybrid Automatic Noise Cancellation (ANC) with three settings: high, mid, and off
- Dynamic Mute Alert
- Automatic Muting when the microphone boom is in the upright position
- Smart Sensors for pausing/playing audio
- Microsoft Teams Certification
- Up to 19 hours of battery life
User experience on my smartphone
I started my testing by pairing the headset with my smartphone, which was relatively easy. Once I switched the power button on, I had to slide the power slider up to the Bluetooth position and hold it for two seconds.
After that, the system enters Bluetooth pairing mode, and the device name popped up on my smartphone screen. There is an audible “phone connected” speech that comes from the narrator when your phone connects. Anyone who has ever used Bluetooth will know how to do this.
Since these headphones are not completely over the ear, I was worried about comfort. To my surprise, the headset has very comfortable earpads with excellent cushioning, and as a result, I had no problem wearing the headset for hours at a time.
There is also an adjustable headband that sits on the top of your head. It can move as well, depending on the size of the user’s head. I felt like this helped ensure a snug, comfortable fit. When I use headsets, I do not particularly appreciate hearing what others are doing around me. I enabled the automatic noise-canceling feature and put it on the high setting for most of my testing. It was a drastic reduction in background noise pickup when I turned it on.
It was nice to have three different ANC modes because I understand that everyone doesn’t use noise-canceling to the extent that I do. I found the ANC especially helpful when I was working from home and when my dogs were running loudly in other rooms.
There are also volume up and down buttons on the outer rim of one earpiece. It was convenient to change audio levels on the device itself rather than reach for my phone. It was plenty loud for conferencing and entertainment use.
User experience on a PC
The device setup on the PC was a little different than the smartphone. I connected the USB-A adapter to my PC, and the setup was as simple as that. Similar to the smartphone setup, the “PC connected” rung audibly through the headset. One thing users will have to be mindful of is not to misplace the USB-A adapter. It comes tucked away in the carrying bag, but I could find it easy to lose if it’s not returned. Worst case, if you did, I suppose you could just use Bluetooth.
When I was using the Voyager 2 on Microsoft Teams, the acoustic fencing on my microphone was a helpful feature. I had people talking loudly outside of my office, and I was worried about my microphone picking up the obnoxious background noise—thankfully, acoustic fencing limits audio outside of the user-defined range.
The headset did make my Microsoft Teams experience better than usual. I usually opt for a set of wireless earbuds for conferencing, but the microphone usually picks up a ton of background noise and often isn’t loud enough for other meeting attendees to hear me. With the Voyager 2 headset, the microphone was both loud and clear throughout the duration of my calls, and never did anyone asks me to repeat myself due to lack of microphone volume.
I did find myself bringing the microphone to the fully upright position pretty often when I wanted to ensure I muted myself. This movement feels natural, and I like getting the microphone out of the way when I am not on a conferencing call.
I appreciated the long battery life that this headset offered. Poly claimed up to 19 hours of battery life, and in my experience, that seemed accurate.
I tried to see any variance in battery life while taking the headset through different audio workloads. I streamed music from Spotify, took meetings on various video conferencing platforms, and streamed entertainment. Each day looked a little different, some were meetings heavy, and this past Saturday was very entertainment rich, but despite the use case, there was slight variance in the battery life.
My system came with a charging stand and connected to my PC via a USB-A port. It was easy to return the device to the stand after each use and recharge the battery.
Final thoughts after testing
After using and testing the Voyager 2 headset across several different apps, rooms, and environments, I was impressed with the headset’s adaptability. This headset blurs the boundaries between in-office enterprise use and work from home use cases. With a great microphone, three levels of ANC, and acoustic fencing, users should be able to audio conference in a range of environments ranging from a crowded, noisy office environment to a quiet home office.
I see a lot of enterprise value in the Voyager 2 headset. The noise cancelation feature will be critical for office workers who want to block out the loud external office environments. A quality microphone is essential for enterprise productivity as well. A lot of the time, a pair of Bluetooth earbuds do not cut it for getting clear audio and communicating effectively. One feature I believe enterprise users will love is the acoustic fencing that will block noise that doesn’t fall within a predetermined range. I love being in the office and collaborating, but other meeting attendees don’t care to hear what the guy two cubes over had for lunch.
I know we are focused on the Voyager 2 headset, but Poly offers a wide range of collaboration devices to suit almost any conferencing use case. The products range from video bars to wireless headsets to speakers to webcams, and much more. The products supported by Poly Lens software offer a customizable experience that you can tailor to fit your needs.
All in all, the new Voyager Focus 2 headset is an excellent addition to Poly’s portfolio. The system has a comfortable design, superior noise cancellation, excellent microphone quality, and long battery life. I appreciate how simple the device is to implement to both the PC and the smartphone as well. For users who need automatic noise cancellation and a solid microphone, you should consider the Voyager Focus 2 Bluetooth headset.
This launch shows that Poly continuously adapts and adds new features to its devices as the needs of the user change over time. For that, it deserves credit. Excellent work, Poly.