Thanks to technology, small business owners can work productively
from just about anywhere – the car, the airport, home – with pretty
much just an internet and/or cell phone connection. However, while
you’re working from home just as well as at the office (or maybe your
office IS in your home) you may not want to announce to the world that
that’s where you are. A barking dog or neighbor’s lawnmower may not be
the background sounds you’d like for an important conference call.
Over the past few months I’ve been trying out three different noise
cancelling headsets, to see if I could make use of those times when I
can talk on a business call, but can’t control my environmental noise.
The models I tested were the Plantronics Voyager Pro, Jabra BT530, and
My test locations included the car, home office when everyone was
home, and swim practice (kids’, not mine). It involved many calls to
people I am comfortable asking, “Can you hear the car radio? Can you
tell I’m outside?” or “Can you hear Sesame Street?”
All three of the headsets greatly reduced background noise vs. using
the handset alone. The Jabra and Plantronics were tied for noise
reduction – usually callers couldn’t tell that I was walking down the
street, or driving, but loud noises like kids yelling did come through.
TheBoom had the greatest noise cancelling strength.
TheBoom v4 looks like a serious headset and I felt a little like a
pilot or a phone operator, depending on my mood. It has a large ear gel
insert that takes a while to get used to – you can take the insert off,
which won’t affect your oubtound sound quality, but it does make the
whole thing harder to keep on your ear.
The Plantronics looks a little like an old-fashioned hearing aid
with a short microphone attached, with the bulk of the headset resting
behind the ear. However, it was the most comfortable and easy to put on
with no adjusting or fiddling.
The Jabra is the smallest, and the one I found most difficult to
adjust, but once I finally got the eargel at the correct angle to the
part that hooks over the ear, it was very comfy. The instructions say
it can be worn without the hook, but I couldn’t get it to stay in my
At first I liked the concept of using one headset for both my cell
phone and desk phone, but quickly realized that it’s much easier to
keep one in my handbag and leave the other one on the desk, each paired
with its correct phone.
The only corded (and therefore non-Bluetooth) headset of the group,
TheBoom was great to grab on my way out without worrying about whether
the battery was charged. The downside was that it’s not tiny like the
others and the microphone stem and the cord would get tangled with
other stuff in my bag.
The Plantronics and Jabra both were easy to pair via Bluetooth with my Blackberry Curve.