One of the common questions I get asked is 'what do you have on your desk then' when I start talking about devices. With this in mind, I thought I might have a try at doing a review styled post. I will warn you now I am certainly quite some way behind on the quality of your average 'Stuff Magazine' review :-).
I have mentioned before that I have a home, work and mobile 'UC pack' consisting basically of a webcam, microphone and speaker/earpiece of some form. Well for quite some time now the GN9350 has become part of my work UC pack and so far the results are really good.
Design - Now I am not normally concerned with aesthetics normally, which is probably one of the reasons why I have a Zune and not and IPOD, but even I can appreciate that the GN9350 is in fact quite 'easy on the eye'. Given the ugly beige phone I used to have on my desk, its nice to have a telephony device that manages to walk the fine line between 'blending into the background on my desk' but and looking cool enough that someone says 'what's that?'. Its both black and silver (the two common colours of anything technology based post the 90's) and has a few lights on the front (always good) and a blue flashing like on the headset when its in use (blue of course being the colour of choice for LEDs these days). All in all, very pleasing on the eye
Features - One important thing that will set apart a plain old USB headset from a UC device is the way in which it interacts with the applications on the desktop. The most obvious piece of integration is when making or receiving calls. When I remove the 9530 from its stand, it makes Communicator come to the foreground. A tiny thing I know but pretty essential as the only reason I would be picking the headset up is because I want to answer or make a call. Next therefore is the 'incoming call' integration. With a standard headset, in order to answer the call you need to click on 'accept call', however with the 9530 all you need to do is pick it up from the stand or press the button on the side if its still on your head. The end result is that the experience is similar to that of a normal phone and it means you can use the device without having to read the manual .... well ... almost 🙂
For the next release? - The first thing that struck me as a little annoying is that you had to press the button on the front to change it from telephone to PC (it can be used as a headset for both). After reading the manual I realised that if you hold down the PC button for five seconds, it will then use PC by default. Product suggestion, put a big sticker on the front of the unit saying "DUH ... RTFM" 🙂
All in all, really good device, nice design, really good quality and has some nice little touch's including the fact the earpiece can be removed from the headset and plugged into a over-the-ear handsfree setup.
The GN 2000 on the other hand has become part of my 'mobile' pack and has been really useful on a number of occasions now.
Design - The design of the GN2000 is simple, which I suppose is what it really needs to be for something you would 'throw in a bag'. It has two earpieces (one for each ear just in case that's not obvious) and a flexible microphone boom. This flexible design means you can pop it in a bag without the worry of breaking it so top marks there.
Features - This device is a lot simpler and therefore doesn't have as many buttons for the user to deal with. All there is to get grips with is a button on the headset to end/start calls (on/off hook) and that's your lot.
For the next release? - Nothing much really to suggest, I suppose to make it fold down even flatter it would be good to have the earpieces swivel sideways but that's a minor point.
Two really good devices, certainly a case of having both rather than 'either or' if you want to call from locations other than your office. I think they have done a great job of designing two devices that work with their locations specifically rather than trying to make a 'one size fits all' device.