Posted by Charles Van Heusen
I’ve been doing a fair amount of research for the past few months looking for a wireless headset solution that I could use as my primary headset in my home office to connect with my desk phone as well as a softphone solution to connect to Office Communicator 2007 and Lync Online. I’d used my Plantronics wired USB headset for a softphone solution for the past two years and its been very reliable, however it keeps you tethered to your desk. I needed a solution that had the range to allow me to access calls from my office while having the freedom to move around within my office and other areas of the house without having to switch lines or headsets.
While visiting with a friend of mine at Dell, I noticed a new headset on his desk he was using for his conference calls and he highly recommended it as a solution. He’d been using it for several weeks and said he couldn’t see himself operating without it. It’s as much a part of his day as carrying his Windows Phone is to him. The main concern I had was with the range and battery life. After several weeks of use he said he could get through an entire business day with several hours of conference calls and it never failed. So this sent me down the path of researching the Jabra devices. I’d used several in the past as my primary blue tooth device with my smartphones, but I didn’t realize they had Unified Communication solutions. Upon visiting their website. (www.jabra.com), I found two models that really got my attention, the Jabra Go 6400 series and the Jabra Pro 9400 series. Upon further research I found some key differences between the products that helped me make my decision on which model I wanted to purchase.
The Jabra 6400 series, or more specifically the 6470 model offered a unique solution for pairing the blue tooth headset to multiple devices allowing you to take calls on both your office line and your mobile line from the same headset. As a mobile worker I spend a large portion of my time traveling throughout the week so this feature would enable me to keep track of just one headset. I also liked the capability to tie it into 3 lines, your desk phone, softphone, and mobile phone. It also has the ability to work with Skype so you can use it on your computer for both work and personal phone calls which is something that I do especially during the holidays to keep in touch with friends and family that are out of state or even in other parts of the world.
The key selling feature that interested me in the 6470 over the 6430 is that it comes with the docking bay that provides a touch screen display for day to day use at my desk AND the mobile docking bay for taking on the road with me when I’m away from home. I don’t have to unplug one docking solution and worry about leaving it at home or in a hotel when traveling. I always have the main docking solution in my office and the portable dock safely stored in my backpack. The 6430 only comes with the portable docking /charging station.
On the Jabra Pro 9400 Series, there are three distinct models, all of which are designed primarily for use in the office, while two of the models (9465 and 9470) offer the ability to connect it to your mobile device, its not a headset you would want to typically take on the road with you due to the size of the ear piece. If your primary use is in the office in a sales or support call center, the 9460 Duo or 9465 Duo is the way to go. Both have the capability of being connected to a desk phone as well as used as a softphone with your computer. The talk time is around 9 hours according the the Jabra specs, but I haven’t tested the model for this length of time to be able to confirm it.
The nice thing that all models offer is what Jabra refers to as “future proofing” their devices with the ability to provide firmware updates on each of the devices by simply connecting it to your PC and using the Jabra PC Suite to manage the device and the updates.
After all the research, I decided I wanted to test out the 6470, which I put on my Christmas wish list and my loving wife surprised me with this weekend. I’ve had it connected now for a few days to my desk, Office Communicator and my mobile phone and I absolutely love it. I’m still trying to figure out which ear bud works best for me, I prefer to use it connected to the the headband when I’m sitting at my desk. Its so comfortable, you forget you are wearing it until your phone rings.