The good: The Plantronics Voyager Edge packs outstanding call quality and noise cancellation. The headset is also light, comfortable to wear, and compact for a boom-style device. The Edge comes with a handy battery case for protection and charging on the go.
The bad: The Voyager Edge’s ear tips don’t from a tight audio seal and take some fiddling to position properly.
The bottom line: The Plantronics Voyager Edge's impressive hands-free call quality and sleek size makes it a smarter buy than the fashionable Jawbone Era.
Equipped with support for multiple languages, aggressive noise cancellation and a host of other advanced communication skills, the $129.99 Voyager Edge represents Plantronics' latest stab at a high-tech tool for mobile voice chat. It sits alongside the company's popular Voyager Legend ($99.99), another premium hands-free product. Additionally, the Edge replaces theDiscovery 975SE which was crafted to be as sleek as possible without sacrificing call quality.
Indeed despite it's compact size, the Edge uses the same impressive audio system as its big brother the Voyager Legend. This includes three discrete microphones and a boom arm to better pick up the words you say. The result is sound transmission that's equal to the Legend and cleaner than its chief competitor, the bite-sized Jawbone Era 2014 ($129). Of course the Edge can't match the Legend's 7-hour talk time or the Era's ultra-discreet design.
Continuing where the 975SE left off, the fresh Voyager Edge has the same distinctive diamond-shaped body. Relatively compact, the Edge sports a long, thin boom, too, which houses its microphone array. It also relies on a design that forgoes a bulky earloop, an approach the Legend and Jabra Motion take. Even though the Edge is a lot smaller than these gadgets, it's nowhere near as tiny as the bite-sized and recently refreshed Jawbone Era. But while the Era lacks any physical controls save for a power switch and multifunction button, the Voyager Edge sports a real volume rocker and voice command key. Like the Era, the Edge uses a standard Mini-USB port for charging up and interfacing with PCs.
As for wearing the Voyager and overall ear fit, I find that the Jawbone Era more comfortable than the Edge. That's because the Era's teardrop silicone ear gel is much softer than the tough, rubbery sleeve around the Edge's earbud. The Era also has a tighter seal and ultimately is more stable, probably since its pliable and pointed ear gel actually enters the ear canal. The result is I can really jam it in there. This is a huge contrast to the Edge whose earbud is meant to sit outside and at the entrance to the ear. Initially it felt less secure to me, but I admit I prefer in-ear earphone styles.
The Edge is trim and compact, yet makes room for physical buttons.(Credit: Sarah Tew/CNET)
After fiddling with the Edge's ear tip for a spell, however, I was able to find my personal sweet spot. Basically if I angled the ear tip's stabilizer loop so that it hooked into the inner fold of my ear, then the device stayed put. And because the headset became more stable using this technique, its comfort and fit improved greatly.
Bluetooth abilities and other extras
Supporting the Bluetooth 4.0 standard, the Voyager Edge packs in plenty of slick capabilities which belie its slim profile. The device uses a group of three microphones which work in unison to stamp out background noise and transmit your voice cleanly to people on the other end of the call. Essentially it's the same hardware onboard the larger Voyager Legend, and in theory trumps the noise-cancellation systems of the Jawbone Era and older Discovery 975SE (both have dual mics).
Other tricks the Edge has in its tool belt are dual-capacitive sensors to detect whether you're wearing it or not. Users can simply place the Edge in their ear when a call comes in and the headset will automatically answer. And because the device supports voice commands, you can also pick up incoming calls by saying, "Answer." If English isn't your tongue of choice, the Edge offers Spanish, French, Cantonese, and Mandarin as well.
A handy battery case is also included.