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New Plantronics headsets answer calls for you

Plantronics' latest headsets for business use can answer calls as soon as you put them on--but they don't come cheap.

Plantronics is now shipping new business headsets for travel and desktop use, plus a wireless portable speakerphone, all shown earlier this month at the International CES.

The Voyager Legend UC succeeds the Voyager Pro UC as the latest incarnation of Plantronics' state-of-the-art Bluetooth earpiece for use with mobile phones, laptops or tablets. Its key innovation is technology that lets you answer a call as soon as you put it on--no tapping or clicking required.  Its voice command menu lets you choose whether to answer or ignore a call based on caller ID info.

Plantronics rates battery life as up to 7 hours talk time and 11 days standby time. The Voyager Legend UC comes with multiple charging options, including a case, desktop charging stand and modular wall charger.

It's available in two editions: the Voyager Legend B235, for most UC (unified communications) systems including those by Avaya, Cisco, IBM, and Skype, and the B235-M, optimized for use with Microsoft Lync 2010 and Microsoft OCS 2007. Sadly, it does not come cheap: Plantronics' MSRP is $200.

Wired or wireless headset for the desktop

Plantronics' newest candidates for desktop use are the four models in its BlackWire 700 Series. Like the Voyager Legend UC, these headsets sense when you've put one of them on and let you answer a call immediately.

All models in the series have detachable USB cables and Bluetooth, so you can use them with either a PC or mobile phone. You can even start a call with a wired connection and then unhook the cable to continue it untethered.

Plantronics offers two monaural versions (with a single over-the-ear cushion), the C710 and C710-M, and two stereo models (with two cushions)--the C720 and C720-M. As with the Voyager Legend, the C710 and C720 are designed for general UC use, while the C710-M and C720-M are optimized for Microsoft applications. The monaural models go for $130, the stereo versions for $150.

Speakerphone for the road

Rounding out the business offerings is the Calisto 620, a portable Bluetooth speakerphone. Not much larger than a hockey puck, it comes with a Bluetooth USB dongle for use with PCs that don't have built-in Bluetooth.

Plantronics' Spokes software affords a range of call management features on top of the basic hardware controls for answering and ending calls, adjusting volume, and monitoring battery life.

The Calisto 620 comes with a USB charging cable and AC adapter. Plantronics says that fully charge, it supports up to 7 hours of talk time and 5 days of standby time.

Like the other products, the Calisto 620 is available in a general-purpose model (P620) and a version optimized for Microsoft apps (P620-M). Both have an MSRP of $150.

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