The Plantronics Voyager 855 is a Bluetooth headset for making voice calls and a stereo headset for listening to music.

Sound quality for calls is solid, and the physical design is pretty slick, too. The Plantronics Voyager 855 won't replace your high-end music earphones, however.

At 2.25in long, the Plantronics Voyager 855 looks a bit more conspicuous than similar headsets we've tested. Nevertheless, its call, volume, and mute buttons are comfortably positioned in the top third of the staff, closest to your ear.

We didn't hit any buttons accidentally when adjusting the Plantronics Voyager 855's fit. At 15g, it weights more than competing Bluetooth headsets, but not significantly more. The 855 comes with an AC charger, a carrying case, and a useful printed user guide.

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Even in small ears the Voyager 855 fits very comfortably. That's because it comes with small, medium, and large plastic earbud attachments, which hug your ear canal and block out ambient sound. The Plantronics Voyager 855 comes with an optional earhook as well, for a more solid fit.

The Voyager 855's unique feature is another bundled attachment - an earhook with a second earbud, which plugs into a slot on the back of the Plantronics Voyager 855. The result is a set of stereo headphones.

We listened via Bluetooth to songs loaded on a Motorola Razer2 V9, using the mute button to play and pause the music. Volume controls worked fine, but they also advanced tracks if we held them down for a few seconds.

When we received a call, we hit the call button to answer it and (simultaneously) to pause the music. Callers' voices then channeled through both ears, sounding at times like that of the giant disembodied head in The Wizard of Oz. When the call ended, the music resumed.

NEXT PAGE: call quality and our expert verdict > >

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The Plantronics Voyager 855 is a Bluetooth headset for making voice calls and a stereo headset for listening to music.

Sound quality was pretty good, even in a crowded train station. One nice touch: the bottom two-thirds of the Plantronics Voyager 855 slides down to move the microphone closer to your mouth.

The 128 kilobits per second (kbps) and 192kbps MP3 files that we played from a phone sounded good, but the Plantronics Voyager 855 is no match for a wired set of music headphones, especially for reproducing higher-bit-rate music. Plantronics' stated talk time of 7 hours between battery recharges does not seem exaggerated.

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Plantronics Voyager 855: Specs

  • Bluetooth mobile phone headset
  • Plantronics QuickPair
  • AudioIQ technology
  • sliding mic boom
  • three-size adaptable ear buds
  • full-spectrum stereo sound
  • convert mono headset to stereo listening with detachable cable
  • dedicated call and music controls
  • up to 7 hours talk time
  • 160 hours standby
  • 15g
  • Bluetooth mobile phone headset
  • Plantronics QuickPair
  • AudioIQ technology
  • sliding mic boom
  • three-size adaptable ear buds
  • full-spectrum stereo sound
  • convert mono headset to stereo listening with detachable cable
  • dedicated call and music controls
  • up to 7 hours talk time
  • 160 hours standby
  • 15g

OUR VERDICT

The Plantronics Voyager 855 is well designed for a Bluetooth headset, though you'll still look dorky from the perspective of music fashionistas. It also sounds good, but again, only for a Bluetooth headset. In short, if you're a music-loving mobile-phone user, the 855 is a nice compromise.

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