REVIEW – I work from home as I’m sure many of you are. I sit through numerous Teams meetings each week and take cell phone calls constantly. I used to use a wired set of headphones with an add-on mic because it was what I had available and couldn’t wear a set of earbuds for up to 8 hours a day. They start to hurt and the battery life isn’t great. After talking with a coworker, I got the Poly SY20-M USB-A speakerphone. It’s great. I can use it via USB or Bluetooth. It’s plenty loud enough, has a very good battery life and noise cancellation is spot on. But sometimes you don’t want everyone to hear what the person on the other side is saying. It’s not a big deal in my home office but if I travel with it, it can be a concern. With this in mind, I threw my hat into the ring to review the Poly Voyager 5200 UC with BT700 dongle. I wanted something that was just as good as my speakerphone but more compact and vainly more business-suited than a pair of earbuds. How does it compare? Is it worth the price of admission? Well, don’t stop here. Keep reading if you’re interested.
What is it?
The Poly Voyager 5200 UC with BT700 adapter is a monaural, in-ear, Bluetooth headset with tons of features found in top-tier business grade equipment.
What’s in the box?
- Micro USB charging cable
- Quick start guide
- Warranty card
- Wireless headset
- S/M/L eartips
- Charging case
- BT700 Bluetooth® USB adapter
- Battery life: Up to 7 hours (talk time); Up to 9 days (standby time)
- Battery: Rechargeable Li-ion polymer
- Button User Controls: Redial; Mute; Volume +/-; Call answer/ignore/end; Play/pause/track forward/back
- Microphone Type: Omnidirectional; Digital MEMS
- Microphone Bandwidth: 100 Hz to 6.8 kHz
- Speaker size: 13.6 mm
- Speaker bandwidth: 100 Hz to 20 kHz
- Headphone Type: In-ear (monoaural)
- Bluetooth Version: 5.0
- Bluetooth Profile: A2DP; HFP; HSP; PBAP; SSP2
- Connection Type: Bluetooth®; USB Type-A
- Cable length: 3.81 ft (inline module to headset); 3.08 ft (USB to inline module); 7.12 ft (total USB to headset)
- Charge Time: <1.6 hours
- Charge Plug: Micro USB to USB Type-A
- Audio Features: Internal adaptive 20-band equalizer; Echo cancellation; Sidetone detection; WindSmart technology; Digital signal processing (DSP); Smart sensor technology
- Acoustic Protection Technology: SoundGuard
- Voice Assistant: Siri; Google
- Voice Alerts: Volume maximum; Volume minimum; Mute on; Mute off; Muted; Connection status; Talk time; Battery low
- Paired Devices: Up to 8
- Compatibility: Compatible with PCs with available Bluetooth® technology
- Compatible operating systems: Windows; macOS
- Minimum system requirements: Bluetooth®; USB Type-A port
- Dimensions (W X D X H): 3.6 x 2.1 x 0.6 in
- Weight: 0.04 lb
Design and features
As I’ve said, I work from home so many of the features available with the Poly Voyager 5200 UC with BT700 are well beyond my needs. It’s more suited for office environments than a SOHO, but works well either way. The hardware specs above will give you the low down on what all it can do, but I’m going to tell you about the features I used.
The Poly Voyager 5200 UC comes with a charging case with 2 different charging methods. Opening the lid shows you how you can fold the headset flat and charge it, allowing you to throw it in a bag.
The next method is how I used it mostly. There’s also a charging port on top so you can set it in there to keep the battery topped off throughout the day.
To charge the case, you can use the included USB-A to USB micro, plug it in, and let it do its thing. There are battery lights on the case to show the status of both the headset and the case so you shouldn’t be caught unawares. Speaking of the battery, every time I powered the Poly Voyager 5200 UCon, the lovely lady living inside it told me how much talk time I had remaining. It’s very helpful to get a reminder that hey dummy, you may need to recharge before that Teams call scheduled for 30 minutes that almost always turns into 3 hours.
The Poly Voyager 5200 UC has plenty of voice prompts to keep you in the know of what’s going on. How many times have you been on a conference call, been asked a question, and then told you’re muted. The headset will remind you that you’re muted periodically to help avoid that situation. When connected to a device, it will tell what devices are connected. In my case, when I power it on it tells me “PC connected” and/or “Phone 1 connected”. There are also prompts to let you know whether you’re at max or minimum volume and battery low notifications. For said connections, the Poly 5200 UC uses a Bluetooth adapter, the BT700, to connect to either your Windows or Mac computer, but pairs without it to your phone. I’m not sure why you have to use the dongle for your PC, but you do. Maybe it’s because the Poly Voyager 5200 UC can pair with up to 8 different devices. The Bluetooth range is really good. I can walk all over the house and not lose my connection to my PC, even in my garage. It wasn’t until I was outside that I got the PC disconnected prompt.
The headset has four separate buttons and a physical power switch. The buttons are volume up, volume down, mute, and a multifunction button for pairing, activating your preferred voice assistant, and resetting the headset.
All have a very positive click so you know when you’ve pressed it. I don’t do well with touch controls and having to remember how, when, and how many times I have to swipe/hold/whatever my finger in place to get wireless earbuds to do what I want them to.
The headset incorporates a 4-mic array and adaptive Digital Signal Processors for active noise cancellation. So whether you’re outside or inside you should be heard clearly when you’re in a noisy environment. This is something I’m looking to really put to the test next time I visit a construction site. They also boast the headset supports HD Voice to enhance speech quality for your callers.
The headset also has smart sensor technology, so it can tell whether you’re wearing it or not. You can answer calls by picking it up and putting it on. It’ll pause music for incoming calls and mute a call if you take the headset off.
The Poly Voyager 5200 with the BT700 can be set up very simply. It’s plug-and-play. Connect the adapter and power the headset on. To pair with your phone, it’s like pretty much every other headset. Put the headset in pairing mode, let your phone search for it, and then choose Poly5200 to connect to it. Not all the features are available with that method though. There are Android and IOS apps to further fine-tune your experience on your phone and a software suite for your PC. I couldn’t use the PC software since IT has that locked down on my company laptop, but working from home, I don’t really need it.
The Poly Voyager 5200 UC description calls it an in-ear headset. I don’t think that is necessarily completely accurate. The eartips don’t insert into your ear canal but rather sit on top of it. That’s not a bad thing in my opinion, since that’s usually what causes me discomfort with earbuds after a long period of time. The eartip portion swivels around and the mic boom arm also rotates so that the headset can be worn on either ear, which I like. After long hours on calls, it can still get to be uncomfortable, so having the option to switch ears is great.
The volume of the headset is good even with my tinnitus. I hear everyone in the meeting very well as long as the equipment on their end is working properly. The noise cancellation and mics work very well too. My coworkers hear me clearly and haven’t complained of any background noises like my dogs barking at the squirrel who torments them daily, my kids who seem to like to have heated discussions in the hall right outside my door, or my wife who bursts in consistently during calls to ask, “Are you in a meeting?”
The sound of the headset is fine. For calls, it’s great but I’m not going to be listening to music or watching movies on my phone with it. With most earbuds, to get the most out of them, you have to get a good seal in the ear canal. I’m not getting that with the Poly Voyager 5200 UC, plus it’s not stereo.
Battery life is good for both the headset and charging case. I get the 6 hours that Poly tells me I have after a full charge of the headset and in the month of workdays I’ve used the Poky 5200 UC, I’m on my third charge cycle of the case. I can honestly say, the Poly Voyager 5200 UC does what I want it to do.
I did experience a weird issue with the headset and the BT700. I originally had the BT700 in a USB hub. The headset would sometimes disconnect and I would have to unplug and replug it in several times to get it reconnected. So after troubleshooting, I found that it happened when I connected a USB SSD to the same hub, strange but true. Once I moved the dongle over to my laptop though, that problem went away.
The last thing I want to say about the Poly Voyager 5200 UC is micro-usb? Really? Please lose that. Make it USB-C so those of us who plan to travel with it don’t have to carry extra cables.
What I like
- Monaural, yes I like that it’s only a 1 ear device
- Noise cancellation has been great so far
- Crystal clear sound
- The charging/carrying case
What I’d change
The Poly Voyager 5200 UC with BT700 adapter works fine for my purpose but I think it’s overkill. There are so many business features that I can’t use to fully realize its potential. Its price is prohibitive for the home office user at $260.95. Now if you’re in a corporate office setting, which I used to be, I think this would be great. It’s so much better than the other units I’ve used in the past. So, if you’re looking for something to work from home that connects to a PC and cell phone at the same time, I’m sure there are less expensive options out there. However, if you’re willing to drop the cash, the Poly Voyager 5200 UC with BT700 USB adapter is a solid, convenient headset solution.