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Review of Plantronics ML-12 Bluetooth Headset
In the box:
This inexpensive Plantronics headphones is a perfect solution for those who are looking for affordability combined with high quality. Unfortunately, the tip is permanently fixed to the speaker, which can be a limitation for certain users and I do not understand why this approach was selected by Plantronics. Long time ago Jabra, Plantronics and Nokia had similar models, but in recent times a more simple strategy became popular – a tip was complemented by the silicone pillow to carry the gadget without the loop. If you have a non-standard ear the podium of the speaker must be universal. Some of our readers wrote to me that Plantronics knows best and the company carefully tests such devices and we should not worry about it. The issue here is that you cannot get rid of the inconvenient tip. We will mention it later on.
Design and Construction
The package is typical of Plantronics: transparent plastic box contains a carton one inside. I always felt like keeping the package at home for future use. The headset is black and the frontal panel features a simple decorative element. The area around the on/off button is red, while the loop is fixed to a small prong. At the front there is a microphone hole and the back side hosts microUSB. There are no caps here. The design is pretty bland and the model looks like a piece of plastic without signs. The weight is 12 g. A tiny light indicator is located at the front, whereas other manufacturers hide it. Plantronics has its own pride.
Way of Usage and Convenience
I will again mention the permanently fixed tip. My friend and I were lucky when it fitted us well, but a couple of other people were negatively impressed. It is too hard and not clear how to insert it properly. You cannot fine-tune the tip or replace with a smaller one. The loop is light, flexible and convenient for ears. There is no strap hole on the body. You cannot call the headset inconspicuous, though it can be carried in any ear if you change the loop location.
On the front panel you can find a multifunction key with accurate pressings. A dedicated on/off button is handy as well. At the top there is a volume rocker, which can be easily found even in the dark. I have no complaints about the controls.
Power and Operation Time
The manufacturer claims up to 7 hours of talktime and around 200 hours on standby. You can charge it via the USB cable, but a charger from the box with changeable plugs is a better option. The headset boasts a microUSB jack and if you have an Android smartphone then you can even use a simple charger from the phone.
Phone Connection and Sound Quality
After the first run the headset is ready to be detected. I tested it with iPhone 4S. The connection required no password, while Bluetooth 2.0 offers EDR. Features are standard here: switching between the lines, activation of the second line, dialing the latest number and voice dialing activation. There is a dedicated tune, which is nice. Operation zone is around 5 meters in an office environment. Speech reproduction quality is B- and heavily reliant on the surrounding noise. The lower the noise level, the better the sound quality. Interlocutors sometimes complain about the echo or unnatural noise, but often everything is fine.
The retail price of the headset is $23. It has good controls and decent operation time, but ergonomics is questionable due to the ill-fated tip. Design is non-existent, but in the box you get a charger. The company probably plans to occupy the budget market segment to fight with Jabra BT2080. Design and convenience are important, but here we do not get much. I even don’t mention a tried and trusted Nokia BH-105, which can be a better alternative than Plantronics ML-12.
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Published — 15 November 2011
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