So you thought your headset couldn’t get any better. Well think again… Over the past couple of months or so I’ve had the privilege of trialling Sennheisers new mobile desk headsets named respectively as MB Pro 1 (mono ear) and MB Pro2(Dual ear).
So what’s new about these headsets and why haven’t I touched my other accustomed to headsets since these were placed on my desk. (Three of my current desk headsets being left behind are the Jabra Pro 9475, Logitech H820e, Sennheiser’s DW office). There are a number of reasons why I haven’t given the others a second thought, these being in no particular order.
Both the MB Pro 1 and 2 are bluetooth headsets with a difference, both feature a full high build quality headset in both single and dual eared formats. Connectivity back to the PC/Laptop is via a USB bluetooth dongle meaning full wideband HD crystal clear audio. The beauty of this headset is that you can lift the laptop off the desk and leave the dongle in and continue your call on the move.
While at your desk, the headset comes complete with a streamlined but durable charging stand, and like other headsets from Sennheiser it features the usual off/on hook answer/hang up capabilities.
As we have come to love with the Sennheiser range both for UC and commercial consumer devices, Sennheiser’s moto on never compromise on the audio quality again shines through with the MB Pro1 and 2. The sound clarity is as good as its bigger brother the Dect DW office. However the dual ear’d MB Pro 2 has a neat trick up its sleeve which I’ve detailed in point 5 below. ;).
The boom arm is a nice length even for my elongated head. The mic itself is covered in a noise cancelling formed foam endpiece while the ear piece is very confirmable and leather.
Battery Life and Bluetooth capabilities
Lets start with the battery life first. Ive been finding it lasts around 15 hours on talk time which i think for a battery operated device is quite well. I would have no issue in using this headset on a customer site knowing full well i have enough charge to last the day. One annoying aspect I’ve found though is when the device is running out of battery they beep in your ear at regular intervals, and when your on a conference call like i was when this happened it does become quite annoying and irritating. These mobile devices aren’t unique to the annoying beeping other vendors mobile devices (Jabra motion, Plantronics Legend etc etc) all follow the same characteristics of beeping when low on battery. To this point i welcome the day when a headset is able to simply tell me the minutes left instead of beeping to me.
Bluetooth Capabilities. As with all bluetooth devices a user shouldn’t expect its range to be within the dect headset metrics of 100+ metres of range. With the MB Pro’s the range you will find is a maximum of 80foot from the base unit. I personally think this would be enough for a ‘normal’ user, yet if you are looking a receptionist type headset i would suggest something which would allow for a extensive range.
Noise cancelling reduction technology
The noise cancelling capabilities are exceptional, as mentioned earlier in this posting you simple don’t hear background noise even in loud call centre type open offices.
In Room ambiance sound (Sennheiser call this the room experience)
So what is Room ambience ? this is a new feature which is prominent in the MB Pro 2 dual ear’d headset. On pressing the button on the right side of the ear piece for 5 seconds you will hear a beep then the people who you are in the call with become kind-of virtualised and they sound like you could be sat next to them in person. At first when i was told about this feature i thought. ‘yeah ok’ but actually on using it i really like the experience especially when I’m in a multi person conference as it brings all the conference parties to the same sound level into your ears.
Personally i never use dual ear’d headsets as i don’t like to hear my own voice talking within my ear’s, plus i also think I’m shouting when i have a dual headset on. Now with the room experience feature, the headset simulates for talk through meaning that i actually hear my own voice at the same audible level as the rest of the people.
In truth i love this feature and I’ve used the dual ear headset a lot more than the single ear’d variant.
Quality Stereo music play through.
Again the MB pro 2 comes with the full stereo option allowing for playing of music from your computer or from the paired mobile device. The stereo sound is great quality for a device which isn’t a consumer device. Also while playing music, it allows for instant pause when a call presents, then on hang up of the call the music starts again. again a really nice feature.
Pro’s and Con’s
For me the pro’s without doubt out way the cons. The features i think set these headsets apart from other similar devices i.e.: Jabra 935 is the ability to be more mobile while working at a desk in the office whereas the Jabra 935 has the bluetooth element built into the charging station meaning its a fixed device. Also the room experience of the MB Pro2 is a really nice feature and i would recommended people to try. Audio quality goes without saying really, plus the battery life of 15 hours is unheard-of in a mobile headset
As for the con’s there is only one which i think Sennheiser could have done better with.
This is the requirement to have two free USB ports for the MB Pro range, with USB ports being a premium on many laptop devices now to which these headsets are aimed at. Utilising two USB ports for me is criminal. For your awareness, One USB is required to charge the headset while on the docking stand and the other one if for the bluetooth dongle. Personally i would have liked to seen a single USB requirement with some sort of hybrid connector which could have accepted a charging cable with the bluetooth dongle built into it or tethered in someway. If you are stuck for usb ports another option i guess would be to power the charging unit via a wall socket plug instead of a computer USB
Scoring and pricing
Based on my testing of both headsets including the features they offer, i would say they both score a firm high 4 stars, missing out of the last star due to the USB considerations detailed about.
I would have as a guess on the higher end of £190 GBP rrp for the single ear MB pro1, and £200+GBP rrp for the dual ear MB pro2
These headsets are available now.!
Overall, i think Sennheiser has made a couple of great UC headsets which differentiate themselves in an already saturated market of UC peripherals. The uniqueness of the ‘bluetooth/full headset’ mobile range at this moment is small and i can see many clients going for these headsets over the more expensive dect devices.
Link for more information on the devices can be found
Microsoft Lync 2010, 2013 for Windows and Lync 2011 for Mac tested and compatible