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Accessory Review Submission [Full Details]
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Plantronics Discovery 655 - Mobile Accessories Plantronics Discovery 655

22 January 2007
Written By Albert Malik


Road-testing the Discovery 655

Physical aspects

There really isn’t much to the exterior features of the 655. At just 55 millimetres long, 15 millimetres wide and 15 millimetres tall (another 10 millimetres with an ear tip on), this headset is extremely tiny. It uses a dual-tone silver and black colour scheme, which will appeal to men but might seem boring for women. Two rubber switches on the front control the volume, while a multi-function call button takes care of everything else – answering/concluding calls, voice dialling and last-call redial. The microphone is situated just under the tip of the 655, with a tiny hole marking its placement.

A small socket protruding from the back of the 655 connects to the charger connectors in the charging stand or ‘pocket’ – a small, cylindrical container that’s also painted in black and silver. The 655 slots into the pocket snugly and once connected, firmly locks in. The pocket has a small metal strip on its back that allows you to carry it in a shirt pocket like a pen, which is useful if you intend on using the AAA charger with it. In fact, all three chargers – AC wall plug, miniUSB and AAA battery – connect to the pocket from underneath it. While the AC charger only connects to a port there via a cable, the miniUSB and AAA battery chargers are extensions that clip into the bottom of the pocket itself. The AAA battery charger is obviously self contained, while the miniUSB charger needs the related cable to be connected to it underneath as well. The pocket won’t stand up on its own with a cable hooked into the bottom of it.

The 655 is a remarkably light device. At just nine grams, you’d be forgiven for thinking there was no way the headset could fall out of your ear. Sadly, I found this not to be the case. The 655 ships with three differently-sized gel tips, in the hope that one of them should fit any wearer’s ear. However none of the three ear tips fit my ear properly – the medium sized one was too small and kept falling out, while the large one was too big. I could get the large one to stay put in my ear, but it was very uncomfortable. Thankfully Plantronics thought to include an ear loop for worst case scenarios like mine. It prevented any further chances of the headset falling out of my ear, and considering that gel ear tips tend to irritate my ears after a short time, it was a further bonus.

Audio quality
The audio quality of the 655 is great, provided you place your phone right next to the headset. Despite the 655 being rated Bluetooth Class 2 for transmission power and range, the 655 begins to crackle once you move half a metre away from your phone or place an object between the two. This object can be the user – having the phone in my left pocket and the headset on my right ear caused a call to be crackly. On the plus side, the crackle barely gets worse as you move metres away from the phone, but then again, it shouldn’t be there at close range in the first place.

Another problem is the 655’s response to a started call. Once the phone initiates an audio connection with the headset, it takes two seconds for the 655 to begin transmitting the call’s audio. This was a problem with my Sharp 903, which doesn’t open an audio channel to the connected Bluetooth headset for an incoming call until it’s answered – many times people that called me wondered what was happening during the first two seconds of the call.

When a call is working properly, you can adjust its volume across seven different levels. Calls can be answered and closed with one click of the multi-function call button. Two clicks allows the 655 to redial the last call made, while a long press will start voice-activated dialling with phones that support it.

Connectivity and compatibility

The Discovery 655 is rated to Bluetooth version 2.0, but it supports phones with older Bluetooth versions. Both headset and handsfree profiles are supported. I tested it with my computer, as well as my Sharp 903 phone, both of which support Bluetooth 1.2. In both cases pairing was a breeze. I held down the 655’s multi-function call button for several seconds to enable pairing mode, which is shown by the button’s LED flashing red and blue. Then I just had to search for it using the 903 or the PC, pair using the default 0000 code, and everything was done.

Battery life
The 655 has very respectable battery life. I tested it by first charging it overnight, then connecting it to the 903 and leaving it connected continuously until it died. 30 minutes of calls were made with the phone each day to simulate moderate call usage. Under this usage pattern, the 655 lasted for two and a half days before running out of power. The majority of phones I’ve tested last for about two days, so the 655 passes the battery life test.

The 655 takes up to three hours to recharge. If you’re using a AAA battery, it will only recharge the headset from empty to full three times before it runs out of power itself.

 A/C charger  Battery charger  USB charger  Car charger

 

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Plantronics Discovery 655

Table of contents

Table of contents:

Introduction (Page 1)
Road-testing (Page 2)
Summary (Page 3)

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