Poly Voyager 4300 UC Series earphones review
Poly, the company behind the Voyager 4300 UC reviewer here, has an incredible history dating back to the 1960s when they created the helmets used in the Apollo lunar missions.
Based primarily in San Jose and Santa Cruz, California, Operation Poly employs approximately 6,500 people in its 75 global offices.
Today, the company still makes headsets, but it also offers business phones, video conferencing equipment, and software solutions to connect people.
Under the Voyager brand, Poly offers a line of wireless headsets and earphones designed for those who use clear and efficient communications in their daily lives.
The Poly Voyager 4300 UC series is its latest entry-level solution, specified for home and office users. Are these the perfect bluetooth headset for home workers?
Pricing and availability
The Poly Voyager 4300 UC Series headsets come in two versions, a single 4310 UC monaural headset and the 4320 UC stereo model reviewed here. They also make them specific Microsoft Teams versions with an additional Teams function button.
They come in the form of Bluetooth USB-A and USB-C adapters, and a Voyager Office base also allows units to be stored and charged when not in use. The Voyager Office base can also connect the headset to an existing phone system if required.
The cost of the Poly Voyager 4320 UC reviewed here is Â£ 212.95 ($ 229.95) straight from Poly, and with a charging stand, the price is Â£ 230.95 ($ 249.95).
It has become common practice to put Bluetooth headphones in drawstring bags, possibly because it reduces the costs associated with other packaging options.
Our Voyager 4320 UC was one such, with a small USB-A BT700 Bluetooth adapter and a USB-A to USB-C cable. The cable is needed to charge the headset, but it can also be doubled to provide a wired connection to a computer if you don’t want to use Bluetooth.
When handling them for the first time, they feel light (162g) but substantial. The construction appears to be mostly glass reinforced plastic with very high quality injection molding used throughout.
It’s also obvious that the designer of these designed them to be both stereo and monophonic right from the start, as almost everything needed is on the right side of the headphones. No control is on the left, which reduces this side to a simple driver on the left.
While this makes building monophonic models very straightforward, it could also make them a less compelling solution for lefties. All volume controls and the microphone boom are on the right.
Except that this ingenious design allows them to be fully reversible, moving the controls and boom microphone to the left for those who prefer it out there.
The head size is adjusted via notched arms which slide inside the headband. Once you’ve set them to your optimal position, there’s enough friction for them to move as you handle the helmet away from your head.
Where this unit is a little lacking is in the comfort department. The top of the band has a padded section on the top where the greatest pressure is applied. Less padding is provided on the pilots, as these are covered with a relatively thin sponge pad.
Where we felt a bit of discomfort was that the side pressure applied by the group trapped the critics’ glasses between their ear and their skull. Those with fewer beach ball-inspired skulls will likely be fine, but for others these might prove unsuitable for prolonged use.
Another exciting aspect of this design is that it offers a different mix of audio features than we’ve seen elsewhere. Its designers focused more on the microphone and its capabilities than on reducing ambient sound on the wearer.
The microphone is part of a noise canceling boom with dual microphone acoustic fence technology. This should reduce environmental sounds propagating to be heard by the other end of a call or conference. However, there is no active noise cancellation in the headphones, so the operator will still hear these sounds.
Because of this choice, these may be more suitable for home workers than those in a call center, or at least in an office that is not exceptionally noisy.
These are remarkably simple to use, as Ploy has avoided any complicated buttons or controls to confuse the user.
The only box is a single USB-C port that can be used for wired use and to charge the unit, and on either side are two small recesses designed to help engage the connections on the optional charging stand.
On the same side are three widely spaced buttons to increase and decrease the volume and end or start a call at the end of the box. The lights around these indicate the call status of the headset wearer to those nearby, a feature we would associate more with call center apps.
Cleverly, the mute button sits on the microphone’s flexible arm near the end of the driver, so fumble around as it shouldn’t be picked up by the mic, and it’s easy to find after just a few uses.
The on / off switch doubles for bluetooth pairing, but you only need it if you want to use the headset with a phone or system with bluetooth. Using the supplied BT700 Bluetooth adapter, no pairing is required. The headset will connect automatically if it is turned on when the Bluetooth adapter is inserted into a USB port.
Whenever something important happens, like the headset turns on or connects to Bluetooth adapters, a voice notifies the user of what has happened. From the user’s point of view, they are very user friendly and easy to use.
For additional control over the headset, Poly offers a free downloadable app, Poly Lens Desktop App. Available for Windows and Apple Mac systems, the application provides a standard mechanism for configuring all Poly hardware, including the 4300 UC series.
This tool is needed to upgrade the firmware of the BT700 Bluetooth headset and adapter. And can also set audio limits on the sound level of the headphones or on the abruptness of the volume change.
It is also possible to download different languages ââto the headset that it can use when communicating with the user, overriding English / US by default.
In addition to the hardware configuration functions, the Poly Lens desktop app also offers wellness reminders to let users know when to move or look away from the screen.
For companies with a significant number of these products deployed and more strategic planning of user protections, a cloud version of Poly Lens can be purchased, allowing centralized management of these settings.
If the 4300 series has one particularity, it is undoubtedly the battery management, allowing up to 24 hours of talk time and up to 47 hours of listening. It only takes 1.6 hours (96 minutes) to fully charge, and you can get enough battery life for 10 hours with just 15 minutes of power connection.
If used only occasionally, they will last 50 days in a standby drawer, making them ideal for infrequent users. All time figures quoted assume that the headset is used with the BT700 Bluetooth adapter as it uses Bluetooth 5.2 for greater power efficiency.
For professional use, the sound quality is more than acceptable, although the frequency range is unlikely to impress hardcore audiophiles.
To our ears, the lower bass and treble are clipped, reducing the overall audio space. Having said that, it’s not a bad experience. But it’s just not one with the wealth that music and movie fans would specifically embrace.
The focus of this design is the other person in this conversation, and this is where the Voyager 4320 UC is an exceptional design.
In our testing, we placed noisy equipment near the wearer to gauge the amount of sound that would be transmitted through the conversation. The acoustic fence technology used by Poly works remarkably well, canceling out most extraneous sounds.
For home workers, a barking dog or a delivery doorbell is unlikely to be commented on, although it might distract the wearer.
While they weren’t entirely comfortable for our reviewer, for the majority of normal humans, it should be fine for them. As with all headphones, their suitability for all-day wear is a personal matter, and we wouldn’t assume that everyone would find them comfortable enough for extended use.
If you can wear them all day, it’s a good experience, with very clear and balanced sound and great battery life. There are headsets that offer even longer battery life, but the ability to quickly charge them enough for more than a day of use in just 15 minutes comes in handy.
Even without active noise cancellation, the Voyager 4320 UC delivers clear sound and excellent clarity for anyone at the end of the conversation.
The audio performance for the wearer is not spectacular, but it is better than it should be for typical use.
What might be more of a problem is the price. These are more expensive than some of the comparable models, like the EPOS I SENNHEISER Adapt 260 and the Sony WH-1000XM3. However, they are cheaper than the Bose 700 UC and the Sony WH-1000XM4.
The Voyager 4320 UC’s positioning between these products suggests that Poly is looking to attract customers from both sides of that spectrum.
However, the lack of active noise cancellation can adversely affect customers who work in inherently noisy environments.
We conclude that while we liked much of what the Voyager 4300 UC series offered, they are probably a little overpriced.