posted: Oct. 24, 2012 @ 1:03p
Plantronics Explorer 360 Bluetooth headsets are only $8.49 with free shipping on eBay. They are new but in OEM (i.e. not retail) packaging, comes with a brief Plantronics manual and a decent micro-USB charger and this seller apparently has plenty in stock:
Plantronics 360 for $8.49 on eBay
I bought one of these a year ago from this seller at a higher price and he shipped very quickly, I had it in a few days, and was very pleased with the transaction. Here's my mini-review of this headset:
In a word, this is hands-down, the best bluetooth headset I've owned, out of about 5 Motorolas, 3 Samsungs, a Jabra and an LG. The three biggest problems I've encountered with the other headsets are marginal speaker volume, microphone quality, and comfort. The Explorer 360 excels at these functions.
- Perfectly loud, clear and adequate speaker. Plantronics pipes its speaker into a narrower diameter tube that inserts a few millimeters into the ear canal (no worries - it's soft rubber, not long enough to go too far into the ear canal, safe and comfortable without needing specific fitting to a particular ear, like with an earphone cushion) and it pipes the sound into one's ear, rather than just in the outer ear area. I've missed phone calls wearing an older Motorola or Samsung bluetooth headset while mowing the lawn, and I've never had that problem hearing the phone ring or had a problem with inadequate volume while I've been driving, as I've had with most of the other sets.
- Clear and strong microphone. With every other BT headset I've used, my parents always ask to me either to repeat multiple times or to take off the headset and just talk into the phone. Not with this Plantronics - no one has ever complained to me about the clarity or volume of calls when I've been using the Explorer 360 and I suspect that unless I'm outside and there's a lot of wind noise (which the 360 handles quite well), no one knows I have them on Bluetooth.
- Very comfortable to wear. It's about 50% lighter than most of the other headsets I've used, has a larger, rubber padded earloop that hangs comfortably without cutting into my ear like the thin hard plastic Motorola and Samsung ones do, and does not feel crammed or wedged into my inner ear. I've worn one for 8 straight hours and it was not uncomfortable.
- Long battery life, listed as 7 hours talk time, 8 days standby. I've had mine sitting for 10 days in my car with some sporadic use and then used it for several lengthy calls that completely drained my Android phone's battery and it still had juice available. It's easy to charge via the included charger or with any micro-USB cable hooked up to a computer - no proprietary chargers.
- Durable and reliable. I had mine for a year and it worked perfectly, with no hint of wear or other problems with reliability. The earhook is much stronger and sturdier than those used on most other BT headsets and will not easily break off as several Motorola and Samsung ones have done and the rubber earpiece is still fully intact, much more durable than the rubber earpieces on the several Motorolas I've owned that required replacement about every 6-9 months.
- It's a bit awkward to get on and fit properly, but you get used to it after a few tries and it no longer becomes an issue.
- Power button is the main connect/disconnect/function button, requires one hold it down for 5 seconds or so to turn on or off. A sliding switch would have been more convenient.
- Doesn't have fancy, extended functionality. It has no battery meter, just the main light flashing when the batter is low. One can do call redial by pushing the function button and supposedly it will do voice dialing depending on the phone (my old Android phone didn't support it with its older OS and I haven't yet tried to figure it out with my new HTC One V - I'll update this soon when I do that). It doesn't talk to you, pair with multiple bluetooth phones or devices, and you can't use it for music/media. But it also doesn't cost $79 or $99 dollars.
The Explorer 360 works so well with basic functions, so much better than any other BT headset I've tried, that when I lost my old one several weeks ago, I ordered another one, even risking that it might not do voice dialing with my new Android phone - I'll trade the volume, call clarity and comfort for increased functionality, any day. Last week I tried going back to one of the Samsungs I picked up a year or so back on some $9.99AR FW deal and the poor, inadequate speaker and microphone made it difficult to use and I could not use it or more than an hour without significant discomfort. As long as you don't need your bluetooth headset to talk to you and perform advanced functionality, you cannot beat this Plantronics and it's a ridiculously good value at $8.50.