Plantronics Explorer 230

A budget Bluetooth headset.

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Plantronics Explorer 230
  • Plantronics Explorer 230
  • Plantronics Explorer 230
  • Plantronics Explorer 230

Pros

  • Compact, lightweight, easy to use

Cons

  • Poor incoming audio quality, no included ear buds

Bottom Line

Occasional users shouldn't have too many issues, but if you intend to use the Explorer 230 on a daily basis then we suggest spending a bit more cash on a step up in quality.

Would you buy this?

  • Buy now (Selling at 8 stores)

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At just $59, Plantronics' latest Bluetooth headset is an ideal Christmas stocking filler. Featuring a straightforward yet compact design, its low price point will appeal to those on a budget, but heavy users will be disappointed with incoming audio quality.

There isn't too much to say about the Explorer 230's design. It has a similar design to most other Bluetooth headsets currently on the market. A small plastic ear hook provides support when it's being worn, while the rubber ear bud is fairly comfortable. Unfortunately, Plantronics doesn't include different sized ear buds in the sales package, so not everyone will be able to obtain an optimal fit.

Use is straightforward, as the Explorer 230 only has three buttons: a call control button that doubles as the on/off switch and a volume control button on either side. Pairing the headset with your phone is a simple matter of holding down the call control button until the indicator light flashes red and blue, denoting pairing mode. Once paired, the call control button handles all the headset's functions, with the obvious exception of volume. Functions differ depending on the length of press; for example, pressing and holding the button turns the headset on and off, while pressing it briefly answers or ends a call.

Sound quality is about what you'd expect from a headset commanding such a low price. During testing our callers didn't complain about the quality, though they did note that volume could have been louder, even when it was at maximum. Incoming audio is disappointing. In addition to a lack of volume, the audio lacks the clarity that these units usually provide. Plantronics claims to use a noise-cancelling and wind-reduction microphone, but wind noise and background noise still affected incoming audio.

Battery life is rated at up to eight hours' talk time and nine days' standby time. A microUSB AC charger is included in the sales package.

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