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We cannot really do much, but recommend the Plantronics ML2 Bluetooth headset for anyone who needs to buy one for their smartphone. Extremely comfortable to wear, even for calls that may tend to stretch on a bit. The claimed range is 10m, which is pretty much standard for most Bluetooth devices, but also as in most cases, that is more of a case of 'in a straight line'. Nevertheless, you can move about fairly comfortably within a decent enough range, and the call clarity is excellent. The claimed talk time is 6 hours, but in our test scenarios, an appreciable 5 hours is what we achieved. This headset is light on the pocket, and is easy on the ear as well!
As is generally the case with Bluetooth headsets, you either find the affordable ones that don't offer too many features and well, just play the part. Or you spend a lot of money and get one of those flashy ones rich in the feature set, but that still leave you with a sense that something is missing. After all, the connectivity range isn't much different. Which is why, the Plantronics ML2, at its rather affordable price, makes a lot of sense to consider.
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Build & Design: Simplicity is the name of this game
Simplicity is the name of the game here, and unlike most other gadget categories, there isn’t too much difference between the design philosophies of various brands. By and large, the entire design is meant to do one thing - stay in-ear and let you make and receive calls from your smartphone. A simple enough task, something that the Plantronics ML2 does with consummate ease.
What you have is the matte black finish on the headset itself with a thin glossy black “boundary” giving a general idea of where the connection key is. Yes, this also has a universally accepted telephone icon as well. This is the do-it-all key that lets you switch on or off the ML2, and also receive calls, as well as handle voice commands. The gel ear tip is extremely comfortable, for long periods of use. The gel loop also sits behind the ear comfortably, and since the ML2 isn’t very heavy, the ear doesn’t feel the stress.
The ML2 charges via the standard micro USB port, and any charger for the same will do the job. Plantronics hasn’t included one in the box, which can be a bit of an inconvenience, but not for much long.
As someone who does not find every in-ear Bluetooth headset or headphone comfortable, the ML2 was surprisingly easy to get used to, without the ear cribbing about discomfort. The ML2 can be used with or without the gel ear tip, but we would always recommend the former, simply because of the much better fit it offers. The ear loop can be positioned, since it is removable, for using the ML2 in either ear.
The Plantronics ML2 has a very simple and straightforward design, with the one key on the face being the multi-purpose one.
The gel ear-tip is extremely comfortable, even for prolonged period of use. This is something that cannot be said about a lot of other Bluetooth headsets, particularly affordable ones.
The build quality is extremely good, and the Plantronics ML2 feels a lot more expensive than the actual price tag. Lightweight as well, which enhances comfort during use.
Performance: Doesn’t feel like a budget Bluetooth headset
For a Bluetooth headset that does not cost a lot of money, the Plantronics ML2 does pack in a decent amount of features. The sheer simplicity and ease of use while using all the features is what is impressive. As you would expect, the ML2 can pair with two phones simultaneously, irrespective of OS or platform. Setting this up is a fairly simple and standard exercise, and should not take more than a couple of minutes at the max.
While you are on a call, the headset uses a version of the AudioIQ technology also seen on other Plantronics headsets, to suppress background noise. While almost all Bluetooth manufacturers claim to have similar features in their products, this one does deliver on what is promised. Walking down a busy market street, and the person at the other end of the call could clearly hear me. And vice versa, when the roles and location was reversed.
Another thing that the ML2 claims to do well is reduce echo, something that bugs quite a few headsets if you are in a low-signal reception area. The ML2, even inside the elevator, did not develop such an issue.
However, what really interests us is the voice calling feature. When the headset is switched on, you need to press the call button for 2 seconds, till you hear a tone that indicates that the ML2 is now waiting to hear a command. Simple commands like Redial and check battery work well, but you cannot really say out the name of a contact to make a call - the old pronunciation issue that we face with most voice command setups. On the iPhone, double tap opens the voice control application on the device, which offers additional commands.
The ML2, for all its positives, lacks A2DP, which means this will not stream music from the smartphone. While we don't hold much against the ML2 for missing that feature, it would be good to have it in the future, making the device a rather neat all-rounder for most smartphone usage tasks on the move.
Plantronics claims that the battery life of the ML2 is 6 hours, but we got 5 hours of talk time during the testing, on a single charge. Not as much as claimed, but still very good. This will easily get you through most days in office, if you start the day with the ML2 charged at 100%.
Buy or not buy: Light on the pocket, and is easy on the ear
We cannot really do much, but recommend the Plantronics ML2 Bluetooth headset for anyone who needs to buy one for their smartphone. Extremely comfortable to wear, even for calls that may tend to stretch on a bit. You can move about fairly comfortably within a decent enough range, and the call clarity is excellent. The background noise reduction stuff works well, and makes calls much cleaner and personal. The claimed talk time is 6 hours, but in our test scenarios, an appreciable 5 hours is what we achieved. This headset is light on the pocket, and is easy on the ear as well!