Binaural headset for Mac Skypers: Plantronics EncorePro HW720

The EncorePro HW720 is Plantronics’ latest professional headset for phone calling via a softphone like Skype on your Mac. To enjoy all its benefits you need to install the Plantronics Hub app first. This software works in tandem with the EncorePro HW720 and Skype to deliver a comfortable and efficient phone calling/answering experience. The EncorePro HW720 is powered by Plantronics DA80 solution that fits both SOHO callers and call centres.

EncorePro HW720 is the stereo or binaural model of the EncorePro range. It’s a comfortably fitting headset with cushioned ear pads, an efficient microphone that can be adjusted and a lovely design. The HW720 fits like a glove and is lightweight enough to wear it for extended periods of time without becoming painful or tiresome. It interfaces with your Mac using a middle connector that sits about in the centre of the generous cable.

This middle piece is the actual DA converter and is central to the sound quality and noise cancellation capabilities of the EncorePro HW720. It’s the DA80 and it’s unique in more than one aspect. Not only doe it enable a great sound experience, but it also has been designed in such a way that you can disconnect it when you’re not talking on the phone and walk around with only about 50cm of cable dangling from the headset. On the cable end hangs a lightweight plastic connector — the female, passive side.

headset encorepro-hw720

Since the bulk of the DA80’s “weight” is on the active side of the connector, when you quickly disconnect the headset from the DA80 it weighs next to nothing. Which is good news if you want to take a break from a morning of phone calls or an afternoon full of conference calls.

The EncorePro HW720 not only has this type of well-thought out features, it also has good sound quality with noise-cancellation and remote control over Skype or any other kind of softphone. The control over Skype on my iMac was excellent, but it does require you to install Plantronics Hub, an app that manages your headsets, including firmware updates that might be available.

Plantronics Hub conflicted with my CalDigit T4 hybrid RAID system, ejecting the RAID at random points in time. With the CalDigit T4 unmounted, there was no problem. The app doesn’t take up much memory either. Functionally, it acts as a sort of middleware between your headset and Skype in my case. Without Plantronics Hub, the DA80’s mute/end call button didn’t do anything — with the app running, Skype acted upon the remote controls as it should. Also, the hub made sure the iMac’s Sound Preferences didn’t get confused by the presence of yet another sound device on my Mac’s USB bus.

Conclusion

The EncorePro HW720 is a brilliant professional headset. It looks good, sounds good, has noise cancellation and has basic control over Skype. As a professional product, it doesn’t come with an expensive enclosure / case, but as it has been designed to be used intensively, I guess it won’t lie idle in a drawer or on a shelf, anyway.

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