Jabra 9450 and 9460 Headsets for Lync

This past week I had the chance to try out two different wireless headset options for Lync that are available from Jabra. I wouldn't have guessed it based on the model numbers, but the 9460 is the older headset of the two. It has a touchscreen control and mute button which l thought was a huge bonus.

9460 headset and base station:

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The charging stand for the headset has a docking station that swivels, but I found the angle options you can put the headset at weren't very thought out. It's impossible to turn the headset to 90 degrees so the boom mic ends up behind the touchscreen in order to save some space. Oddly enough, they do let you turn the stand completely the opposite way in case you wanted to make the dock and headset take us as much room as humanly possible.

After using it for a bit I have to say I was pretty disappointed with the quality of the screen. It sure looks nice, but the touchscreen itself was not very responsive. I found I usually had to hit the button a few times before it would register. There also seemed to be a bit of a delay between the time I would press the button and when it would be marked as a mute in Lync.

9460 touch screen:

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I was a bit wary of that touchscreen up front so I had also ordered the newer, 9450 model as a backup option. The base station and headset itself are identical to the 9460 and it has the same swivel restrictions. It doesn't look nearly as slick, but it does have physical buttons for mute and the ability to switch between a desk phone and softphone. I've found these physical buttons to be much more responsive and was much happier with this model.

9450 headset and base station:

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9450 physical buttons:

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The headsets each have a charging connector on one of the ears which docks on to the charging station. I found it a little awkward to place the first few times, but it got easier the more I used it. It would be swell if you could point the boom mic up or some other direction than the default because I kept knocking it into my desk when trying to get it charged.

Headset and charging station:

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I should also say that both headsets were extremely comfortable to wear and the sound quality was fantastic. If you're looking for a new Lync headset I'd probably suggest the 9450 at this point. The models are roughly the same price, but the base station on the 9450 seems like much higher quality and it is a more recent piece of hardware, for whatever that's worth.

In the end I found the sweet spot for me was resting the free end of the headset on top of my Polycom CX600:

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Device Review: Jabra GO 6430 OC Wireless Headset

A few weeks ago I started a new job and had to turn in all my UC certified devices to the old employer, which left me needing to pick up some sort of headset for use with Communicator on the road. I took a peek at the Phones and Devices Optimized for Microsoft Office Communicator page and noticed Jabra had a few newly certified devices listed. The Jabra GO 6430 caught my eye mostly because of the  small form factor and sturdy looking design so I decided to give it a shot and placed an order for one.

You can see from the photos below that the device is actually a really nice size.  I’ve had trouble in the past with really small headsets, but I also don’t care for the ones that extend all the way to your mouth. The charging case also doubles nicely as a carrying case, especially for someone who needs to throw a headset in a bag constantly. Unfortunately, the aesthetics are about the only thing Jabra got right. Here are a few photos of the package:

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When it arrived I pulled it out, plugged the USB dongle in and tried doing some test calls with Communicator. I placed a call from my mobile to my work number and tried to answer by pressing the multi-function button. It did nothing. Ok, how about outbound? Press the button, and no dial tone. It was as if the button was worthless. Digging a little deeper into the package I found a CD and some documentation (who reads that?) so I popped it in and installed the Jabra Software Suite. After that, I was able to use the multi-function to partially control calls in MOC. For an outbound call I could now get a dial tone by pressing the button, but I still didn’t have much luck with inbound calls. I had some mixed results with the headset either not picking up or it would send the call directly to voicemail, but both were undesirable to say the least.

It only gets worse. Every time I made a settings change within the Jabra suite it seemed take down my entire wireless stack of 802.11 and Bluetooth for a few seconds. At this point I threw in the towel and gave up. Maybe it was my PC, or Windows 7, or some other combination but the bottom line is I shouldn’t have to mess with anything to make these certified devices work flawlessly. I’ve never had issues in the past with any other product, Jabra made or not, but this was unusable. Integrators and especially end-users aren’t going to spend time trying to make these things work – they just expect it to work easily. Giving someone a softphone is already a sensitive subject at times and having a device that flakes out completely ruins any hope of a good user experience. Bottom line: don’t waste your money.