Plantronics M55 Review



The Plantronics M55 is tiny compared with other headsets, so doesn't draw attention. Audio is good but noise cancellation could be better.

The most notable characteristic of the Plantronics M55 is its compact size, even by Bluetooth headset standards. Reviews at expert sites such as CNET tout its discreet and stylish body, which weighs just 8 grams (about one-quarter ounce). It's designed to sit in either ear but only comes with one size earbud, a drawback that some users with self-described small ears point out.

For the most part, Plantronics M55 reviews are upbeat. Both experts and users say voices are rich and clear in both directions but face strong competition from ambient noise outdoors. Indeed, noise cancellation is this entry-level model's Achilles' heel. The CNET expert reports that listeners could hear a minor hissing during testing outside. PC Mag generally concurs and adds that poor noise suppression also interferes with streamed music.

An unusually long 11 hours of rated talk time is another hallmark of the Plantronics M55. Users' reviews at Amazon mention this as a welcome performance attribute, although the PC Mag expert found that the battery actually lasted only about 8.5 hours in testing. Users also appreciate what seems to them like high-end quality for a budget price -- good sound fidelity, good looks, and good features, including voice activation for answering or ignoring calls. Still, some grumble about audio quality outside, low volume, and a short range in the real world (as opposed to the rated 33 feet) that means dropped audio when wandering more than a few feet from the base device.

The Plantronics M55 (starting at $30, Amazon) supports multipoint technology and A2DP, which, respectively, enables connection to two devices simultaneously and streaming for multimedia audio. This model announces alerts for talk time, battery level, and incoming calls. It uses a microUSB port for recharging.

Users who want a headset that doesn't make them look like a cyborg will take to the Plantronics M55. Weak noise cancellation is a shortcoming, but reviewers still consider call clarity more than acceptable.

Michael Sweet

Michael Sweet writes about consumer electronics. If something runs on electricity or ones and zeroes, he's interested in it. Sweet has written about PC technology and consumer electronics for 14 years.

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