Poly Voyager Focus 2
With hybrid work now the new normal (that is, working from just about anywhere), there is a huge need for technology to be able to shut out the world around us for a time and allow us to work in a little bubble; to create a space where we can work distraction-free.
We see it with virtual backgrounds in our web meetings and advanced headsets like the Poly Voyager Focus 2 that both actively cancel out noisy environments for us and fellow participants when on a call.
Poly says Voyager Focus 2 comes with a host of revisions that improve the formula that made its predecessor so good. So let’s dive in and check it out.
Design & Comfort.
I’m generally a fan of the Voyager Focus 2 when it comes to design. It’s very light, compact and feels quite sturdy. The headband is a flexible metal and there is a nice mix of matt and textured plastics. Thankfully, the glossy plastic is only on the dock as it does have the tendency to show fingerprints.
My last two weeks have been spent flying on business with nothing more than a tightly packed messenger bag that included a five hundred page novel, Laptop, Travel Headphones and the Voyager 2’s bundled in a nifty neoprene carry bag. Safe to say, they’ve lived to tell the tale.
However, the Voyager Focus 2 loses a point for the micro USB charging socket; I think micro USB has run its course, and it would be nice to see USB-C adopted.
Poly’s formula for comfort was a standout in its previous model, and that hasn’t changed. If it ain’t broke, right? The headphone pads are soft, cool to the touch and breathable. I was able to comfortably wear them for hours at a time without feeling the need to take them off.
Technology & Usability
The Voyager Focus 2 hasn’t been left wanting for technology either. There is a raft of new features which improve connectivity, battery life and user experience.
As we’ve come to expect with Poly, it’s so simple to set up. Plug the included BT700 dongle in, turn on the Voyager Focus 2, and your PC will take care of the rest with setting up complete in under 10 seconds. With native support for all the major collaboration platforms out there such as Teams and Webex, you’ll be up and running before you know it. If you do get stuck, there is a quick reference guide card complete with a Q code link.
Bluetooth 5.1 has been introduced, offering improved transmission speeds and sound quality. It also lowers energy consumption and increases range.
Poly has also beefed up the battery life, meaning you’ll get up to 19 hours of use off one two hour charge and about 40 hours of listening time if you’re using it for media like music.
In addition to this, Poly’s propeller heads have introduced a suite of acoustic aids and sensors which they combine to call the “focus zone”. It entails three levels of active noise cancelling, acoustic fence technology (suppresses background noise for your listeners), and dynamic mute alert that lets you know if you’re speaking while muted. Other human-centred engineering features include the ability to answer a call by just placing the headset on your head. You can place them on mute by simply putting them back down on the table or swivelling the microphone boom back to the vertical. Beautiful.
The only minor bugbear was the ability to pause what you’re listening to when putting the headset down. There is a delay of a few seconds, so you may find yourself having to rewind five or so seconds to get that detail back.
Another feature that Poly has considered is a “do not disturb” light that flashes when you’re on a call to let others know not to interrupt you. It sounds like an excellent idea in principle, but how do people around you know what the flashing light means? You may need to put up a sign at your cubical that says, “if the light is a flashin’, don’t come to a’knockin'” or something to that effect.
Sound Quality: Calls
Once you’ve used a headset like the Voyager Focus 2, you’ll wonder how you worked without it. It really does make life easier, switching on full active noise cancelling in a noisy office environment almost teleports you into a closed meeting room, it’s that effective.
The voice clarity is clear and lifelike. The quality of the microphone too, did well to suppress the noisy office environment with my colleague’s feedback
Sound Quality: Media
The Voyager Focus 2 surprised me on this test, particularly with music.
Given that audiophile-grade sound probably wasn’t a primary goal when the engineers set out to design this headset, they’ve done an outstanding job tuning them for a wide range of music. For this test, I listened to Sons Of The East’s “You Might Think” and several tracks from the No Time Die soundtrack by Hans Zimmer.
The soundstage is impressive, and there is no distortion across the range. Hans Zimmer uses rumbling bass effects in many of his tracks, and the Voyager Focus 2 didn’t break a sweat. Harmonica and Acoustic Guitar feature heavily in “You Might Think” from Sons Of The East, and Voyager Focus 2 lets those instruments in the higher frequency range shine. There is a good separation between the instruments and vocals to create an excellent listening experience- a good portion of detail and no muddiness. This was not what I expected for a headset that’s primary purpose is web meetings—props to the engineers at Poly for not neglecting this. I wouldn’t feel like I was losing out by using these just out of convenience as a music lover. Couple this sound quality with the active noise cancelling, and you can happily disappear for hours into your work in a bubble of serenity. Just be forewarned; if you’re working from home with your spouse in the house, let them know you’re not ignoring them; it’s just that the active noise cancelling on the Voyager Focus 2 is pretty darn good. If it’s this good with music, it goes without saying that it’s good with other forms of media too.
The Poly Voyager Focus 2 strikes an excellent balance between work and play, which is fitting given the seismic shift in how many of us will work moving into the future. The battery life is strong, and as mentioned, the sound quality and active noise cancelling en pointe.
Is this a headset I would recommend? Yes. Is it one I would buy? Yes- it’s on the shopping list, actually. Don’t forget to chat to your tax accountant about claiming it back for work use!
Many thanks to Poly for the loan of the Poly Voyager Focus 2 for this review!