The Plantronics CS530 is the updated version of the CS70N wireless headset. Though the headset top got an updated color change, the headset itself, functionally speaking, is the same as the former model.
The base, on the other hand, has undergone some nice improvements over the former CS70N base.
- Simple Magnetic docking vs. non-magnetic cradle with breakable clip
- Wideband / narrowband selection
- Significant style improvement on the CS530 base compared to the CS70N base
The battery talk time has remained the same at up to 6 hours. However, with the CS530 having wideband mode availability, battery life can shrink to about 4 hours if using the headset in wideband mode. Wideband consumes more power which is why the reduced talk time. This issue can be overcome by docking the headset when not on a call, when on a break or at lunch.
On the subject of battery, the CS530 battery, like the CS70N before it, has a battery that’s non-replaceable. When the battery no longer holds a charge, it’s recommended that you toss out the headset and replace it with a new one (cost of $150.00 plus). If you like the CS530 headset style, but aren’t thrilled about replacing it when the battery is worn out, consider the Discover D903 which offers the same wearing style and has a battery that you can replace ($29.99). The D903 also connects to a PC and offers a warranty twice as long.
Up until recently, the CS530 wasn’t able to be used with a PC. With the introduction of the APU-75 UC adapter, the CS530 can now work with a computer. That’s a great added value feature for the CS530 because it gives more versatility to an already solid headset. The only downside to this added functionality is you have to disconnect the telephone interface cable, handset lifter or EHS cable before you can connect up and use the APU-75. Then, when you want to return using the CS530 with your phone, you’re required to disconnect the APU-75 cable and reconnect the other cables. A bit of a hassle swapping out cables back and forth as I see it. As mentioned earlier, the Discover D903 might be a better option to consider if you’re looking for a desk phone AND PC connected headset because the D903 switches between phone and PC by simply pressing a button. No cables to manage.
The buttons located on the back of the CS530 earpiece that regulate hearing volume and microphone mute are very difficult to use.
To effectively use these buttons, you need to secure the headset with one hand and press the buttons with the other. For those with greater dexterity, this can be done using one hand. In either case, these buttons really need to be made so they’re easier to use. Not a huge drawback for sure, but one area where this headset could be improved.
In terms of comfort, the CS530 ranks pretty high on that scale. Though the appearance of the earpiece can leave you thinking it’s pretty heavy, the reality is, it’s significantly lighter on the ear than its appearance would suggest.
In spite of the fact that you can use this headset with a phone or PC and it’s light and comfortable, all that doesn’t make much difference if the sound quality is lacking.
The Plantronics CS530 scores high on the sound quality scale as well. The microphone does an excellent job of picking up voice volume and reducing background noise and the ear tips in the ear allow the wearer to hear well without competing with background noise distractions. For those needing adjustments to speaking or hearing volumes, the CS530 has on-ear volume adjustment and additional mic and speaker volume adjustment located on the bottom of the CS530 base.This allows you to fine tune your speaking and listening volumes so they’re right for you and for your callers.
The CS530, like other commercial grade wireless headsets, can be used alone or with the optional Handset Lifter or Electronic Hookswitch Cable for remote call answering. So, the CS530 doesn’t have any disadvantage in this way.
Overall, the Plantronics CS530 is a very good headset for someone who doesn’t have frequent need for PC connectivity nor a headband for over the head wearing. Though the battery will cease holding a charge in a couple of years (according to Plantronics), many recharge the battery throughout the day in order to squeeze more life out of it. Still, they should change the design and allow customers to replace the battery which will help to eliminate this reoccurring expense.
In spite of the few drawbacks found on the CS530, I still endorse it. Thumbs up for the Plantronics CS530. It’s a great sounding, comfortable, easy to set up and use wireless headset that should meet the needs of most earpiece oriented office workers. But in the end, you’ll need to be the judge as to whether or not the pluses outweigh the minuses on this popular over-the-ear, office wireless headset.
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