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3 tools to boost productivity (and make work more enjoyable)

Publish Date:

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

News Organization:

The Business Journals

Source URL:

I love it when you can find tech tools that make life easier and help you get more done at work. Today I want to share with you three tools that I recently had a chance to work with and use that have helped me accomplish just that.

Impressive Bluetooth headset
Plantronics recently sent me a review unit of their new Voyager 5200, an over-the-ear Bluetooth headset, and it is very impressive. Comfort and lightweight are not just good ideas with Bluetooth headsets, they are necessary. Plantronics engineers must have put extra care into not only creating comfort and light weight, but they raised it to smooth and enjoyable. This translates to getting more productive work done through the day.

The unit has a voice control button which activates Siri (iOS), Google Now (Android), or Cortana (Microsoft) automated voice-command systems. You’ll hear an alert for talk time, and announcements of the people calling you. You can simply say “answer” or “ignore” to calls without lifting a finger. That is nice when your hands are full and you can’t reach the phone. I’m speaking from experience here!

The Voyager 5200 uses four separate microphones for noise cancelling to let you operate in more adverse environments (think noisy office, factory, street noise and more). There is a built-in WindSmart® wind avoidance algorithm to help you make it on those extra-windy days when you still have to be outside on the phone.

It is moisture resistant, which comes in handy in real-world use where it rains. It also comes with a portable charging device that extends your usage up to 13 hours. You can expect it to take up to 90 minutes for a full charge, then the unit lasts for 7 hours or 14 days in stand-by.

In my use of it, I found the Voyager 5200 to be especially useful when walking and talking in a city street situation. You need to have one ear listening for what is happening in your immediate surroundings while the other ear is wearing the 5200 for your conversations, listening to podcasts, or other activities.

Plantronics Voyager 5200, retail price - $119.99 
A headset so light, you’ll wonder if it is still there.

Plantronics BackBeat GO 3
Technology has come a long way. Years ago, headsets were very bulky and heavy for even moderate sound. Today the headsets available are so small you sometimes forget you are using them.

The strangest sensation for me was when listening to music, or a spoken-word podcast, I had the sensation that the sound was emanating in the middle of my head! It was a peculiarly wonderful sensation that I had not experienced before. Somehow they have engineered a product that dazzles you and provides a quality of sound unlike any I’ve experienced.That is what can happen with the Plantronics BackBeat GO 3, which is an update of the older GO 2. This headset is very lightweight, weighing in at 0.67 ounces. You could likely forget that you are wearing them.

As I type this on my keyboard I’m listening to some great smooth jazz on my Amazon Prime music. It is soft enough to not interfere with other essential offices sounds while simultaneously giving me just the right motivation to keep going during work. Very elegant combination, Plantronics!

The BackBeat GO 3 not only allows you to listen to your favorite audio, but you can take a call on your smartphone and then return to your music. It is up-to-date in that it will work with Cortana on your Windows phone, Siri on your iOS phone and Google Now on your Android. This can help you get work done even when your hands are full. Nice. You can also use the inline controls on the right side to adjust volume, answer or hang up.

The device provides six and a half hours of listening and requires two and a half hours to recharge. For a relatively low cost, and at an extremely light weight, this is a great tool to listen to audio, be ready for your phone calls, and probably forget you have them on in the first place.

Plantronics BackBeat GO 3, Retail price $99.00

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