The Vxi BlueParrott S450-XT is a $ 179.99 Bluetooth stereo headset from a company with many fans in the long haul community. It has the best battery life we’ve ever tested in a bass that keeps you awake on the open road. But generally, we prefer Plantronics Voyager Focus UC $ 199.99 at Amazon for its increased comfort and active noise reduction.
The S450-XT $ 179.00 at Amazon is largely made of black plastic. It’s firm, but a little embarrassing, with 7.4 grams. The large earflaps on the ear are like pillows and turn slightly for a comfortable fit. The adjustable metal band tightens your head more firmly than many other helmets, but not as intense as a pair of Beats.
All controls are located on the right atrium. The up and down volume buttons, as well as the track buttons, a customizable BlueParrott button and a play/ pause/call button with the MFC mark, can be found here. The microphone is swinging and is folded by the right ear cushion; the helmet is not reversible. Like the Plantronics Voyager Focus UC, the S450-XT does not bend, but its headphones become just before travelling. The helmet comes with a hard case to carry it inside.
The S450-XT is charged with a standard cable (included) and the battery life is one of its biggest benefits. I have 31 hours and 29 minutes of Bluetooth audio streaming on the headset, well above the promised 24. Once the battery runs out, you can use the headset with a USB cable like a wired PC headset or with a 3.5mm provided cable as a headset.
Sound quality and performance
The S450-XT is set to the low end. This quickly becomes apparent when you compare it in wired mode with a very good pair of earphones on the ear such as the Bowers & Wilkins P7. The voices seem to have a veil and the high-end sounds recede, but the bass drums beat. This keeps you awake, but we really prefer a more balanced sound signature when you arrive at Plantronics Voyager Focus UC.
Large ear cushions provide more passive noise suppression than Focus CPUs, but there is no active noise reduction, which means you always hear low background noise when you’re in the room. a car or an aeroplane.
Just like at UC, the two-inch boom of the S450-XT makes a huge difference when you have conversations in noisy areas. Most stereo Bluetooth headphones with microphone do not reduce the noise. But the S450-XT did a quick job of intense traffic, and the sound of trains, and made my voice sound loud and clear. I would even venture to say that the outgoing noise reduction is better than the Focus UC. However, there is no return in the ear of your own voice.
The Bluetooth range is pretty standard and starts to break down about 30-40 feet from the source. But the chip of the S450-XT is not good, because Plantronics addresses the kind of interference caused by getting hold of the Bluetooth antenna of your phone in a pocket. I heard a lot more jumps and crashes of the S450-XT when my phone was buried in a jacket pocket than with the Focus UC; removing the phone from my pocket has solved the problems.
If you press the multifunction button, your phone’s voice control system is activated. The headset works with a BlueParrott application to read text messages and define the functionality of the BlueParrott button. It can be muted, speed dial, launcher or to activate BlueParrott’s walkie-talkie application, which allows you to communicate with other people who have the same application via VoIP.
Comparisons and conclusions
The S450-XT and Plantronics Voyager Focus UC both have a very specific market: those who want stereo music, but who also need clear call quality in different environments. For these people, a standard Bluetooth mono headset or a pair of stereo Bluetooth headphones just do not do it. The S450-XT is a good headset and has a longer life than the Focus UC, plus a convenient wired mode. But the Voyager Focus UC offers better sound quality, more comfort and active noise reduction, making it the choice of our editors.