In a shrinking global landscape, businesses have become dependent on email, VoIP and conference calls. These forms of communications have become the de-facto norm for most businesses, as keeping in touch has become a matter of vital importance. Most IT-savvy businesses are taking advantage of VoIP applications to reduce costs while remaining connected with overseas offices or clients. Tapping into this market is GN's recently announced Jabra GN9350, a dual function wireless headset which combines both landline and VoIP mobility in one small and neat package.
The GN9350 main features include the ability to be linked to a PC for VoIP connections while also connected to the landline for your normal phone calls. Switching between the PC audio and the telephone line is as simple as pressing a button on the base station or the headset (though the headset only allows you to switch to the telephone line and not back).
Transitions between the telephone line and PC audio were smooth with only a slight pause between switches. The Jabra headset also provides connectivity for Digital Enhanced Cordless Telecommunication (DECT) phones which must be paired to the base station.
Another function that is advertised but which we were unable to test since we were only provided with one headset, is the conference call function. The GN9350 allows up to 4 headsets to be set up in conference mode for conference calls. The GN9350 also boasts of a wireless range of up to 300ft (91.4m). Walls may restrict the signal somewhat but testing done around the office gave a decent range from which to roam about.
Audio quality is something that Jabra has always excelled in and the GN9350 is no different. Audio streaming in from the PC was pretty clear with no discernible static due to the Digital Signal Processing (DSP) capabilities of the unit. The volume is suitable for a quiet office environment, and does not leak out of the headset.
VoIP quality is very clear, and calls via Skye to a VoIP phone were clear on both the receiving and outgoing end. However on testing the telephone line, we got mixed results. While we had very clear incoming audio, the outgoing voice was distorted by static. This occurred both times when we tested with a landline and a mobile line. While the GN9350's microphone has noise-canceling functions, it didn't seem to work for our outgoing calls.
Clad in black and silver, the unit itself is pleasing to the eye. Removing the back cover reveals a LCD menu with buttons at the side for configuring the various features of the GN9350; the cover itself is easy to remove and conceals the LCD screen and connecting ports.
The headset is a long sleek affair keeping to the black and silver theme and fits snugly in a slot at the top of the base station. The base station also acts as a charger for the headset when not in use. The headset is rated to have 43 hours of standby time and up to nine hours of talk-time for telephony and six hours for PC audio. We tested the headset by constantly streaming music through the PC and found that the headset unit lasted for most of the rated six hours. The unit also comes with a headband and neckband attachments for users to choose from.
While the GN9350 brings about the merger of new and old technologies into one convenient wireless package, it is not without its flaws. One gripe that we had while using the headset was that we still had to manually lift the telephone handset off when either making or answering calls. GN has an optional remote handset lifter that fixes this problem, but it would mean adding more cost to an already expensive set (US$359). Despite its high cost, the functions of the GN9350 make it a solid entry into the wireless VoIP telephony market and a set to consider when upgrading the telephony network of an office.