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Plantronics Discovery 655: Worth Discovering

I have to admit that I was rather pleasantly surprised to get the very elegant new Plantronics Discovery 655 so soon after the release of the Discovery 645 barely a couple of months ago (see Treo Ultralight Wireless Headset Revealed).

Like its very popular and bestselling predecessors the Discovery 645 is an ultralight (only 9 grams) Bluetooth Headset which delivers excellent sound quality thanks to its DSP (Digital Signal Processing) technology and benefits from a unique two part pen-shaped AAA battery charger (which increases talk time to 10 hours instead of the rather low 3.5 hours standard talk time) and now vibrating cradle as well as ‘charge level indicator’ when the headset is turned on. 

Aside from this and the fact that the Discovery 655 kit does not include the (not particularly important) alternative charging tips nor the accessory carrying box both the 655 (pictured left below) and older 645 are nearly identical except for minor exterior design differences which remind me of the ‘rounded’ vs. ‘square’ debate between the Treo 650 and Treo 700.  It’s up to personal taste but I rather prefer the angular and more modern design of the new Discovery 655.

In my previous Discovery 645 review I had complained that “I found the lack of a USB charging cable in the [645] kit to be more than a little annoying considering that this is rapidly becoming a standard – it does however include a USB tip but you’ll need to purchase the USB cable separately”.  Thankfully someone at Plantronics was listening and the Plantronics Discovery 655 now includes a USB cable so that you can simply and conveniently charge your headset via your PC.

The Discovery 645 kit also includes an ear loop (above right) which I use because I find it considerably more comfortable to have my BT headset resting _on_ my ear with the loop for long periods of time rather than _in_ my ear as would be the case with just the ear gels.  Additionally, Plantronics have developed an ingenious mechanism for the fit of the ear gels so that they can be rotated left or right (images below) at a 45 degree angle depending on which ear you would like to wear it on.

However, while I believe that the rotating ear gels’ mechanism is indeed ingenious it is not necessarily practical.  My experience has been that precisely because the ear gels rotate they are constantly moving left, center and right in my pocket so that when I want to answer a call quickly I need to annoyingly fiddle with the ear gel first.  Plantronics could/should add a simple earpiece that can be ‘fixed’ so that those people preferring the on-ear experience can be satisfied.  Additionally, worse can happen if/when the ear gel falls off and gets misplaced rendering your $100 piece of kit useless…

Given the fact that the Plantronics Discovery line of headsets has been among the bestselling ones for the Treo for quite some time (and that even Palm adopted it as its new high-end Treo headset) existing and very happy Discovery owners might however consider that I am being unduly harsh but the on-ear vs. in-ear matter is one that I personally consider important.  Among others, this is why the high-end Jabra JX10 (below center) and low-end Treo Wireless Headset (below right) have been among my top 5 favourites for a very long time.

Leaving aside the ear gel issue as well as the relatively low talk time of 3.5 hours (albeit this can be increased to 10 by using the pen-charger), overall it is extremely hard to fault the new Plantronics Discovery 655.  It offers a truly elegant design, is ultralight, has a good and extensive kit which now includes USB charging, offers excellent sound quality with its DSP chip, vibrating cradle and also a built-in charge level indicator.

Below is a comparison of the current top 5 bestselling Treo Bluetooth headsets including the new Discovery 655:


Treonauts are always looking at all the ins and outs

Posted by Andrew on August 22, 2006 at 03:09 PM

Treo Accessories , Treo Bluetooth Headset

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by hamidlmt | Apr 13, 2008 6:43:07 PM

After a good bit of research, a decided on a Plantronics 665. It arrived a couple days ago.

Some first impressions after only light use...

I love the size. Seems to weigh next to nothing. The buttons are easy to find. It fits well with the larger supplied ear gel. I don't have many fears of it falling out of my ear, even with a decent head shake.

It paired easily with the Palm Treo 755p (on Sprint). Being my first Bluetooth headset, I found the sound to be quite good with a nice EQ curve... loud, intelligible, never shrill.

The connection seems to be fairly reliable, especially with the phone nearby. Within 2 feet, there's nearly no static. More than a couple feet away or if the phone is in my pocket, there's a just a hint static. I could easily get across a decently large room (say 10-15 feet away) and still be understood, though my wife said I started to sounds like Darth Vader. When closer, the outgoing quality was reported to be very good.

I was somewhat concerned about the ear piece. I had heard it fell off easily. I find it needs a pretty good tug to get off... I'm not worried about it yet and don't feel the need to order a gaggle of replacement gels to have at the ready.

I like the little charging pocket. The headset fits in it snugly enough. The purple light is pretty keen. Though, I don't want this headset charging on my night stand while I sleep... too many flashing lights in the dark.

A major complaint of mine... The interchangeable power adapter cords (USB and AC) fall out so easily. I often knock the cord out by just picking up the pocket. Several times, I've rustled things around on the desk, brushing the cord and making it separate. An engineer should be fired over this blunder.

The car charger snaps strongly into place and doesn't share this problem. Though, the car charger has to be just so in the DC socket to get power, sometimes taking a brief fiddle.

No comment on battery life yet.

All in all, I believe I made a solid choice. It's a nice little headset that will serve my needs just dandy.

by Olaf Köhn | Apr 15, 2008 3:41:27 AM

Problem w/ PLANTRONICS 665.

I bought the 665 some weeks ago and unfortunalety there´s a problem. Sometimes the 665 is flashing blue everey 5sec. but w/o/ connecting to my NOKIA E51. In this case it´s impossible to get any reaction from the 665. There´s no reaction to any keypressing. The only way to get out of this is to wait until the 665 is empty (after 3/4 days...).

There´s no way to reset the 665. Pressing the main key some seconds is not working. NO RECTION BUT FLASHING BLUE.

Need help - or I have to send it back to amazon.

by Mingo | Apr 22, 2008 11:50:12 PM

My Treo 680 does not transfer to my Plantronics 655 headset automatically when I try to make a call. It works with incoming calls, but with outgoing calls I have to wait for the person or machine to pick up, and then press the headset answer button. Is there any way to correct this?

by Jason | May 19, 2008 10:46:11 PM

Olaf, I have the same problem. It just stays in the "on" mode (flashing blue light) but doesn't connect or anything. Can't even turn it off. I just messaged plantronics from the website, maybe they can help me. Haven't found any solution to this yet either. Anyone have any ideas?

by gianmarci | Dec 14, 2009 3:50:47 PM

i have nothing but complains about the 665.

the buttons are too hard to use, and the voice answering doesnt work with sonyericsson terminals.
answering a call or turning it off and on is a PITA.
also, it often disconnect from the terminal.
the usb cable is plagued by false contacts, and so is the portable cradle, so endless fidgeting is required to get it charging.
for reasons i cannot imagine, the sound level DECREASES in noisy environment, making it useless in the car.

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