Plantronics Explorer 395 Bluetooth headset reviewSee all photos
Packaging and build quality
Mommy always said the first impression is the most important, and in this case we're talking about the unboxing experience. While we understand the Explorer 395 is aimed at the lower-end market, the glued-up plastic box means there's no way to open it without simply destroying it -- we would've preferred a two-part box snapped together with a few notches, so that it'd be reusable. Furthermore, we were surprised to see a small blob of rubber cement holding the headset in place -- we'd never seen that on other headsets -- but thankfully it required little effort to clean up.
Comfort and performance
While the ear plug fitted in our ear nicely, the stylish transparent ear hook did get in the way of our glasses' arms; this wouldn't have been a problem had the Explorer 395 come with free-hanging ear plug options (as offered by Jawbone and Spracht headsets), but you get what you pay for. On a more positive note, the headset's 0.39-ounce weight makes this a tolerable discomfort, plus the volume and call buttons are all easily accessible regardless of the headset's orientation. Pairing with other Bluetooth devices was simple enough -- upon first boot the headset automatically goes into pairing mode indicated by a red-blue flash, otherwise you'd just need to hold down the call button for a few seconds to get to pairing mode. Once you're all set, you should be getting about five hours of talk time or seven days of standby time on one battery charge -- almost standard for headsets of this form factor.
The Explorer 395 may not be the most exciting product coming out of Plantronics, but it's always nice to have a more affordable option for those who are happy with "good enough" performance. Also, this headset's appearance doesn't really reflect its budget price, and combined with the decent build quality we think this it's got good potential. Of course, if you're stuck in a noisy environment most of the day, you'd want to spend more money on headsets equipped with noise cancellation technology, so pick wisely.