Working from home is great, especially with an endless supply of (English) tea and toast. But it can also be pretty tough to stay focused with little ones running around, TVs blaring, and spouses cranking on noisy appliances as they go about their daily chores.
Luckily, Dell’s Premier Wireless ANC (active noise cancelling) Headset makes work-from-home life a little bit easier for us all. It’s an intuitive, premium office headset that gives distractions the shove while keeping you connected to crystal-clear conference calls that are free of ambient intrusions.
Designed especially for use with Teams and Zoom, Dell’s headset filters out background noise while transmitting your voice loud and clear in those all important virtual get-togethers.
And when you’re not on a call, the headset doubles as a surprisingly good pair of cans for music, too. At $299.99, I’d say it’s worth the investment. But what if you could get effectively the same headset (sans the Dell logo) for half the money? Let’s talk about that.
Dell Premier Wireless ANC Headset Technical Specifications
- Wireless Bluetooth 4.1 connection (direct or via USB dongle)
- Connect to PC, Mac and smartphones
- Active noise cancelling
- Teams certified, Zoom certified
- Noise cancelling mic
- Auto-mute feature
- Wireless range up to 98ft
- SoundGuard Digital hearing protection
- Up to 12 hours talk time, 15 hours listening time
Is the Dell Branding Worth the Extra Cost?
This is a great headset. But before we discuss why, let’s address the elephant in the room. Dell announced and released its “new” Premier Wireless ANC Headset in June 2021, but the core design is actually not new at all.
For all intents and purposes, this product appears to be a rebranded version of the Plantronics Voyager Focus UC B825 headset by Poly (formerly known as Plantronics and Polycom). The Poly headset is also sold right here on Dell’s own website.
According to both its exterior appearance (minus the red accents), and the officially published tech specs from both companies, these headsets are effectively identical. That’s reassuring news when it comes to quality. The Voyager Focus UC has garnered widespread critical acclaim for years, and is still one of the best office headsets available.
The issue is one of price. At the time of writing, Dell is selling its version of the headset for $299.99. And while Poly advertises its model for $279.99, you can quite easily find it for under $150. At half the cost, the decision should be a no-brainer.
However, Dell is known for running frequent sales on its website, so if you stubbornly prefer the not-at-all-red Dell version, there’s always the hope of a price reduction in the near future.
Tried & True Performance
It seems Dell didn’t deviate from the Poly design, and you can see why as soon as you take it out of the box. Both the headset and included charging dock look great and feel solid.
The headset itself is incredibly lightweight and the leatherette earpads are super soft and squishy. I had no problem keeping them on for several hours of my work day without getting all sweaty or feeling excess pressure on my head.
Setup is easy. For a computer, you just plug in the USB dongle and that’s it. For phones and tablets, you place the headset in pairing mode and it connects via your device’s Bluetooth settings. I tested a Mac, a Windows 10 PC and an iPhone, and all three were ready for calls in seconds without any annoying manual installs.
Teams and Zoom certification means you can expect the best possible experience with those apps, including answering and hanging up via the on-board controls. But it also performed well in other applications, like Discord, FaceTime, and regular phone calls.
No Noise Is Good Noise
Supreme comfort and ease of use are important attributes for an all-day office headset, but the big draw of this premium device is its noise cancelling prowess. It promises to boost productivity by helping you drown out interruptions and keep the work flowing.
Firstly, the microphone features ambient noise cancelling, so callers can hear you and not the ruckus happening in the background. It’s particularly effective at filtering out constant sounds, like vacuum cleaners or hair dryers that are unceremoniously turned on right in the middle of a video call (ask me how I know).
Callers will be able to faintly hear background chatter, but they reported hearing my voice much more loudly at all times, and work continued without issue.
Then there’s the all-important Active Noise Cancelling feature. Activated with the flick of a switch, it aims to reduce outside noise heard by the wearer. I put it to the test as my daughter enjoyed her favorite playlist of Katy Perry videos on the TV. While I could still hear some of the vocals and treble, the deeper base frequencies were eliminated.
ANC can’t work miracles then, but it does do just enough to let you easily drown out what little ambient sound that remains with a nice music playlist of your own (assuming Katy isn’t your jam).
Speaking of music, the headset speakers are surprisingly good for media playback. I expected high frequency clarity given this headset’s intended use for voice calls, but I didn’t expect the level of rich bass that these things deliver. It’s obviously not going to sound as good as a pair of expensive Sony or Sennheiser headphones, but it was good enough that I enjoyed the convenience of using it for music between meetings.
Smart Designs for Common Scenarios
Those headline features will sell headsets, but it’s the long list of other smart design decisions that impressed me most. Where to start?
Call controls are on the left side of the headset and media controls are on the right, which makes learning your way around the on-board buttons and gizmos really intuitive. Plus, the mic swivels both ways, so you can wear the headset whichever way feels best for you.
The built-in assistant voice keeps you well updated on the status of things like mic muting, battery life or Bluetooth connection and pairing. The USB dongle also has a status light, which flashes red when the mic is muted, and blue when active — giving you audio and visual reassurance whenever needed.
Presence sensors allow the headset to know when it’s removed from your head, at which point it automatically mutes your mic. This is especially handy if you had to rush off during a call and don’t want your boss to know that your “urgent” excursion was to take a pizza delivery.
And when not on a call, manually activating the mic turns on audio passthrough, so you can have a quick conversation with someone in the room without having to remove the headset.
All of these features are what separate a good headset from a great one. The ease of setup, the helpful automation, the audible feedback — it all comes together to make for a seamless and effortless user experience.
Pair this with great battery life (around 10 hours of real-world use), and excellent range (98ft claimed, but more like 50 to 60ft in my experience), and you have a quality product that really makes working from home — even in a busy household — just a little bit more enjoyable.
Should You Buy the Dell Premier Wireless ANC Headset?
If you work in a home full of family-flavored distractions or a bustling office environment, this headset might just be the best investment you make all year. It not only improves the audio clarity in conference calls far beyond that of your typical webcam mic and speakers, but it’ll also help you tune out those ambient distractions and stay focused on your work.
But should you buy the Dell version of this headset? Right now, the wiser move is to get the Plantronics Voyager Focus UC from Amazon, and enjoy the same great headset for half the money.
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