The Jabra Engage 55 is a headset designed for a highly specific purpose: you spend a considerable amount of time on the phone; you don’t need noise cancelling, but you need the best possible call quality.
Jabra Engage 55 comes in two variants–mono and stereo, depending on whether you need to be able to hear what’s going on around you. Jabra explained that the Engage series is pretty popular among bankers and traders, which to some extent, suggests why noise cancelling is not included but DECT security with military-grade 256-bit encryption is. And on the grounds of security, there is no option for Bluetooth connectivity here.
“Research clearly shows that security is an increasing factor for businesses when deciding on new call technology. At the same time, safeguarding information exchange should not affect call quality, customer satisfaction, and staff productivity,” said Anders Hvelplund, SVP of Call-Centric BU and Global Services at Jabra. “With the Jabra Engage 55, anyone who engages in back-to-back calls are guaranteed a superior call experience, and those who work remotely will no longer have to be concerned about eavesdropping and therefore data breaches.”
This level of security, along with the robust connectivity and rated extended range (150 metres) and noise cancelling microphone with voice enhancements form the core features of the Engage 55. Because range claims can be quite unhelpful as they are often measured in best-case scenarios, Jabra representatives in Singapore gave us a demonstration of the range and voice quality in the backdrop of a small office and the headset held up quite well in terms of clarity with no signs of signal disruption.
The team shared they tried to test the range on the Singapore Flyer–as it was roughly 150 metres from the ground at the apex–but the signal cut out at 100 metres, possibly owing to the metal structures of the observation wheel. This is still pretty good as well given the circumstances and I see no reason to question the performance in day-to-day use, outlier circumstances notwithstanding.
Other useful features include hearing protection benefits, as it’s not uncommon to turn up the volume when background noise is getting in the way of your conversation. Preventive measures include Jabra SafeTone 2.0, which normalises speech levels so you can adjust the volume level of incoming calls according to your preference; intelligent acoustic shock protection reduces potentially harmful noise levels without affecting the audio quality along with a hard PeakStop at 105 dB, which removes sudden loud sounds. And to maximise clarity without increasing the volume, incoming sound is processed with BalancedVoice.
The base station of the previous generation (Engage 65 and 75) is not available in the current lineup, though we’re told that the Engage 55 will be compatible with the old base station after an upcoming firmware update. In its place is a Link 400 USB DECT ‘puck’-styled adapter, which was designed for everyday portability and durability as well as ease of use. Pairing is done simply through button pushes. Jabra does offer an option for a charging stand that looks like a base station sans the connectivity options, but there’s an $80 upcharge.
Aside from the choice of mono and stereo, Jabra also offers a convertible option. The convertible can be configured for around-the-ear, headset, or wraparound. There’s a tradeoff, however–while the mono and stereo versions have up to 13 hours of talk time, the convertible version tops out at 9 hours.
The new Engage headset works with all leading Unified Communications and Contact Centre platforms, including MS Teams, Zoom, Cisco, Unify, Amazon Chime, Google Meet, Avaya, Unify and Alcatel Lucent, which should cover the most common options.
Prices start at $477 for the mono and convertible versions of the Engage 55 ($557 for Mono with charging stand), while the stereo version is priced at $511 ($592 with charging stand). All are available in Microsoft Teams or Unified Communications variants, as well as the choice of USB-A or USB-C connectivity.