My Inc. colleague John Brandon is the king of finding cool new devices, gadgets, and technologies (like these gadgets that make travel a lot more productive.)
Except in rare cases, I typically don't review products unless I really like them --which is definitely the case this time.
I use a phone a lot -- interviewing people for Inc., talking to clients, doing radio and podcast spots -- and I've always been unhappy with the actual phone. Landlines sound better than smartphones but are far less convenient. Smartphones are extremely convenient but it's often hard to hear the other person (and with my Southern twang, sometimes hard for them to hear me.)
So I've tried a bunch (and I do mean a bunch) of alternatives, and finally found one I really like -- and can wholeheartedly recommend: The Plantronics Voyager 5200 headset.
The Voyager 5200 has four microphones and uses technology that definitely reduces background noise, including wind (the bane of most microphones.) I've even tried it on a bike; at speeds under 10 mph, the person on the other end can't hear a thing, and even at 20 mph it doesn't really impact the quality of the call.
It's also handy to use. Put it on and sensors automatically switch the call from my phone to the headset; take it off and the call switches back. You can also answer a call by voice command, another handy feature when you're on a bike (or, more likely, driving a car.)
And it's comfortable. I normally can't wear ear buds for more than thirty minutes or so without my ear starting to throb, but I've spent at least two hours on calls without thinking about the fact I was wearing it. And speaking of long calls, the battery lasts a lot longer than you need it to unless you love being on the phone.
If you need a hands-free option --and who doesn't -- give this one a try. It's my top headset pick by far.