Looking for a good bluetooth headset for conference calls

I am working from home a lot more now and spend a lot of my day on conference calls. I am looking for a good headset that has these requirements:

  • No specialized charging stand and the headset charges via USB
  • Single can-style headset with microphone.
  • < $50
  • 5-6 hour battery life
    There are a lot of options on Amazon, but it’s hard to get a sense for what is good or not.

I started using the apple wireless airpods after disliking most of my other options. These fail the first 3 requirements you have though I will say they have worked pretty well. Every other bluetooth audio device I work with screws up regularly and needs to be repaired constantly, these are the first ones that automatically just work.

The really surprising thing is this is on Windows 10. It switches the audio devices when I put them in my ear, then puts it back when I take them off. It just works, whereas my external microphone, other crap usb headset, and hell even my VR headset give me no end of trouble. I can always get them working mind you, it’s just you have to fiddle/repair connection/etc. I finally stopped saying ‘can you hear me now’ everytime I join a call.

In my experience they’d fail all four of his requirements—I love my AirPods but I can’t get 5 hours of continual use out of them.

Now they can certainly get more than 5–6 hours of use if that’s broken up throughout the day and I’m returning them to their case when not in use, but it’s not clear if that’s going to be sufficient for Mark (assuming he gets over all the other reasons he wouldn’t want them).

I pull them in and out all the time, that’s one of the reasons I am so happy with them is that they don’t screw up and are fully wireless. Battery life is nowhere even close to an issue with my usage pattern.

I am sure there are better, cheaper options, would be interested to hear about them. I also find them slightly uncomfortable honestly. But I mostly care that I don’t have to fiddle with them throughout the day.

There are rare days I am on the phone for 5-6 hours straight.

The AirPods is an option, especially since I am Apple-based so they can pair once for all of my devices.

You can actually make this work if you don’t mind using one at a time and just swapping them back into the case, charging one while you use the other and then switching.

I’ve had several pairs of these over the course of about a decade. I mostly use them to listen to music or audiobooks while running, but they work great for phone calls too. Battery lasts forever–I use them all the time and only charge them every few months. What degrades eventually is the padding around the earphones, but that’s probably because I sweat in them a lot. They’re comfortable, cheap, sound great, and have long battery life.

They don’t have a boom mic, but the mic built into the earpiece works fine.

I use these for everything, from conference calls to hitting the gym (they’re water resistant):

I’ve been very happy with them.

I use my AirPods for conference calls daily (often several times a day), and if I were to lose them I would buy another pair the same day without giving it a second thought. They’re so good at calls, and so much better than anything else I’ve ever used for calls, that I consider them essential.

The only drawback is battery life. Popping one out for a charge as Wholly mentioned above works well (or just using one at a time if you know you’re in for a marathon session).

I just upgraded to Windows 10 fast track to check out the new sandbox (cool) and noticed it now says AG Audio for hands free with the Airpods. Everything sounds crystal clear now, whereas before it sounded a bit low resolution. I thought it was Skype causing it, so this is nice. Just further cements my love of the airpods for conference calls.

I rarely use them for anything else though, unless I specifically need to hear my environment - they have little to no isolation unlike my other headphone choices.