Poly Voyager Free 60+ UC Review

Poly’s Voyager Free 60+ UC is truly an interesting product when it comes to audio solutions. It’s rightfully positioned as a consumer-friendly option for those in need of a wireless pair of buds around the office. However, the company has also developed an attractive earbud to take with you on the go for day-to-day listening.

The Voyager Free 60+ UC was first announced during CES this year. As Poly is now ready to hit the market, there’s a larger conversation being had surrounding these little buds. Poly has doubled down to focus on the noise cancelling ability the Voyager Free 60+ UC offers. While there are some concessions to be had when looking at the earbuds, my biggest takeaway when using them has been how unique the charging case is. 

Without a shadow of a doubt, the Voyager Free 60+ UC stand amongst its competition thanks to the case’s touchscreen and integrated USB Bluetooth transmitter. The earbuds and case are fully loaded with premium features. This helps to justify the rather premium $461.95 CAD price tag users can expect when purchasing.

Out of the Box

There isn’t too much when it comes to the Voyager Free 60+ UC packaging. Of course, you’ll receive the individual earbuds alongside the charging case. One thing to make note of is the actual size of the case. 

Due to the fact that the case includes a battery, Bluetooth transmitter and colour touch display technology, etc., the case is large. While the width is comparable to Apple’s AirPods Pro charging case, it is much bulkier. This likely prevents many users from simply slipping the charging case into their pocket while running errands. 

The packaging also includes a USB-C to 3.5mm cord in the event you want to use the charging case as a Bluetooth transmitter. Additionally, you’ll find a USB-C to USB-A cord for charging the case. Two USB dongles are also included for pairing. Users will find USB-A and USB-C versions to plug into their PC, macOS, or laptop. Plus, Poly includes small and large ear tips to replace the default medium-sized versions. 

To get started, the buds use the Poly Lens app on PC, iOS and Android. Using this, users can make setting adjustments, and update their device. Additionally, users can receive tips on how to better use the buds via the app. For mobile users, the Poly Lens app can also enable the Find My Device setting in the event you’ve misplaced the device.

Buds made for the new hybrid office

Poly’s earbuds are being positioned to be the go-to for those working from home or in an office. As indicated by the name, the Voyager Free 60+ UC is meant to cater to those who spend hours in unified communications (UC). Whether it’s Microsoft Teams, Google Meet, Google Voice, or Zoom, these earbuds can provide microphone and listening capabilities to tackle those video calls.

The buds themselves are designed to be user-friendly, and comfortable. Throughout my testing, I’ve popped them in for hour-long calls. Thanks to the earbud tips, I’ve been able to find a pair that not only provide comfort over a long period of time but help them stay in my ear. Unlike other wireless buds, I haven’t been counting down the minutes until I can take them out and give my ears a bit of a break. It also helps that each bud is super lightweight, weighing 5.8g.

For calls and meetings, the Voyager Free 60+ UC is built with three microphones on each bud. Running along the stems of each earbud, Poly has built an array of microphones to effortlessly pick up your voice. The buds are certified for Microsoft Teams, Zoom, and other UC services. I was actually surprised by the quality the buds are able to provide. Asking colleagues, my voice came in clear without any distortions or lack of clarity. There’s also no need to worry about where the buds are positioned. Thanks to the available microphones, voice clarity has a wide pickup area. 

The buds also offer gesture controls. By controlling settings within the Poly Lens app, I was able to configure volume controls, resume calls, and event initiate various modes all via swipe actions. In addition, both earbuds include a small physical button. A short press will launch Microsoft Teams or answer a call. A longer press, on the other hand, declines a call.

A game-changing charging case

On a single charge, the Voyager Free 60+ UC provides 5.5 hours of audio playback. However, the charging case extends that up to 11 hours. I’ve never used a pair of earbuds that support a touchscreen charging case. In fact, I’m hard-pressed to even recall another that’s on the market. Therefore, the charging case for the Voyager Free 60+ UC was what’s been standing out for me. 

The charging case offers a colour touch screen, which can monitor and display various pieces of info regarding the earbuds. Battery status is displayed on the screen. You can also manage and pair Bluetooth devices via the case. Plus, with the settings option, you’re able to swap between the various modes offered.

With the charging case, you can control calls ie: answering, declining, muting, and control volume. Audio playback can be controlled via the case as well. When listening to music, I was able to play tracks and pause them when needed. The option to skip or backtrack was also provided. So many little commands that’d normally require me to whip out my phone can be done via the charging case.

Unfortunately, when it comes to music, I would have liked to see more integration of streaming apps. For instance, there’s no way to navigate a playlist or see which song is playing. You’re kind of at the behest of the skip function through the charging case when flipping through tracks. While the charging case has many great use cases, it very much feels like the first iteration of what could become a standard across many brands.

Not all work, play as well

The Voyager Free 60+ UC is also a good pair of buds to use outside of the office as well. I’ve used them outside of the home when running errands or travelling around the city. There are a number of modes available to drown out sounds if you’re looking to focus or keep the soundscapes of the city away.

Poly provides an adaptive Active Noise Cancellation mode as well as a Transparency mode. If you’re familiar with contemporary earbuds on the market, you likely know what to expect. The ANC feature can automatically adjust to the wearer and adapt to the surroundings. I’ve found that it’s great for blocking out the standard sounds of people talking around me at a coffee shop or music playing in another room. However, it simply isn’t able to drown out the bustling sounds of a metropolitan city. Unlike other premium buds, the ANC may be the only major shortcoming of the Voyager Free 60+ UC. 

Transparency mode works as intended. Poly includes two built-in settings—Environment and Speech. The former is if you want to hear your surroundings when travelling around the city. I’ve found clarity in hearing nearby cars, pedestrians, etc. when using this feature. Speech is better for conversations in close proximity. In the event that I was having a small chat and didn’t want to remove my buds, I could activate this mode. Both settings can be used via the charging case. 

On top of providing controls for various additive modes, the Voyager Free 60+ UC case offers Bluetooth transmitter functionality. When plugged in via USB-C to 3.5mm, the case becomes an analogue source for Bluetooth connectivity for devices that don’t offer native support. Granted, there aren’t very many devices on the market that doesn’t offer Bluetooth support. However, it’s always nice to have this option just in case.

Final thoughts 

Poly developed a pair of earbuds that service those in an office more than delivering cutting-edge audio and that’s okay. Those working within a hybrid office setting or running errands will surely find more use from the Voyager Free 60+ UC than audiophiles looking to elevate their experience streaming music. 

However, Poly is laying the groundwork for new functions a charging case can provide the user. I fully expect other companies like Apple, Samsung, and Google to look at Poly’s charging case and adapt some of the features for future products. Of course, this all comes at a premium. This is one of the more expensive options available. However, Voyager Free 60+ UC is one of three in the series. Poly also provides the Voyager Free 60 UC and Voyager Free 60 with modest drawbacks, which include a basic charging case over the touchscreen model.

The Poly Voyager Free 60+ UC is currently available in Canada.