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Plantronics Explorer 500
BlueParrott B550-XT (2018)
See Top Ranked Bluetooth Headsets

Plantronics Explorer 500 vs BlueParrott B550-XT (2018)

Analysis:

The Plantronics Explorer 500 and the BlueParrott B550-XT (2018) are decent Bluetooth Headsets at their respective price points, but don't manage to stand out from their direct competitors in any meaningful way. We suggest that you also look at some alternatives that can be found for around $110 or $220.

If you're still interested in learning a bit more about the Plantronics Explorer 500 and the BlueParrott B550-XT (2018), however, read on for a summary of what we could gather about them:

The Plantronics Explorer 500 hasn't managed to earn a top spot in any roundups from sources that conduct trustworthy hands-on testing. Nevertheless, reviewers from sites, such as PCmag, PhoneArena, Techradar, and Wirecutter (NYTimes) all gave it a spot on their list.

As for the BlueParrott B550-XT (2018), it was really well-received by reviewers at PCmag, a reliable source that's known for conducting its own, high-quality, in-depth testing. It performed great in its "The Best Bluetooth Headsets for 2020" roundup and was named its "Best for Very Loud Environments", which, on its own, makes it a product that warrants a closer look.

We conducted an analysis of all of the review data that we could find on these two products. First, we focused on sources that tested and rated both of them, like PCmag, and learned that they all showed a preference for the BlueParrott B550-XT (2018).

Then we took a look at the highest review scores that these two Bluetooth Headsets received. We found that the Plantronics Explorer 500 managed to earn a rating of 7 from PCmag, whereas the BlueParrott B550-XT (2018) got its highest, 8, score from reviewers at PCmag.

Lastly, in order to better compare them to the rest of their competition, we averaged out their review scores. The BlueParrott B550-XT (2018) managed to get 7.5 out of 10 - considerably better than the 7.2 review average of Bluetooth Headsets in general - whereas the Plantronics Explorer 500 earned 6.8 points.

It should be said that doing a direct Plantronics Explorer 500 vs. BlueParrott B550-XT (2018) comparison might not be entirely fair due to the difference in their prices - some sources don't put much weight on value for money and thus tend to give better review scores to more expensive products.

Comparison of expert ratings
Highly Recommended
Recommended
Mentioned
Not Mentioned
Wirecutter (NYTimes)
PCmag
Techradar
PhoneArena
MakeUseOf
Lifewire
Tech. Specs Comparison
Plantronics Explorer 500
$59
BlueParrott B550-XT (2018)
$199
Noise-cancelling
Yes
Yes
Talk Time
7 (hours)
24 (hours)
With Headband
No
Yes
Has average expert review score
7.3
Overall Avg. for Bluetooth Headsets
6.8
Avg. Review Score
Score
Has average expert review score
7.3
Overall Avg. for Bluetooth Headsets
7.5
Avg. Review Score
Score
Recommended by trusted experts
Techradar
Trusted Source
Depth of
analysis
Yes
In-house
Testing
Ranked #3 out of 8
in “Best Bluetooth headset 2020: top picks for hands-free conference calls and home working” 
Last updated: 3 Jun 2020
Wirecutter (NYTimes)
Highly Trusted Source
Depth of
analysis
Yes
In-house
Testing
Mentioned
in “The Best Bluetooth Headset” 
Last updated: 26 Mar 2019
Recommended by trusted experts
PCmag
Highly Trusted Source
Depth of
analysis
Yes
In-house
Testing
Best for Very Loud Environments
in “The Best Bluetooth Headsets for 2020” 
Last updated: 15 May 2020

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