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Lifewire / Andy Zahn
Good sound quality
Light and compact
Easy to use with practice
Takes time to learn to use correctly
The Sennheiser Presence-UC is a perfectly adequate single sided Bluetooth headset that struggles to justify its high MSRP over less expensive wireless earbuds that overshadow it in terms of audio quality.
Hands-free communication has become an absolute necessity for many people. For anyone who spends a lot of time talking on their phone, comfort and audio quality are a big deal. The Sennheiser Presence-UC promises the high standards of quality and comfort that its venerable brand is known for, but can this earpiece match up to the best Bluetooth headsets?
The Presence-UC is a classy looking device. Its black and silver exterior is eminently preferable to the broken Q-tip-stuck-in-the-ear appearance of Apple Earpods—the Presence-UC is very much the earpiece of the dynamic executive.
It’s equally excellent from a portability standpoint. It’s feather light, and I appreciated its small size, as well as the tough clamshell carrying case that comes with it. However, it should be noted that though this case is designed to hold both the earpiece and its accessories, fitting everything into it properly is a trying experience. The charging cable in particular has a frustrating tendency to pop out of its designated slot.
The Sennheiser Presence-UC faces serious competition from affordable, high quality wireless earbuds.
The controls took some getting used to, but practice proved rewarding, granting excellent control over phone calls and volume. I also appreciated the satisfying power mechanism where the front of the earpiece is pulled out to power on, and pushed back in to power off. This is reassuring as it provides a tangible indication of power status.
I had some difficulty fitting the Presence-UC into my ear initially. The ear hook felt clumsy and awkward, and the ear pad was uncomfortable in my ear. This discomfort was ameliorated by using one of the differently sized included earpads, but it was still not as comfortable as the Bose earbuds I typically use.
However, after a few days of using the ear piece I discovered that the issue was that I was not wearing the earpiece properly, and that it was much easier to attach and more comfortable to wear than I initially found. Given enough practice I was easily able to slip in on one handed, the trick being to let the ear pad rest gently in the outer portion of your ear and not insert it deeper into your ear. Correctly used and fitted it’s very comfortable for extended periods of use.
I never had any trouble keeping the Presence-UC on my ear even when used in its optimal but seemingly less secure position. No matter how violently I shook my head it stayed firmly in place.
The Presence-UC provides perfectly adequate sound quality, though I wasn’t overly impressed. Conversations are pleasant, especially on the receiving end. People I talked to while using it mentioned that it sounded like I was talking on speaker phone. Single earpieces like the Presence-UC aren’t really meant for listening to music, but so long as you don’t mind listening through only one ear this earpiece is no slouch. The Presence-UC performed well throughout a range of frequencies. However, there is no noise cancelling to speak of, though this is actually an advantage in a wireless earpiece as it allows you to remain aware of your surroundings.
The Presence-UC isn’t a complicated device—it has one task to do and it does it well. However, it does include a few useful features such as noise filtration and wind noise reduction. This doesn’t cancel the noise you hear, and is primarily intended to make you more understandable to the person on the other end of the conversation. The end result is less than impressive, but it does help.
The Presence-UC also includes support for digital assistants, which I appreciated as it allowed me to ask Google for directions, or to dial numbers with a single press of a button.
Its black and silver exterior is eminently preferable to the broken Q-tip-stuck-in-the-ear appearance of Apple Earpods.
Bluetooth 4.0 connectivity is well implemented in the Presence-UC. I was able to connect to it quickly and without undue difficulty. Its advertised 25-meter range seemed to be accurate, and I was able to easily move between adjacent rooms from my phone or computer without losing signal.
Sennheiser claims that the Presence-UC can last up to 10 hours without charging, and this seems to be more or less correct. It easily lasts long enough to get you through a work day with juice to spare.
The Presence-UC is fairly pricey at its MSRP of $200, but fortunately it’s more typically sold for about half that price. However, as the same functionality and quality can be found in wireless earbuds in that same price range, it’s still hardly a bargain even at a discount.
The Sennheiser Presence-UC, and really any single wireless earpiece, faces serious competition from affordable, high quality wireless earbuds. The Bose Wireless Soundsport is a particularly excellent example. I’ve used the Soundsport on a daily basis for nearly two years, and not only has it withstood all manner of abuse, it delivers top notch sound quality for both conversations and music listening. With similar retail prices, it’s hard to recommend the Presence-UC over the Soundsport.
However, the lack of passive noise canceling for the benefit of spatial awareness with the Presence-UC may appeal to some, as will its extra light weight.
A good earpiece that lags behind the times.
The Sennheiser Presence-UC is an excellent headset. It offers decent sound quality and is easy to use once you get used to its design quirks. However, the basic concept of wireless earpieces is somewhat dated, and you might be better off with a good pair of wireless earbuds instead.