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Lifewire / Erika Rawes
Charging base also serves as a stand
Comfortable to wear
Short wireless range
Not good for music
Sounds tinny at times
The Willful M98 is a solid budget option for a desk worker or trucker who doesn’t want to pay $200 for a more expensive brand.
The Willful M98 Bluetooth Headset is primarily targeted towards truckers and call center workers. For years, Plantronics has been a go-to brand for desk workers and drivers. But with so many options available from different brands like Jabra, Sennheiser, Logitech, and more, workers have endless options to choose from at all different price ranges, and the Willful M98 is one of the more affordable options. I tested the Willful M98 for a week, taking calls, attending meetings, and listening to music.
The headset portion of the Willful M98 has a pretty standard design. It’s a single speaker headset, with an ear cup on one side and a headband that goes around the head and rests against the opposite side. The microphone, which extends out of the ear cup, is almost 5.5 inches in length—long enough that it positions in front of your mouth when it’s extended, yet it doesn’t sit too close to the face. The microphone extends in both directions, so you can have the speaker and mic on either the left or right side, whatever is more comfortable for you.
All of the headset’s controls sit on the same side with the speaker and mic, so you can easily access all of the headset’s functions with one hand while you perform other work functions (mouse clicking, typing, etc.) with your opposite hand.
The microphone extends in both directions, so you can have the speaker and mic on either the left or right side.
The Willful M98 is not too heavy or bulky, so it’s comfortable to wear for hours at a time. It weighs about 50 grams, and the headband is less than half of a centimeter in thickness. I forgot I was wearing the M98 after about 30 minutes.
The main round ear cup is small (less than two inches in diameter) and has vinyl-covered padding for comfort. On the opposite side where it rests against the head, there’s a flexible curved piece for added comfort. The headband adjusts for the best fit, and it doesn’t press into the head, face, or glasses.
Overall, the M98 headset has acceptable audio quality and noise cancellation. While communicating through platforms like Skype and Webex, the M98’s call quality was extremely clear on most calls. However, I did have two instances when the sound would distort and cut in and out, and I had trouble hearing the caller on the other end. Aside from those two instances, the quality was excellent on the 50 plus calls I made using the headset.
The M98 can connect to two devices, but you can only use it with one device at a time. When I connected the headset to my cellphone to listen to music, the sound quality was mediocre at best. There wasn't a clear distinction between the treble and mid-tones, and the bass was weak. The music sounded tinny, hollow, and not as pleasant as it sounded without the headset (on my iPhone XR’s speakers).
One of the best things about this headset is the charging station, which is magnetic and holds the headset in place. However, the magnet is pretty weak, so the charging stand is great for a desk worker, but it probably won’t hold the headset in place in a turbulent environment (like a truck).
On the plus side, the charging station also serves as a stand for the headset when you’re not using it, so charging is intuitive. You don’t really think about charging the headset because you just place it on the stand when you finish a call, and it feels like it’s always charged. Alternatively, you can plug a charging cable right into the headset instead of using the charging stand. The M98 charges fairly quickly (in about two hours), and the battery lasts for about 17 hours of talk time and 200 hours of standby time.
The charging station also serves as a stand for the headset when you're not using it, so charging is intuitive.
On the main ear cup, you can adjust the headset’s volume, change songs on your playlist, and there’s also a main function button for pairing the headset to your devices and controlling the headset’s power. The microphone has a physical mute button, which is extremely easy to access when you're on a call and need to put the caller on hold.
The Willful M98 typically costs less than $40. You can usually find it on sale for around 37 bucks, a more than fair price.
The Plantronics Voyager Focus UC is an excellent option for call center workers as well. It offers a slew of cool features, like long wireless range, a triple mic with digital signal protection for excellent call quality, and a durable and attractive design. The Plantronics Voyager Focus UC also includes a carrying case. The Voyager UC definitely has its advantages over the Willful M98. It’s kind of like buying a $90,000 car versus a $20,000 car—both cars will get you from point A to point B, but one is a higher-tier model. The Willful M98 is a basic headset that will do the trick, but it won’t come with the extra features or flash that you’d get with a five times more expensive option like the Plantronics Voyager Focus UC.
A solid starter headset that’s practical for desk workers and truckers.
The Willful M98 is a decent-sounding headset that’s comfortable and intuitive, a surprisingly solid Bluetooth headset that's very reasonably priced.