You'll love these if most of your day is spent in Microsoft Teams or on the phone. They'll get by for your commute as well if you don't mind doing without ANC. The audio quality impressed us by not being bad and the battery life is pretty good, especially if you get the charging stand.
When it comes to wireless Bluetooth headsets, Yealink is relatively new to the game. Well, new to making headsets with two ear cups that also wouldn’t look out of place on your commute. Currently, the company has two models on offer, the BH72 and the BH76. The main differences are the BH76 features active noise cancellation (ANC) and better codec support for high-quality music playback. We received a set of the former for review which came with a wireless charging stand. There’s also a version without the stand.
If you’re familiar with Yealink, you’ll have already guessed who and what these headsets are geared towards. If you aren’t familiar, there’s a chance they made the office IP phone on your desk. Still confused? Our set came with a dedicated button to launch Microsoft Teams. That should give you a better idea of what these are about. But how do they perform? Are they worth a portion of your IT department’s budget?
Yealink proved us wrong
Our first impressions of the BH72, before we’d even switched them on, were that they a) looked quite comfortable, b) probably lied about the 40 hours of battery life, and c) thought they probably wouldn’t sound that great because they’re meant for meetings in an office. We were (mostly) proved wrong on all accounts.
These are on-ear headphones. As in, the ear cushions sit flush with your ears instead of around or inside them. This is only common for call centres and office headsets. On-ear headphones tend to act as earmuffs and that’s true with these. There isn’t much breathing room for your ears so expect them to get noticeably hotter.
The memory foam ear cushions are quite comfortable. It’s just the headband that lets these down. The clamping force is a bit light, they mostly rely on that band to remain in place. In this case it’s a little too thin, which means added pressure on the top of your head. After two to three hours, it got a bit much. But maybe that just means we need to take more breaks. This might be a feature instead of a bug.
Each ear cup allows for 180 degrees of swivel. That means they can lie flat on your desk or around your neck. We were surprised by the number of buttons on offer, surprised there weren’t more of them. But it turns out that most of them have more than one function, which is necessary for small ear cups. There’s a dedicated Microsoft Teams button that will launch the app if it’s installed on your system. It wasn’t on ours but we’d imagine if you use Teams at all, you’ll probably want these.
You must be this long for decent mic quality
When you spend most of your day in calls or meetings, it becomes desperately important to have an easy mute function. Especially if you’re working from home. The BH72 has two ways to mute its microphone. There’s a dedicated button atop the right cup or you could just retract the mic. The retractable mic might be the best feature with these, after battery life and wireless charging.
When not in use, the mic lives inside the right ear cup and only emerges when you extend it with a gentle pull. It’s held in place, either retracted or tucked away, by magnets. If it’s tucked away and you get a call, extending it will automatically answer the call. Then, when you’re in a call, retracting it will mute you. This means you could conceivably wear these on the bus without looking like a knob.
This implementation does have limits though. The mic can only be as long as the ear cup is wide. With these being on-ear headphones, the ear cups aren’t very wide, so the mic isn’t very long. Fully extended, it sat halfway up our cheek which isn’t ideal for whomever you’re talking to. Yealink uses something called “Acoustic Shield Technology” to try to make up for the mic’s shortcomings.
This apparently works in the same way as ANC. If there’s a single source of monotonous noise – like an air-con hum or a lawn mower outside – the microphone is able to isolate your voice fairly well from that. But when there are a lot of sources at different frequencies, like a squealing toddler running around chasing the cat, it might struggle with those. While the noise isolation of the microphone might be adequate, we expected better audio quality. Your voice sounds as tinny as any other call centre microphone.
Hits the right notes
Thankfully the audio quality of the headphones exceeded our expectations. That’s not to say it’s very good, it’s just not as bad as we were expecting. And that’s actually okay. These weren’t made for high-fidelity critical listening, they are for meetings and maybe a bus ride. For that, they’ll do fine. The sound stage is very narrow and the tuning definitely reflects their intended use.
After the retractable mic, the other highlight is battery life. During our time with the BH72s, we were never nagged about the battery or told to charge them. Not even once. Yealink says you can score 40 hours of listening, 35 hours of talking, or 112 hours of standby time from a single charge.
That roughly translates to around three to four working days of heavy use (long meetings or presentations, listening to music). Our set came with the wireless charging stand so that makes battery life even less of a worry. We cruised through a business week with around 6 hours a day of music listening. During that week we only used the wireless charging stand once (we forgot it was there). If you do end up forgetting to charge them over the weekend, they also support fast charging via a USB-C cable.
A few other things to note, the included Bluetooth dongle is going for a ‘less-is-more’ aesthetic. By that we mean there’s no protection over the contacts so we hope you diligently check before you insert it every time.
As with most headphones in this category, you get some sidetone with the BH72. Unfortuntely, with these it isn’t adjustable. You do get an equaliser in the companion app to adjust sound and you can save up to three presets. That’s pretty much all the app is good for, other than switching off the ‘busy’ lights.
Pricing is where the BH72 reveals its target audience even further, but at least you get a few options here. If you want the wireless charging stand, the set will cost you R4,330, or R4,600 if you want it in black. You can get the same BH72 headset and wireless charging capabilities minus the stand for R3,450. Then you can buy the stand later. The choice is yours. Or your office manager’s.
Yealink BH72 Bluetooth headset verdict
The BH72 Bluetooth wireless headset isn’t a bad first attempt by Yealink. It chose a section of the wireless headset market and stuck to it. Headset quality was better than expected while the microphone quality struggled. This is made up for somewhat by the other features on offer, the wireless charging in particular. Although, the price difference might mean the feature isn’t worth it for you. Maybe if you ask nicely, your IT department will spare some budget so you can get the stand.