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Poly Voyager Free 60+ UC review: Wireless earbuds for work

Our Rating :
Price when reviewed : £279
inc. VAT

They’re pricey, but these true wireless earbuds show a lot of promise for hybrid workers


  • Strong battery life
  • Useful touchscreen case
  • Spacious sound, clear voice calling


  • Noise cancelling could be better
  • Touch controls can be unresponsive

True wireless earbuds are nothing new, but the Poly Voyager Free 60+ UC are the first models to focus on work rather than play. Partnering premium design with comms-focused features, Poly has set its sights on building the perfect true wireless earbuds for flitting between the home office, workplace and beyond.

They’re not cheap, but the reward is a raft of high-end features, not least a nifty charging case with a built-in OLED touchscreen. That touchscreen isn’t just for show, either, as it adds quick access to key features and makes it easier to get connected wherever you are and whichever device you’re using.

Ultimately, while Poly markets them as being ideal for use in and out of the office, some quirks mean that the Voyager Free 60+ UC only really shine during working hours. If you can afford the expense, though, then it’s a simple question of where your priorities lie: work or play.

Poly Voyager Free 60+ UC review: What do you get for the money?

Poly is a brand that specialises in headset, video and phone solutions for business use, both in the office and the home. At CES 2023, it unveiled the Voyager Free 60+ UC, its first pair of true wireless earbuds. Retailing for £279 from outlets such as Amazon, these earbuds are positioned firmly at the upper end of the market – they’re even pricier than consumer flagships such as the Sony WF-1000XM4, which now retail for around £170.

Released alongside the Voyager Free 60 UC (£230) and the Voyager Free 60 (£200), the Poly Voyager Free 60+ UC one-up their stablemates with a smart touchscreen charging case. The bright OLED touchscreen allows users to access various controls and settings without reaching for a phone, and the case’s 54.5 x 72 x 33.1mm dimensions slip easily into a pocket.

Decked in either a Carbon Black or White Sand colourway, the earbuds weigh 5.8g apiece and house 10mm drivers. A touch-responsive silver section on the front side of the stem provides swipe controls, but not taps. There’s also a physical button at the base of the stem, which is fairly novel for earbuds, and this can answer/end calls, play/pause music, activate a voice assistant and initiate Bluetooth pairing.

Within the companion Poly Lens app, you can customise the swipe controls to perform different actions depending on whether the earbuds are idle, in calling mode or streaming media. Swipes control volume or toggle ANC/Transparency modes when streaming, the same options and a status check when idle, or the same streaming options again plus an option to mute your microphone or hold/resume a call when on the phone.

On each bud, three microphones work with Poly’s WindSmart technology to help reduce wind noise for voice calls and audio, and the adaptive noise cancelling system features a transparency mode with options for “Speech” or “Environment”.

Bluetooth 5.3 is present and correct, and this provides Multipoint features in addition to AAC, SBC, MSBC and AptX codec support.

Besides the headphones, in the box are two other items you rarely see with earbuds: a BT700 USB (-C or -A; you choose on ordering) adapter and a 3.5mm audio cable. The former – which is stored inside the charging case for added convenience – plugs into laptops and compatible devices and provides a pre-paired Bluetooth connection with all the above codec support plus the LC3 codec. The 3.5mm audio cable works in a similar fashion, too: simply plug the aux end into a nearby headphone socket, plug the USB-C end into the charging case and let the case act as a Bluetooth transmitter to your earbuds. Also included are a USB-C charging cable and S/M/L ear tips.

From a full two-hour charge of the buds, you’ll get up to eight hours of listening time with active noise cancellation on, which is impressive. The case provides a further two full charges, pushing listening time up to the 24-hour mark. Should you mainly be using them for calls, a full charge will only last five-and-a-half hours plus an extra 11 hours in the case (16.5hrs total), but a short 15-minute charge earns you 1hr 12mins of talk time according to the manufacturer. The case takes three hours to charge fully, but, handily enough, the buds are also set up for Qi wireless charging.

Poly Voyager Free 60+ UC review: What do we like about them?

It makes sense to start with the star of the show: the Poly Voyager Free 60+ UC’s touchscreen charging case. While it could be viewed as a flashy gimmick, it does speed access to features that would normally require a companion smartphone app.

The 26 x 26mm display doesn’t fill out the entire top side of the case, but the virtual buttons are a sensible size. The pairing process is as simple as pressing the Bluetooth symbol on the screen while the Voyager Free 60+ UC are already in your ears. Once paired, you can tap the touchscreen to start playing music from your device’s default music application (there’s no option to select an audio source via the case), alter the volume or the current track, engage and change ANC modes, check the battery life of your buds and the case, as well as an option to connect and switch between previously connected Bluetooth devices in your vicinity using the case.

The BT700 USB Bluetooth adapter included in the case also offers an extremely simple method of connecting to laptop or desktop computers. Insert the USB adapter into a laptop, and the earbuds connect automatically – there’s no faff with pairing or selecting an audio device in the OS.

The earbuds themselves supply a tight, snug fit. The oval upper casing and pointed silicone tips feel comfortable for hours at a time and, coupled with a lengthy battery life, make for earbuds that are well suited to all-day use.

While some features are accessible via the smart case, many more are found within the accompanying Poly Lens app, which is available on both Android and iOS smartphones and MacOS and Windows computers. The smartphone interface is rather clumsily designed, but the various drop-down menus reveal a wide range of features. Several of these focus on call customisation, such as selecting the ringtone for calls or second incoming calls, automatically answering calls when you put in your earbuds, and even the ability to get time-based, audible and on-screen reminders that you’re muted on a call. During my testing, all of these calling modes worked effectively across multiple different conferencing apps on my laptop and smartphone.

Another welcome feature is volume limiting: you can limit your daily noise exposure to 80dBA or 85dBA in the app so you’re not exposed to unsafe volume levels during your working hours.

Call quality is remarkably clear. There were no problems with intelligibility when using web conferencing apps such as Teams, Google Meets and Zoom for calls, and even amidst a gale in a cellular call, I was still understood clearly. My test speech recordings showed that the WindSmart tech lived up to its name: it provides impressive isolation from wind noise in even the nastiest weather.

Sound reproduction is similarly refined and I was most impressed with the Poly Voyager Free 60+ UC’s spaciousness and clarity across different codecs. Songs such as the bare IDM of “Green Lung” by upsammy showcased this in action, allowing you to pinpoint distinct areas where each sonic element was coming from around your head. On the default Flat sound profile, the sonics are decidedly tilted towards the midrange, and this became quite prominent on vocal-led tracks such as “Everytime Boots” by Julia Holter, though generally there’s a pleasing balance across the frequency spectrum. Bass notes are controlled but powerful, and the upper registers are satisfyingly crisp.

An in-app equaliser allows you to select between two other presets to alter this sound: Bass and Bright. The Bass preset made the warbling bass 3mins 20secs into “The Upper Hand” by Christoph De Babalon, for instance, rumble that bit more deeply, while switching to Bright brings the hi-hats to the fore. The choice of options is limited compared to earbuds with a graphic EQ, but they’re welcome all the same.

The Poly’s ANC performance is a little more hit and miss. With it set to Adaptive and the ambient electronic tones of Holly Waxwing playing at 40% volume, I couldn’t hear the fairly loud and consistent buzzing coming from our office air conditioning system. It’s also nice to find that the tonal balance of the audio isn’t affected by the ANC – music sounds consistently balanced with it both on and off. Turn the music off, though, and it’s clear that ambient noise isn’t quietened as effectively as by the industry-leading ANC earbuds from Sony and Bose.

Poly Voyager Free 60+ UC review: What could be improved?

While the touchscreen charging case is a novel addition, its overall usefulness is up for debate. I found the touchscreen most beneficial when the case was already in front of me, like at my desk, and it’s here where it proves slightly quicker to access the touchscreen controls than use the smartphone app. Is it essential, though? No. Unless Poly takes some time to integrate more features, or to display useful notifications on the case, its usefulness is fairly limited.

Another point of contention is the earbuds themselves: the swipe controls can be very unreliable. The touch-sensitive strip is located on the front side of the earbud stem and delineated with a different texture so you know exactly where to press, but I found that swiping upwards frequently had no effect – even if I took care to make a precise and thoughtful stroke. Swiping down was less erratic, but still often required multiple attempts before an action was registered.

In fact, when running outdoors on a couple of occasions, the swipe controls began activating themselves without my touch at all, pushing the volume up and down or pausing the audio entirely. My only guess was that mild drizzle or sweat was causing rogue swipes. Given the IP54 rating, this seems like it shouldn’t be happening.

As I’ve already touched upon, ANC could be better. While Poly’s WindSmart technology allows for a clear-sounding microphone on the other end of calls, gusts still affect your ability to hear audio coming out of the earbuds. I was regularly forced to push my volume to the 70-80% mark to compensate for the noise on a park run. The ANC also struggles with really noisy environments such as the London Underground, where its rivals perform vastly better. At this price, Poly needs to up its game.

Back at home, I also had some teething troubles with multipoint support: unlike other buds, the earbuds didn’t always automatically switch between devices. For instance, playing a YouTube video on my laptop didn’t stop music playing on my smartphone but rather paused the video after a couple of seconds. I found that starting a Google Meet or receiving a call on a smartphone would pause whatever was playing on the other device and switch over to the correct audio, but it’s not 100% consistent.

Poly Voyager Free 60+ UC review: Should you buy them?

The Poly Voyager Free 60+ UC make a pretty good case for true wireless buds in the workplace. In a world of hybrid working, where we flit constantly from desk to coffee shop and freeform workspaces, there are lots of plus points for discreet, ANC-equipped wireless earbuds that keep you connected when you want to be, but shut out the outside world when you need to focus.

Indeed, these earbuds do a lot right. The long battery life, comfortable fit, sumptuous audio reproduction and clear calling quality all hit the mark, and they make for excellent all-day business buds.

The biggest issue, however, is that expectations are as high as the asking price. For £279, the middling ANC, the unreliable swipe controls and occasional usability quirks are all going to be brought up in the yearly review. There’s no question that the Voyager Free 60+ UC are a welcome companion in the workplace, but they need to address their weaknesses to realise their full potential.

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