Review: Plantronics Backbeat Pro 2

Headphones are an incredibly personal thing and finding the right pair is a journey that can last years. Plantronics Backbeat Pro 2 is their latest entrant into the market that...

Headphones are an incredibly personal thing and finding the right pair is a journey that can last years. Plantronics Backbeat Pro 2 is their latest entrant into the market that plans to service all your needs in a single headset. The Pro 2 is a significant update on the original version and these are the first wireless headphones with enough battery life to make them practical.

Wireless is finally practical
We all want to move away from wires, nobody enjoys having that tether to our pocket or laptop that inevitably gets pulled, tugged or even broken. The downside of moving to Bluetooth wireless connections is that you’re then exposed to the battery life.

Somehow Plantronics have packed enough battery in to deliver up to 24 hours on a single charge. While its hard to test that in one sitting, the key point here is that you can reliably pickup the headphones and just use them as you want, with the confidence that they’ll service your 1 or 2 hours of music or podcast playback. The charging process becomes a once a week en devour rather than adding to the growing list of nightly charges (phone, laptop, watch etc).

After using the Backbeat Pro 2, I’m completely sold on wireless, while many have tried, this is the first set of headphones I’m actually using daily. Its also appreciated that Plantronics provide an optional wired cable should you have the need for it and its super easy to throw in a bag and always have that as a backup, especially on long haul flights.

The only negative, albeit a tiny one, is that upon the initial connection from my phone to the headphones, the audio playback quality is a little sketchy for 1-2 seconds, almost like buffering. Once that resolves, things are flawless. Like I said, not really a big issue, but definitely worth pointing out.

Comfortable over the ear
Given the power allows you to wear these headphones for hours, you’ll only want to do that if they’re comfortable. Thankfully the Backbeat Pro 2 are great to wear. Not only does the over the ear design allow the cups to sit comfortable against your head, but they also form a sound isolation that opens the possibility of noise cancellation. At the flick of a switch you can shut off the outside world and focus on the content being fed into your ears.

Somehow they were able to get the weight down to just 289 grams. This is distributed across your headband and also helps to reduce the fatigue of wearing them. If it wasn’t for the audio coming from them, they’d become like glasses, or a watch, you’d forget you’re wearing them.

Features
The first time I removed my headphones to chat to my wife, I didn’t realise what had happened. When I placed them back on my head, I quickly did. There’s technology in these headphones that detect if they’re on your head or removed and conveniently pause and resume audio playback automatically. This is a massive feature and something I want now from every headset.

Life inside headphones often means you encounter family, friends, colleagues or randoms that want to chat. Normally you slide the headphones off, engage in the conversation and after concluding the discussion, you then have a job to do. Unlock your phone, launch the audio app, then awkwardly rewind to the place you were previously at. This is all resolved by Plantronics fantastic detection technology.

Design

When it comes to the look of the headphones, Plantronics have gone for a professional black design that look stealthy rather than should at you with bold colours. This makes them an easy fashion accessory to match in with any outfit your wish to wear. While they are over the ear, they are much slimmer in design than many gaming headsets I have and that made me comfortable even wearing them for walks down the street or trips to the shopping center.

The outside of the left ear features all the controls, allowing the important play/pause, fast forward and rewind options at the press of a button. I found the layout really logical and simple to learn. The other important aspect is volume control. With your phone in your pocket, the last thing you want to do is pull it out to adjust the volume of your wireless headphones. Thankfully the rocker dial that surrounds the controls provides easy access. The handy voice prompts let you know when you’ve reached the minimum and maximum of the volume slider.

Specifications

We know our readers love the details of products and when it comes to something as personal as audio quality, you need all the detail you can get. Heres’t he details on the internals.

Bluetooth – BackBeat PRO 2 can stream audio up to 100 meters from your Class 1 Bluetooth device. You can connect to two devices at once and easily switch as needed from concentration to conversation. Bluetooth® 4.0 + EDR, HSP 1.2, HFP 1.6 (Wideband).
Battery life – 
Enjoy enough listening time to take you through your longest workdays or redeye flights with up to 24 hours of music, movies, and calls on a single charge.

Microphone – Dual microphones with DSP

Noise-cancellation – Controllable active noise cancelling (ANC)

Weight – 289 grams

 

Price & Availability

The BackBeat PRO 2 headphones from Plantronics are available now in black and tan at JB Hi-Fi with Officeworks and Tech 2 Go coming soon. They are priced at A$299 which for such a premium pair of headphones, is a appropriate price.

Just a heads up, there’s actually a special edition of BackBeat PRO 2 SE coming early next year which will add NFC pairing, so you can tap to connect. There’ll also be more premium finishes to choose from and a hard travel case, they’ll cost $50 more at A$349.99.

For more information, visit www.plantronics.com/au.

Overall

These headphones are an absolute brilliant piece of engineering. There’s so much to love about what’s on offer here. Not only do they tick the boxes of looking great and being comfortable, they do something that most can’t and that’s have killer battery life. Whatever magic the engineers at plantronics have waved here, they should be applauded for.

The smart sensors to play/pause music when you remove/return them to your head is an absolute brilliant inclusion and should be a feature on all headphones. In a sea of competition, its the fact that so many small details are answered correctly here, like the fact they didn’t stop at having killer battery life, that they also understand the remaining need and rare times still exist where you want the option to connect a 3.5mm cable.

If you’re in the market for headphones this Christmas, or are searching for a way to treat yourself after a long year, then the Plantronics Backbeat Pro 2 headphones should not just be on your short list, but be right at the top.

9.2
Plantronics Backbeat Pro 2
The Good
  • Battery life
  • Design
    9
  • Features
    9.5
  • Value
    9
Categories
AudioHardware