REVIEW - Plantronics BackBeat Pro Wireless Noise Canceling Headphones
Author: Hayden Barton
Posted: 5th September 2015 at 11:32am
Tekket Rating: 9.2 / 10
Manufacturer: Plantronics
Product: BackBeat Pro
Price: £160 - $250
Product Link: Click Here
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Specifications
Connectivity: Bluetooth 4.0 / 3.0 / 2.1 / 2.0 & 3.5mm Headphone Jack
Bluetooth Range: Up to 100 meters / 330 feet
Noise Cancellation: Controllable Active Noise Cancellation (ANC)
Battery: Internal rechargeable lithium-ion / 3 hour charge time / 24 hour playback
Main Materials: Plastic / Leather / Small amount of metal mesh
Weight (Headphones): 340g
Weight (Headphones + Bag + 2x Cables): 490g
Unboxing
The Plantronics BackBeat Pro arrive in well thought out and designed packaging using a number of different materials (plastic, cardboard and foam). Firstly we see an image of the headphones, a few features and the product name printed on the front of the cardboard sleeve.
On the back of the cardboard sleeve are more images and features, the compatibility of devices the headphones support (mobiles, tablets and computers) and more features presented in 11 languages as well as the headphones specifications and accessories.
On the sides there is a clear plastic so you can see the headphones inside the packaging.
Removing the cardboard sleeve you are presented with the inner box like packaging. The lid is made from cardboard with a black textured finish withe the Plantronics logo placed in the center.
The inside of the lid also helps protect the headphones with it's ~5mm thick foam lining.
Removing the lid you can see the headphones snugly fit in the packaging .
The the gray rock like packaging the headphones are displayed in is a nice touch and gives the headphones a sense of quality and class. Made from paper foam (100% biodegradable and recyclable paper) it also makes the biggest feature of the packaging environmentally friendly.
Underneath the rock like display is the accessories folded inside the nylon headphone travel bag will get to shortly. To keep it folded neatly, there is a paper sleeve displaying its contents.
The accessories inside the travel bag including the USB charging cable, a 3.5mm headphone cable to listen to music even when the headphones run out of charge as well as a getting started and safety manuals inside there own black paper sleeve branded with the Plantronics logo.
Review
The Plantronics BackBeat Pro Headphones include a very high quality ballistic nylon carrying case to safely transport your headphones when not in use.
The case has a fully lined soft purple velvet interior to keep your headphone in predestine condition, kept closed by a strong piece of Velcro.
One of the two included cables is the 3.5mm headphone jack with inline controls. The cable features a 3 button control, gold plated connectors and a deep purple rubber cable.
The second cable is the micro USB type B cable used for charging the headphones, again they feature the deep purple rubber cable design.
Constructed from plastic, leather and a little bit of metal, the build quality of the BackBeat Pro's is excellent! The 340 gram weight of the headphones also helps with the feel of high quality build. Everything seams to be well put together, there are no loose parts, leather or joints.
The left and right earphones can be turned 90 degrees so they can be fit into the included purple velvet lined carrying bag for a more compact fit, unfortunately the BackBeat Pro's do not fold in like conventional headphones, but that is acceptable due to the feature set they have.
The headband is lined in soft black perforated leather on the inside and non-perforated leather on the outside.
Towards the joint between the headband and the earphones is a gloss piece of plastic marked with the Plantronics logo. Located on the left side of the headband is a small purple tag with the word 'PRO' stitched into the leather.
The headphone ear pad cushions are made with premium soft black leather covered foam with a purple accented cloth to cover the perfectly tuned 40mm speaker drivers in the middle marked with 'L' and 'R' in white to guide the orientation of the BackBeat Pro's.
On the right hand side earphone is the power switch followed by the 5 blue (And 1 red) LED's to indicate power and battery levels under the silver metal mesh.
On the left earphone is a number of functions. You can see here the large easy to press Play/Pause button with a mention of NFC above it, Mobile devices that support NFC can be touched here on the headphones and be instantly connected via Bluetooth, Bluetooth will be automatically turned on and paired. When finished, simply touch again with NFC and Bluetooth will be tuned off and disconnected. The ridged ring around the large Play/Pause button can be turned to change your music track with ease.
On the other earphone (the right side) is the button to answer and end phone calls. The most brilliant thing about the BackBeat Pro's is its 'Multi-Point' feature allowing 2 devices to simultaneously connected via Bluetooth, for example you may be listening to music on 1 device and a call may come in on your mobile phone, music will be paused and you will be able to then answer and receive calls using your mobile. Once the call has finished, music will be resumed where it left off. Again we have a ridged dial which acts as a volume control, turn one way to turn up the volume and another to turn down the volume. When maximum volume is reached you are presented with a soft female voice saying 'Volume Maximum'.
On the left side earphone there is also the ANC (Active Noise Cancellation) button. Active noise cancellation works by listening to sound waves outside, then playing back the opposite sound wave to actively cancel out the noise.
On the very bottom of the left earphone is a micro USB type B connector for charging the headphones and a 3.5mm headphone jack to use the headphones even when they run out of charge, both can be used with the included USB charging and 3.5mm headphone jack cables included. The plastic surrounding the ports is covered with a small sticker to protect it from scratches.
On the bottom of the right earphone is Plantronics 'OpenMic' technology which allows you to hear your surroundings without taking your headphones off. When the button is pressed music is turned down but not stopped, then the microphone on the outside of your headphones listens to the surrounding sounds and plays them back through your headphones, press the button again and music is put back to normal.
Verdict
The BackBeat Pro's have a lot of smoothly working features and a well thought out ergonomic design for the price. Sound quality is excellent with clean highs, smooth mids and and deep lows. As a first for Plantronics from there usual product lines (office / telecommunication based) they have hit the nail on the head with the BackBeat Pro's. Build quality is great and they feel solid in the hand. Packaging is well thought out and compliments the headphones well. The carrying case is a nice quality extra too. The only concern the small majority may have is the weight, but that can be overcome after a bit of getting used to, however personally I feel the weight isn't a trouble. If you have the cash spare, these will be a good choice which will last years.
Video
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Award
Total Score: 9.2/10
Performance: 9/10
Aesthetics: 8/10
Quality: 9/10
Price: 10/10
Features: 10/10
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