Review: Plantronics BackBeat Pro headphones
4.7Overall Score

Price (RRP): $349
Manufacturer: Plantronics

Headphones that cut out the noise from the outside world generally require you to be tethered to your phone, but not a new pair of cans from Plantronics, as the company brings its expertise with wireless audio technology to the field of big headphones.

Features

A new model in the Plantronics BackBeat range, the “Pro” looks to deliver more encompassed sound to a person that wants to cut out background noise, and doesn’t mind doing so with or without cables.

As such, these headphones include support for Near-Field Communication and connect through Bluetooth 4.0 as well as AptX, with an operating distance of up to 100 metres for that wireless communication.

A wired option is included too, able to be plugged into smartphones and tablets using a 3.5mm cable.

Active noise cancellation is part of the package, able to be switched on and off using a switch, and taking advantage of two microphones and a digital signal processing engine.

Finally there’s a battery for running the headphones without power, which Plantronics says should last up to 24 hours of real use before needing to be charge, up to 21 days of standby, and up to 180 days of “DeepSleep” standby time when not used for an extended amount of time, while the charge time is roughly three hours.

A carrying pouch is included in the box for the BackBeat Pro, as is two cables: one for charging the headphones (microUSB to USB) and one for plugging the headphones into your phone or media player (3.5mm to 3.5mm).

Performance

Plantronics has been making headsets for a while, and its products are of an elite few that have seen space, as NASA relies on Plantronics hardware.

As such, the company loves sound, and it loves communication, and that’s where the BackBeat Pro come into play, providing sound and communication in a larger headphone, a push into a different market that will provide some competition against Beats, Bose, and a bunch of others that don’t necessarily start with the letter “b”.

First the comfort, and unless you have large ears, you’ll find the BackBeat Pro to work as circumaural cans, sitting around the ears with pleather-covered foam that fits around the ears nicely, and if you have larger lobes, pushes against them comfortably.

The headband is padded nicely — more of that pleather-coated foam — and whether you’re taking the headphones off or wearing them, we found the BackBeat Pro comfy to handle.

Also comfortable to reach are the controls, which also come with the added benefit of being easy to reach and memorise.

First the left can, which is easily noted because of the “L” in the left can, while the right has the obvious opposite with “R” inside.