Given the amount of choice on the market, a good pair of headphones can be daunting to find. We’ve reviewed a good number of them, many of which we found to be brilliant adding to an already difficult choice for you. Reading review after review sometimes still doesn’t help you make a comfortable choice, after all, a good pair of headphones is an investment. The Plantronics BackBeat PRO 2 could be the one pair of headphones that makes you finally open your pocketbook. Packed with features and comfort usually reserved for headphones priced above them, the Plantronics BackBeat PRO 2 are a lot of headphone for the price. Read on to see why we’ve given them a Top Pick of 2017 Award.
- Controllable active noise canceling (ANC)
- Open-listening mode
- Connection: Bluetooth® 4.0 + EDR, HSP 1.2, HFP 1.6 (Wideband), can stream music up to 100 meters (330 feet)
- Battery: 24 hours of listening time, six months DeepSleep; Charge time up to 3 hours
- Microphone: Dual microphones with DSP
- Drivers: 40 mm dynamic drivers
- 2-way pivot earcup design
- Weight: 0.64 lbs/289 grams
What’s In The Box
- BackBeat PRO 2 headphones
- Micro-USB charge cable
- 3.5mm AUX cable
- Carrying pouch
The aesthetic design of the Plantronics BackBeat PRO 2 headphones is kind of confusing. Like someone fighting to find their identity with an odd mix of faux wood, faux metal, supple padding, and textured plastics. All of these materials are wonderfully crafted, look and feel premium and are of solid build quality, they just seem an odd mix. The wood grain is especially an eyebrow raiser at first glance.
I will say the aesthetic design isn’t going to appeal to everyone and I’m still not a huge fan of the faux wood grain but it eventually melts away. The headband is very well made wrapped in what looks like leather around the top and a breathable material on the bottom. The breathable material is perforated with small holes to allow the heat from your head to circulate, and it works fairly well. The padding on the bottom of the headband is very comfortable and I was able to wear the headphones for a few hours without feeling I had to adjust for comfort. Plantronics branding is on the headband as well, but it is subtle and not over pronounced as some other brands.
The earcups are made from a nice supple material covering and very cushy padding. I did appreciate that the left and right ear indicators are prominently displayed inside of the ear cup driver area in large letters. The ear cups also have a 2-way pivot design which is nice for laying them down on the table so they won’t wobble. I do wish they folded into each other for easier storage into a bag or backpack but that’s not a deal breaker.
On the right earcup, you’ll find the power/Bluetooth pairing button, microphone button, MicroUSB charging port, 3.5mm AUX port, and a slightly more prominent Plantronics logo. Over on the left ear cup, you’ll find the Controllable active noise canceling (ANC) button, the volume wheel, the track forward/reverse, and the play/pause button.
Overall the Plantronics BackBeat PRO 2 are very well built, comfortable and are made from great materials, although the aesthetic part that may give some users pause.
Ease of Use
Bluetooth pairing is pretty straight forward, just push up on the power button and hold for a second until pairing mode is activated. Once in pairing mode, just head to your device and look for PLT BB PRO 2 and choose it, you should be connected instantly. The BackBeat PRO 2 also gives you the option to connect to a second device, which is nice if you want to switch between your laptop and smartphone.
There is also the option of open-listening mode which allows you to flip a switch in order to hear what’s going on around you without taking your headphones off. Probably my favorite feature of these headphones, which is usually found on more expensive brands, are the smart sensors in the ear cups. Smart sensors pause your music when they sense you’ve taken your headphones off, which is super helpful in conserving battery and keeping you from having to pause from the device. The built-in audio and track controls are very nice and mostly easy to use, although the volume wheel does take a few minutes to get the hang of.
Overall these are very simple to use, most everyone should be able to operate these without issue.
The sound is where a company needs to put their money where their mouth is and the Plantronics BackBeat PRO 2 perform with the best of the best in the price category. The noise-canceling is great and does a very good job of keeping ambient noise out when listening to music, though not as effectively at very low volume. The sound signature on these is slightly bass heavy but not overly so, it’s just right for my taste. Nice smooth level mids and highs with just a slight bass overdrive. The BackBeat PRO 2 headphones capture a good sense of the depth of the music and give you a very high-quality audio experience. Overall you shouldn’t be disappointed here, the sound is really well balanced and the noise-canceling helps envelope you into the experience.
The Bluetooth reception here is some of the strongest I’ve seen in any Bluetooth device I’ve used. Plantronics advertises 330 feet distance from the source and I think they’re being modest as I was able to get over 400 feet without signs of signal degradation. Even through walls and around corners, the Bluetooth signal remained strong and I was able to enjoy the music well away from the source device. Call quality is decent, I could hear callers very well while callers did complain of not hearing me as well as they would have liked, but it was tolerable.
Plantronics is touting 24-hour battery life with these and this is certainly not false advertising. These things get better than 24-hours as I was able to push them to 26-hours at around 50% volume, which is some impressive battery life and far exceeds many other competitors. Results will vary with volume and distance from source but you should be able to get that 24-hour life very easily.
The Plantronics BackBeat PRO 2 are being sold for $199.99USD and for the number of features packed into them that is a lot of headphone for the price. There is a ton of value in these with the noise-canceling, smart sensors, comfort, sound quality, and battery life.
Finding a new pair of headphones can be daunting in the crowded market, but the BackBeat PRO 2 headphones are a very solid choice and have much to offer without breaking your wallet like some higher-end offerings.