Plantronics BackBeat PRO 2 Special Edition Review
Plantronics’ previous headphones the BackBeat Pro were ambitious, bulky and impressed users on a technical level. However, the headphone’s noise-cancellation feature fell a bit short. Its new BackBeat Pro 2 comes to remedy the problem while improving lots of other features. It sheds a considerable amount of weight and upgrades its wireless range, provides more comfort and performance. And while the best noise-cancellation from Sennheiser, Parrot, Sony, Bose and other popular models cost more, Plantronics BackBeat Pro 2 costs much less yet clinches a position as a premium headphone. Here’s why:
Design and construction
Plantronics BackBeat Pro 2 is sleeker, slimmer than BackBeat Pro featuring a stunning brown color scheme. The ear cups and headband have a soft posh vinyl finish with recognizable left and right channels. The over-ear cups are two-thirds the original size, with the large control wheels on both sides completely removed. The playback and volume functions are designed to flush into the back of the left ear cup that holds a raised ring around the big smooth circle. The ring adjusts the volume while the large circle allows users to rewind a track by clicking left or right. The play/pause control is fitted at the center of the circle. The headphones’ oblong ear pad design provides more comfort as it covers the ears naturally while the faux leather covering the ear pads are well-padded making the headphones comfortable to wear for long periods. The ear cups are also fitted with sensors that detect when you are wearing the headphones to stop the music automatically. BackBeat Pro 2 also comes with a small USB port located at the bottom of the right ear cup for charging along with a 3.5mm port that allows you to use it as a pair of unpowered, wired headphones (with the 3.5mm cable). A row of five LED lights are fitted at the back of the right earcup to show the battery level and when the headphones are paired or turned on. The ear cups rotate 90 degrees to allow folding and easier carrying in the pouch.
Additionally, the BackBeat Pro 2 extends a Bluetooth range of 33-100 feet; just what most users need from a wireless headphone. And the battery life is an impressive 24 hours of runtime with twenty-one days of standby power as well as a DeepSleep hibernation feature that lasts six months if left switched on.
The left ear cup comes fitted with playback functions with an NFC tag that allows pairing with compatible Android devices. There is a toggle along the side that lets users switch to active noise-cancelling (ANC), open listening, in between or neither functions. ANC blocks ambient noise to produce clear sound while the open-listening setting lets in ambient sound so as to hear a conversation without removing the earphones. For the audio, BackBeat Pro 2 delivers low, rumbling bass synth notes and powerful drum hits at maximum volumes without distortion. It treats each musical genre the same so that it’s difficult to distinguish particular moments that trump others with other headphones models. So whether you are listening to smooth jazz, rock or hip-hop, you won’t feel cheated.