Plantronics Backbeat Pro 2 Review: Active noise cancellation on a budget

Plantronics Backbeat Pro 2

Plantronics’ original Backbeat Pro ANC sounded OK, for the money. But they were freakishly large, awkwardly designed, and heavy. This weight was surprising, given the fragile, cheap feel of the plastic used in the headphone’s construction. With the introduction of its $200 Backbeat Pro 2 headphones, Plantronics has strived to iron out these shortcomings, with mixed success.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

  • The basics
  • Connectivity
  • Audio performance
  • Design complaints
  • The bottom line

The basics

Those familiar with the first version of the Backbeat Pro will be happy to see that the Backbeat Pro 2 are significantly more svelte. They’ve shed some weight, too: down to 9.6 ounces from 12. That might not sound like a lot, but any reduction in the weight that your neck must support in addition to the heft of your head is a win. Despite this weight and dimensional reduction, the new iteration of the headphones maintains the 24-hour battery life of its predecessor, as well as its ability to hold a charge, unused, for up to six months. When the battery finally does drain, a three-hour charge via micro USB will have you back up and running again.

To make these cans more appealing than their $200 price and longevity already do, Plantronics baked a few additional tricks into them. Convenience features, such as the ability to fold flat for storage; microphones for taking audio calls whilst simultaneously cutting out wind noise; and the ability to pause whatever you’re listening to when the ear cups are pulled away from your head are well implemented and most welcome.

Connectivity

The BackBeat Pro 2 were designed to be a wireless set of cans, connected to your music and communications devices via Bluetooth 4.0 + EDR, HSP 1.2, HFP 1.6 (Wideband). Plantronics claims that the headphones have a range of up to 100 meters (about 328 feet), but your mileage may vary, depending on line of sight. Mine did. Leaving my iPhone 7 Plus inside of my home, near a bay window, I was only able to walk 176 feet away before the quality of the signal began to degrade. It’s also possible to hook the BackBeat Pro 2 into a analog 3.5mm jack.

Plantronics Backbeat Pro 2 in use

Séamus Bellamy

While lighter and slimmer than their predecessors, the Backbeat Pro 2 headphones are still pretty big.

Audio performance

Plantronics must walk a fine line to compete with the big names in active noise-canceling headphones: Price the Backbeat Pro 2 too high, and they’d draw immediate comparisons to top shelf ANC audio brands such as Bose and Sony. Cut too many corners on under-the-hood technology in the name of keeping costs down, and the hit to sound quality and the ability to block noise would make them a non-starter. Plantronics skirts a little too closely to the latter of these options. The Backbeat Pro 2’s 40mm drivers provide

Plantronics’ original Backbeat Pro ANC sounded OK, for the money. But they were freakishly large, awkwardly designed, and heavy. This weight was surprising, given the fragile, cheap feel of the plastic used in the headphone’s construction. With the introduction of its $200 Backbeat Pro 2 headphones, Plantronics has strived to iron out these shortcomings, with mixed success.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

  • The basics
  • Connectivity
  • Audio performance
  • Design complaints
  • The bottom line

The basics

Those familiar with the first version of the Backbeat Pro will be happy to see that the Backbeat Pro 2 are significantly more svelte. They’ve shed some weight, too: down to 9.6 ounces from 12. That might not sound like a lot, but any reduction in the weight that your neck must support in addition to the heft of your head is a win. Despite this weight and dimensional reduction, the new iteration of the headphones maintains the 24-hour battery life of its predecessor, as well as its ability to hold a charge, unused, for up to six months. When the battery finally does drain, a three-hour charge via micro USB will have you back up and running again.

To make these cans more appealing than their $200 price and longevity already do, Plantronics baked a few additional tricks into them. Convenience features, such as the ability to fold flat for storage; microphones for taking audio calls whilst simultaneously cutting out wind noise; and the ability to pause whatever you’re listening to when the ear cups are pulled away from your head are well implemented and most welcome.

Connectivity

The BackBeat Pro 2 were designed to be a wireless set of cans, connected to your music and communications devices via Bluetooth 4.0 + EDR, HSP 1.2, HFP 1.6 (Wideband). Plantronics claims that the headphones have a range of up to 100 meters (about 328 feet), but your mileage may vary, depending on line of sight. Mine did. Leaving my iPhone 7 Plus inside of my home, near a bay window, I was only able to walk 176 feet away before the quality of the signal began to degrade. It’s also possible to hook the BackBeat Pro 2 into a analog 3.5mm jack.

Plantronics Backbeat Pro 2 in use

Séamus Bellamy

While lighter and slimmer than their predecessors, the Backbeat Pro 2 headphones are still pretty big.

Audio performance

Plantronics must walk a fine line to compete with the big names in active noise-canceling headphones: Price the Backbeat Pro 2 too high, and they’d draw immediate comparisons to top shelf ANC audio brands such as Bose and Sony. Cut too many corners on under-the-hood technology in the name of keeping costs down, and the hit to sound quality and the ability to block noise would make them a non-starter. Plantronics skirts a little too closely to the latter of these options. The Backbeat Pro 2’s 40mm drivers provide

[Source”GSmerena”]

Streaming sports startup FuboTV raises $55 million

When it comes to streaming TV, FuboTV wants to be the place sports fans go when they are looking to catch up on their favorite sports league or team. To expand its channel lineup and grow its customer base, FuboTV has raised $55 million in Series C funding led by Northzone, with participation from 21st Century Fox, Sky and Scripps Networks Interactive. That brings total funding to $75 million since being founded in 2014.

Over the last few years, we’ve seen an explosion in the number of streaming video providers entering the market. While some are just trying to re-create a smaller cable TV bundle, others — like FuboTV — are going after specific verticals of content.

Sports — and especially live sports — are a huge business, but due to licensing fees many streaming providers skimp on those networks and their coverage. Since FuboTV is going after only sports fanatics, it can afford to spend on licensing sports networks exclusively, without shelling out for more traditional broadcast or cable networks.

With apps on iPhone, iPad, Android, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV and Roku devices, FuboTV has been delivering streaming video to sports fans over the last few years. By focusing on sports exclusively, the company is hoping to serve a large market other streaming video providers are largely ignoring.

But the company has pivoted a little from its original mission. When it first launched, FuboTV mostly focused on soccer, offering up a wide variety of matches for fans of the sport. But it’s greatly expanded the number of channels and types of sports available to viewers.

By reaching agreement with Fox and NBC Universal, the company now has dozens of sports-related channels viewers can tune into. With those deals, the company has also changed its product offering: It sunset the $10/month soccer skinny bundle it previously offered and now sells a fatter $35 package of more than 55 channels.

In many ways that means FuboTV has to start over. Before it stopped marketing the smaller bundle, the company had signed up more than 75,000 subscribers. Now it’s in a position where it hopes to appeal to a wider group of sports fans that aren’t just soccer hooligans.

The funding will go a long way toward helping it do that. According to CEO David Gandler, the company will be increasing its marketing spend and use the funding also to develop new products that are designed specifically for people watching sports matches and related content.

Your go-to guide for buying the right sunglasses this summer

Sunglasses

 

Ronak Sheth, founder Opium Eyewear; Uma Singh, medical consultant at Ozone Group; and Ganesh Iyer, country head at Coolwinks.com, have the following advice:

UV ray protection
Ultraviolet (UV) light damages the cornea and the retina. Look for good sunglasses that protect you completely. When the eye receives too much light, it naturally closes the iris. Once it has closed the iris, the next step is squinting. The result is damage to the retina.

The size of the frame should be compatible to the size of your face.

Good sunglasses can block light entering the eyes by as much as 97%. The point of wearing sunglasses is to protect your eyes from ultraviolet light emitted by the sun. Don’t let this consideration take the backseat for the sake of fashion or saving money.

Certain surfaces, such as water, can reflect light. Good sunglasses can completely eliminate this kind of glare using polarisation. Polarised lenses block most of UVA and UVB rays. They also block excess sunlight.

The material of the frame also plays a critical role in the comfort, usage and care for your sunglasses. (Pinterest)

The right frame
The size of the frame should be compatible to the size of your face. The frame size should closely mirror the face size, for instance, smaller frames work better with smaller face. Keep that in mind while shopping for sunglasses.

The material of the frame also plays a critical role in the comfort, usage and care for your sunglasses. Each frame material comes with its own advantages and disadvantages. There are various material options available in the market from metal and nylon to plastic and titanium.

[Source”GSmerena”]