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”]