When I first heard of the Plantronics BackBeat Pro headphones I was a bit surprised they were making noise cancelling headphones. Being I work in an office I have used Plantronics headsets for my office phone and have been very satisfied with them but audiophile, noise cancelling headphones? That’s a different story.
Design and FeaturesThe Plantronics Backbeat Pro headphones are not the most compact headphones by any means, they don’t fold up at all but the earpieces do rotate so they lay flat in the case.
Slightly annoying for a traveler because they take up more room but not that much more.
As far as comfort, they are heavier than say the Bose Quietcomfort 35, but only by about an ounce. While that doesn’t sound like much, when you’re wearing them for hours it does make a difference.
In my opinion the earpieces are a bit small and unfortunately I have big ears so they didn’t fully cover mine. The foam on the headphones was very comfortable, even when wearing them for a 6-hour flight over the Atlantic.
The Plantronics Backbeat Pro’s probably have more features than any other noise cancelling heapdphones, especially in its price range.
They have something called “Multipoint” sync, meaning you can connect with two devices at the same time. So say you want to watch a movie on your laptop or tablet, you can still take a phone call while the movie audio is muted.This is a very COOL feature. I use this all the time at my office, its pretty loud there and I like to listen to music on my laptop but I get calls all day long on my cell so for me this is incredibly useful.
The “Open-Mic” is another great feature, when you press the button, it mutes the music and at the same time increases the sounds around you so if you need to hear an announcement or talk with someone briefly you don’t have to take the headphones off.
And speaking of taking them off, they automatically sense when you take them off your head and pause whatever you were listening to.
The controls are easy to use and get to, the volume is a dial on the right headpiece and skip a track is on the left headpiece. To pause whatever you are listening to you just tap on the left headpiece. Simple and easy to operate.
I will admit they are not what I was expecting, I figured the noise cancellation might be good but audio quality? I listen mostly to classical music which has a pretty wide range so it’s a good test for audio quality. I was pleasantly surprised, they have a full body to them I would only have expected from the Sony MDR Series or Bose QuietComfort headphones.
The audio performance of other types of music is pretty solid as well. The highs are very crisp and bass is good, not as good as say the Bose QuietComfort series but very good nonetheless. Overall I was very happy with the audio quality.
The noise cancellation was solid, they reduce the ambient background by over 90%. Again they are not on the level of Bose but it will reduce the noise of the airplane engines to almost zero. There was also no background hiss that many cheaper noise cancelling headphones tend to have. Overall the ANC circuitry does a good job and above average for its price range.
The Bluetooth has an amazingly long range, I didn’t measure it exactly but it must have been close to 300 feet before losing the signal. Most likely more than you will ever need. The battery life is very good at about 24 hours per charge. I personally prefer disposable batteries so if they die you can easily replace them but being they will last 24 hours you shouldn’t have a problem running out of power.
Are They Worth It
In my mind the Plantronics Backbeat Pro are by far the best noise cancelling headphones in their price range. They sound superior to most other headphones except of course for the higher end headphones at a significantly higher price.
The Bottom Line
Honestly for the price, you can’t beat them. They really do have excellent audio quality, the noise cancellation is above average and I think they are a steal. Unless you want to spend at least twice as much to get better a better quality pair of headphones, I think the Plantronics are a no brainer.
Still undecided? Here is a handy comparison chart showing features of our top rated noise cancelling headphones.