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First Look: Plantronics BackBeat Pro 2

No more wires, that’s the goal now. Phones are being released without headphone plugs and I, for one, am loving the freedom of not having wires to get tangled.

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The Plantronics BackBeat Pro 2 headphones are built in this mould. They are over-ear headphones that connect to your device via Bluetooth. Though you can also physically connect them with a supplied cable.

The sound is good and I had no issues with the wireless connection. This was true even when wearing them in an unexpected downpour, though the headband did soak up plenty of water. (Note: they aren’t waterproof; I was just lucky).

I listen to lots of rock, hip-hop and electronic music so my headphones need to handle deep bass, clear vocals and high notes (especially cymbals) without distortion or harshness. The Pros did this without a glitch. The sound was slightly better with the headphones turned on and even better with noise-cancelling running.

I went for several walks with the BackBeat Pros and found the noise-cancelling very good. Even my own footsteps were mostly silenced. This is something I usually find lacking with over-ear headphones, they are great for sitting and listening but not so great for moving around.

Connecting the Pros with the supplied audio cable for a physical connection allows you to listen without turning them on. This means you can still listen to your music if the claimed 24 hours of wireless battery life isn’t long enough. However, the cable doesn’t have any controls and looks like a cheap add-on rather than a part of the system. Plantronics definitely meant for these headphones to be used wirelessly.

The BackBeat Pros also have an active mic feature. The opposite of noise-cancelling, this lets you hear the sound around you to counter the natural sound-dampening effect of putting big headphones on. This allows you to hear if people are calling your name or other noises you may need to hear, such as oncoming traffic.

Plantronics have upped the style quotient with the Pro 2s, with smaller ear cups than the original BackBeat Pro and a nice textured exterior. Each ear piece is covered with controls that have been subtly integrated. For example, the volume control is a flat rotatable disc on the left ear cup.

I really like the BackBeat Pro 2s. The sound is good and they are comfortable to wear. There’s little else you need from a pair of headphones.

Plantronics BackBeat Pro 2

  • $330
  • Over-ear
  • 24 hours of wireless battery life (claimed)
  • Charges via micro USB
  • Works without battery
  • Noise-cancelling and active mic
  • Bluetooth
  • Can work as Bluetooth headset for phone
  • Playback controls on ear-pieces

First Looks are trials of new and interesting products from the perspective of our product experts. Our lab-based tests offer truly objective product comparisons. These headphones were loaned to the writer by Plantronics.

by Hadyn Green

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