The other day we reviewed the Plantronics Backbeat Pro+ headphones. I love them but Raina, who likes their sound, found them too big, bulky and heavy on her head. She’s right. Thankfully, I also have a pair of Plantronics Backbeat Sense Wireless Headphones on hand for review. They are light, comfortable and sound great; even Raina was impressed by them.
Plantronics advertises the Backbeat Sense headphones stating, “Experience comfort that outlasts your playlist, smart wireless features, and up to 18 hours of non-stop music.” They aren’t kidding, and they aren’t exaggerating.
The Backbeat Sense look like the Backbeat Pro+ headphones went on a diet. And when I say a diet I mean a radical, lose more than half of your size and weight diet. These headphones are on-ear headphones as opposed to the over-the-ear Backbeat Pro+ headphones. They are also significantly lighter. The Backbeat Pro+ weigh in at a whopping 340 grams while these are just 140 grams. Yet despite the size and weight reduction the Backbeat Sense headphones sound amazing, get 18 hours of battery life per charge and have the same amazing 100m/330 foot range as their larger sibling. They also have the same smart connectivity sensors as the Backbeat Pro+ headphones that shuts down the headphones when you take them off and starts your music up again when you put them on.
Smart wireless: Go beyond basics with today’s smartest technology. Streaming audio pauses as soon as you slip off the headphones and resumes playback when you put them on.
Add in the fact that you can control two Bluetooth devices at the same time, for example your smartphone and your tablet can be connected at the same time and the 330ft/100m range becomes even more powerful.
The headphones come beautifully packaged. The box looks great…
And the interior package looks more like you are unpacking a gift than anything else.
And the interior of the packaging reveals the carrying bag that ships with the headphones. It is a nice, soft bag with two zippered compartments. One is for the headphones and the other is for the 3.5mm to 3.5mm audio cable and USB to microUSB charging cable.
It isn’t something that will protect the headphones from serious bumps and bruises but it is something that will keep all your gear together and deliver some degree of protection.
As noted the headset gets up to 18 hours per charge. That’s impressive by any standard and is especially impressive when you consider the fact that the headphones are so remarkably light. The runtime means it is unlikely you will ever end up with the Backbeat Sense shutting down mid tune but, if they did, you can simply plug in the included 3.5mm to 3.5mm headphone jack and keep the music flowing.
As you might expect since these headphones come from Plantronics, they have an excellent microphone built into them so you can take calls on the go. A button on the bottom of the left ear cup activates the passthrough functionality that lets you interact with the environment surrounding you without taking the headset off. It’s a nice feature, but not one I have found myself using more than during testing.
On this same ear cup are touch controls for play/pause and track forward/back.
The other ear cup has the call answer control and, on the bottom, the charge port for using the included microUSB cable and the 3.5mm audio cable port. When a call rings in, your music pauses for your conversation and then starts again when the call is done.
If you use the included audio cable the inline controls on it take over.
Unfortunately the Backbeat Sense don’t work with Google Now or Siri but that’s really the only shortcoming I have found with them.
So to run down the specifics that make these sub-$175 headphones such a compelling offerings they feature:
- Class 1 Bluetooth: Control devices from up to 330ft/100m away.
- 18-Hour Battery Life: Listen wirelessly for up to 18 hours per charge.?
- Smart Sensors: Pause/play streaming audio as you remove/put on headphones.
- Multipoint: Connect and control two Bluetooth devices.
- All-Day Comfort: Show your ears some love and slip on the BackBeat SENSE headphones. Pillow-soft, memory-foam cushions and a self-adjusting headband fit you so naturally, they feel made just for you. They’re so light and comfortable that, if it wasn’t for the music, you’d forget they were on.
I really love these headphones. They are light, amazingly comfortable and get mind-blowing wireless range AND battery life. Add in the fact that they sound amazing and these are headphones that will really blow your doors off More importantly, they will let you enjoy your music wirelessly with great sound for hours and hours and hours. Now let’s face it, to make these headphones so small and light something had to give. That “giving” came in the form of the fact that these headphones don’t have noise cancellation built into them. The plush ear cups do block out a good bit of sound but there is nothing active about the isolation they offer. In all, however, they are pretty amazing and come highly recommended.
- Richly detailed audio
- Lightweight comfort
- Automatic pause/play
- Non-stop music up to 18 hours
- Stream up to 100m/330ft
- Multiple Bluetooth connections
- Hear your surroundings
- Whispered status alerts
- Ready for travel
- Locate lost headphones
- Available in Black/Espresso or White/Tan
- Connects To: Tablet, Mobile Phone
- Bluetooth Profiles: Bluetooth v4.0 + EDR, A2DP, AVRCP, HFP 1.6 wideband, HSP 1.2
- Battery Power: Up to 18 hours wireless streaming, 21 days standby time, 180 days in DeepSleep mode*
- Battery Type: Rechargeable, non-replaceable lithium-ion
- Charge Time: Up to 2.5 hours
- Noise-cancellation: Passive noise blocking, digital signal processing (DSP) and dual microphones
- Voice Alerts: Spoken alerts in 14 language options, which vary by region (US and UK English, Cantonese, Danish, EU-French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Mandarin, Norwegian, Russian, EU-Spanish and Swedish)
- Connection: Wireless Range: Up to 100 meters/330 feet from phone or tablet with Class 1 Bluetooth
- Multi-Point: Simultaneously connect two Bluetooth devices
- Weight: 140 grams
You are absolutely going to love these headphones if you get them. They are, to be honest, the first pair of headphones I let Raina listen to that she clearly would love to have and use for herself. And that’s probably just what is going to happen. If… When… It does I probably will sport for a new pair of these $179.99 wireless headphones. They are, after all, worth every penny… And then some. Check them out here: Plantronics Headsets and Accessories.
Source: Manufacturer supplied review sample of the Plantronics Backbeat Sense
What I Like: Light; Comfortable; Amazing range; Amazing battery life; Sound fantastic; Use in wired or wireless mode
What Needs Improvement: Call button won’t activate Siri or Google Now