A few weeks ago I was honored with the chance to try Plantronics BackBeat PRO+. A remarkable wireless noise cancelling over the ear headset. As I was a bit familiar with its previous incarnation and I couldn’t help be very curious how it compared but what the + really means.
The Box Opening
The headphones come secured and fitted on a recycled cardboard backing. Under that you’ll discover a folded grey pouch with a velcro fastener, inside has a usb bluetooth adapter sealed in a protective anti-static foil packaging, a micro usb cable for charging the device, a 3.5mm audio cable with mic and remote and the ‘get started’ and ‘For your safety guide”.
The Plantronics BackBeat PRO+ changes very little style-wise, the design accents are the same as it’s predecessor. The padded headband shifts from solid black to a subtle neutral shade of grey, while the headphones and the metal accents themselves come in a silver finish. The metal arms have the standard click-stops and do its job with holding everything in place. On the circular and large ear cups Plantronics forgo-ed the dark purple color and resumed its previous black color theme, inside the ear cups have a large L or R to helpfully indicate sides.
Each ear cup carry its share of the controls. On the left the Play/Pause control button, a jog dial control ring that controls the volume, track choice and the OpenMic. Under the headphone is the MicroUSB port for charging and the 3.5mm audio cable connection for the remote. The right headphone has a small power switch, the LED power indicators hidden behind a to tell you how much power is left, the side is the Answer/ End/ decline call button. Considering the features offered on this device, I was little surprised by the weight, it’s balanced and very comfortable. In my tests I wore the headphones for a significant time and it remained very manageable and comfortable.
Sound and Features
Like The BackBeat Pro, it can smoothly support a connection with up to two devices at once over Bluetooth. The BackBeat Pro+ is a Class 1 Bluetooth device can function up-to 330 feet/100 meters away. Changing between the devices is almost effortless. I ran a test between my PC and Mobile Phone, clean transition, my PlayStation 4 to my android tablet, no problem and almost flawless. The feature I was most excited to try was the up to 24 hours of continuous play with active noise cancellation enabled. Clearly this depends on volume level, distance from device, but I was able to squeeze just over 22 hours before it finally caved in, I was still pretty impressive. Disabling the noise cancelling feature will actually extend and stretch the battery life to a few weeks. The feature I’ve grown to love more than anything are the smart sensors, that will automatically pause and play tracks when you remove and put back on the headphones. The very same sensors are responsible for telling the headset when to go to sleep, extending battery life even further.
The BackBeat Pro+’s noise-canceling technology worked surprising well. Living in New York City, it easily reduced Subway noise, traffic sounds and did a solid job almost eliminating out the background noise on a movie set. what very cool is the ability to use the mute button to cut the audio source volume and it brings in outside noise with the microphones, so there’s no need to remove the headphones. I wanted to give the headphones a unique test, so I played the dance track, “Jealous” by Droo Trax & Rena. At maximum volume levels, the sound was clear and crisp, the bass had much to be desired. My experience with noise canceling on certain tracks wasn’t great. It tends to favor sub-bass over low to low-mids. I found myself disabling the feature when playing rock or jazz tracks.
What’s the +?
New to the game is the inclusion of an already pre-paired high-fidelity Bluetooth USB adapter. The plug and play option allows seamless use with your PC for gaming and making calls. In testing the feature I was completely surprised on how easy is was to set up, I plugged the adapter in and through the headphones I heard, “paring successful” and the usb lit up blue. After changing my default audio device I was all set.
With a SRP of $299.99 The Plantronics BackBeat PRO+ is still an amazing pair of headphones. With stunning battery life and features and inclusion of the USB adapter makes it a very desired addition to the headphone market. If you havent invested in a pair of headphones yet, the Plantronics BackBeat Pro+ may be worth your time to check out.