Top positive review
Great headphones for the price that doing everything well! 9/10!
Reviewed in the United States on May 5, 2017
I have a long commute to and from work every day via car, train, bus, and walking. I was looking for a set of headphones that would allow me to focus more on the music and podcast I'd be listening to while also saving my ears from being thrashed by being forced to max out the volume on my phone to get sufficient sound. Thus, I began my search with the following criteria:
-The headphones needed to be Bluetooth as I have snapped a few headphone cables during my commute.
-The headphones would need some sort of active, electronic noise cancellation.
-They would need to have a good battery.
-Comfort would need to be sufficient enough that wearing them for a long stretch of time (2+ hours) wouldn't be too uncomfortable.
-The sound quality would need to be good, but at my target price range, I'd be willing to sacrifice some sound quality for convenience.
-Price in the range of $150-$250.
I originally planned to get the newly announced Sennheiser HD 4.50 headphones. They looked great and, being a fan of Sennheiser's sound quality, I figured it would be a no-brainer. Amazon (and most other outlets) had a very long delay for shipping (6 weeks!), so I was forced to look for an alternative. Naturally, I considered the Bose QuietComfort series, however, the price was just a bit more for the 35's than I was willing to pay (not to mention that I didn't really "need" top-shelf sound cancelling because the office I work in and the train are both pretty reasonable when it comes to noise level).
After doing some searching, I came across a review for the Plantronics BackBeat Pro 2. Every professional review I could find gave this headphone a solid rating and every one of them scored the battery life, comfort, and features to be excellent. Eventually, I opted to buy the BackBeat Pro 2 Special Edition model at $249, and here are my thoughts so far:
Battery life: It is amazing. It is easy to check the battery level both visually and audibly (if you pause any media playing on your headphones, then tap the right ear cup button, a voice will tell you what level your battery is at in the form of "high, medium, or low"). A charge lasts literally all week, and that is with a minimum of 4-6 hours of use a day (2 hours on commute alone). Also, there have been times that I have left them switch ON and forgot that I did, but they must have some sort of sleep mode because, the next day, they still had a high battery level!
Comfort: The ear cups are a memory-foam type of padding and VERY comfortable. I have zero complaints about wearing these for a long period of time and even my wife, who is very picky about headphones, said they were very comfortable. I also hate when headphones feel too warm on my ears and these aren't bad at all.
Sound quality: I've started to explore with great interest different kinds of headphones because I want to hear music the way it should be heard. You don't really notice how much sound information you're missing out on until you put on a good pair of headphones. I own a pair of Sennheiser HD 600's, Momentum 2's, and these BackBeat Pro's. I also drive them with a Mayflower Objective 2 headphone amplifier. I can confidently say that my HD 600's and Momentums beat the sound quality of the BackBeat Pro's, but that isn't a fair comparison at this price point! HD 600's are known to be, arguably, the best sounding headphones you can buy under $800-$1000, especially if driving them with an amp. While I prefer the sound of either of my Sennheiser headphones to the BackBeat Pro's, I can just as confidently say that the sound quality is solid. Whether it is a coffee shop or a public bus, the sound has good lows and highs with average mids. These headphones do have more bass than the HD 600's or Momentums, but I actually enjoy the extra kick because it isn't the same as my other headphones. Even if these are the only headphones you will use, the bass is not going to be overbearing or make your media sound bad.
Features: This is where these really shine! Features galore, from a detachable headphone cable to an audible queue telling you what battery level you are at or what devices are connected, these headphones seem to cover everything. For example, if I am in the office listening to music and a co-worker wants to speak to me, I can just take my headphones and put them around my neck and they will automatically pause my media! I haven't tried videos, but I have tried web-based podcasts, Stitcher radio podcasts, Spotify, and local files. You can get this same functionality by simply taking one ear cup and moving it to the side of your ear! They will detect this and pause. There are FULL playback controls, you can pair them with two separate devices simultaneously, and they even swap your Bluetooth-connected phone calls right to your headphones as soon as you turn them on! Or, let's say that you have your headphones on while on a call, but you want to put the call on speaker phone: simply press the speaker icon on your phone and the BackBeat's will transfer the call audio back to the phone's speaker (and vice versa). There is a mute button on the headphones which, while not used as much, is very convenient. Lastly, the open-mic mode is a great feature for if you want to hear around you without taking your headphones off (great for commuting on public transportation as people think you cannot hear them).
Noise cancellation: It isn't Bose, but it is good enough! The noise cancellation + sound being played through the headphones will drown out all but very loud noises. It isn't going to make your train ride completely silent, so if you are looking for headphones that will have the BEST noise cancelling available, you'll need to spend more money, plain and simple. These headphones tend to take lower sounding loud noises and tame them down to where they aren't a big deal. I actually like this as it is helpful for when I'm walking on the sidewalk in the city or a crosswalk. I WANT to be able to hear certain things, like cars.
Overall, these headphones are fantastic. If I had to name some cons, they wouldn't be fair as the price point is on par. Better mids and better noise cancellation would be it! Everything else is great! Sure, having a more metal-based construction would be nice, but the build quality of these is already very good and they feel solid. If you are looking to get some headphones that are super expensive, but do everything well, these are them. You won't be disappointed. If you have questions, feel free to ask me!