Plantronics BackBeat Pro+ Review

Connectivity

 
Although it’s not a killer feature that many audiophiles seek after, the Plantronics BackBeat Pro+ continues its sibling’s offering of extensive connectivity courtesy of its Class 1 Bluetooth 4.0 technology – delivering around 50 feet of range indoors, where walls tend to complicate the reach of most devices.

If Bluetooth isn’t your thing, there’s an integrated 3.5mm jack that provides a direct, wired connection to a device.
Just like before, too, there’s an NFC chip embedded into the outer edge of the left ear cup. Pairing is a simple process that’s done with any NFC-enabled device by hovering it over the surface, but the usual pairing method is there as an alternative.

Performance


Being one of the most features rich pair of Bluetooth headphones on the market, it’s no surprise that noise-cancellation is on board with this one. When it’s enabled, background noise is minimized to keep focus on the music that’s playing. However, we wouldn’t say it’s the best-of-the-best at definitely muting all noise entirely. There’s still some noise that can be heard, but it’s nonetheless subdued.

Oppositely, the same lovable OpenMic feature is a useful one that gives us Superman-like hearing. Pressing the OpenMic button, the music slowly fades – while the audio that’s being picked up by the mics are amplified. This is particularly practical for those situations when someone talks or asks you a question, just because rather than removing the headphone to listen to them, the OpenMic feature amplifies voices so they can be heard through the headphone clearly.

Another feature worth pointing out are the smart sensors, which knows when the headphones are worn or not – causing music to pause when it’s removed, and then resume play once it’s back on.

The same 40mm drivers help produce the potent mixture we’ve been exposed to before with its sibling. Trust us, it doesn’t disappoint thanks in part to its crisp volume level and emphasis on lower audio ranges. Meaning, it’s one for the bass lovers, as it rumbles with the heavy beats. Indeed, audio in the mid and upper ranges can be subdued due to this, but it’s not totally too overpowering. All told, it’s the same punchy audio quality from before.

So, you’re probably scratching your head and wondering what’s new about this thing – besides the accent color. Well, the “+” in its name pertains to the Bluetooth adapter that’s packaged along with it. Yes, you heard that right! It’s a Bluetooth adapter that plugs into the USB port of your computer, which graces the PC with Bluetooth connectivity. While it’s a nice gesture on Plantronics’ part, most computers nowadays have integrated Bluetooth radios, so this would be redundant. However, for those without one, this allows them to pair with the BackBeat Pro+.

Battery


Plantronics claims that it can achieve a maximum continuous time of 24 hours with its battery life. Needless to say, that’s one bold and ambitious claim, but in our real world experience, we’re able to get roughly 14 hours of mixed usage. Although it’s short from what Plantronics claims, it’s nonetheless an improvement over last year’s offering. Obviously, higher volumes and enabling active noise-cancellation depletes the battery at a faster rate, but we’re still pleased with the results.

Conclusion


Priced higher by $50 this time around, the Plantronics BackBeat Pro+ is a tougher sell than last year’s original model in the BackBeat Pro. As we’ve detailed, the only difference here is just the accent color of the headphones and the included USB Bluetooth adapter. At $299.99, that’s one tough justification in picking it up over the original model, which can be bought for around $180 through various online retail channels brand new.

Considering that the features of the headphones and its performance haven’t changed, you might be inclined to buy the former product just for the additional savings. At the end of the day, the Plantronics BackBeat Pro+ is still one incredible pair of over-the-ear Bluetooth headphones, as it’s unrivaled with its packed features, but the higher cost attached to it makes for a tougher buy.

Pros

  • Comfortable feel
  • Impressive range indoors
  • One of the most features rich headphones around

Cons

  • Same performance & features, but at a higher cost
  • Plastic construction

PhoneArena Rating:

7.5

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4 Comments

1. shy2papa

Posts: 336; Member since: Jan 23, 2010

This is just absolutely awesome.

2. Planterz

Posts: 2120; Member since: Apr 30, 2012

John V, do you get to keep all these toys you review?

3. shm224

Posts: 295; Member since: Mar 19, 2015

The previous generation of the Beat Pro was known to have mediocre active noise cancellation and poor phone voice quality. They have compelling fun features (eg, OpenMic, on/off head, etc), but I ended up getting neutral-sounding, solid Level Over headphones.

4. floppyedonkey

Posts: 8; Member since: Feb 11, 2015

Hi, I find this review missing a major details when comparing this + model to the previous years model. Which is the Bluetooth dongle that ships with the Pro + allows for HiFi audio (higher bit rate on PC's because this is a PC device). from the sounds of what the reviewer mentioned they may not have found a need for the Bluetooth dongle included and missed the boat on properly reviewing this unit by not using the supplied HiFi Bluetooth dongle. If the reviewer did use their integrated bluetooth, please provide the device model you used so we can look up the proper specs of the bluetooth connection used during the review.

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