Plantronics BackBeat Sense Review
There’s a complementary Plantronics Hub app available for download, which offers some basic features that allow us to check out the headset’s connectivity status, battery life, and some other guides. It’s available for Android, iOS, Mac, and Windows (no Windows Phone support, though).
Frankly, it’s generic and elementary in what is does – with only its battery indicator being the most notable feature. That being said, it really would’ve been nice if it offered some enhanced functions to make the app experience necessary, but it’s not.
Alternatively, there’s also the Find MyHeadset app, which does exactly what it’s named after. Just as long it’s still connected to your connected device, the app can track down the location of the BackBeat Sense.
Plantronics claims that its Class 1 Bluetooth connection has a range up to 330 feet, which is pretty impressive when you think about it. Even though we’re unble to put this claim to the test, we’re still delighted that we’re able to maintain a connection to a Samsung Galaxy S6 Active indoors around 50 feet – that by itself is pretty good in comparison to some other Bluetooth headphones we’ve tested.
One of the headphones’ cool feature is OpenMic, which is enabled by pressing on button found on the underside of the left ear cup. Well, this is something that we were first exposed to with the BackBeat Pro. The premise is basically relying on the various microphones to amplify incoming sound, so we’re given Superman-like enhanced hearing. It’s useful when someone by chance talks to you while you’re listening to something, so rather than taking them off, we can hear them with it on.
And finally, it’s a smart pair of headphones because it knows when it’s worn or not – thus, able to preserve battery life wherever the opportunity arises. From the looks of it, the sensor is incorporated into the right ear cup, so if it’s taken off, the music is instantly paused. And of course, it resumes once it’s placed back on.
Plantronics has the BackBeat Sense rated for 18 hours of music listening, but in our experience, it comes up just a little short at 15 hours. Despite missing the mark, it’s still a level that’s pretty good because it’s something that won’t require daily charges. Instead, it’ll power most folks through a solid week of usage before it becomes too critical.
Turning our attention to its price of $179.99, it’s a tough call considering that the BackBeat Pro isn’t too far away at $250. The price difference is justified, obviously, as the BackBeat Sense is a scaled down version. Needless to say, if the $250 pricing is just too much for you to handle, the $180 cost of the BackBeat Sense will be easier. Even though we like a lot of the rich features it offers, such as OpenMic for amplification and Multipoint technology for simultaneous connection to two devices, its audio quality is just lacking the substance to give it some good bite.