Plantronics BackBeat SENSE
Plantronics is a brand that you’d normally associate with the corporate world of customer service and communication more than you would with consumer music consumption. With its recent products, however, it is slowly moving into the latter market, and the latest addition is the BackBeat SENSE.
On the outside, the BackBeat SENSE doesn’t look very extraordinary compared to many other headphones out there. There’s the metal band and a secondary ‘self-adjusting’ one with memory foam packed in soft leather. Both bands extend from plastic arms that feel sturdy without being heavy. The joint that connects the arms to the ear cups swivel 90 degrees in either direction, making storage easier.
On the surface of the ear cups, things look like business as usual; both have memory foam-padded ear pads that are covered in soft leather. The left and right cups are clearly distinguished by the perforations, some being larger to spell out L and R. The memory foam padding could be thicker though, as after awhile, you’d be able to feel the pinch around your temples.
Media controls are found on the left cup, as well as a button that uses the BackBeat SENSE’s microphones to let you hear your surroundings while you still have them on – a signature on Plantronics’ headphones. You probably won’t be using this feature much, unless you enjoy being called rude behind your back as a result of talking to people with your headphones on, despite the fact that you hear them clearly and all your media has been paused as you were speaking with them.
The right cup holds a button that answers calls and checks on the Backbeat SENSE’s battery level – which, incidentally, lasts an incredible 18 hours. The 3.5mm audio and Micro-USB ports are here as well. Also hidden within the left ear cup is a sensor beneath the memory foam-padded ear pads. This sensor is where the main magic of the SENSE happens: it automatically plays or pauses your music or video depending on if it is pressed or released, letting it play your media when you put it on and pause them when you take it off.
All that said, the smart features would be for naught if it didn’t perform on the audio department. And gladly, the Plantronics BackBeat SENSE delivered. Being quite well balanced, there was good detail and clarity, as well as sufficiently strong bass.