Plantron­ics Back­Beat Pro 2

A trav­eller’s best au­dio friend

Mac Format - - APPLE CHOICE - Re­viewed by Lewis Leong

£229.99 FROM Plantron­ics, plantron­ics.com fea­tures Blue­tooth 4.0, ac­tive noise can­cel­la­tion, 24-hour bat­tery life

Plantron­ics’ orig­i­nal Back­Beat Pro head­phones boasted a va­ri­ety of fea­tures, good sound and good

ac­tive noise can­cel­la­tion (ANC). The sec­ond-gen head­set man­ages to keep the great el­e­ments of the orig­i­nal, but the bulk and weight is­sues have been ad­dressed.

The head­phones fea­ture a dark brown colour pal­ette with a faux wood ac­cent on the ear cups. There are mesh rings around each cup, which is where the head­phone’s noise-can­celling mics are lo­cated.

On the left ear cup, you’ll find con­trols for play­back, vol­ume and a tog­gle for ANC. The right ear cup has a power/pair­ing slider as well as a big but­ton for an­swer­ing phone calls.

Vol­ume is con­trolled us­ing a tex­tured ring that rocks back and forth, which is a lit­tle hard to grip. Turn­ing off noise can­cel­la­tion from the left ear cup will ex­tend the (al­ready fan­tas­tic) bat­tery life of the head­phones, which also work in wired mode should they run out of juice. The tog­gle also fea­tures an open mic mode, which pauses your mu­sic and lets you hear what’s go­ing on around you with­out hav­ing to take off the cans.

The head­phones are lined with leather around the ear cups and the head­band, mak­ing them very com­fort­able, and we had no is­sues wear­ing them for long pe­ri­ods.

Com­pared to the orig­i­nal Back­Beat Pro head­phones, this ver­sion is smaller and lighter (290g ver­sus the orig­i­nal’s 340g) – great news if you’re a com­muter and don’t want to feel weighed down af­ter long lis­ten­ing ses­sions. They’re also more com­pact and lay flat­ter when folded down for trans­port.

The head­phones come with a zip­pered car­ry­ing pouch, which has a su­per-soft lin­ing. The pouch also fea­tures a sec­ond com­part­ment to store your Mi­cro-USB and 3.5mm head­phone ca­bles.

Back­beat bass

The Back­Beat Pro 2 head­phones keep the slightly bass-heavy sound sig­na­ture of their pre­de­ces­sor. If you’re an au­dio­phile you may quib­ble about the over­bear­ing bass, but us­ing the Back­Beat Pro 2 in wired mode tames this. We were pleas­antly sur­prised to find ANC still works when play­ing mu­sic with the ca­ble in, and the added bass em­pha­sis also helps block out ex­ter­nal noise.

Highs are a bit rolled off, mak­ing them sound a bit veiled, but that’s prefer­able for long lis­ten­ing ses­sions. Sim­i­larly, mids are good, but they can be muted by the bass.

With ANC en­abled, there’s a slight hiss when no mu­sic is play­ing, but sound qual­ity when play­ing isn’t im­pacted by it.

We’re re­ally im­pressed by the longevity of the Back­Beat Pro 2. The orig­i­nal had an in­cred­i­ble 24-hour bat­tery life, which the sec­ond gen­er­a­tion matches. Even bet­ter, it sips even less power when idle, of­fer­ing six months of Deep­Sleep, up from the orig­i­nal’s 180 hours. In our test­ing it lasted through two flights, a cou­ple of train jour­neys and sev­eral lis­ten­ing ses­sions over the course of a week, all with ANC en­abled. For trav­ellers, the bat­tery life is the killer fea­ture.

Just about ev­ery quib­ble we had about the orig­i­nal has been ad­dressed, all while re­tail­ing for a lower price. For £230, the Back­Beat Pro 2 does just about ev­ery­thing right for travel head­phones. The ANC may not be in­dus­try-best, but it’s very good at muf­fling the sound of the noisy out­side world, and the 24-hour bat­tery life is stag­ger­ing.

With the Back­Beat Pro 2, you’re getting travel head­phones with in­cred­i­ble bat­tery life, supreme com­fort, and, most im­por­tantly, good sound qual­ity for a rea­son­able price.

Just about ev­ery quib­ble we had about the orig­i­nal has been ad­dressed, all for a lower price

The faux wood ear cups look a lit­tle cheap and won’t ap­peal to ev­ery­one.

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