The Plantronics BackBeat Pro 2 improved the design and sound quality of the original BackBeat Pro. They're sturdy, comfortable headphones with an easy-to-use control scheme and reliable wireless connection. They're also packed with active features that make them suitable for most use cases, but they don't block as much ambient noise as some of the other noise-canceling headphones we've reviewed recently.
- Sturdy, durable build quality.
- Good audio reproduction.
- Excellent wireless range and battery life.
- Mediocre noise isolation.
- Bulky design.
Update 8/10/2017: Converted to Test Bench 1.1. Learn more about our new versioned test bench system here.
The Plantronics BackBeat Pro 2 redesign the look and feel of the first BackBeat Pro but keep what made the previous model popular: easy to use controls and a sturdy, durable design. Although the ear cups are completely different, they still provide the same level of comfort. Unfortunately, like the first backbeat pro, they're slightly bulky headphones that are cumbersome to carry around on your person without a bag.
The BackBeat Pro 2 keep the some of the aesthetic of the previous Backbeat Pro but completely redesign the ear cups and hinges to give them a more modern look. The ear cups are now oval and have additional hinges to give them more flexibility. The headband, however, remains the same apart from the different padding material used in the build quality. Overall, it's a nice redesign but feels a bit bulky at times, especially, that the new hinges make the ear cups stick out, which may not be for everyone.
The Backbeat Pro 2 have a complete redesign of the ear cups when compared to the previous model. Fortunately, they're just as well padded and comfortable to wear for long sessions. The different oval shape might even fit some listeners better than the circular ones of the Backbeat Pro. However, the ear cups are slightly shallow and tend to put a bit of pressure around the ears.
The BackBeat Pro 2 keep the design etiquette of the BackBeat Pro by having well-determined and responsive buttons for each of the essential functions. The play/pause and skipping controls are all on the left ear cup and easy-to-use but not as intuitive as the turn dial on the previous model. A version of the volume dial is ported over to the BackBeat Pro 2, but it's not as tactile as the one on the first backbeat. On the upside, this control scheme is far more efficient than a lot o the high-end headphones we've reviewed that use touch-sensitive controls.
These headphones have a bulky design that's not travel-friendly. They do not fold into a compact format to save space, but the ear cups lay flat which may be useful in some situations. Unfortunately, this means the BackBeat Pro 2 are not portable and a bit of hassle to carry on your person without a bag.
The tough hard case only comes with the special edition of the BackBeat Pro 2. It's a sturdy case that will protect the headphones from scratches, drops and even mild water damage. Unfortunately, it's a pretty big case which takes up a lot of space making the already bulky BackBeat Pro 2 even harder to carry around without a bag.
The Plantronics Backbeat Pro 2 have a sturdy and durable build quality. The ear cups are dense, and the headband is reinforced with a metal and plastic frame that's decently flexible but feels robust enough to withstand a couple of falls without getting damaged. However, the hinge mechanism is a bit different than in the previous model and adds more potential weak points to the build.
The Plantronics BackBeat Pro 2 deliver a good and well-balanced sound with an excellent Mid and Treble range. They also have a powerful bass that sounds exciting with bass-heavy music but feels a bit overemphasized. This gives them a slightly boomy sound on some tracks despite the bass being significantly improved compared to the previous Backbeat Pro. Unfortunately, like most closed-back noise canceling headphones, they do not have the most immersive Soundstage.
Good Bass Range performance. Low-end is extended down to 10Hz, which is great. But low-bass is significantly overemphasized, and could sound quite boomy if the source material is already bass-heavy. There is also a small dip in high-bass, which makes the sound of leads and vocals a bit thin.
Excellent Mid Range performance. The response is virtually flat. The only comment is the 1.5dB dip in low-mid, which is the continuation of the dip from high-bass, tends to make the sound of vocals and lead instruments slightly thin.
Very good Treble Range performance. The response is virtually flat and the only noticeable issue is the slight bump in the sibilance range around 10KHz, which makes these headphones a bit too sharp. The average offset in low-treble and treble is less than 0.5dB.
Good frequency response consistency. The lower regions of our over-ear and on-ear headphones are measured on 5 human subjects, 5 times each. The Backbeat Pro 2 show little deviation from person to person but the Mid and Treble ranges seem to be more sensitive to positioning than the Bass range, while remaining within good values.
Poor Soundstage. Due to the closed-back and active noise-cancelling, these headphones get a poor openness score. Also, the drivers on the BackBeat Pro 2 aren't deep and angled enough to interact with the pinna like loudspeakers do. The result will be a rather isolated listening experience, with a Soundstage that would be perceived to be located inside the listener's head, as opposed to in-front.
Average Imaging. These headphones show significant phase shift in low-bass and high-treble. However, the phase shift is not very audible in higher regions. Our measurements also show a bit of a phase mismatch in the Treble Range, which could hurt the stereo imaging of the headphones.
Average THD performance. The overall response is rather elevated. However, these headphones seem to tolerate loud volumes well, and the rise in distortion at 100dB SPL is less significant than most headphones.
The BackBeat Pro 2 fix the self-noise issue of the previous model but do not isolate as well as some of the other noise canceling models on the market. It should be adequate isolation for a regular commute, but they won't be the ideal headphones to use in loud, noisy conditions. On the upside, they do not leak much, so you won't distract anyone around you if you're listening to your music at moderate-to-high volumes, even in quieter environments.
Mediocre Isolation performance. The passive isolation created by the ear cups is above average. They start to kick-in at around 600Hz and achieve an average reduction of 14dB in the Mid Range and 36dB in the Treble Range. However, the active noise-cancelling performs poorly. They do very little in the Mid Range and only achieve 7dB of reduction in the Bass Range.
Good Leakage performance. The significant portion of the leakage is between 500Hz and 8KHz, which is relatively broad. However, the overall level of the leakage is quite low, and won't be too disturbing to the people around you in most situations.
- 100% SpNR
The BackBeat Pro 2 have an excellent set of active features. They last up to 30 hours on a single charge at moderate volumes and have an amazing wireless range. They also support both aptX and aptX low latency which makes them decent for watching movies or gaming. They're easy to pair and take a relatively short time to charge for their battery life. However, the Plantronics Hub app while giving you some unique tools doesn't feel practical to use on a daily basis.
These headphones have an exceptional wireless connection both in range and latency. They will reach up to 250 ft in direct line-of-sight and have enough range to use around the office or at home without having connection drops, even when the Bluetooth source was placed in another room. They're also easy to pair with NFC and the Power/Bluetooth toggle.
The BackBeat Pro 2 have a great battery life. They take about 2 hours to charge fully but deliver up to 30 hours of continuous playback at moderate volumes. They also have a bunch of power saving features like: smart pause, audio while charging, auto off and complete passive playback when the battery finally runs out. This makes them good travel headphones, especially, if you do not have frequent access to a power source .
The Plantronics Hub is a unique app that doesn't enhance your listening experience but provides some tools that may be useful to some. They have a last position synced tracker and a find my headphone feature that makes them easy to find if ever you misplace them. However, due to the size of the BackBeat Pro 2, it's not always the most practical tool. On the upside, it also displays the battery information as a notification, so you can monitor how much battery you have left at all times.
In the box
- Plantronics Backbeat Pro 2 Headphones
- Carrying Case
- Audio cable
- USB cable