Plantronics Backbeat Pro Wireless 2014 Headphones Review

Reviewed Feb 26, 2016 at 12:00 am
Plantronics Backbeat Pro Wireless 2014 Picture
Usage Ratings - Version 1.3.1
7.0
Mixed Usage
7.3
Neutral Sound
7.1
Commute/Travel
6.9
Sports/Fitness
7.1
Office
5.8
Wireless Gaming
7.4
Wired Gaming
6.7
Phone Call
These headphones were replaced by the Plantronics BackBeat Pro 2 Wireless 2016
Type Over-ear
Enclosure Closed-Back
Wireless Yes
Noise Cancelling Yes
Mic Yes
Transducer Dynamic

The Plantronics Backbeat Pro are an above-average pair of headphones. The ergonomic design is great, and the build quality is solid if a little stiff. The sound profile caters more to bass-heavy music genres but still offers passable audio reproduction. They have one the best wireless ranges and latency that we've measured to date. Unfortunately, they're a bit too bulky and cumbersome for sports, and their noise cancellation is below-average for a noise canceling headphone.

Our Verdict

7.0 Mixed Usage

The Backbeat Pro make for above-average, everyday headphones. They perform fairly well in most cases and have sufficient features to handle different environments. They're also durable and have an excellent and intuitive control scheme.

7.3 Neutral Sound

Above-average for neutral listening. They have a good and exciting sound with a pronounced bass. Instruments are also remarkably clear and well balanced but their closed back design and unevenness is not ideal for pure neutral listening,

See our Neutral Sound recommendations
7.1 Commute/Travel

suitable for commuting. Noise isolation is good enough for moderately noisy commutes.

See our Commute/Travel recommendations
6.9 Sports/Fitness

Mediocre for sports use. They're comfortable and wireless with an excellent control scheme. However, they're a bit too bulky and unstable for running or exercising.

See our Sports/Fitness recommendations
7.1 Office

Decent for office use. Noise isolation is enough to block the chatter of a busy office and leakage is not too high. Additionally, their wireless range is well above the average and is more than sufficient for moderately sized offices with a lot of walls.

See our Office recommendations
7.4 Wired Gaming
6.7 Phone Call
  • 7.0 Mixed Usage
  • 7.3 Neutral Sound
  • 7.1 Commute/Travel
  • 6.9 Sports/Fitness
  • 7.1 Office
  • 5.8 Wireless Gaming
  • 7.4 Wired Gaming
  • 6.7 Phone Call
Pros
  • Solid build quality.
  • Great ergonomic design.
Cons
  • Heavy and stiff ear cups.
  • Hyped Bass and treble audio profile.
  • ANC produces audible low rumble when turned on.
  1. Update 11/21/2019: Converted to Test Bench 1.3.1.
  2. Update 11/6/2019: Converted to Test Bench 1.3.
  3. Update 2/16/2018: Converted to Test Bench 1.2.
  4. Update 9/28/2017: The microphone has been tested with our new methodology, as explained here
  5. Update 8/10/2017: Converted to Test Bench 1.1. Learn more about our new versioned test bench system here.

Check Price

Test Results

Design
Design
Style

The Backbeat Pros look a little utilitarian with their all black design and rugged build. The headband is thick and heavily padded. The ear cups have a round over-ear design that works well with the ergonomic controls. The purple within the ear cups helps highlight the left and right label, which is a nice touch.

7.5
Design
Comfort
Weight 0.75 lbs
Clamping Force
0.83 lbs

They're slightly heavy but comfortable headphones. the ear cups are well padded and the headband doesn't put too much pressure on the head. Unfortunately, the circular ear cups do not always fit well and may get fatiguing during long listening sessions.

8.2
Design
Controls
OS Compatibility
Not OS specific
Ease Of Use Excellent
Feedback Good
Call/Music Control Yes
Volume Control Yes
Microphone Control No
Channel Mixing
N/A
Noise Cancelling Control Yes
Talk-Through
Yes
Additional Buttons No

Very good functional design. The buttons are accessible and in the right place. They also provide all the essential functions, track skipping cal/music volume control and a dedicated talk through mode. You can even turn off the noise canceling and use the headphones as simple Bluetooth headphones. However, it's the feedback that's most impressive with a unique control scheme that extremely responsive and easy to use.

6.5
Design
Breathability
Avg.Temp.Difference 5.6 C
5.5
Design
Portability
L 7.09 "
W 7.28 "
H 3.54 "
Volume 182.9 Cu. Inches
Transmitter Required N/A

The Backbeat Pro are too bulky and cumbersome to carry around on your person. They are not portable and do not fold up int a more compact format for storage or transport. The ear cups lay flat to take less space in a bag. However, they are too big to fit into any pockets or handbags.

6.5
Design
Case
Type Pouch
L N/A
W N/A
H N/A
Volume N/A

Comes with a rugged, soft pouch, that does not add extra bulk and will protect the headphones from scratches. The tough fabric will also shield the headphones against minor water damage but not from falls.

7.5
Design
Build Quality

The body is mostly made out of plastic, but it feels quite solid. The buttons feel high quality too. Headband adjustment has a good click to it, and there is a mark representing each notch on the band. The joints feel a bit cheap but there's little worry of them breaking.

6.5
Design
Stability

These headphones are little bulky and sway while running. They're able to maintain their position well during casual listening sessions but will slip off your ears if used while doing high-intensity exercises. On the upside, they are wireless and have no cables that will get tangled or hooked on something.

Design
Headshots 1
Design
Headshots 2
Design
Top
Design
In The Box

  • Plantronics Backbeat Pro Headphones
  • Carrying pouch
  • Audio cable
  • USB cable
  • Manual

Sound
Sound
Sound Profile
Bass Amount
4.3 db
Treble Amount
2.82 db
7.8
Sound
Frequency Response Consistency
Avg. Std. Deviation
0.43 dB
Sound
Raw Frequency Response
6.3
Sound
Bass Accuracy
Std. Err.
5.24 dB
Low-Frequency Extension
10 Hz
Low-Bass
8.87 dB
Mid-Bass
-1.1 dB
High-Bass
-4.61 dB
7.4
Sound
Mid Accuracy
Std. Err.
3.41 dB
Low-Mid
-4.04 dB
Mid-Mid
-3.26 dB
High-Mid
-2.46 dB
8.7
Sound
Treble Accuracy
Std. Err.
2.59 dB
Low-Treble
-0.13 dB
Mid-Treble
-0.53 dB
High-Treble
2.15 dB
7.4
Sound
Peaks/Dips
Peaks
1.56 db
Dips
1.48 db
7.0
Sound
Imaging
Weighted Group Delay
0.62
Weighted Amplitude Mismatch
2.12
Weighted Frequency Mismatch
2.69
Weighted Phase Mismatch
8.95
6.3
Sound
Soundstage
PRTF Accuracy (Std. Dev.)
2.81 dB
PRTF Size (Avg.)
6.86 dB
PRTF Distance
16.89 dB
Openness
4.1
Acoustic Space Excitation
2.5
7.1
Sound
Weighted Harmonic Distortion
WHD @ 90
0.254
WHD @ 100
0.472
Isolation
5.7
Isolation
Noise Isolation
Isolation Audio
Overall Attenuation
-14.81 dB
Bass
-2.32 dB
Mid
-11.4 dB
Treble
-31.43 dB

The passive isolation provided by the thick earpads is very good down to 1KHz. The ANC (Active Noise Cancelling) provides decent isolation of the mid-to-low range, down to 50Hz. However, from 50Hz down to 20Hz, these headphones provide their own audible low-end rumble which gets worse by walking around or gently tapping on the headphones.

8.0
Isolation
Leakage
Leakage Audio
Overall Leakage @ 1ft
33.44 dB

These headphones leak very little sound in the bass range but there is significant leakage from around 2KHz to 6KHz, which covers sibilant sounds like hi-hats.

Microphone
Microphone
Microphone Style
Integrated
Yes
In-line
Yes
Boom
No
Detachable Boom
N/A
6.3
Microphone
Recording Quality
Recorded Speech
LFE
289.23 Hz
FR Std. Dev.
4.13 dB
HFE
3517.32 Hz
Weighted THD
14.216
Gain
39.55 dB
7.0
Microphone
Noise Handling
Speech + Pink Noise
Speech + Subway Noise
SpNR
20.74 dB
Active Features
8.4
Active Features
Battery
Battery Type
Rechargable
Continuous Battery Life
21.2 hrs
Additional Charges
0
Total Battery Life
21.2 hrs
Charge Time
2.23 hrs
Power Saving Feature
Yes
Audio While Charging
Yes
Passive Playback
No
Charging Port micro-USB

The BackBeat Pro deliver a good set of power saving features and a long battery life of 21.2 hours. They have a built-in auto-off timer that will automatically switch off the headphones after 10 minutes of not being in use. They also continue streaming audio while charging, which makes them good headphones to use when you're close to a power source, like being at the office or on a train/plane. You may still have to charge the headphones after a day of regular use, but they should have enough battery life for a long flight.

6.0
Active Features
App Support
App Name Plantronics Hub
iOS Yes
Android Yes
macOS N/A
Windows N/A
Equalizer
No
ANC Control
No
Mic Control N/A
Room effects
No
Playback Control
No
Button Mapping N/A
Surround Sound N/A

The Plantronics Hub has a disappointing yet unique list of features. This app doesn't provide any actual control over the sound quality of the headphones. There's no equalizer, room effects, in-app player or battery status. However,it does deliver a find MyHeadset feature that lets you track the headphones and even let it ring at a distance, but the functionality is a little limited.

Backbeat Pro Find MyHeadset

Backbeat Pro in-app player

Connectivity
8.9
Connectivity
Bluetooth
Bluetooth Version
4.0
Multi-Device Pairing
2 Devices
NFC Pairing
Yes
Line of Sight Range
237 ft
Default Latency
195 ms
aptX Latency
169 ms
aptX(LL) Latency
32 ms
0
Connectivity
Non-Bluetooth Wireless
Non-BT Line of Sight Range
N/A
Non-BT Latency
N/A
9.5
Connectivity
Wired
Analog Audio
Yes
USB Audio
No
Detachable Yes
Length 4.92 ft
Connection 1/8" TRRS
Wired Latency
0 ms
Connectivity
PC / PS4 Compatibility
PC / PS4 Analog
Audio + Microphone
PC / PS4 Wired USB
No
PC / PS4 Non-BT Wireless
No
Connectivity
Xbox One Compatibility
Xbox One Analog
Audio + Microphone
Xbox One Wired USB
No
Xbox One Wireless
No
0
Connectivity
Base/Dock
Type
N/A
USB Input
N/A
Line In
N/A
Line Out
N/A
Optical Input
N/A
RCA Input
N/A
Dock Charging
N/A
Power Supply
N/A

Compared to other headphones

Plantronics BackBeat Pro 2 Wireless 2016
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

The Plantronics BackBeat Pro 2 are much better headphones overall when compared to the original Plantronics Backbeat Pro. The Pro 2 have a better design that's slightly more comfortable and has a sleeker look and feel. The Pro 2 also have better battery life, wireless range, noise cancellation performance, and sound quality. They pack a lot of bass but sound more balanced than the Pro. On the other hand, the original Backbeat Pro have a slightly better and more tactile control scheme. They also come with a better audio cable that has mic support for consoles and PC. The original Pro are also at a better value for your money than the Pro 2.

Beats Studio Wireless
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

The Plantronics Backbeat Pro are slightly better headphones than the Beats Studio Wireless. The Backbeat Pro have a better control scheme than the Beats. They also have a longer battery life and a better wireless range. On the other hand, the Beats have a more balanced sound quality but do not pack as much bass. They also have a more comfortable and sleek-looking design, and that's a bit more stable for physical activity.

Bose QuietComfort 35 II/QC35 II Wireless 2018
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

The Bose QuietComfort 35 II are much better noise canceling headphone than the Plantronics Backbeat Pro. The Bose are a lot more comfortable, so you can wear them for longer than the Plantronics. They also have a much better noise canceling feature that isolates well enough for most noisy environments, so they're a great choice for commute and travel. The Bose also have a better-balanced sound that still packs quite a lot of bass. The Plantronics, on the other hand, have a better control scheme, a slightly longer battery life, and wireless range. The Backbeat Pro are also a lot cheaper.

Sennheiser HD 4.50 BTNC
SEE PRICE
B&H

The Sennheiser HD 4.50 are better noise cancelling headphones overall when compared to the Plantronics Backbeat Pro. The Sennheisers have a more customizable sound thanks to their excellent companion app that gives you access to an EQ and wealth of options and settings. They also have a more compact design, a tighter fit on the head for the gym, and they block a lot more noise with their ANC feature. On the other hand, the Plantronics have a better battery life, wireless range, and easier-to-use controls. They're also a bit more comfortable than the Sennheisers since they're not as tight on the head. Their default sound also packs a lot more bass, which some may prefer.

Plantronics Backbeat Pro Wireless 2014 Price

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