Preferred headphones store
Reviewed on Feb 26, 2016

Plantronics Backbeat Pro Wireless 2014 HEADPHONES REVIEW

Usage Ratings - Version 1.2
6.9
Mixed Usage
7.3
Critical Listening
7.0
Commute/Travel
6.8
Sports/Fitness
7.2
Office
6.0
TV
5.7
Gaming
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.

Test Results
Design 7.0
Sound 7.2
Isolation 6.3
Microphone 6.6
Active Features 8.2
Connectivity 7.3
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 2/16/2018: Converted to Test Bench 1.2.
  2. Update 9/28/2017: The microphone has been tested with our new methodology, as explained here
  3. Update 8/10/2017: Converted to Test Bench 1.1. Learn more about our new versioned test bench system here.

Check Price

7.0

Design

The Backbeat Pros are heavy and the ear cups are not the most flexible. However the build quality feels robust and durable. The ergonomic design and button placement are very well-thought-out, easy to use and provide a good tactile feedback. The big, bright left and right ear cup logos is also a nice touch.

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 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 Controls
Ease of use : Excellent
Feedback : Good
Call/Music Control : Yes
Volume Control : Yes
Microphone Control : No
Channel Mixing
:
N/A
Noise Canceling 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 Breathability
Avg.Temp.Difference : 5.6 C
5.5 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 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 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 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.

Cable
Detachable : Yes
Length : 4.92 ft
Connection : 1/8" TRRS

Comes with two cables; USB for charging and 1/8" TRRS-TRRS with in-line mic and controls for using without Bluetooth.

Top
Headshots 1
Headshots 2
7.2

Sound

The original BackBeat Pro is an average sounding pair of closed-back over-ear headphones. They have an extended, consistent but overly emphasized Bass, a recessed Mid Range and a well-balanced Treble. This makes the overall sound of these headphones exciting but excessively bass-heavy. The newer BackBeat Pro 2 has a noticeably better-balanced sound compared to the original, while retaining their exciting and "V-shaped" sound profile.

6.5 Bass
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 Mid
Std. Err.
:
3.41 dB
Low-Mid
:
-4.04 dB
Mid-Mid
:
-3.26 dB
High-Mid
:
-2.46 dB
8.7 Treble
Std. Err.
:
2.59 dB
Low-Treble
:
-0.13 dB
Mid-Treble
:
-0.53 dB
High-Treble
:
2.15 dB
7.8 Frequency Response Consistency
Avg. Std. Deviation
:
0.43 dB
7.0 Imaging
Weighted Group Delay
:
0.62
Weighted Amplitude Mismatch
:
2.12
Weighted Frequency Mismatch
:
2.69
Weighted Phase Mismatch
:
8.95
6.6 Soundstage
PRTF Accuracy (Std. Dev.)
:
2.81 dB
PRTF Size (Avg.)
:
6.86 dB
PRTF Distance
:
16.89 dB
Openness
:
4.5
Acoustic Space Excitation
:
2.2
Correlated Crosstalk
:
0.01 dB
6.4 Total Harmonic Distortion
Weighted THD @ 90
:
4.866
Weighted THD @ 100
:
20.61
6.3

Isolation

The Backbeat Pros do decent job of noise isolation. The thick ear pads, provide a great seal that do not leak much sound and good passive noise cancelation. The active noise cancelation on the other hand is inconsistent and could be improved.

5.5 Noise Isolation
Isolation Audio
:
Overall Attenuation
:
-14.81 dB
Bass
:
-2.32 dB
Mid
:
-11.4 dB
Treble
:
-31.43 dB
Self-Noise
:
20.35 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.

8.1 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.

6.6

Microphone

Integrated
:
Yes
In-line
:
Yes
Boom
:
No
Detachable Boom
:
N/A
6.3 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 Noise Handling
Speech + Pink Noise :
Speech + Subway Noise :
SpNR
:
20.74 dB
8.2

Active Features

The Plantronics have a great set of active features and good battery life performance. They will last up to 21 hours on a single charge and also have a lot of power saving features to prolong your listening experience. They also have one of the best wireless range that we have measured so far and support aptX and aptX(LL) which makes them great for watching videos or even gaming. The negative aspect of their active features is only with the lackluster companion app that is more a novelty than practical.

8.4 Battery
Battery Type
:
Rechargable
Battery Life
:
21.2 hrs
Charge Time
:
2.23 hrs
Power Saving Feature
:
Yes
Audio while charging
:
Yes
Passive Playback
:
No

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 App Support
App Name : Plantronics Hub
iOS : Yes
Android : Yes
Mac OS : 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

7.3

Connectivity

8.8 Bluetooth
Bluetooth Version
:
4.0
Multi-Device Pairing
:
2 Devices
NFC Pairing
:
Yes
9.1 Wired
OS Compatibility
:
Not OS specific
Analog Audio
:
Yes
USB Audio
:
No
PS4 Compatible
:
Audio + Microphone
Xbox One Compatible
:
Audio + Microphone
PC Compatible
:
Audio + Microphone
0 Base/Dock
Type
:
N/A
Optical Input
:
N/A
Line In
:
N/A
Line Out
:
N/A
USB Input
:
N/A
RCA Input
:
N/A
PS4 Compatible
:
N/A
Xbox One Compatible
:
N/A
PC Compatible
:
N/A
Power Supply
:
N/A
Dock Charging
:
N/A
9.6 Wireless Range
Obstructed Range
:
59 ft
Line of Sight Range
:
237 ft

The Backbeat Pro have an excellent wireless range that's ideal if you can't or prefer not carry your Bluetooth source on your person. The obstructed range indoors is well above the average and in direct line of sight, these headphones will reach beyond 200 ft. This makes them a versatile wireless headset to use at home or work and additionally they're very easy to pair. They offer NFC, dual device pairing and consistently reconnected to the last synced device instantly when turned on.

5.1 Latency
Default Latency
:
195 ms
aptX Latency
:
169 ms
aptX(LL) Latency
:
32 ms

In the box

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

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.

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.

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.

Sennheiser HD 4.50 BTNC
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

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.

6.9 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 Critical Listening

Above-average for critical 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 critical listening,

7.0 Commute/Travel

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

6.8 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.

7.2 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.

6.0 TV

Above-average for home theater use. They have a comfortable design and one of the best wireless ranges with tested. However, their latency is dependent on which codecs you use. This means they won't be ideal watching movies if you're using the default Bluetooth SBC connection.

Recommended Articles

LOG IN

JOIN RTINGS.com

Be part of the most informed community and take advantage of our advanced tools to find the best product for your needs.
Join our mailing list:
Become an insider

Unlimited access to full product reviews, test measurements and scores

test table UI

Product prices across the site on reviews, tables and tools

product prices UI

Additional votes for our
next reviews

Additional votes UI

Early Access
to our reviews and test measurements

Early Access UI

Create Discussion