Audio

BackBeat Pro+ stands out in terms of features

One plus point in the BackBeat Pro+ is the earcups' generous padding, which makes them very comfortable on the ears.
One plus point in the BackBeat Pro+ is the earcups' generous padding, which makes them very comfortable on the ears.PHOTO: PLANTRONICS

Plantronics has added a USB Bluetooth dongle to its wireless headphones

Plantronics' latest wireless headphones offering, the BackBeat Pro+, is functionally identical to its predecessor released last year, the BackBeat Pro.

The plus sign refers to the additional USB Bluetooth dongle for PC connectivity, that is tailored for better wireless audio connection and performance. It can also pair with two audio devices simultaneously.

Other than that, the two headphones are similar, save for a change in the colour from black to dark grey.

These are, however, not headphones you want to be lugging around outside. The large earcups give the headphones a lot of heft.

  • TECH SPECS

    PRICE: $449

    DRIVER DIAMETER: 40mm

    FREQUENCY RESPONSE: 20Hz - 20kHz

    WEIGHT: 340g

  • RATING

    FEATURES: 4/5

    DESIGN: 4/5

    PERFORMANCE: 3/5

    VALUE FOR MONEY: 3/5

    OVERALL: 3/5

They retain their active noise-cancellation feature, which is toggled by a switch on the left earcup. It's effective at cutting off ambient noise, although you will still be able to hear some outside noise.

On a bus during a heavy thunderstorm, it blocked out the roar of bus engine and rain, but I could still make out the chatter of people sitting behind me.

These are, however, not headphones you want to be lugging around outside. The large earcups give the headphones a lot of heft, and wearing them in public made me feel rather self-conscious as the cans were huge.

Wearing these made me feel like electronic artist Deadmau5 with his giant-eared helmet, except without the deejaying and dance moves.

One plus point though: The earcups' size is in part due to their generous padding, which makes them very comfortable on the ears.

Sound quality is solid all across the spectrum, but nothing really stands out. The bass tones are a bit flat, while the mids and treble sound a bit washed out.

But the BackBeat Pro+ really shines in terms of features.

I really like the volume control on the right earcup, which is done through a knob that you rotate instead of pressing a volume button.

It feels very solid and smooth, with enough resistance to really control the volume adjustments and ensuring that it doesn't rotate by accident.

The left earcup also comes with a knob to skip tracks, which flicks forward and backward, unlike the smooth, continuous motion of the volume knob.

The headphones hold a charge of up to 24hr, which is quite impressive. I had to charge it only once after a week of relatively heavy use.

The headphones have sensors that detect when I'm removing or putting them back on my ears, which then pauses or resumes playback of the music track.

It is a useful feature, if a bit too overzealous. Merely lifting a single earcup to adjust the headphones for comfort triggered a slow fadeout before pausing the song.

I found Bluetooth connectivity a bit spotty, with minor skips occurring when moving my music device - be it my smartphone or iPod - from hand to pocket, or hand to bag.

• Verdict: The size and weight of the BackBeat Pro+, coupled with passable sound performance and comfortable earcups, make it a good choice for home or office use more so than on the road.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 03, 2016, with the headline 'BackBeat Pro+ stands out in terms of features'. Print Edition | Subscribe