- Why did I buy them
- About expectations from noise cancellation and how it really is
- Design and controls
- Nice features
- PC application
Why did I buy them
Active noise canceling headphones have been on the market for a few years now, but they only really became popular last year. In the wake of the hype around the Bose QC35 and Sony MDR-1000X, I also wanted to get a similar device, but the price of 25-30 thousand rubles stopped. After starting to look for less popular options, I came across Plantronics BackBeat Pro 2.
During the study of the few reviews and reviews, I was surprised to find that the BackBeat Pro 2 has practically no drawbacks. Only one colleague complained about an uncomfortable fit and squeezing of the head, but in the end I attributed it either to an unsuccessful device that came across to him, or to an unusual head shape, because I have never seen such complaints again. With regards to the sound, everyone as one noted that there were no questions about the device – Plantronics played as it should. This bribed me, and I ordered myself a device for Amazon.
By the way, today it practically doesn't make sense. I bought headphones in winter, when the dollar was cheaper and the price in Russian stores was higher. Now in retail the model costs from 13,000 rubles, and with shipment from the USA it will cost about 11,500 rubles. As for me, 1,500 rubles are not worth the absence of a guarantee and weeks of waiting. But the choice, as always, is yours.
About expectations from noise cancellation and how it really is
Interested in the topic of active noise canceling headphones, I looked and read dozens of reviews. As a result, I got the impression that in expensive models with the included noise reduction, there should be no external noise at all, even if the music is turned on at minimum volume.
I want to immediately debunk this myth. You will not get complete silence. Yes, the world around you will lose all low-frequency sounds, high-frequency sounds will become a little quieter for you, but the feeling of a sound vacuum will not appear. If we compare the noise reduction work in the Sony MDR-1000X and Plantronics BackBeat Pro 2, then in the former a slightly larger range of sounds disappears, and in the second, a little less, but you will not achieve crystal silence either there or there, no matter how anyone describes the work of active noise reduction. The sensations are approximately the same as if the surrounding world had an equalizer, in which all the low frequencies were removed, and the high frequencies were slightly muffled.
However, I am not saying that the effect is subtle. I'm just trying to insulate you from the high expectations that I had. Listening to music and watching movies on planes and trains has really become much more comfortable, and in noisy places or waiting rooms it is now easier to abstract and focus on work.
Design and controls
Plantronics BackBeat Pro 2 look interesting, largely due to wood inserts and a combination of different plastic textures. I like this approach, I feel the American style, the appearance is remembered.
The headband and ear cushions are made of soft and pleasant to the touch eco-leather. The ears start to sweat only in the heat above 25 degrees, in most cases it is comfortable to be in the headphones. Due to their low weight (289 g), they are practically not felt on the head, the neck does not get tired for 3-4 hours of continuous listening. I didn't need to be in them anymore.
All controls are mechanical, there are no fancy touch pads here. I will attribute this to the pluses, since lying and reclining does not switch anything by itself.
On the left earphone there are buttons for switching tracks / rewinding and play / pause, a lever for changing modes (on / off noise cancellation and Open Mic mode, which is described below) and a volume control 'knob'.
On the right earphone there is a call / call button for the voice assistant, an on / pairing lever, a microphone mute button, a 3.5mm jack for wired connection and microUSB for charging.
You get used to the controls quickly, everything is laid out logically and is easy to remember. It took me two hours of use to remember what is in which places.
Now about the nice features of the device, there are several of them at once.
Open Mic. This mode is activated by a lever on the left earpiece and allows you to keep the earphones on in order to hear something. When you turn it on, playback is paused and sound is fed directly from the microphone to the headphones. Convenient if you need to exchange a couple of phrases with someone or hear an announcement at the airport.
Auto Play / Pause. When you take off the headphones, playback is paused; when you put it back on, it continues. Exactly the same as with AirPods. And if the included headphones are on the table and you receive a call, then you just need to put them on to answer the call.
Working with two devices. Simultaneous work with two sources is supported, you can listen to music on a computer and at the same time answer incoming calls from a smartphone – the music is automatically paused. If you listen to something on one device, and then turn on the sound on the second, then playback on the first gadget will automatically stop. Everything is logical and intuitive, and most importantly, stable.
I will not dwell on the sound in detail for two reasons. Firstly, I am not an audiophile, and I will not be able to describe my impressions in words. Secondly, I, like my colleagues, have no complaints about the sound of BackBeat Pro 2. Clean, high quality and with a volume margin.
Separately, I would like to note the support for the AptX codec, which will undoubtedly please the fans Android – smartphones. But with iPhone X the headphones play perfectly.
Working time is another strong point of the gadget. Of course, it all depends on the intensity of use, but the manufacturer's promised 24 hours of listening time is close to the truth. In everyday life, I charge the BackBeat Pro 2 so rarely that now I can't remember the last time I did it.
Due to the fact that I purchased the headphones in the USA, all voice prompts were in English by default. You can change the language to Russian only using the Plantronics Hub PC application, which is available on the official website. Everything is very simple: download and install the application (it is available for both Windows and Mac), connect the headphones with a USB-microUSB cable and change the settings.
In addition, you can update the headphone firmware through Plantronics Hub, which I recommend immediately after purchase. They say that in the early versions of the software, there were problems with the operation of sensors and extraneous sounds when working with the noise control turned off. But I have never encountered this, updating to the current firmware immediately after unpacking.
Also, Plantronics Hub has a small list of other settings, I will give them in the screenshot.
If you choose headphones with noise reduction, but have a limited budget or a psychological bar that does not allow you to spend an amount comparable to the flagship smartphones of last year on headphones, then I recommend taking a closer look at the Plantronics BackBeat Pro 2. This is a vivid example of a gadget with an excellent value for money and quality that doesn't need to be compromised.
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