Plantronics is an American audio electronics company founded in 1961. Much like some other well-known start-ups of that era, Plantronics was started in a tiny garage in California – by two airline pilots who set out to improve the headsets used in commercial aviation.
Plantronics made world history when Neil Armstrong uttered one of the most famous words in human history “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind” through a Plantronics headset.
Much has changed since Plantronics’ start into the world of audio. From wired to wireless, true-wireless, in-ear, on-ear and over ear the range is massive. Plantronics has remained at the forefront in terms of innovation, quality and functionality.
Plantronics has always had a place in the Cellucity audio portfolio and this week I got to test two new offerings in the Plantronics range – I am happy to say I wasn’t disappointed.
Starting with design, the build is lightweight – perhaps a touch plasticky but built with high quality moulding. I did find the memory foam cushioned on-ear cups comfortable but a tad small. My initial experience was great but, after wearing them for a prolonged music session, they did get a little uncomfortable.
The lightweight build allowed me to use it at the gym with no problem – a big plus for me! But, without Noise Cancelling Technology, you may find the noise isolation lacking especially in noisier environments.
The controls are placed on either side of the cup and were responsive and easy to use-no fumbling and whilst not as impressive as the bigger brother, the Backbeat Pro (ot the Backbeat Pro 2) the bass is still very admirable.
Connection is via a 3.5mm wired cable or Bluetooth, which was simple to connect, and what impressed me was the ability to connect more than one device. Rocking the 40mm speaker drivers like its bigger brothers I found the sound punchy and impressive for a headset at this price.
The big deal for me though is the 18-hour playback you get on one charge. This coupled with the 6-month deep sleep mode (conservation of power-maintains charge for 6 months) really upped the stakes. I mean who hasn’t forgotten to switch off their headset?
Admittedly focused on a younger market the Backbeat 500 puts its money where its mouth is and at price of R1499 raises the bar on the budget Bluetooth wireless headset offering.
BackBeat Pro 2
Design wise this is top class. With leather and wooden element finishes this is a classy, classic design. Lighter than its predecessor the controls on the headset were easy to use and what I especially liked was the bezel controlling both sound and playback.
The over-ear earcups are large and comfortable and designed in a more oval shape than the 1st generation Pro and the 10 extension levels of the headset ensures maximum comfort no matter what the size of your head.
Sound wise the experience was immersive and the bass insane. Audiophiles will debate that it may be a bit heavy but when a beat drops really you want to feel it! Rich, silky and crisp are all words I would use to describe the level of sound – really bang for buck when you compare it with the competition.
With on demand noise cancelling the Pro 2 also features open-mic which allows you to hear your surrounds even when wearing the headset. Featuring QUALCOMM Apt X, the Pro 2 improves your listening experience through Bluetooth and improves synchronicity when watching media.
With a 24-hour battery life which was rigorously tested I found it very hard to drain the battery. Coupled with this is the 6-month deep sleep mode. The Pro 2 handled calls and Skype efficiently and it also worked well with virtual assistants like Google. The 100m range is also an impressive inclusion.
From R3799 the Plantronics Backbeat Pro 2 will beat most other devices in and out of it’s price range.
Both of these headsets have dual purpose connectivity and come with a 3.5mm jack included – allowing you to connect to non-Bluetooth devices. Over and above this each come with a custom carrying pouch to protect your headsets.
These headsets offer unbelievable value no matter what your budget and the build quality, sound and technology included in these devices for their price make devices winner. Beats-beware.