Our Verdict
There’s talent here, however the overall performance is disappointed by poor bass

For
Fairly smooth sound
Enjoyably large soundstage
Good battery life
Feature-packed
Against
Only moderately effective noise cancellation
Soft, slow and overblown low frequencies
The most desirable headphones around may, among other activities, be comfortable to wear on the top – but they’re usually very costly to cause you to feel similarly comfortable when handing over your debit card.

At around £200, the Plantronics Backbeat Pro 2s are £80 cheaper compared to the Bose Quietcomfort 35s, but with all the current same core features and some more extras once and for all measure.

This might cause you to feel convenient when forking out for the Backbeats but, while there are a few strong parts with their sound, they’re disappointed by overcooked bass.

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Build

The Pro 2s are full-size headphones, similar in stature to Sony’s MDR-100AAP. From a few feet away they look the part, particularly because of their big protein leather pads and similarly synthetic leather-topped headband.

Close up, the cups look just a little crowded. There’s a disc of fake wood surrounded by a ring of dotted plastic, bordered by a ring that appears like it’s been inlaid with tiny crystals (but is truly a metal grille).

There’s a sea of plastic for this, embossed with contours that appear to be they might have been made out of a woodblock artist’s chisel.

This might make the Backbeat Pro 2s sound a visual mess, which will be a little unfair. However, they don’t look as simple and attractive as the Bose Quietcomfort 35s.

They are comfortable though, due to large over-ear pads and generous foam on the band.

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Less isn’t more in Plantronics’ world. This philosophy continues in its wealth of features. They are wireless Bluetooth headphones with aptX, active noise cancellation and a number of extras most rival designs omit.

Sensors in the pads permit the Backbeat Pro 2s to automatically pause your music when you take them off. Gleam mode that uses the microphone to enable you to hear your surroundings without taking them off.

Battery life can be very good at a day, and there are comprehensive controls on the cups. There are buttons for playback control, and among the rings on the left cup could be rotated to improve volume.

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The main one missing item is NFC, but Plantronics also makes a far more expensive Special Edition version of the Backbeat Pro 2s that adds the feature.

Bluetooth signal quality is good, without significant interference or drop-outs. Active noise cancellation is reasonable, but those expecting the efficacy of Bose’s best ANC pairs will be disappointed. These Plantronics decrease the low-end din of the town, aircon units and other humming appliances, nonetheless they don’t eradicate them.

Alternatives from AKG and Sony, and Bose, are far better. The Plantronics’ main benefit is less of a feeling of air pressure in your ears than various other pairs, including Bose’s.

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Sound

The Backbeat Pro 2s have 40mm dynamic drivers. Their sound includes a number of admirable elements, but is disappointed by bass that drags audio tracks quality down a league below their peers.

Let’s start with the nice points. The Backbeat Pro 2s are smooth and also have an enjoyable soundfield. Just like the best full-size headphones the sound is wide, seeming to result from around your ears instead of between them. It’s an immersive soundscape.

Detail is rather good, with a respectable amount of musical information delivered by the mids and treble without the harshness or abrasiveness making the Backbeat Pro 2s seem to be they’re trying too much. The aim appears to become a smooth and easygoing sound, and it’s really directly on target.

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This is a correctly fine goal, however the Pro 2s trip over their own bass. The reduced end panders to the long-standing populist obsession with the stuff, nonetheless it goes a touch too far.

Bass is soft and slow. There’s a lot of weight, but it’s leaden and manifests as a cloud of mid-bass that hangs over the fairly good detail in the bigger registers such as a smog haze over a city.

It reduces separation and transparency, finally weighing down the Plantronics and sapping their energy and dynamics. These could possibly be very good-sounding headphones, but a few tuning choices mean they’re only fair.

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Verdict
The Plantronics Backbeat Pro 2s are cheaper than their perceived rivals, and also have the benefit for extra features that lots of will appreciate.

However, the Backbeats’ positive sound characteristics are dragged down by unchecked bass and, ultimately, that spoils the sound.