It’s been a busy headphone season (as you can see from the reviews on TechWeLike) and I’m trying to stay on track. In this post, I’m reviewing the Plantronics BackBeat Sense headphones. I’m familiar with Plantronics, after reviewing their BackBeat Fit in-ear headphones, and BackPeat Pro over-ear headphones.
Design and Build
The Plantronics BackBeat SENSE are small and lightweight, weighing less than 5 ounces. A lot smaller than the over-ear BackBeat Pro, with the earcups (of the SENSE) landing just a bit over your ears. The build is mostly plastic and leather (memory foam). You’ll see the memory foam on the ear cups (with the “left” and “right” labeled on the foam itself). It’s not too padded, just enough.
You will also see the memory foam on the flexible headband. The headband is also known as the self-adjusting headband, as it fits and flexes on your head freely. The self-adjusting headband is guided by a metal headband to help it keep its form.
You have the action-button with the battery indicator right under it on the flat side of the ear cup. On the bottom of the right ear cup has the micro USB charging port, and 3.5mm headphone jack. On the top you have the power/bluetooth power toggle switch.
On the left ear cup you have the rewind, play/pause, and skip forward buttons on the flat side. On the bottom border of the left cup you have the mic button. I’ll explain the mic button later on in the article.
I have the white/ tan color combination, which i think is pretty nice. It gives it the touch of class it needs. I’ll definitely enjoy rocking these throughout the breezy days of the fall.
The BackBeat SENSE have a very balanced sound. They handle bass well, although it won’t thump it very loud. The voice clarity on tracks is decent without overriding the beats and/or melody behind it. These headphones have a natural sound. Nothing is overhyped or over done.
For most tracks the volume is decent. On some tracks I’d wish for louder volume.
I love having the physical controls on the headphones. It’s nice for quick pause, or skipping that song you can’t stand.
I’m not sure if it’s the self-adjusting headset, or the fact that the ear cups are light, or both but the BackBeat SENSE are very comfortable. They are all around super flexible and don’t compress on your head too much. The memory foam is breathable, and wasn’t too uncomfortable on warm/ humid days. The headphones don’t fold or collapse in any way, so I recommend you use the provided carrying case.
The carrying case for the SENSE is reallyyy nice. It’s a nice fabric. It has two zippered pockets. The bigger one for the headphones, and the smaller one fits the auxiliary cable, and the micro USB charging cable. But if you’re not carrying a small bag / purse, you’re going to have to rest the BackBeat SENSE around your neck. Many won’t mind that, luckily for me I always have a bag that fits the headphones.
High expectations for battery life were met by the BackBeat SENSE. They have incredible run time, and great standby time. Listening to music on my commute only, which is about 1-2 hours, I don’t need to charge the headphones more than once a week. I fully charged the headphones, and didn’t use them for 2 weeks, and when turning the BackBeat SENSE back on, the battery was nearly fully charged. The BackBeat SENSE still work when the battery dies, and you’re using the in-line cable.
Pricing and Availability
The BackBeat SENSE are somewhat reasonably priced under $200. You get nice, comfortable headphones that don’t skimp on sound quality. They are available in 2 color combinations: black/espresso or tan/white. $179.99. Learn more at Plantronics.com
Plantronics has done well with their first pair of on-ear headphones. They paid attention to all the important details; sound quality, comfort, and features. All that with great battery life make these a win. You will need space in your bag for them though, since they aren’t huge, but they don’t collapse either. They’re not the most inexpensive, but they won’t break the bank either; which is great for quality, wireless headphones.