The Plantronics BackBeat 500 were announced just in time for Spring weather in New York. As you guys know I always have a pair of (usually wireless) headphones on me. I have the lime green and grey color way of the BackBeat 500s.
These headphones have the casual look. The plain matte grey plastic build pops with lime green leatherette ear cushions and headband. You can see the “R” and “L” in each of the earpads. These have a younger urban styling to them. You can see that some inspiration came from Plantronics gaming headsets. If you want more subtle looking headphones, you can get the all-black version of these.
The left earcup has a rubber exterior with “back”, “play/ pause”, and “forward” buttons going across. On the border of the left ear cup you have the 3.5mm jack and microUSB charging port. It also has the volume buttons. The right ear cup has the power on/ bluetooth pair toggle button. It also has a button to activate your voice assistant (Siri / Google Assistant).
Experience and Features
The BackBeat 500 don’t have a lot of cushioning on the earpads. They have just enough. You can wear these for a couple of hours without being uncomfortable. But these are not as comfortable as the Plantronics BackBeat Pro 2 over-ear headphones. The band doesn’t pressure my head too much which is a good thing. After a while though I felt a bit of pressure. As for toting them around the BackBeat 500 don’t fold in so make sure to have some extra room in your bag to put them away. I’d use the bag also as I suspect matte plastic might dull out over time and scratches and nicks will show.
I expected decent sound from the 40mm drivers since I loved them on the BackBeat Pro 2 headphones. For the price-point and size the 500s delivered. They have a great balanced sound and actually a little more bass than I expected. I welcome the bass boost. It gives enough bass without making overdoing it.
Since the 500s are on-ear headphones you won’t get perfect noise isolation, but good enough. What I did enjoy about these headphones is that I can use them at high volume and others won’t hear the music, it barely bleeds.
These headphones connect to two devices at once. Yay! Multipoint bluetooth should definitely be a thing by now. Who doesn’t have two (or more) devices to pair to? I can watch and listen to content on my computer and not worry about missing a call.
Plantronics has always been a killer in the game when it comes to battery life. The BackBeat 500 are no different. These headphones have the deep sleep mode. When not in use, they preserve battery life. I use the headphones for about two hours a day. I charge the headphones once a week and I’m usually good to go. I actually went away for a few days and left the 500s on. I got back on and was able to use them. The deep sleep mode saved the battery life.
Pricing and Availability
The BackBeat 500 headphones are great entry-level, bluetooth on-ear headphones. For $80 you get decent sound, sturdy-enough build, connectivity, and amazing Plantronics-styled battery life. If you’re willing to shell out some more bucks, you can go with the BackBeat Sense, which offer the OpenMic feature (listen to your surroundings through the headphones) and the smart sensor technology that pauses and plays your music based on you wearing and removing your headphones.
If these features aren’t important to you, the BackBeat 500 headphones will do.