PLANTRONICS BACKBEAT SENSE
- Pros: A retro design that is comfortable and particularly light. Very numerous functionalities and especially practical ones (Open Mic, motion sensor, multiple connections) are also added to performances more than correct, both in terms of audio quality and connectivity.
- Cons: The insulation is rather average, but it is often the case with the supra-aural models. The headphone remains expensive, although more affordable than many competitors. No NFC chips.
- In short: By effectively combining performance, design, and functionality, this new Plantronics BackBeat Sense should be able to fit into the market for compact Bluetooth headsets. Lightweight, the headphone is simple to use and very effective in many situations, it is recommended.
- Supra-Aural Bluetooth Headset (aptX)
- Robust and lightweight design (140g)
- Intuitive on-ear controls
- Battery life 18 hours – Wireless range 100 meters
- OpenMic Features – Multiple Connection – Motion Sensor
- Transport pouch and cable with remote control included
Plantronics BackBeat Sense Review
If Plantronics was previously known for its Bluetooth headsets, the brand has been offering for more than two years products clearly more lifestyle oriented with headphones and headphones intended for a wide audience. So the new Plantronics BackBeat Sense (Check Discount Price) is now available, thanks to the excellent Plantronics BackBeat Fit earphones and the very good BackBeat Pro Bluetooth headset (with active noise reduction).
Difficult to make a place of choice in the market of headphone nomads Bluetooth, but the Sense seems to have all the qualities for. With a lightweight, good battery life and sound performance, the new Plantronics model could come to shade the Beats Solo 2, Bose SoundLink or Jabra Move Wireless, A great success.
The Sense does not have active noise reduction like its big brother but has other assets that can tip the balance in his favor. Our complete returns in the continuation of the article.
The new Plantronics model is presented in a cardboard box covered with a rather elegant cover. Very fine, one understands from the first glance that the headphone looks compact and light.
The front panel reveals a large photo of the headphone while the rear presents the different functionalities of the product in several languages. It is also discovered that a travel pouch accompanies the Sense and that it is compatible with both iOS and Android devices.
Under the cover, the box opens like a box. A black paper envelope protects the case we were talking about just above, which itself contains the headphone and the various accessories in its second opening.
In addition to the headset and its pouch, there is an audio cable with a 3-button remote control (to use the Sense in wired version), a USB / micro-USB cable to recharge the battery.
Design & Look
Unlike the BackBeat Pro which was more imposing, this new model is compact, light and discreet. With a weight of about 140g, it can be said that the manufacturer succeeded his bet. However, the design proves to be of high quality and the headphone looks really robust despite its great finesse.
It has a double arch, in the manner of some Hi-Fi headphones, allowing it to adapt to the majority of morphologies while offering an excellent comfort. The upper arch is in fact made of aluminum, while the lower part is made of rubber, covered with leather padding. This second arch is slightly extensible, as shown in the picture above, and it is rather well thought out.
The extension of the arch is made via a rigid plastic part and matt, which can descend on a dozen graduated notches.
In the end, the ear cups are also made of plastic and can be swiveled flat in both directions to easily store the headphone in its sleeve or simply put the headphones on your collarbone when it is around your neck.
The earbuds themselves can slightly swivel up or down to adjust a little better to each user and has a brown leather coating rather pleasing to the eye. Markings “R” and “L” indicate the position in which the headphone is to be worn. While these earpieces are a success, it is regrettable however a cushion padding a little light.
Several commands are directly accessible from both heads, allowing to manage the music without having to leave his Smartphone. All of this is detailed a little below.
On the comfort side, the BackBeat Sense is forgotten in the first minutes once placed on the head. Despite the rather thin padding of the pads, it is quite possible to listen to the favorite music for long hours without feeling the slightest embarrassment.
The distribution of the pressure points on both the skull and the ears which is rather good, with neither too tight nor too wide. In everyday life, the headphone does not move in all directions like certain models, while avoiding too much fatigue the user with too much pressure. If it is possible to use it for the sport, we will, however, advise you to instead orient yourself towards the BackBeat Fit model of the same brand.
Functionality and handling
As on a large majority of Bluetooth headsets, the Sense has controls directly accessible from its headsets. Clearly, it is possible to manage its music or pick up a phone call from the headset without having to take the Smartphone out of the pocket.
Several buttons are placed on the back of the left earphone. Pressing it in the middle of it allows you to play/pause your music (or movie). Next, two more buttons return to the previous track or move to the next track.
Around these buttons, we find one of the peculiarities of the Plantronics headphones, with a kind of wheel to manage the volume of sound very easily. This management mode is really intuitive to use and we would like to see it more often!
Finally, under the left-hand lid always, a small red button allows activating the “Open Mic” mode. This last cut will pause your music and activate the two microphones on the BackBeat Sense so that you can hear someone without removing the headphones from your ears.
On the right earpiece, there is a micro-USB port to charge the headset battery, with a 3.5mm input to connect your devices in wired mode. Both cables are included in the box.
A single button is present on the outer shell, allowing you to manage phone calls (pick up/hang up). Finally, on the side a switch allows the headset to be turned on or off, and the Bluetooth pairing mode is activated.
In practice, the control of its various controls is very rapid, and having separate controls to manage the volume and tracks is a good point, rather than having to press the buttons quickly or prolonged Multifunction.
Regarding the Bluetooth connection, the BackBeat Sense does not have an NFC chip. A small flat for its price, even if the connection “classic” is done very quickly and without the slightest concern. Note that it is possible to connect the headset to two devices simultaneously and that this one can automatically switch from source for example when you receive a call. The positive point about the range of Bluetooth, which can reach 100 meters (where many competitors are limited to ten meters).
Like the BackBeat Pro or the Parrot Zik 2.0, the Sense has a sensor to automatically pause your music when you remove the headset or place it around your neck. The transition is done very cleanly, with a slight fade in and fades out to resume or stop your tracks. In the end, everything is here thought to facilitate the life of the user, whether with these sensors or the option Open Mic described above.
The battery life announced by Plantronics is 18 hours. Obviously, this figure varies depending on your use and the volume of listening. During our trials, the ads seem to match the reality and it is possible to use the headphone regularly for several days before having to recharge it. Once the battery is empty, simply connect the Sense via USB to recharge it (count about 2.5 hours for a full charge).
If you do not have the ability to charge the headphones, it is still possible to enjoy your music using the audio cable provided in the box. In this mode, the controls on the earphones do not work, but a 3-button remote control is present on the cable. Unfortunately, during our test, only the play/pause button was running on a Sony Xperia Z Compact (Android).
Last point about the features of the BackBeat Sense, the Plantronics Hub mobile application which is free. It allows you to find a complete user guide of the headphone, to change the language of the announcements vocals (for the battery or the state of connection) or to locate the headphone! Finally more a gadget than anything else, and we would have liked to find an equalizer.
So far, this Plantronics BackBeat Sense leaves rather a very good impression, with a successful design and features rather complete. All we had to do was to hope that the audio quality was also there, and we were not disappointed.
First thing, if you were wondering if a headset so light and compact could produce a powerful sound without exploding in flight, the answer is yes. By pushing the volume to the maximum, the audio quality of the Sense remains constant, without the slightest distortion. The volume is perhaps not as powerful as some competitors, but it is more than enough to enjoy its music even in noisy environments without hurting its fragile eardrums. On the contrary, it is interesting to note that at the minimum volume, the headphone continues to play your music rather than mute it.
The sound scene proposed by the BackBeat Sense is not the broadest we have encountered, although the latter remains awesome and relatively deep. The different instruments and voices have enough space to truly stand out and listening is very pleasant.
The sound is rich, with the precision and details that one expects from a headphone with a fair price. The basses are perfectly mastered, without going into excess as on the majority of models of Beats. They offer a warm sound without masking the rest of the spectrum. The mediums and the treble keep a good presence but show a little more in withdrawal when one pushes the volume a little too much. In the idea, everything is rather well balanced.
In practice, the Sense adapts to the majority of musical styles and therefore offers a versatility that some products may not necessarily provide. On the insulation side, the supra-aural headphone will not completely cut off external noises, especially since it does not have the ANC as its big brother BackBeat Pro. Conversely, however, the sound leakage is very low when listening to music with the Sense, and people nearby should not hear anything.
Without taking a lot of risks, the Plantronics BackBeat Sense (click here to check discount price) has a large majority of expectations that one could have an excellent Bluetooth headset. It’s retro but very classy design which is a total success, combining lightness, comfort, and robustness. Besides that, the functionalities are very numerous, with intuitive commands and interesting bonuses (Open Mic, motion sensor …).
Finally, the performances, sound as well as concerning the autonomy or the range are excellent and offer a real pleasure of listening even over the duration. Yes, everything is not perfect and we could blame it for average insulation and a price is still little high, but if you are looking for a lightweight and stylish Bluetooth headset, it’s hard to do better.