Published on September 19th, 2015 | by Greg0
Plantronics BackBeat SENSE: Cozy, Wireless On-Ears
Most audiophiles would agree- the ears, not the eyes, are the windows to the soul. If you listen closely, you can hear the past in every track, production helping to fix a time and place to every song. You can hear Elvis or John Lennon, appreciating their talents even long after they have left us. Having a nice pair of headphones allows you to enjoy your collection on the go, whether you’re walking or flying or on the bus. You can spend too much, or find a set that won’t travel nicely… or you can opt for a wireless pair from Plantronics.
We’ve seen quite a bit of gear over the years, from gaming headsets to speakerphones. They’ve built some excellent wireless gear, and have aimed straight at the higher end brands with their classy new BackBeat SENSE headphones. With battery life rated at 18 hours, easy-access controls, and high-resolution, aptX Bluetooth support, these are a serious contender for the urban listener’s attention. They don’t offer noise-canceling technology, nor do they fold up, but the new BackBeat model lays flat for storage and come with a pretty handy bag for portable use. And you can connect two devices simultaneously if you want, so you can switch between a tablet or phone as necessary (or alternate playlists with a friend). And dual microphones mean clear phone calls when you want to have a conversation between songs.
The coolest feature is one we’ve seen, but rarely- special sensors that detect when you’ve taken off the headphones, pausing the audio pauses and then resuming playback when you put them back on. Audio is peppy, pretty balanced, with plenty of output and a really solid low-end. We could crank them up with no audible distortion, and treble was crisp and warm. The overall signature is friendly and approachable, and good for pop, rock, some electronic music, and feels just a little thin on bass for hip-hop lovers. As with most Bluetooth headphones, you can charge over USB with the included cable, and go wired via the included 3.5mm cord with a traditional minijack cord.
Available in two color schemes (black/espresso or white/tan), the SENSE are well worth checking out- they’re reasonably priced for their capabilities, and look fantastic. The memory foam cushions are very comfortable, and the headband is padded and cozy too, plus they won’t weigh you down (at 140 grams). The flat earpads remind us of the premium Bowers and Wilkins P5s, which is a serious compliment- but these have some nice details which set them apart too. The controls on these were more accessible than most competitors, and they held up pretty well over our tests, resistant to drops and scratches. Available now, online and in stores, expect to spend around $180 for the BackBeat SENSE.