PROS / A sensor hidden in the ear cup pauses your audio when you take the headphones off, and turns it back on when you place them on your ears again.
CONS / We found these headphones hard to pair via Bluetooth.
VERDICT / The Plantronics BackBeat PRO 2 is a good hybrid of Bluetooth and noise-cancelling headphones, and it's especially designed for travel with its long battery life.
The Plantronics BackBeat PRO 2 is a wireless noise-cancelling headphone with a long battery life and a few useful, time-saving features. This is also one of the rare headphones that has consistent sound quality for both ANC and non-ANC modes.
The Plantronics BackBeat PRO 2 headphones do cancel noise, just not a lot of it. We found they only canceled about 4 dB more on average with ANC on than with ANC off. They're about average overall for noise cancellation. However, these headphones multitask with many other features that make them an attractive option.
Since these are also Bluetooth noise-cancelling headphones, they’re convenient to wear anywhere without tangling yourself in cords. However, we discovered that you must take out the cord to even pair them with your phone. Also, be sure to follow the pairing instructions in the manual, because it took us forever to get these headphones set up with our test iPhone.
The great thing about the sound quality of the Plantronics BackBeat PRO 2 is it stays the same with ANC on or off. Most headphones turn up the volume when you turn ANC on, but we didn’t notice any differences during our sound tests on this pair. It did have some ANC feedback buzz, which sounds like the static from an old TV. The bass is also great on these headphones, but only when it's loud.
The best noise-cancelling Bluetooth headphones have long battery lives to get you through a full day of class or travel. In our battery life tests, the Plantronics BackBeat PRO 2 lasted for 22 hours and 41 minutes with ANC on and the volume all the way up, which is the second-longest battery life in our review. The set of lights on the ear cup work as a battery indicator so you know exactly when the headphones are about to die.
The Plantronics BackBeat PRO 2 headphones have a mixed bag of convenient and inconvenient design features. The nice auto-pause feature works whenever you take the headphones off. A sensor in the ear cup stops the music when you take the pressure off (or remove them from your head). When you put them back on, the music starts playing again. This saves on battery, pauses your song or audiobook, and saves you the trouble of fumbling for your phone. We did notice it doesn’t work when the headphones are plugged into your laptop, though.
At 12.7 ounces, this is also one of the heaviest pairs in our noise-cancelling headphones review. You’ll feel the weight of the headband dig into your head after a few hours. The ear cups are all right, though, and didn’t warrant complaints from our review crew like those of other heavy headphones we tested.
The Plantronics BackBeat PRO 2 is one of the best noise-cancelling pairs of headphones for battery life, auto-pausing, and consistent sound quality for both ANC and passive listening. If you’re in the market for a Bluetooth and noise-cancelling headphone hybrid and can handle the extra weight, we recommend the Plantronics BackBeat PRO 2.