The best wireless noise-cancelling headphones from Bose, Parrot, Sony, Sennheiser and others are priced between 350 and 500 euros. But not everyone can or wants to spend that much. That’s where BackBeat Pro 2 from Plantronics comes in at a much more affordable price of 200 euros. It is the successor to the BackBeat Pro, which already offered excellent performance but whose rather massive style was not the most discreet. On the other hand, it was highly appreciated by amateurs who attached more importance to performance than aesthetics.
With the Pro 2, Plantronics has refined the overall design by 35%, reduced the weight by about 15% and injected a more appealing style. The audio quality is very good for a Bluetooth headset with a relatively clear, dynamic and well-balanced sound that rivals its more expensive rivals without any problems. During our test, it performed very well with a stable Bluetooth connection. The headset is comfortable and is equipped with sensors that suspend and restart the music when it is taken off/on.
Noise reduction is not as effective as Bose QuietComfort 35, but it does a good job of muffling ambient noise without creating a noticeable hiss.
We tested it in the office for several days without feeling tired in terms of sound and comfort. In short, this is a good product to work with, especially in an open space. The result is just as good outdoors. It simply tends to warm the ears in hot weather.
The control knobs and the volume control ring are located on the left earpiece, along with a button that allows you to hear outside sounds without removing the headphones. Handy for talking to someone, for example.
As you would expect from a Plantronics product, hands-free performance is very good, including a feature that allows you to hear your voice during a phone conversation. There is also a mute button that can be useful during a conference call to mask ambient noise.
The autonomy is given is for 24 hours with an average listening volume. The headset comes with a cable to switch to wired mode as well as an attractive fabric carrying pouch. There is also a special version of the BackBeat Pro 2 that costs an extra 50 euros (not yet available in France) and features a rigid carrying case and an NFC chip for quick pairing with compatible smartphones (the NFC option was originally available in the BackBeat Pro).
What else do you get if you invest in a Bose QuietComfort 35? First of all, a lighter and more comfortable helmet (236 grams compared to 290 for the Pro 2). The QC35 has a more attractive styling and its noise reduction system is more efficient. It’s not a big difference because the noise reduction of BackBeat Pro 2 is good, but Bose does a little better.
As far as audio quality is concerned, the QC35 has a slight advantage with slightly more accurate bass, slightly warmer midrange and more pep on the highs. The Bose sound is a little clearer and more natural, but the Plantronics sound is not far behind. And it’s better than the first BackBeat Pro. In hands-free mode, the QC35 and the Pro 2 are a perfect match.
In the end, our personal choice would be the QC35, but it must be said that the BackBeat Pro 2 offers a better price/performance ratio and a great alternative for those who don’t want to spend 300-400 euros on noise-cancelling wireless headphones from Bose, Sony or Sennheiser.