Back in January I reviewed the Jabra Move wireless headphones, my first actual pair or wireless on-ear headphones, and I’m still using them up-to this date. Let’s take a look at the BackBeat 500’s from Plantronics to see if I’ve got myself a new king in the headphones department, and if you should be looking to buy them…
Disclaimer: Although Plantronics did provide me (Jeffrey) with the speaker, they had no influence on the editorial outcome of the review. The headphone has been tested for about a full month while connected to my OnePlus 3T via Bluetooth (version 4.2). Battery life has been tested with the Bluetooth volume set to 50% as this is the volume level most people will be using these headphones at.
Bluetooth version: 4.1
Operating Range: 10M/33ft
Max. Battery Life (factory testing): 18hrs
The first thing I noticed with these headphones is the weight, or better said, the lack of the weight of the headphones. They feel extremely light, especially when compared to the Jabra Move headphones, this does come with an advantage for the comfort of the headphones, but more on that later in the review.
The lower weight doesn’t compromise the build quality, however. Plantronics is using high quality plastic on most places you can touch the headphones (besides the earcup forks), and even though I’ve quite extensively used the headphones, including outside usage, I haven’t noticed any scratches or other damages.
Flexing the headphone further than I’d ever do in real-life situations doesn’t cause any damages to the headphones either, so all in all it feels like a very durable pair of on-ear headphones.
Let me start off by saying that I went for the dark grey model of the headphones, just to make sure they can be used at all time – something I’m not totally sure about with the other color combo’s. Sure, there are people who’ll love the other color combinations, but they do directly show the audience Plantronics has made these color combinations for. Which isn’t a bad thing, it gives more options for those people who don’t like “boring look” of the dark grey model.
The dark grey model looks really good if you were to ask me, with the other-than-usual design of the headband and the Plantronics logo on it. There’s a slight mix between a darker grey color and a lighter grey color on the outside of the ear cups, which makes it looking just a little different from the standard on-color ear cups. The metal earcup forks are even of a tad bit lighter grey color than what’s on the outside of the ear cups. Overall, it’s a nice-looking pair of on-ear headphones, though you may want to pay more-than-usual attention to the color you’re picking.
What’s £89.99 getting you in terms of audio quality and battery life… Well, I could be very short here: A LOT. Though that probably won’t really answer your question if this could be something for you to pick up from the store.
Let’s start off with the audio quality, and the moment I started listening to the first song it really impressed me with the balanced sound with plenty of bass. Of course, listening to one song is the same as listening to none when reviewing audio products, so I went through my usual list of songs I use to decide the end results for these headphones.
My first thoughts kept coming back while listening to the headphones, the sound quality is above average for its price, and if you’re looking to buy something in this price-bracket you’ll be more than happy with this pair of headphones.
Plantronics is claiming a battery life up-to 18hrs of talk/listening time, without noting the exact volume level they tested the headphones at, which is a bummer. What’s amazing though is that I got even a bit further with these headphones, where Plantronics put them up as up-to 18hrs, I crammed about 19hrs out of it on a single charge.
For a £89.99 pair of headphones this is more than impressive, though do note that I’ve tested it with the volume level set to 50% on my OnePlus 3T. The battery life may go down quickly if you’re upping the volume above 50%, or your Bluetooth connection strength isn’t the best.
At last I need to discuss the comfort of the headphones, which is great due to the lower weight of the headphones and the large amount of padding on the headphones. I’ve read reviews of people their ears getting annoyed after using the headphones for a little while, but I haven’t experienced that myself, even after using them for 3-4hrs straight.
Did I get myself a new king of the headphones in this price bracket? The sound quality is pretty much comparable to the older Jabra Move headphones, and the Plantronics BackBeat 500 simply look a lot more attractive and offer way better battery life. So, I couldn’t say anything else than that I’ve got myself a winner.
Should you buy them? For £89.99 I think it’s a definite YES, they’re more than worth the price. The battery life is far above my expectations at this price, and the overall package is just really complete, Plantronics was even nice enough to include a carrying pouch with the headphones… If you’re picking one of these up, do let me know in the comments below.