Plantronics BackBeat SENSE Wireless Headphones Review

chipchickpick1After coming out with the impressive Plantronics BackBeat Pro wireless headphones, it was only a matter of time before Plantronics released Bluetooth headphones that don’t weigh your head down, and they are calling these the Backbeat SENSE. The BackBeat SENSE headphones have also been designed with a different consumer in mind – these headphones are especially targeted towards millenials, students, and those with a smaller budget, but whom still demand a trendy-looking pair of wireless headphones.

The BackBeat SENSE headphones are much smaller and lighter than the BackBeat Pro headphones we looked at last year, weighing in just at 0.30lbs (140 grams). Plantronics has designed the headband to distribute what little weight there is evenly, so you really don’t feel much pressure from these — its memory foam ear cups also help with that. As a matter of fact, these are one of the most comfortable on-ear headphones we have ever tested. Between the foam ear cups, and lightweight construction, they are a pleasure to strut around town. The SENSE headphones are also designed with larger heads in mind, and as a result, they won’t apply pressure to those with larger noggins.

Plantronics says you should expect ‘signature Plantronics audio’ in the BackBeat SENSE. We found the BackBeat Pro headphones to be heavier on the bass than the mids or the highs, so that’s where our expectations were. The BackBeat SENSE on the other hand aren’t quite as strong as the BackBeat Pro are in the audio department. Don’t get us wrong, at this price point, the audio is crisp and balanced, but it’s lacking in body and bass. That said, the reality is that the targeted audience for the SENSE headphones will be more than satisfied with its audio prowess, while more discerning audiophiles should look to the BackBeat Pro.

You can also use the SENSE headphones as a headset, with dual mics for calling or issuing voice commands and an open mic to let in sound from your surroundings. Even on a crowded noisy Manhattan street, callers could hear us quite clearly. That said, the heapdhones are more suited for the occasional quick conversation. If you’re looking for a headset to use for calls everyday while you walk to work, look to Plantronics other dedicated bluetooth headsets instead.

Why SENSE? Plantronics has built these to be smart headphones. They use the now tried-and-true trick of shutting off automatically when you take off the headphones, saving battery life (estimated at 18 hours). They’ll also gently fade in when you put them back on. More useful are whispered voice alerts that tell you about battery life and connection status. Speaking of connection status, the Bluetooth range is an impressive 300 feet, and you can connect these to two devices at once, switching between them easily. There are also volume and track controls on the earcup, so these headphones hit all the right notes for user-friendliness.


Overall, Plantronics BackBeat SENSE is a fun pair of  super comfortable wireless headphones that pack in tons of features, yet they don’t break the bank. The BackBeat SENSE headphones are available now in stores and online in the United States in black/espresso and white/tan for $180. They’ll be available worldwide in August/September.

The Good:

Affordable; Super lightweight and crazy comfortable, even for larger heads; Fashionable design; Dual-device connection; Smooth and hassle free connection; Easy-to-use controls; Long Bluetooth range; Strong battery life; Convenient whispered voice alerts; Automatic music pause/play.

The Bad: 

Build quality is plasticy but acceptable at this price point; Audio is lacking bass and body.

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