As we move towards Christmas and the end of the year, many are still looking for gift ideas. Plantronics, who have long been working on audio solutions for both business and consumers, held a media lunch to showcase their products. Some are brand new; others are a fresh face on their existing products. After trying out some of their products, they’re proof that you don’t need big-name headphones to get high-quality music. Both products will be available for purchase two weeks from now. Keep an eye on the Plantronics Website for more details.
BackBeat Fit re-release
During the presentation before media were allowed to try out their new products, Alvin Kiew spoke briefly about what Plantronics wanted to be. Kiew, Director of Sales & Marketing for South-East Asia, says that Plantronics intends to be that companion in your fitness journey. It fits into their new company slogan, “Beautifully Human.” Indeed, all promotional material around the BackBeat Fit focused on overcoming obstacles. As a voice in your ear, this is not just marketing speak, because a very gentle female voice talks you through pairing the headphones to your headset. She also lets you know when you need to charge the headphones, a handy feature when there isn’t a power gauge.
How far these headphones will help in that regard, I’m not sure. However, as a set of fitness headphones, they are excellent. While a lot of in-ear Bluetooth headphones can be a bit lacklustre, the sound was very clear and audible when I tried them out. The headphones are also waterproof up to a meter in fresh water. Now, Bluetooth doesn’t transmit through water so you can’t listen while swimming, but you won’t ruin the headphones either. Plantronics also promises eight hours of continuous audio, as well as maintaining a charge for six months. For an occasional exerciser this is good news, but if you are more disciplined than I am, the headphones can charge for an hour of playback in 15 mins.
Will they replace the headphones you wear listening to shows? Definitely not, but for exercise they are much better than some major brand names. The headsets are retailing for S$219 and come in five colours. The ones I tried out were stealth green, but all colours are the same regarding quality.
BackBeat Pro 2
Plantronics also unveiled their newest headsets. The BackBeat Pro 2 and the BackBeat Pro Special Edition. The main selling point for these headphones is their ability to “create an oasis of personal space wherever you go with just the touch of a button. Translated, this means that they have high-end noise cancelling technology. However, the headphones go beyond that. It includes an option called ‘open mic,’ where with a flick of the switch its microphone turns on. This allows you to hear your surroundings even while playing music. It’s so good in fact, that when I tried them on I could hear background noises that I couldn’t hear normally.
There are plenty of other features that Plantronics are very proud of with this headset. “More people than ever are ready to cut the cord and take their audio experience wireless but are concerned they may have to compromise on the sound quality of their music and their ability to listen for long stretches at a time. BackBeat PRO 2 was designed with these consumers in mind,” said Tanguy Leborgne, Vice President, Consumer Solutions, Plantronics. “It’s on-demand active noise-cancellation, 24-hour battery life, and Plantronics signature audio technologies mean you can immerse yourself in the rich bass, crisp highs and natural mid-tones of your favourite track at the touch of a button, whether you’re at the office, commuting, at home or on a long flight.”
Regarding pure specifications, the Pro 2 is worth a look. 24 hours of battery life is especially appealing, although you will find your various electronic devices failing you over these headphones. Also, having more than one device paired at once is a fantastic feature in today’s wireless world. With Bluetooth pairing being, so time-consuming, it’s good to have a shortcut. With some phones removing their headphone jacks, a good idea to have high-end Bluetooth headphones. If you still want a cable, however, the Pro 2 also comes with a 3.5mm jack. Handy for when you don’t want to use those disposable headsets that airlines give you.
If either of these headphones appeals to you, have a look at the Plantronics online store for Asia. The Pro 2 is retailing at S$319, while the special edition is S$379. For the special edition, you get a metal finish and a more robust carrying case. It also has NFC pairing if that interests you. The standard Pro 2 also comes with a carry case, but that one is a collapsible model.