- Amazing Battery Life
- Lightweight Design
- Dedicated Buttons
- Option to connect via 3.5mm Headphone Jack
- Sound Quality isn't the Greatest
- Discomforting when used Longer Period
- No AptX Support
Plantronics is one of the popular audio peripheral manufacturer that’s based in US. They’ve been in the audio game for quite some time. One of the series that they offer is the BackBeat, specifically catered for those who’d love to enjoy their music while working out. The BackBeat series consists of three different variants – On ear, earbuds and sport buds, catered to ones liking. The whole series is wireless, which comes with a huge battery life.
Plantronics sent us their BackBeat 505, which their on-ear headphones for sports enthusiast. We used it for quite a while, both on the go and while work out. Is this the headphone that gives sports enthusiasts what they want? Is this the headphone that works out fine, just the way we like? Find out in this complete review.
Design & Comfort
The moment you look at the BackBeat 505, you’ll realize that it has a stripped down design and it’s light on the head. The BackBeat 505 has plastic construction on the ear cups and a soft touch finish on the headband. It features a curved headband design that’s easy to wear it on the head. Despite the stripped down and lightweight construction, it features a sporty design at the sides where the brand name is located. The hinge that holds the earcups with the band can be extended according to the size that’s ideal for you. Overall in terms of design, it’s a really good constructed headphones.
In terms of comfort, the headband has a soft band that does not stress or cause any sort of pain during prolonged usage. The ear cups that they claim to have memory foam to give a snug fit is true. But the moment you remove the earcups, it falls apart in pieces. Fixing it back is a tedious process as it takes a bit of time. Also, wearing it for more than two hours causes discomfort on your ear, considering the fact that it’s on ear and not over ear.
On the Headphones
The BackBeat 505 has so many dedicated buttons on the ear cups. On one side, you’ll find the play/pause button along with next and previous track switching buttons. You’ll also find the volume up and down button followed by a micro USB port for charging and a 3.5mm Headphone Jack. On the other side, you’ll find the Call Answer/End button, an LED and the On & Off / Pairing button.
The moment you think about it, yeah you’d feel like it’s a lot of buttons. But personally, I think it’s a very smart move. Considering the fact that when you’re working out and if you want to skip track, you don’t have to take a look at your phone but control literally everything from your headphones. In fact, during my time using it, I barely used my phones to skip track or launch my assistant because I was controlling with my headphones.
Battery Life & Connectivity
By now you should know that Plantronics products have dedicated app for smartphones that let’s you take complete advantage of the headphones. The BackBeat 505 has a companion app that let’s you check the battery life and also a feature that let’s you find your headphones, if you misplaced them by anychance. Do take note, it only works if your headphones are turned on.
Plantronics claimed that the headphones gives about 18 hours of playback time and also has a standby mode, which gets activated when the headphones are not in use. This is by far one of the best headphones I’ve tried so far to have a really long battery life and in fact, with just charging it once every 4-5 days was pretty good. Even with such construction, they’ve managed to fit in a battery that can last for long. There are times when I forget to turn off and just put it in my carrying pouch but it doesn’t drain the battery, which is a good thing.
Let’s just say if the headphone is out of juice, you can always whip out the included 3.5mm headphone cable and listen to your favorite music on the go.
Moving on to the audio quality. These pair of On-ear headphones packs a 40mm drivers with Plantronics Signature audio. The BackBeat 505 is an on-ear headphones that sits on your ear rather than covering your ear. When listening at mid to high volume, the headphone has sound leak. So, anyone sitting beside you will be able to hear what you are listening. Conversations, not much.
The audio quality on the headphones gave me a mixed feeling. During my time using it, I used music platforms like Spotify Premium, Soundcloud and also my very own local library stored in my smartphone. The only thing that made the listening experience difference is the quality of the song. Other than that, every single genre sounded almost the same. It’s decent.
Plantronics claimed that the headphones have deep, rich sound. Yes, there were certain part of the song that gave a bit of rich feel. Most of the time, it sounded flat and also lacked details. After a certain volume level, songs tend to have a sharp tone that could cause discomfort. I would say, the BackBeat 5050 is really good for casual use. In fact, I used it more than my personal bluetooth earphones during my commute to classes and work.
But if music quality is something that really matters, it might be a bummer for you. Also, I wish the headphones had the support for AptX, which would have made the music experience a lot better than usual.
In terms of versatility, the headphones checks out. The BackBeat 505 has the capability to pair with two different smartphones which eliminates the option of having two different bluetooth headphones. Storing the headphones in the travel pouch and keeping it in the back is a lot easier as the earcups swivel and lays flat. Even wearing on the neck is comfortable enough.
Overall, the Plantronics BackBeat 505 is a decent package. The fact that leaving your phone in your gym back and take complete control of your music with the headphones is definitely amazing, thanks to the dedicated buttons. In fact, it is one of the nicest Bluetooth headphones that I’ve used far to offer amazing battery life. Though it may not offer the best listening experience like enough bass or detail in music, it still is quite decent for what it offers and definitely checks out as a good pair of on-ear headphones dedicated for sports and casual use.
Although the headphones comes at a price, RM 399 which also includes 2 Years Warranty as well. If you’re not a fan of on-ear, you can go for Plantronics BackBeat 305 which costs 50 ringgit extra than the 505.