Plantronics has released their all new BackBeat Sense On-Ear Headphone. Similar to their great BackBeat Pro headphones, Sense features a lot of its Smart Technology in a very sleek looking design. Of course, these look like a much more scale down version of the Pro but have really set themselves apart from their older counterpart. I had the chance to spend a few weeks with Sense in an always busy New York City, and I’ve honestly fallen in love with them.
Sense is a beautifully crafted headphone. Mixing in some premium quality while still keeping it very lightweight. The headphone is a mix of a hollow plastic with a metal head band that really does a great job with flexibility and providing great comfort. The band expands just enough so it doesn’t feel to constricted on the ears. There is also multiple size adjustments which Plantronics states is meant to fit up to 99% of adult size heads. Sense comes in at just 140 grams.
The ear cups are reminiscent of the Pro, with nice soft padding and media controls on the outside. The padding is very nice, though I do wish they would’ve added a bit more. The L and R hole cutouts are really nice and appealing to the eyes, it’s also very visible for quick access to each direction. The left ear cup holds all of the media functions from Play/Pause, Rewind and Fast Forward. There is a very nice aluminum grill around these buttons which hide the multiple microphones in this headset and then one final ring around the cup for volume control. Underneath lies a very cool feature brought over from the Pro, the Open Mic. This allows the user to pause the music and amplify its surrounding environment making it easier to hear people without removing the headset completely off your head. Unlike the Pro, you aren’t able to control the volume gain on the Sense, instead it just pauses the music and plays the natural sound at a mid level volume.
On the right side is just a simple quick access button which is very convenient. When pressed, you are told how much battery you have left and how many devices are connected, long pressing activates Siri or Google Now. You also find the Power switch and Pairing on the upper portion, and a 3.5mm jack for inline cable use when not in wireless and microUSB for charging. The right ear cup also features a very special Smart Sensor which allows audio to pause when the ear cup is lifted from your ears. This allows for longer battery life and never missing a beat with tracks due to removing the headphone or adjusting.
Plantronics Sense is using Class 1 Bluetooth 4.0 which allows for up to 330 feet of connectivity. Now I never found myself that far from my headphone but within 50-75 feet indoors, it did a great job in keeping the connection even with multiple items in its way like walls and other electronics. You’re also able to have Sense paired to two devices simultaneously, which has been one of my favorite features in newer headphones.
Now let’s talk about the real reason you purchase headphones, the sound quality. Sense has a great balance of audio from all ranges, making it enjoyable to listen to no matter the genre; that is until some bass hits. Sense really lacks on the lower end of the spectrum, and does give that extra BAM on certain tracks how I wish it did. Volume is also a bit lower than expected and wished it was a hate louder. The overall sound quality is great but is lacking.
At the end of the day, the Plantronics Sense is a great balance of style, technology and audio. While I was fully satisfied with audio, it all comes down to personal preference at the end of the day. This is one of the most comfortable and lightweight headphone I’ve used in a very long time. Being able to swivel the ear cups and have it lay on my chest is great.
Plantronics Sense is available in two different colors: White/Light Brown and Black/Brown. Currently retails for $180, which is a decent price point nowadays for headphones, but if you are looking for a bigger and stronger value, the Pro headphones are priced at $250.
- Very Affordable Price
- Long Lasting Battery Life
- Great New Smart Technology
- Bass and Volume could have been bumped up a bit