Eighteen months ago, I tried some utilitarian-looking but rather superb wireless over‑ear headphones by the unsexy but important Plantronics company, after a reader, Chris Burridge, had recommended them. The Backbeat Pros were noise-cancelling, comfortable, great-sounding and had a battery life I tested to a whopping 22 hours.
Well, now Plantronics has done a new version, sprinkled with some modest designer fairy dust – they look really quite nice now. The features that distinguish the model include even better comfort, sound and controls. The battery life is a claimed 24 hours in full use. There are smart sensors to stop music as you remove the headphones and start it again as you put them back on. You can connect wirelessly to two devices. And there’s a slide-switch open-listening mode so you can hear announcements and have conversations with those around you – very useful on flights or in an office. The price is also pleasingly competitive because Plantronics does not go in for costly self-promotion. The Backbeat Pro 2s do not fold so much as scrunch – they are tough, resilient and an excellent travelling companion.