Functions and Accessories
Off the bat, Plantronics‘ latest headphone can work either wired or wirelessly. As such, purchase of the BackBeat SENSE would supply you with a nice set of accessories to handle travel and its general use: A sort of waxed denim carrying case, a USB charging cable, and a 3.5 mm cable complete with on-board media controls and mic. Couple that carrying case with the BackBeat SENSE’s ability to fold flat, and you have yourself a nifty travel companion that’s no trouble at all to log around. Anything you would need for the headphone fits in this pouch. The BackBeat SENSE’s small frame takes little space as it is, so this bundle traveled quite efficiently to say the least.
BackBeat SENSE sports Class 1 Bluetooth 4.0 with a connection range of up to 330 feet (100 meters). It can stay paired to two devices simultaneously, allowing you to swap between media devices seamlessly. Wirelessly, it can run for 18 hrs of streaming while taking just about 2 and a half hours to charge. I was able to connect it to both my Android phone and my Surface Pro 3 without a problem. The wireless controls will control whichever device it paired to first. After that, it will control whichever device sent it media last.
To make better sense of that, say both devices were paired to the BackBeat SENSE. If I was listening to music on my Android phone, paused that music, and then started a video from my Surface, then the BackBeat SENSE’s wireless controls will begin to control the Surface instead. It would happen instantly without having to break any pairings. It worked pretty well considering that I naturally would walk into the office playing music from my phone, and then would prefer to play media from my PC once I arrive. Should both devices already have a pairing, this transition is pretty smooth.
Should the battery fully deplete or if you wish to not use Bluetooth, you can simply connect the included 3.5 mm cable to listen to your media or take calls. If you’re an iPhone user, then you won’t lose any of the “remote” control functionality when you transition to wired use. If you’re an Android user, you won’t be able to control your volume from the cable’s controller but you’ll have all other functionality. This is actually pretty common with most headsets that utilize a cable like this as the volume controls are simply not configured for Android.
You pretty much maximize the uses of potential of the BackBeat SENSE when you’re using it wirelessly via Bluetooth. All of the controls you’ll ever need for your media or phone conversations reside on the ear cups.
On the right, you have a switch for powering the BackBeat SENSE on and off as well as to initiate device pairs. The switch worked simply enough as you just have to hold it up for a couple of seconds for the headphone to broadcast itself as pair-able device. This ear cup also houses LED’s that help indicate power levels or when the headphone is in pairing mode. Beyond all of this, that entire right side with the LED’s is one big button that takes calls, initiates a call with whom you called last, hangs up the call, or triggers up any voice-controlled assistant that your mobile device may have, like Siri.
On the left, you have your media control basics: play/pause, forward (track), back (track), and volume control. The volume control alters the volume directly on the headset itself, not the device playing the media. Not a big deal. Simply have your device at a volume near the max so that you have full control of the volume range straight from the BackBeat SENSE itself.
These basic functions worked exactly as intended so there isn’t too much to dwell on here. These controls are placed well and took no time at all to get used to their placements. No real learning curve to worry about.
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