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Plantronics BackBeat Pro 5100 Review - Minimal in design, big on sound

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If you do a survey among customer service representatives which headset is the most trusted in their line of work, many would bring up the brand Plantronics, and for good reason.
Plantronics BackBeat Pro 5100 Review - Minimal in design, big on sound
Meet the PLT Pro 5100

Known for its professional audio solutions, Plantronics, in a bid to get a slice of the true wireless earphones pie, rolls out the BackBeat Pro 5100.

The BackBeat Pro 5100 is true wireless, premium sound offering targeted at those with active lifestyles. The earbuds are rated IPX4 water-resistant, promises up to 6.5 hours of music playback, supports Bluetooth 5.0 connectivity, and is lightweight, all good points if you are someone who runs in the morning for breakfast.

As for the rest of us, who enjoys the idea of plopping down on the couch and listening to music through headphones, the BackBeat Pro 5100 is a godsend.

Note: The Backbeat Pro 5100 ships in a modest box. Unboxing it gives you the earbuds snugly seated inside a charging capsule with the insignia PLT embedded on top. You also get extra ear tips in sizes small and large, a manual, and a micro USB cable.

Build Quality/Design

Nice build quality
Nice build quality

The charging case of the BackBeat Pro 5100 isn't anything special, but if you appreciate simple designs, this is one you'll take joy in.

The minuscule box is rounded at the edges and can be handled with one hand. It has a plastic form factor but isn't tacky if anything it looks sophisticated.

There's a micro USB port at the bottom and a button-up front that opens to show the earbuds inside like a clamshell.

One thing to note is that the case doubles as a portable charger. It has a 440mAh battery capacity, which means your earbuds, each with 60mAh battery, are all filled up when you take them out.

The earbuds are tiny but not the size you'd worry about getting lost. The design is mostly round with the ear tips protruding from the sides. Changing the ear tips is for the most part easy.

A marker indicates which part to lift while getting the ear tip size you prefer in is signaled with a click.

Comfort/Isolation

For long hours of use
For long hours of use

The BackBeat Pro 5100 fits in snuggly in the ears if you've got the right ear tip size. Position the earbuds in the corresponding ear and twist until you get a secure and comfortable fit.

The earbuds fit snugly in the ear and would stay on even when you move around. 

The earbuds felt secure in my ear as I walked the streets of Makati, it also didn't feel like it'd fall off whilst I was running and banging my head to good music.

One thing that bothered me is how I would hear my footsteps when it's in, otherwise, this is a nice earbud for people who commute to work as you could freely listen to music, podcasts, or just about anything without wires getting in the way. 

If you're someone like me who takes public transportation to work, you'd appreciate true wireless earphones like the BackBeat Pro 5100.

It doesn't completely silence ambient noise (no ANC, only natural isolation), so you're still aware of what's happening around you. 

Battery

The battery life of the BackBeat Pro 5100 is pretty impressive. There are days I would forget to charge it for days but when I take it out, there's still plenty of juice left in these tiny music machines.

The battery life of the BackBeat Pro 5100 is pretty impressive!

With 60mAh battery for each earbud and 440mAh for the charging case, you are guaranteed up to 6 hours of non-stop music listening. 

Just plug in the charging case and you can be sure you've got earbuds that'll give you good music.

10 minutes of charge can provide up to 1 hour of music listening.

One thing to note though, the charging case is powered through a micro USB. Fully charging it could take three hours.

The charging case can charge the earphones for around 2x (13 hours extra charge).

Features

Easy to use
Easy to use

Setting up the earbuds is easy, just power up your devices' Bluetooth and the earbuds would pair up. The earphones would pair with each other initially than with your device.

And since it is Bluetooth powered, you can walk across the room and continue listening to music even when you're feet away from your device.

Platronics claimed that it has up to 33 feet or 10 meters of roaming range.

One great thing about the BackBeat Pro 5100 is there are plenty of controls available with just a quick tap and a click. The surface of the earbuds is pretty sensitive to touch. When in use, I light tap on the back of the earbuds raises the volume, while touching and holding it brings the volume down. For when you want to pause or resume playback, you can simply click the back of the earbuds. Another way to automatically pause music is by taking out an earbud.

Controls vary according to the user's preference. It can be customized through the BackBeat app available on iOS and Android.

Apart from the modification of controls, the BackBeat app also conveniently displays the earbuds' battery status as well as host information as to how to get the most out of your BackBeat earphones.

Specifications of the BackBeat Pro 5100 include noise cancellation for calls, while it did prove to some sound isolation, the person I was talking to noted that I sounded like I was away from the microphone no matter how loud my voice was. This can be easily solved by tweaking the settings, however.

Audio

Sound clarity is worth noting thanks to 5.8mm drivers (speakers), you hear songs just as how they're intended to sound down to the nuances (natural sound signature).

Strong audio performance!

I listened to live concerts and went through pop playlists to classical music and all provided an enjoyable music listening experience. Bass is just right, though I'd like it to have a tad more.

The earbuds could also have more loudness to it, though that might just be me.

The soundstage is reasonably wide. But, since it has an in-ear design, don't expect it to be that wide.

Pros - Nice design, good audio quality, strong battery life, 
Cons - Still on micro USB, no wireless charging, no ANC

Plantronics BackBeat Pro 5100 Specs

CPU: 356MHz Kirin A1 audio processor
Driver: 5.8mm dynamic driver
Frequency response: 20 - 20,000Hz
Microphone: 4x microphones w/ noise-canceling digital signal processing (DSP)
Battery: 60mAh per earbud, 440mAh case
Connectivity: Bluetooth 5.0 w/ Hands-Free Profile HFP 1.7, A2DP 1.3.1, AVRCP 1.6
Others: IPX4 water splash resistance, USB-C, Colors: Black, Silver
Dimensions: 41.5 x 20.4 x 17.8 mm (per earbud), 60.9 x 21.8 mm (case)
Weight: 5.8 g per earbud, 44.4 g w/ case
Price: PHP 8,995

Verdict

Plantronics' BackBeat Pro 5100 is a TWS (True Wireless Stereo) earphones worth looking into if you're in the market for one.

The price of admission is quite steep, but you're paying for quality and sound you can trust. 

Is it the be-all and end-all for true wireless stereo earphones? Definitely not. But if you have the money to spare this one's worth getting.

Build/Design - 4.25
Comfort/Isolation - 4
Battery Life - 4
Features - 4.5
Sound - 4.5
Average - 4.25/5
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