The BackBeat Pro 5100 wireless earbuds from Plantronics offer you the freedom of listening to your favorite tunes in the office, out at the gym, or on your daily commute.
Plantronics, now known as Poly, has marketed these completely wireless earbuds to compete with other brands like Jabra and Samsung. They were initially released in September of last year and were priced to compete among other high-end earbuds.
But is their premium price still justified?
Let’s find out in our in-depth Plantronics BackBeat Pro 5100 Review?
Unboxing and Design
When you first open up the box, you will notice a charging case containing the earbuds and some different sized ear tips. Underneath that, you will find an instruction manual and a small micro-USB charging cable.
The included storage case is small enough to fit in your pocket. And it features a push to open button along the outside of it.
With the case open, you will notice that the majority of the earbuds are made from matte-black plastic. They do have a shiny finish over the microphone grill covers, as well as on the PLT-branded control button on the outside of the earbuds to give them a more premium look.
Fit and Comfort
Plantronics BackBeat Pro 5100 earbuds weigh just under six grams each. This does not make them the lightest wireless earbuds available, but they are still comfortable, nonetheless.
The soft gel ear tips fit securely in your ear canal, leaving the earbuds stable even while running or riding a bike. They also aid in supplying some passive noise cancellation ability to these earbuds.
Made to measure…
It is worth noting that these ear tips are proprietary to the BackBeat Pro 5100s. Therefore, you will not be able to swap them out with other ear tips you may have lying around the house.
Fortunately, Plantronics has included four different sized ear tips with these earbuds. This should allow for almost anyone to use these earbuds comfortably and securely.
BackBeat App and Controls
Plantronics has designed these earbuds with touch sensors on the front of each one. To power the earbuds on, you will want to click and hold the sensor on either earbud for two seconds.
The right earbud will allow you to play and pause as well as skip your tracks forward and backward depending on how many times you click it. This earbud will activate your voice assistant and enable you to answer and end calls as well.
Over on the left earbud, you can control the volume up or down depending on how long you touch the sensor.
These sensors can also recognize when you put the earbuds in your ear or take them out. They will automatically pause music or mute the microphones when an earbud is removed and resume automatically when reinserted.
Depending on your personal preferences, you may want to swap the controls from one earbud to the other. With the use of the Plantronics BackBeat app, you can do so. The BackBeat app also has a ‘My Tap’ feature that even allows you to open a Spotify playlist or set a timer depending on how many times you tap the sensors on the earbuds.
You can find the BackBeat app available for free from either your iOS or Android devices app store.
If you prefer a very neutral soundstage, then the 5100s certainly deliver. Each earbud has a 5.8mm driver that works in coordination with the included proprietary ear tips leaving you with a pretty immersive listening experience.
Clear and accurate for all genres…
We tested the 5100s on pretty much every genre of music you can think of. Everything from classical to rock and R&B, vocals come out crisp and clear. Lead instruments and cymbals come through clear as well.
The bass is definitely noticeable on the middle to lower frequencies, but it does not overpower the higher ranges. Although, this should be expected since these earbuds’ drivers can only achieve so much given their 5.8mm size.
If you look for a way to further adjust the sound profile of the BackBeat Pro 5100s, you are out of luck. Even though the BackBeat app allows you to customize these earbuds in numerous ways, it does not come with preset equalizer settings or a graphic equalizer, unfortunately.
Plantronics is known for manufacturing microphones of high-quality and the ones integrated into these earbuds are no exception. You will find a total of four tiny microphones on the BackBeat Pro 5100’s.
These mics are manufactured using what Plantronics calls WindSmart technology. They work together to block out background noise and wind, allowing the microphones to pick up your voice better.
Call quality was good for the most part, and callers will definitely be able to hear you even in a crowd. Since the microphones are positioned by your ears, you may notice that you have to speak louder than usual, though.
No matter if you are making a call or listen to your favorite track, noise leakage is kept to a minimum. Even with the music cranked up, you will not need to worry about bothering anyone sitting next to you.
These BackBeat earbuds claim to have a listening time of up to six and a half hours and a talk time of up to four hours on a single charge. After four hours of continuous testing, the battery life dropped to just under forty percent, which is right on par with their claims.
To charge these earbuds, you will want to place them back in their storage case. This case incorporates a 440mAh battery into it that will allow you to charge the earbuds two additional times fully.
The case will fully charge the earbuds in about two hours. These earbuds also feature quick charge capabilities that allow for an additional hour of listening time after ten minutes of charging as well.
A little awkward…
When it comes time to recharge the case, you will need to wait for up to three hours. Charging the case is possible with the included micro-USB cable and a compatible adapter or computer.
You will probably wonder how you are supposed to figure out the charging status with the case closed. Not only of the earbuds but the case itself. You will have to open up the case to find a few tiny LEDs to determine both the case and the earbuds’ charging status.
We really think Plantronics dropped the ball here. Also, since these are meant to compete with other premium earbuds, we would have liked to have seen wireless charging or at least USB-C to be on offer as well.
Plantronics BackBeat Pro 5100 Review Pros and Cons
- IP54 rating.
- Voice alerts.
- Auto play/pause.
- Good sound quality.
- Lightweight, with a nice fit, and can be worn for hours without any discomfort.
- MicroUSB charging case, and the pairing process took a few tries.
- Audiovisual lag.
- Just too expensive considering the lack of USB-C, wireless charging, or active noise cancellation.
Looking for Something Else?
Plenty of personal audio gear is out there, so check out our in-depth reviews of the Most Comfortable Earbuds, the Best Noise Isolating Earbuds, the Best Wireless Earbuds For Small Ears, the Best Airpods Alternative, and the Best iPhone Earbuds you can buy in 2021.
Plantronics BackBeat Pro 5100 Review – Final Thoughts
If you are someone who enjoys listening to music on the go, free from wires, then we would have to say yes. The BackBeat Pro 5100 certainly gets the job done well in that instance.
Thanks to their small, lightweight form factor, they are exceedingly comfortable to wear for hours on end. Since they have an IPX4 water-resistance rating, you can even wear them when it is raining outside as well.
Sound quality is up there with other top-end wireless earbuds. No matter if you are listening to a podcast or jamming out to some rock music, the overall sound profile is very well balanced. Noise isolation is surprisingly good as well, thanks to the proprietary ear tips.
Even though the BackBeat app allows you to customize the controls, we would have liked additional equalizer settings. Also, given their high-end price point, it would be nice to have seen at least USB-C or wireless charging on offer.
Until next time, happy listening.