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CNET First Look
Plantronics's relatively cheap BackBeat 500 Bluetooth headphone exceeds expectationsThe BackBeat 500 Series is an affordable on-ear model that matches up well against Beats' much pricier Solo3 Wireless.
This is the Back Beat 500 series headphone, a stylish $80 on-ear model that plantronics hopes will appeal to younger users who don't want to pay top dollar for Beats products. It comes in three colors white,gray and dark gray that looks more like black and is comfortable for on-ear headphone and sounds quite good for the price. usually bluetooth headphones in the sub $100 range suffers from mediocre sound quality. But I was pleasantly surprised that the Back beat 500 sounds as good as it does for the price. It's not in the league of higher and over ear models, like Plantronics own Back Beat pro two, but it's a pretty well balanced head phone with decent detail and relatively punchy meaty bass. It clearly seems designed to compete with Beats Solo3 wireless, which lists for $300 but costs around $220 online That Beats offers great battery life, it's rated at 40 hours, but this Plantronics BackBeat 505 is pretty solid in that department with 18 hours at moderate volume levels. You've got volume controls on the right-ear cup, along Along with track controls and I also liked how there's a separate dedicated button for accessing Siri, Google Now and Cortana voice assistants. As a headset, the BackBeat 500 works pretty well but doesn't have the dual noise cancelling microphones of some of Plantronics higher end headphones. A carrying pouch is included, and if you wanna listen in wired mode you can use the included headphone cord. While it isn't all that groundbreaking, there are other on-ear headphones that look similar. The well-designed BackBeat 500 series is ultimately a good value and an excellent budget alternative to Beats' pricier Bluetooth on-ear headphones. I'm David Carnoy for CNET.com, thanks for watching.