While flowers are always a great gift idea, you can show your love this Valentine’s Day for any music lover by hooking them up with a solid pair of headphones. You can upgrade their listening experience by considering wireless options with active noise cancellation so they can rock out their favorite tunes without tangling cables or their hectic environment muffling their jam. Truthfully, these sort of headphones does not exactly spell out affordable but right now, you can save as much as $150 when you order either Sennheiser’s PXC 550 or Plantronics’ Backbeat Pro 2 from Amazon.
Sennheiser’s PXC 550 flaunts a sleek and streamlined design that simply matches up in terms of style and function no matter the setting, with a monochromatic black-matte finish embellished with chrome accents. To ensure lasting comfort and a truly snug fit, its all-plastic construction makes it lightweight at just 227 grams even with thick leather padding on both the adjustable headband and earcups. The collapsible frame does not only make it easier to stow away in the included travel case but also allows you to switch it on as you unfold or off when you fold its earcups flat.
The PXC 550 is one of Sennheiser’s top-of-the-line models of headsets geared for business travelers that boasts supreme noise cancellation with NoiseGard. It would hardly matter if you’re in flight, in transit, or in the midst of a busy neighborhood as you’ll be able to tune out ambient sound as you go through its noise-canceling settings (off, light, and heavy). And with the integration of three microphones, you are just as able to take crisp calls with exceptional vocal clarity on both ends of the conversation.
Active noise cancellation is definitely its prime feature but you’re also in store for Sennheiser’s signature sound which is multi-layered with a rich bass that naturally reverberates through the upper register while its soundstage is distinctive. Downloading the CapTune app on your compatible iOS or Android device only serve to make things more interesting as you can make custom settings on its equalizer or choose among preset sound modes, and stream your music from there. Wireless freedom is then facilitated with both Bluetooth 4.2 technology and NFC in place to guarantee a seamless pair between your device and the PXC 550. And with all the necessary controls on the right earcup, you can, by all means, remain untethered to your device.
Although Sennheiser claims the PXC 550 can last up to 30 hours on a single charge, our review suggests that 20 hours is more realistic when you’re tuned in wirelessly with active-noise canceling employed. Either way, you’ll have enough juice for a whole day and on the off chance that’s not enough, you can opt for a passive listening experience with the provision of a 3.5-millimeter auxiliary cable and port.
Usually ringing it at $350, you can be in control of your sensory environment and get the most bang for your buck while Amazon has the Sennheiser PXC 550 selling for only $200.
You can also get a $50 discount on top of its sale price when you’re approved for an Amazon Rewards Visa card.
Plantronics BackBeat Pro 2 is a worthy contender that matches up to Sennheiser’s PXC 550 with active noise cancellation available for a fraction of the cost while sporting a subtle and laid-back design. Its combination of neutral colors should be able to blend in with any style and shouldn’t appear out of place for that matter. These headphones are lined with leatherette while its soft plush vinyl finish on both the headband and the ear cups make it comfortable enough for long listening sessions.
Determining which ear cup goes on which ear is easy. You’ll find your playback controls, NFC tag, along with the toggle to switch from ANC (Active Noise-Cancelling) to open listening on the left ear cup. Tapping on the right ear cup, on the other hand, will trigger the built-in mics and enable you to make or take calls. Bluetooth pairing is also accessible on the right including a provision for a 3.5mm audio jack should you opt for a wired configuration.
Equipped with Bluetooth 4.0 technology, Plantronics’ Backbeat Pro 2 allows you to stream audio up to 100 meters away from your compatible device. You’d also be able to connect two devices at the same time to facilitate a seamless transition between playlists. With smart sensors, you can count on your headphones to automatically pause your music when you take them off and resume play as you pop them on.
Now for the main feat, the Backbeat Pro 2’s audio performance is rich and immersive enough for those who typically go for classic rock, house, or hip-hop but could be a bit underwhelming for those looking for a pumping bass. Its stellar battery life surely won’t let you down as it can give you over 24 hours of portable playtime depending on use. Don’t miss out on the chance to get this slick pair of over-ear headphones along with its 4-out-of-5 star rating in our review for only $140 instead of $199 on Amazon.
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