- - Great battery life
- - Sweat/water resistant
- - Comfortable fit
- - Good sound quality
- - Lots of controls
- - Not very loud
- - Bass could be better
- - Sub-standard microphone
Plantronics has a long, commendable reputation when it comes to headsets – they really are specialists in this particular field. They recently sent us out a pair of their workout headphones, the Plantronic BackBeat Fit headphones.
The Plantronics BackBeat Fit earphones are a pair of Bluetooth, wireless earphones. Unlike a lot of products in its range, these earphones are focused purely on sport and fitness – hence the name. As a result, they have many useful features when it comes to using these earphones for sport and fitness.
An integral part of any earphones, no matter what anyone says, is the fit. We’ve tested many earphones that have incredible sound – but they just don’t fit well. This drags down the overall quality of those earphones and gives a poorer experience when using the product.
But, that’s not the case with these earphones. The Plantronics Backbeat Fit earphones have irregularly shaped earphones – and that’s good. The irregular shape mimics that of Apple’s EarPods but with an protruding side, to make them sit in your ear comfortably.
The fit and comfort of these headphones really impressed us. I, personally, found myself picking these up even when I wasn’t going to the gym as they really don’t feel bulky or heavily noticeable when wearing them. Which makes them perfect for day-to-day use.
The material of the actual earphones contributes to the incredible fit.[pullquote align=”left” cite=”” link=”” color=”#108ad6″ class=”” size=””]”they stay firmly in your ear, even when doing activities such as running, boxing and just about any other sport”[/pullquote]
The earphones are made from a silicone, rubbery-type material, which allows them to stay firmly in your ear, even when doing activities such as running, boxing and just about any other sport. Although there are a lot of earphones that claim they won’t annoyingly fall out of your ear, they do. These earphones, however, are one of the best earphones we’ve tested when it comes to fit as it was almost impossible for them to fall out of my ears. Even when trying to purposely make them fall out of your ears, you’ll have a hard time doing so. It’s also useful that the eartip can be rotated slightly to achieve optimal fit and thus bring a better overall experience.
The BackBeat Fit earphones are sport headphones; their intended purpose is to be used in the gym, or running, etc. Therefore, it’s only right that their material reflects this – and it does. The BackBeat Fit headphones are protected against sweat and moisture by its design and ‘P2i technology‘. Plantronics state that the P2i nano-coating is applied during the manufacturing process, resulting in invisible liquid repellent properties. This of course makes them perfect for scenarios where you’re going to be sweating or getting the headphones wet.
[pullquote align=”right” cite=”” link=”” color=”#108ad6″ class=”” size=””]”the amount of functionality and controls Plantronics have managed to fit in this relatively small body is incredible”[/pullquote]
The BackBeat Fit earphones, like many earphones in it’s category, don’t really have much space for controls. But Plantronics have ingeniously managed to fit all the fundamental controls of earphones, and more, on the small body of the BackBeat Fit.
On one side of the earphones, there is a play/pause button as well as the volume button. The singular volume button can be used to turn the volume up and down depending on how long it is held for which is incredibly useful. The play/pause button also has multiple functions including skipping to the next track, playing the previous track and of course playing and pausing music. These can all be performed by pressing the play/pause button a certain number of times.
On the other side of the earphones, Plantronics have managed to cram in a lot more functionality, which isn’t necessarily needed, but it is very useful. The main button on the other side of the earphones is the call button. This button allows you to answer and end calls as well as activate the voice command feature. Again, these are activated by either pressing or holding the button.
Above the call button is another small button, similar to the volume button on the other side. This button is the power button which allows you to turn the earphones on or off as well as check the battery of the earphones. There is also a light around this side of the earphones which indicates when the earphones are turned on or off as well as their battery level when charging. Speaking of charging, the BackBeat Fit earphones are rechargeable via a Micro USB charger cable. On this side of the earphones there is a small ‘door’ which you can pull out of the earphones to expose the charging port.
All in all, the amount of functionality and controls Plantronics have managed to fit in this relatively small body is incredible and it makes using them a very pleasant experience.
[pullquote align=”left” cite=”” link=”” color=”#108ad6″ class=”” size=””]”the battery life is quite phenomenal”[/pullquote]
Another important aspect of any wireless headphones is the battery. As mentioned before, the Plantronics BackBeat has a rechargeable battery. Plantronics state that the battery will allow up to 8 hours of listening time, 6 hours of talk time and 14 days of standby time. Our testing corroborated this and we found the battery life is quite phenomenal. In a time where batteries tend not to last more than 2 days max; it was quite refreshing to have something that we didn’t need to constantly worry about charging.
Actually charging the headphones takes 2.5 hours, which we found to be quite long however when you consider how long the headphones last after this, it doesn’t seem like much. In addition to this, the headphones come with something called DeepSleep hibernation. This is something which activates when the headphones are out of range from the connected device and allows the headphones to remain charged up to six months.
Now, let’s talk about the most important part of the BackBeat Fit… sound. The BackBeat Fit headphones have excellent sound for what they are. It would be unfair to expect studio-quality sound from these headphones as they are just workout headphones. Saying that, they do perform very well in terms of sound. There is a crisp, clear sound with good bass when playing almost all types of music. The only time where they did not perform as well as expected was with hip-hop music where the bass was not as deep and heavy as it should have been.
The headphones also have digital audio equalisation to filter out background noise to give a more immersive experience when using the headphones, This was something which worked very well even with music playing at a relatively low volume. The volume of the headphones was something which dragged the sound experience down in the BackBeat Fit headphones. There are times when headphones need to be very loud and these headphones could have performed better in terms of loudness.
In terms of listening to voice when using the headphones for calls, we would have to say the BackBeat Fit headphones are fairly standard. The sound quality on calls isn’t exactly rubbish, but it could be better. There’s not crystal clear sound but it is very easy to hear the caller on the other side. The microphone is sort of the same in this case. There were often times where you are required to speak louder than you usually would on the phone so the person on the other side can hear you clearly. However, similar to the call quality, it isn’t detrimentally bad and certainly wouldn’t put you off these headphones.
Plantronics really have created high-end headphones with the BackBeat Fit. This is certainly backed up by the packaging which is smart and inventive. You also get a pretty nice carrying case for the headphones which doubles as an armband for your mobile phone – which is a really good touch to this whole experience. In addition, you can download Plantronic apps to get the most out of your headphones. With the apps you can explore features of your headphones as well as, more impressively, locate your lost headphones and update the firmware of the headphones.
In summary, the Plantronics BackBeat Fit headphones are certainly one of the best workout headphones you can purchase today. The sound quality is good, the fit and material is very suitable for their intended use and they look great at the same time. They’re also packed with functionality and controls on the actual headphones which makes using them a very pleasant experience. However, they are held back by their lack of bass and loudness as well as the quality of the microphone when calling people. Nevertheless, they are great headphones which, for the average person, would be incredibly good.
The BackBeat Fit earphones are available in three colours, orange, black/green and black/blue – all of which look great but our personal favourite was the black/blue headphones. You can read more about the headphones on the Plantronics website.
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