The Plantronics BackBeat Fit headphones certainly don’t look like your average pair of in-ear headphones, and neither are they meant to be used for those purposes. Running is the keyword here, and I’ve thoroughly tested if these sporty looking headphones live up to their purpose.
Disclaimer: Although Plantronics did provide me (Jeffrey) with the headphones, they had no influence on the editorial outcome of the review. I’ve tested the headphones together with my OnePlus 3T for about 4 weeks. Testing the battery life is being done with the volume set to 50% on my phone.
- Bluetooth Version: 3.0
- Weight: 24 grams
- Ear tips: One size fits all, non-removable
I would actually like to keep it nice and short here, because there simply isn’t a lot to say about these headphones other than that they feel very well build. The rubber material with a water-repellent coating gives it a flexible but also a durable feel.
In the beginning, I never wanted to put these in my pockets because I expected them to be damaged when doing so, but after a while I just did exactly that, without any damages to be seen on the headphones themselves.
The ear hooks aren’t as flexible as the neckband (read: not flexible at all), but this is not a miracle if you think where Plantronics needs to put their antennae for the Bluetooth reception. Even though it isn’t flexible, it’s extremely solid, and you’ll have a hard time to damage it.
At last I’d like to talk about the flap that protects the earphones from water entering into them; even though it’s not as flimsy as with other flaps I’ve felt in the past, it doesn’t feel like it’ll last a lifetime if you don’t handle it with care. Maybe it’d be something for the next generation to waterproof the USB port itself instead of putting a flap over it, but that is just my 2 cents.
If you want something that looks boring, don’t get these headphones; they won’t suit you… What I do know is that these headphones are a departure from all the standardised headphones looking the same these days.
Plantronics have a variety of colors available for the BackBeat Fit; I’ve had the chance to test the black/grey version. To be completely honest, I love how they look. The neckband is completely grey with a reflective strip and the Plantronics branding on it. The ear hooks are just plain greyish, underneath that you’ll find the black media control buttons; not just plain black, but Plantronics decided to put a nice circle pattern on it.
Keep in mind that these headphones have a specific purpose, and you can clearly see what they’re made for. You’ll either love or hate that, one thing is as clear as water, they look different.
I recently tested the Jabra Sport Pulse SE headphones, just before I started testing these Plantronics in-ear headphones. And coming from a truly feature-rich pair of headphones to these headphones was something I needed to get used to, and maybe simplicity sometimes is just for the better.
The headphones come with a specific app that shows which device it is connected to, the remaining battery life – in hours, not percentages – and if you’ve got a software update available for your headphones.
Whilst the app looks nice, it just needs more functionality to be really useful. I’ve opened the app once since I started testing the headphones, with one reason: to update the headphones over Bluetooth. The first time I tried installing the update it failed because it turned off and hadn’t finished off the update, after this it didn’t even want to turn on anymore. A few hours later I tried installing the update once again via the app, with more success this time. It is kind of useless for the normal consumer though if you can’t even trust the app to update your device.
The two media control buttons, or, well… 4 buttons actually if you also count in the two extremely small but useful buttons up top. The big button left is the play/pause button, with a small volume up and down button; a single click will up the volume while a longer press will lower the volume. On the right, you can find the big button which gives you the possibility to accept phone calls; above that you’ll find the power button and the button which tells you how much battery life is left after a quick press. It’s something I needed to get used to, but after a while this is all you need to have an enjoyable experience with these headphones.
At last we’ve the performance of the BackBeat Fit headphones, or in other words; how was the sound quality, battery life and the Bluetooth connectivity in real-life situations? Let me start with the Bluetooth connectivity, of which I hadn’t set my expectations too high because of the old Bluetooth version used by Plantronics. In real-life situations, the connective kept up very well, and while it won’t reach 10M/33ft. in a building, you should easily be able to get somewhere between 5-7M or 16.5-23.1ft. If you’re only using this outside you should easily be able to reach a distance of 8-9M or 26.4-29.7ft.
Battery life is up next, and Plantronics claims that the headphones should last somewhere in the range of 8 to 9 hours. I got very close to 8 hours on average, 7 hours and 43 minutes to be exact, which truly impressed me, especially because you just can’t fit that much battery inside such small headphones.
The sound quality of these headphones left me a bit in the middle, because while it sounds crisp and warm, I did notice the lack of bass in certain places where other headphones do pick it up better. Vocals are great, though instruments sometimes get a bit muffled away. Overall, I would say that for the purpose they have, you’re getting a great sounding pair of headphones. These simply aren’t made for audiophiles, and they never will be. If you’re just like me, and I’m nowhere near being an audiophile, you’ll love these.
It’s time to see if it’s worth giving a shot, or not. The headphones can be picked up for £108.44 on Amazon UK; for that money, you’re getting a sporty looking pair of headphones, that’s built like a tank, has amazing battery life and offers sound quality that you’d expect to come out of such a product. It’s a lot of money if you don’t use them for the purpose they’re intended for, but if you do, you’ll have yourself an amazing pair of sport headphones for the money. Do let me know in the comments below if you’re picking one up!