Plantronics: BackBeat Fit Sport Headphones Review
There is simply no competition when it comes to the audio quality reproduced through a Plantronics headset, but does their sporting application meet acceptable standards?
Whether it be for everyday use while shopping, working, driving or exercise, it is impossible to go through the day without seeing someone with headphones on, while going about their daily routines. More often than not, you also can’t help but stare at the tangled mess created by the wires connecting their devices to their ears. Standard issue earphones that you receive with most of your devices leave a lot to be desired, which makes most people seek alternatives, like over-ear wired headphones or “fong-kong” quality wireless earphones that are just uncomfortable and lack audio quality and wireless range. Plantronics saw this gap in the market, formulated their fitness range and responded to the global market with resounding and undeniable echoes of cross lifestyle solutions.
Get Up and Go!
I have needed to undertake a massive mission, fitness wise. I started my journey on 25 January 2018, at 90kg, and need to weigh 72kg by 23 March 2018. This was and is going to take dedication, and as much help as I can get to make the process as hassle free as possible. As all gym-bunnies know, the right music can keep you amped, pumped and pushing beyond your boundaries (mind over matter), but bouncing cables and tugging tops from headphone jacks just distract you and can even break an epic rep set, throwing you off completely (it has happened to me).
Enter the Plantronics BackBeat Fit Wireless Sport Headphones. Plantronics South Africa caught wind of my challenge, and sought out to assist me with the perfect all-rounder gym-buddy, and sent me a BackBeat Fit to test out and review. I fell in-love immediately, because not only do they look attractive and stylish, but they weigh next to nothing, coming in at 24 grams due to the rubber compound that they are made from. The rubber eartips are also adjustable, twisting 20 degrees up or down, which acts like a sort of anchor to your earlobes, “locking” the headphones into place and optimizing the audio channel direction to minimize external sound interference from a noisy gym, mall, office or road utilizing the Plantronics Digital Signal Processing (DSP) Noise Reduction Technology.
The Plantronics BackBeat Fit Wireless Sport Headphones also creates an Air-Audio Channel once you have them fitted to your head, which allows sound from behind you to enter your ear-passage, coming in very handy while running on a busy road, sitting at work (and having someone walk up to you to begin a conversation) or standing in a queue at the mall waiting for the “Next customer please, teller 11” cue. All this without compromising on the audio quality of your motivational or recreational tunes. Two-in-one with zero interruption!
Simple to Use. Stylish to Wear.
I was exceptionally impressed by the Frequency Response Range that these 13mm headphones could operate at, which immidiately positioned them outside the stock standard headphone sector. The Plantronics BackBeat Fit contends with a frequency range of 5-20,000Hz at a Sound Pressure Level (SPL) of 105 dBspl/mW. If you are not an audiophile like me, that basically means that the sound quality is exceptionally clear, bass frequencies are low and the maximum volume is capped at a safe “loudness” that will let you really enjoy your music and not damage your eardrums in the long run.
The light blue stripes and white PLT along the rim of the headphones are not just there to make it look good, but are reflective, which yet again, sets these headphones apart from your stereotypical (see what I did there?) headphones, as most “competitors” focus more on looks and sound quality, rather than practicality and safety. I went on many night runs with these headphones equipped, and knowing they had a fully reflective backing, I could run with zero worries about having an incident due to not being visible.
The battery life on the Plantronics BackBeat Fit is in a league of its own! On the box and in the user manual, it says 8 hours battery charge and 6 month battery standby charge, which I found hard to believe, but in the past month, I went on multiple runs (average 30 minute sessions) and trained at the gym multiple times (average 1 hour 25 minute sessions) and literally only needed to charge them once this week! I believe I managed to squeeze more time out of these headphones than the recommended usage guide states and without a doubt, I got more listening time out of them than any other headphones I have ever used, even while taking a few calls during my runs.
Phone Call quality was exceptional, even when I was running on main roads, the built-in Automatic Microphone Gain Control actively “listened” for my voice and with a latency of a split second, isolated my voice from the traffic sounds, making it a pleasure to talk on the phone (breathlessly) and not need repeat myself or to stop mid-run to finish an important discussion. This feature is called Ambient Adaptation Control, and is really only seen in seriously upmarket products and hands-free kits, so yet another feature that places the BackBeat Fit Sport Headphones on a shelf of its own.
The longest I wore the Plantronics BackBeat Fit Headphones for, was roughly 2 hours and 45 minutes in a single session, and they were still as comfortable as they were when I first put them on. With them being so light and made out of rubber, there was very little strain on the top rims of my ears or my ear holes. They handled intensely vigorous sweaty training sessions easily, where many other sport or regular headphones would have gone flying. My gym-buddy is exceptionally dedicated. I trust him with my life.
The Plantronics BackBeat Fit Sport Headphones are exclusively manufactured in Mexico, which makes this product very unique not only by manufacturing standards but by exclusivity standards, allowing it into a region only by local agency agreements. At the time of this review, takealot.com is selling the exact pair I used for the review for R1,749.00, but there are also a few promotional options available through pricecheck.co.za. In the past month that I have been using these headphones, I have had very little difficulty with them, other than perhaps recommending that the ear-arch be a bit more “adjustable” for folks with smaller ears, to allow for a more snug fit to lock in the bass frequencies once the sweat begins to roll. As far as Wireless Sport Headphones go, these are top contenders that are priced very affordably within a saturated market, which I believe, makes them stand out as the obvious choice, and worth every cent invested.