Over the past few weeks we’ve been training to music provided by the Plantronics BackBeat FIT wireless headphones. This is our world exclusive review of them.
What Plantronics Says About the BackBeat FIT Headphones
On-ear controls let you keep moving while you control your music or calls without having to look at your phone or smartwatch. The reversible armband secures your phone while you’re moving and stores your headphones when you’re done.
BackBeat FIT headphones are protected against sweat and moisture by design and P2i nano-technology. The P2i nano-coating is applied during the manufacturing process, resulting in invisible liquid repellent properties.
BackBeat FIT features a flexible design that fits comfortably and stays put for all levels of exercise. The safety-oriented eartip design lets you hear some of your surroundings and the reflective finish helps you be seen at night.
What’s in the Box
Upon opening the box of the BackBeat FIT, we found a kit of items that are geared towards making the headphones user-friendly. They included:
- The BackBeat FIT headset
- A high-caliber caliber case that can be used to store the headphone or just about any standard-sized smartphone on the market today. We tried it out with a Samsung Galaxy S6 and iPhone 6.Plus. There was enough space for either.
- A micro USB charging cable that can be plugged into any USB 2.0 or 3.0 port.
What We Thought
Plantronics is well-known for their headset products used in offices and call center around the world. So they do have some expertise in the business of personal sound gear. They’ve utilized this specialty to put together the BackBeat FIT. What first struck us about the product is its simplicity and intuitive design. It is essentially two in-ear pieces connected by a sturdy rubberized enclosure that goes around the back of the head. What we really liked about the behind the head portion of the headphones was that it is pliable and bends when you are storing the BackBeat FIT or going exercised that require you to lie down on the floor or a bench.The fact that the wires connecting the two ends of the headphones are protected is also a value add because you don’t have to worry about them bursting. Throw in the bright green details of the unit that we tested and you’ve also got a clever looking training accessory.
The left side of the has a soft touch music control button that lets you start and pause your music. This is great for interruptions when training that require you to speak to someone and is a rare feature among wireless headphones even to this day. The same button lets you skip and replay tracks as well.
There are a couple of small buttons that are used to power on and off the BackBeat FIT and to adjust its volume. A quick look at the accompanying instructions was all we needed to figure them out. A pleasant female voice with what may be an English accent plays to let you know when the BackBeat FIT is on, turning off or when the volume is maximized.
The behind the head fit of the BackBeat FIT is excellent. Given that there is a about a quarter-inch gap between the headphones and your head, you do not even think about the piece being there.
The in-ear portion of the BackBeat FIT does require some adjusting for an optimal fit. The in-ear stabilizers rotate about 30 degrees to allow for some adjustment and pipe sound into your ear canals via a funnel design.It took us a bit to figure out what worked best for us and did find ourselves adjusting them midworkout. However, they did stay in the ears and never fell out.
Our biggest complaint about the fit on the in-ear stabilizers is that a couple of our tested did report some discomfort from them after about an hour of use. The source of this was the stabilizers pressing against the part of the ear just before the ear canal and causing slight pain. Other testers said that they wore the BackBeat FIT all day at work with no issues whatsoever.
Lastly, the BackBeat FIT is not glasses friendly because it has an over the ear design to secure its fit. They’re fine if you are not bespectacled or use frames with thin templates. If you have the nerdy plastic frame that are popular nowadays then you will find them competing with the BackBeat FIT for the limited space between the ear lobes and head.
The BackBeat FIT does boast “premium sound”. It is indeed very good and on par with sound quality of the ubiquitous Beats Powerbeats 2 Wireless. It is crisp, clear and captures the elements of both offline and streaming music quite well.
Battery Life and Range
The BackBeat FIT has a relatively long battery life compared to other sports-center wireless headphones on the market. Plantronics claims that it can last up to eight hours on a full charge. We found this to be accurate. There are also audio warnings that play to remind you that your battery level is low.
The BackBeat FIT does hold a charge well when not in use. We’ve gone through periods of up to two weeks of not using them and were pleasantly surprised to find that they could be used for hours immediately afterwards. Plantronics says that the BackBeat FIT uses “DeepSleep” – a hibernation mode which keeps the headphones charged and ready to use for up to six months.
The BackBeat FIT can be worn for about 30 feet from your music source before its Bluetooth connection starts to degrade. This is pretty standard nowadays so we have no issues with the device in this department.
At a price point of $129.99, the Plantronics BackBeat FIT is twenty dollars less that the Jabra Sport Coach and $80 less that the Beats Powerbeats2. This makes them a great deal if you’re in the market for Bluetooth headphones this Christmas season given all that they offer.