Plantronics Backbeat Fit Review Facts
Music and fitness are very closely intertwined. There have been countless studies on the way music influences, and in many ways enhances, physical performance during various exercises. Many experienced runners will say that a good playlist is a difference between the first and second place in a relay or a difference of several minutes in a marathon time. Because of this, more and more active individuals have incorporated music into their exercise routines, which often necessitates sturdy and functional headphones.
Unlike casual earbuds or headphones, any music listening accessories for the purpose of accompanying intense exercise requires its own specific features. They need to be secure enough to stay on the wearer’s head, but not so tight that they cause discomfort if left on for long periods of time. They need to connect easily to the user’s listening devices without becoming tangled or damaged by the sudden movement. And while it isn’t the end-all-be-all, it certainly doesn’t hurt if they look and sound nice. Plantronics designed their Backbeat Fit headphones to fulfill these criteria, ensuring that individuals who engage in a wide range of physical activities can take advantage of their full suite of features.
The Plantronics Backbeat Fit is a pair of wireless headphones designed for the singular purpose of providing clear audio during physical activity. It is intended to function properly while the wearer is exercising and can accommodate a wide range of intensity, from casual jogging to serious weightlifting to intense gymnastics. They are lightweight so as to prevent discomfort or fatigue from being worn, and are flexible so they can remain attached to the wearer’s head when contorted in extreme positions.
In addition to being lightweight and flexible, the Backbeat Fit is sturdy and resistant to different forms of damage. They can bend surprisingly far without fracturing, meaning that they will be able to withstand some common hazards encountered while training in a gym. However, the most impressive aspect of this product’s resiliency is its waterproofing. Plantronics boasts that these wireless headphones have an IP57 waterproof rating, which means that they can withstand full immersion in water. This means that the music doesn’t have to stop even while the wearer is taking a shower or swimming laps in a pool. With all of these design elements and features, these headphones are only limited by the wearer’s imagination.
As wireless headphones, the main feature provided by the Backbeat Fit is that it connects to the user’s music player or smart device in order to wirelessly broadcast audio into their ears. This specific Plantronics product uses an earbud
design, which means that the speakers are placed inside the ears instead of over them. While this comes with the benefit of a more secure fit than over-ear headphones, the way in which the buds are placed inside the wearer’s ears can cause discomfort over time.
The earbuds on these wireless headphones
are designed in a way that outside noise can still be heard while they are worn. Depending on what the wearer is interested in using them for, this can be a positive or negative. On the plus side, being more aware of one’s surroundings can help individuals avoid hazardous situations, making this design aspect an excellent safety feature for people who enjoy jogging
or cycling on the side of the road. On the other hand, audiophiles who are interested in achieving the highest possible musical fidelity will be disappointed by what the Backbeat Fit has to offer in this regard.
The way in which these headphones connect to the user’s listening device of choice is wireless via Bluetooth. This is relatively easy to pair and provides a reasonable level of quality, but some people may experience signal interference or have difficulties pairing older devices. As a product designed to work with modern music players and smartphones, the Backbeat Fit also has a microphone and inline remote for controlling music and taking calls.
Customers who purchase these wireless headphones in the complete package as intended by Plantronics will also receive a small pouch. This surprisingly versatile accessory is made of a water-resistant mesh, meaning that it can withstand brief exposure to water but won’t react well to complete submergence. It can be used as a charging pouch, allowing individuals to connect their device to a charging station while using it, and it can be used as a smartphone holder/armband. Finally, purchasing this product new through the manufacturer’s website will give customers full access to a bonus personal trainer smartphone app, providing helpful insight into new exercise routines and fitness plans.
Since the Backbeat Fit is designed as an earbud that fits inside the ear instead of a pair of headphones
that fit over the ears, audio bleed is an issue. This means that if the wearer turns their music or audio up to too high of a volume, other people standing nearby will be able to hear it. In addition to letting audio out, these wireless headphones are designed to let outside noise in as a safety feature. And while this is incredibly helpful for ensuring wearers are still aware of their immediate surroundings, this comes at the expense of sound quality.
To be fair, the audio fidelity for these Plantronics headphones isn’t as poor as a pair of bone-conduction headphones. However, it isn’t close to the same level of quality that one would find from over-the-ear headphones such as those from Bose or Beats. Although they offer a crisp separation between highs, mids, and lows, this is not a good choice for audiophiles that demand the best listening experience possible from their earbuds. Instead, the level of sound quality that can be achieved from these earbuds is enough to suffice for the average runner or trainer who wants to hear both their audio and the noises around them.
As previously mentioned, the Plantronics Backbeat Fit uses Bluetooth to pair with a smartphone or other modern listening device. It’s important to signify that these headphones are compatible with modern devices, since the largest downside to this form of connectivity is the fact that legacy music players that don’t support Bluetooth won’t be able to pair with them. Aside from this, the only major criticism regarding this form of wireless connectivity is that it can accelerate the battery drain on connected devices and may be prone to interference if there are too many Bluetooth devices operating in the same area. If these caveats aren’t enough of a problem to become a dealbreaker, then these headphones will function adequately for general fitness purposes.
For the most part, the Plantronics Backbeat Fit will be comfortable enough to accommodate the majority of users. However, the fact that this product’s speakers are in-ear buds instead of over-ear cups means that some individuals with more sensitive ears will likely feel discomfort after wearing them for some time. Usually, earbud manufacturers will address this concern by including replaceable buds in alternate sizes to better fit different ear sizes. However, the Backbeat Fit’s buds are locked into its design, meaning there is no way to replace them with a smaller or larger size. Because of this, it’s recommended that customers with a proclivity towards discomfort when wearing earbuds for a long time should try and find these headphones in a physical store so they can test them before making a purchase.
These wireless headphones have adopted a traditional modern design where the two earbuds are connected via a thin neckband in order to keep them from getting separated and lost. It’s a convenient way to construct them since the alternative way of designing wireless earbuds would involve making them incredibly easy to misplace.
For its part, the neckband of the Backbeat Fit is sturdy and presents a low enough profile to avoid drawing unwanted attention to the wearer. While other headphone manufacturers like Bose will attempt to reinvent the wheel by adding bizarre necklaces to their earbud designs, Plantronics played it safe and kept their product simple. There are a few different colorways for customers to choose from in order to endow this product with some flair; however, these are meant to be casual rather than ostentatious. Customers who are looking for a pair of headphones or earbuds that make a bold fashion statement would likely prefer to purchase something from Beats.
When it comes to these Plantronics headphones, durability is a mixed bag. On one hand, the Backbeat Fit is designed to withstand a surprising amount of punishment. The neckband used to connect the two wireless buds can be twisted to extreme angles without snapping or losing its elasticity, meaning that it can handle some abrasions if the wearer’s exercises get a little out of hand. The entire model has also been coated in a sweat and water-resistant nano coating. In fact, the manufacturers boast that this product has been IP57 certified to handle full immersion in a body of water for up to 30 minutes without losing any functionality.
The downside to this product’s durability is that many customers have complained about it no longer turning on or holding a charge. It seems that many individuals have purchased the Backbeat Fit only to have it malfunction after a year of use. Fortunately, Plantronics includes a 1-year warranty with new purchases, meaning that any of these problems can be fixed at no charge to the customer if they occur within this time period. Unfortunately, those who have their earbuds stop working on them after this time window are out of luck.
Ease of Use
The Plantronics Backbeat Fit advertises itself as a pair of fitness-focused earbuds that are easy to set up and begin using. They claim to charge in a short period of time and last for much longer on this single charge, and the manner in which they wirelessly pair with a user’s listening device is the relatively painless Bluetooth method
. While all of these things are true, the unfortunate fact is that these headphones will never be as easy to use as a plain pair of wired earbuds. The absence of a neckband or the need to charge or pair them means that users only need to plug them into any listening device with a headphone jack in order to begin listening to their music or podcast of choice. While the lack of any wires does provide some convenience to the Backbeat Fit, it still isn’t enough to stand up to the classic method.
Since the Plantronics Backbeat Fit is a pair of wireless earbuds, they require a dedicated electric charge to function properly. Instead of being powered through the headphone jack like a traditional pair of headphones or earbuds, the power source for these earbuds are integrated directly into its design and must be recharged via Micro USB. This is an inconvenience that Plantronics have attempted to assuage as much as possible by ensuring that they can last for 8 hours of continuous use with only 2 hours of charging time. Furthermore, the Backbeat Fit offers a standby mode that increases its longevity to 14 days on one charge, as well as a truly impressive Deep Sleep mode that claims to offer six months of battery life. The unfortunate downside of this product’s power consumption is that many customers have mentioned its failure to properly charge after roughly one year after purchasing: usually right around when its manufacturer warranty expires.
When they were first released, the Backbeat Fit came with a suggested retail price of over $150. This is fairly standard for a pair of wireless headphones or earbuds, but this higher price usually also guarantees a high level of audio fidelity. At the very least, many of these wireless listening accessories with premium prices would come with some sort of companion app to improve its functionality. While these Plantronics headphones do come with a companion app of sorts, it’s meant as a supplementary training aid rather than an actual headphone app. This helps to justify the increased cost of the product, and the years after its release has led this price to drop off slightly as well, but some customers interested in luxury headphones may feel disappointed with this product due to high expectations.
- Wireless earbuds connected by a neckband
- IP57 water resistance can handle full submergence
- Bluetooth connectivity
- In-ear speakers allow outside noise to enter
- Comes with PEAR personal coach companion app
- Water-resistant mesh charging pouch/smartphone armband included
The ideal user of these Plantronics wireless earbuds is someone with an active lifestyle that wants to make the most out of music’s transformative abilities. The Backboard Fit is designed to accommodate these kinds of fitness enthusiasts to a T, since they can last a long time on a single charge and are highly resistant to damage. Their audio quality isn’t the best in its price range, mainly due to safety concerns, but they’re still an excellent investment for runners, trainers, cyclists, and swimmers who are trying to cut the cord without stopping the music.