Plantronics BackBeat Go 2 Review
Stereo Bluetooth headphones have become a hot market in recent years, especially now that the technology enables devices to be even slimmer and more discrete – the perfect recipe that’s required when you’re actively moving. Always a trailblazer in the space, Plantronics is hoping that its updated pair, the BackBeat Go 2, will be the go-to companion for hardcore fitness individuals all around. At first glance, it looks very much like any pair of wired headphones, but it becomes apparently clear that there’s so much more to this!
Right off the bat, we’re instantly attracted to the Plantronics BackBeat 2’s compact and lightweight design. Essentially, its two pronounced looking ear buds are connected together with a single wire, which is doused in this P2i military-grade nano-coating to give it some moisture protection – from things like sweat, moisture, and spills. Sure, it’s something that’ll handle well if you’re sweating profusely during a workout session, but it even handles being used outside while it’s raining. However, don’t expect it to survive a complete dunking under water! Even before putting them on, we were skeptical about its construction, seeing that we thought that the wire would bunch up together and form nasty knots. Fortunately enough, that’s not the case here, since it has some tangle-free properties to it. Best of all, they’re extremely compact to the point we can throw them in our pockets without worry!
Inspecting the two ear buds closer, it’s amazing that all the hardware is stuffed into the two of them – battery, drivers, and all other components to be exact. Specifically, the Plantronics BackBeat 2 employs Plantronics’ 3rd generation 6mm speaker drivers with enhanced bass, and 8-device memory for easy switching between various devices. Also donning redesigned silicone ear tips and stabilizers, we’re happy to report that there’s a snug fit when they’re placed in our ears – to the point where there’s some noise-suppression going on. During occasional 2-hourworkout sessions, they never felt irritating at all.
Hidden behind a plastic flap on the right ear bud, there’s a microUSB port used to charge its internal battery. Nearby as well, there’s a red/blue LED light discretely placed there as well to indicate its power/connectivity status. Not too far from the right ear bud, we spot the unit’s new 2nd generation inline controller that features a microphone and three tactile buttons – these consist of a multi-function key for answer/decline/pause/play functions, volume up that doubles as track forward by long pressing, and a volume down key that allows us to reverse a track as well.
By itself, the Plantronics BackBeat Go 2 is rated to deliver 4.5 hours of listening time, 5 hours of talk, or 6 months of standby with its DeepSleep hibernation mode. Whereas the unit by itself retails for $79.99, the bundled version with the charging case sports a retail value of $99.99 – a figure that seems reasonable seeing that it brings forth extended battery and a case. Comprised out of this slick fabric material, it easily accommodates the Plantronics BackBeat Go 2 for easy travel. At the same time, it boasts its own internal battery to give the unit a total listening time of 14.5 hours. Just like the headphones themselves, the charging case is super compact and easily tucked away in a pocket. There’s a button on the front that commences charging, while a microUSB port is nearby to juice up the case when it’s completely depleted.
Unlike other dedicated Bluetooth headsets aimed for calling, there aren’t as many software features with this. Indeed, a voice greets and informs us of it its battery level upon turning it on, but that’s the extent of what it offers – so yeah, there are no voice control services or anything like that. Sadly, the BackBeat Go 2 falls flat in the call quality department. Yeah, the volume output is strong enough to make out voices, but it doesn’t help when they’re rather robotic in tone. Worst yet, our callers complain that the microphone picks up everything in the background, so there’s a lot of noise they have to deal with. Did we mention that noise-cancellation isn’t on board with this?
By itself, the Plantronics BackBeat Go 2’s own internal battery permits us roughly 4 hours of continuous usage, which is a smidgen short of that 4.5 hours mark for listening time. It’s not bad per se, but it’s something that requires constant charging between workout sessions.
Granted that it falls flat in the call quality department, and its battery life is short, the base $79.99 cost of the Plantronics BackBeat Go 2 is something we can’t overlook. Certainly it’s a tally that we find super inviting since it’s affordable, especially when compared to the $170 cost of the Jaybird Bluebud X. With its superb audio quality for music listening, moisture resistant properties, and compact design, it’s a wonderful pair of Bluetooth headphones that perfectly adapts to the rigorous routines of any fitness buff.