Over the past few years the market has exploded with bluetooth compatible speakers while headphones/earphones have been lagging behind. Their seems to be a lack of headsets and even more so in-ear headphones that have bluetooth capability, yet being available on pretty much all smartphones these days. Bring in the Plantronics Backbeat Go 2, a pair of bluetooth in-ear headphones.
The California based company, Plantronics have been selling high quality audio products for the past 52 years now and create/design their own products from the ground upwards. A recent addition to their long line of products is the Backbeat Go 2 earphones.
The presentation of these headphones is great and a lot of care has gone into designing it. The front flips open to reveal a window where the product is shown. To the left of this you have a couple of photos of the product.
As you open start to un-box the earphones a separate bit of card houses the actual product. As soon as removed the first thing that grabbed my attention was just how large the ear buds were. I did think how they were going to fit in my ears and actually manage to stay there but we shall get to that later in the review. This being said you must remember that squeezed into them are a battery, all of the bluetooth 2.1 components and also 6mm drivers. With all of this crammed into such a small space we think Plantronics have done a pretty damn good job of managing to keep them this size.
They are available in either silver or black either with or without the charging case, which if you opt for will set you back an extra £20 or so.
In the box you receive the earbuds (built in microphone), a charging case with rechargeable battery (if you opt for the charging case option), USB cable to charge the earbuds/case, fit stabilizers and S,M,L earbuds. You can probably guess but the fit stabilizers help to keep the buds in your ears when your working out or running. They come pre-installed on the headset but can be easily removed if they aren’t needed. On the USB cable an input port is included so that even when charging the case or headset the port being used is still usable by other devices – a small but really nice feature to see included.
Being designed for people with active lifestyles the headphones weigh a mere 14 grams. They are also coated with a nano-coating to help resist sweat and moisture, although don’t mistake this for them being waterproof. As with a lot of recent headphones we have been seeing recently they have a flat cable to help prevent with wire tangling, although as the wire is only 25 inches long this shouldn’t be too much of a problem. When trying them out we preferred to wear them so that the wire was placed behind the neck. Not only did this reduce friction-noise but also kept the wire out of the wire and further helped with keeping the headphones in-ear.
Pairing the headset with your bluetooth device is a breeze. There are instructions included with help on how to do this but it really is as simple as turning the headset on and finding it listed in your bluetooth accessories. The headset gives you helpful voice alerts which notify you when the battery is low and the pairing status.
Integrated into the cable is a noise-cancelling microphone, play/pause button and also volume buttons. It’s nice to see that the microphone has had a small upgrade since the original version of the Backbeat Go, and now includes a noise-cancelling MicroElectrical-Mechanical System (MIME) microphone. During our tests we found that it worked well in situations where there was a lot of background noise, but also when running or carrying out sport the microphone still managed to sound clear and crisp. The buttons functions similarly to those on Apple headphones, where the play/pause button can be used to answer or decline/end calls, as well as holding the volume buttons forwarding/reversing the current track.
Charging the headset is made easy and to access the micro-USB port you pull back a small rubber cover on the back of the right ear bud. When not in use the rubber covering plugs the port keeping it hidden from view making the overall earphones look more sleek. Plantronics state that the listening time for the headset is up to 4.5 hours where as when the device is in the new ‘DeepSleep’ hibernation mode the battery can last up to a staggering 6 months!
Another improvement since the original headset is that the Backbeat Go 2 has an 8-device memory for easy connectivity to different devices.
The Charging Case
If the 4.5 hours listening time is simply not long enough for you then you’ll want to dish out the extra £20 or so and grab the charging case. The case includes an internal battery which can be charged using a micro-USB port on the bottom. The case holds enough juice to add an extra 10 hours of listening time, taking the overall time up to quite an impressive 14.5 hours.
The case is manufactured from a ballistic nylon material which makes it strong a durable. When the ear phones are charging a tiny LED will blink every 10 seconds indicating the charge level. We also attempted to change the case and headset at the same time and to our surprise this worked which was great! We also noticed that the battery recharged rather quickly, with only a 20 minute recharge giving you an hours listening time. A press of the button on the front of the case will give you an indication of how much charge is left in the battery.
The Backbeats Go 2 by Plantronics are quality set of bluetooth in-ear headphones. They allow you to move and give you the freedom you need when performing sports or running which your normal set of headphones do not. Audio quality is sound and although the ear buds look too large to fit into your ear they have a nice fit and aren’t overly big. The 4.5 hour listening time should be plenty for most people, but if you’re on a long trip without access to charging facilities you’ll want to purchase the charging case.
The case itself feels strong and sturdy and the battery adds a decent 10 hours listening time. You can also charge both simultaneously, and a quick 20 minute charge will give you an extra 1-hour listening time.
The Backbeat Go 2 without charging case will set you back £58.05, while the headset with the charge case costs £83.05 (which we think is definitely worth the extra bit of money). You can purchase the earphones with the charging case using the link below.