Plantronics backbeat go 3 review

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When Plantronics launched its BackBeat Go 2 wireless in-ear headphones in 2013, followed by the BackBeat Fit in 2014, the company was effectively staking its claim to lớn an audio category few others were going after, & it met with some success.

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That was then, but in năm nhâm thìn the trò chơi has changed, & so have our expectations, raising the stakes for the BackBeat Go 3, Plantronics’ latest pair of wireless bluetooth không dây earbuds. Affordably priced & simply designed, the BackBeat Go 3 seem lượt thích they have the right mix, especially considering the company’s historically solid offerings. Unfortunately, we found they fell short in a couple of key areas.

Out of the box

You’ll find there are two versions of the BackBeat Go 3 out there, and the only difference between the two is that one version includes a storage pouch that doubles as a portable battery charger – the standard version have a $100 các mục price, the charging pouch edition lists for $130. Otherwise, the two products are exactly the same.


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Attached to the pouch charger is a short, embedded micro-USB cable, though a separate untethered charging cable is also included in the compartment at the top. Since the pouch’s battery has its own micro-USB port, this cable could be used khổng lồ charge that up, or charge the earbuds directly from a computer or USB charging port. In addition, there are two extra pairs of silicon eartips (the third pair are already installed on the headphones), offering small, medium & large sizes out of the box.

A quick printed cài đặt manual is included, with full-blown instructions available online through the Plantronics website.

Features & design

Our reviews unit came in black, & there is a gray mã sản phẩm with copper accents as well. Being relatively understated on either earbud, the kiến thiết is basically an iteration of the BackBeat Go 2, albeit a little sleeker. The security wings that attach to each earpiece are also very similarly designed, và are intended khổng lồ be pliable, yet firm enough khổng lồ keep them nestled in each ear. It’s a balance that is tricky to lớn achieve, và in this case, Plantronics should’ve gone firmer.


Plantronics used a nano-coating that can withstand sweat, humidity & rain.


The cord attaching the two is a perfect length, with plenty of slack to lớn let hang below the chin or across the back of the neck. There’s no real right or wrong way lớn position them. The inline control và microphone offers volume, track skip, call answering & voice control. The middle button acts as both the nguồn button và voice control trigger for voice assistants, like Siri or Google Now.

Plantronics used a nano-coating from P2i, a liquid-repellent giải pháp công nghệ supplier, that can withstand sweat, humidity và the odd drop of rain. The company also says it 3D-mapped the human ear lớn create eartips that won’t wiggle around while active.

You’ll find the micro-USB charging port inside the right earpiece, with a slit at the đứng đầu to snap it off. It easily snaps back on once the battery is full. Otherwise, there are no special trackers or sensors on either side, so don’t expect heart rate or calorie burn readings from the BackBeat Go 3, lượt thích some competing models are throwing in.

Setup

The BackBeat Go 3 don’t have NFC, so we paired them with an iPhone 6 Plus and LG G5 the old-fashioned way. Pairing was seamless and voice prompts helped lead the way. We were listening to tunes two minutes after we pulled the earbuds from the box.


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Bill Roberson/Digital Trends
Bill Roberson/Digital Trends

In the past, Plantronics used a free iOS and Android tiện ích called Plantronics Hub that would help manage whatever headphones or headset the company released in the last couple of years. It offered diagrams for the products’ buttons and controls, answered common questions, và could push firmware updates, if necessary. Somewhat outdated by now, the BackBeat Go 3 weren’t on the app’s danh sách at the time of this review.

Every time the earbuds are turned on, the on-board voice confirms the headset’s vital statistics, saying “power on, listen time: three hours, headset connected”. It will announce in mid-operation when the battery màn chơi moves to lớn medium, low or very low. Pausing the music và pressing either volume button will also announce the current battery level. The BackBeat Go 3’s battery meter also appears at the đứng top of an iPhone, ipad tablet or iPod cảm biến screen when paired.

Audio performance

While Plantronics claims to lớn have 3D-mapped ears as a reference point for its eartip design, it’s understandably hard to lớn customize something for millions of ears that are naturally going lớn be different. But that’s not really where the company went wrong here.

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To get decent bass, we had lớn cram the eartips into our ear canals.


If you can’t get the right fit, and the BackBeat Go 3 are more challenging than most in-ears in this regard, consistent noise leakage and weak bass will be an issue. Granted, allowing some background noise in is a safety precaution for runners as they jog through streets, but we think the lack of consistency in the audio spectrum due to lớn varying fit challenges will trump everything else.

The treble & mids are warm, và if you vì get a good fit, there’s a respectable amount of sub bass present, though they remain lean in the mid-bass. Overall, the sound is

We also found the BackBeat GO 3 don’t always stay put. We didn’t have lớn constantly adjust them lớn stick them back in, but the more we moved, the more we broke a sweat, the more often they would start slipping away. And, for this reviewer, to get a stronger semblance of bass, we had lớn really push the eartips into our ear canals. That didn’t last long as a stop-gap solution.

We tried all three sizes of eartips, & couldn’t find one among the trio that reduced the leakage significantly, though the large ones did the best. We then attempted lớn use eartips from competitors’ earbuds, including larger sizes than those available with the BackBeat Go 3, to see if we could MacGyver a tighter seal. No dice.

Unfortunately for us, Plantronics used a different clipping system for the eartips, wherein they clamp into the inside of the hole. Most in-ears use the opposite method, where the tips slip over a protrusion. It’s a design tweak that makes connecting the eartip much easier than conventional designs, but it negated us being able lớn use other tips we had on hand.

Given the trouble we had fit and the resulting drop in audio unique and prevalent sound leakage, we passed the BackBeat Go 3 around to lớn several others in Digital Trends’ Portland headquarters to get a sense for how they fit with different ears. We found that when a good seal is achieved, bass is prevalent, & the tight seal improves passive noise isolation, though not as well as comply foam tips will with competing in-ear headphones. In general, though, users found the BackBeat Go 3 khổng lồ be a little cumbersome due khổng lồ their size, and the security wings varied widely from ineffective due khổng lồ being too small, lớn uncomfortably large. Again, some different wing options would have been appreciated.

Bottom line: While all in-ear headphones vary in perceived performance based on fit & seal, the BackBeat Go 3 are large enough khổng lồ make them problematic for a larger swathe of the population than others, and for that reason, our enthusiasm is tempered.

Phone calls sounded great through these earbuds. No callers complained about not hearing us, & they even held up well with a fair bit of noise in the background. Given Plantronics’ pedigree for phone headsets, none of that came as a surprise.

Activating Siri & Google Now through the main inline button was easy. We only needed khổng lồ hold it down for two seconds before it triggered. We noted a slight delay of about two seconds before the voice assistant would pop up onscreen, causing us to issue a command before it was ready khổng lồ hear it. Once we got used khổng lồ the timing, the delay was a non-issue, though quicker timing would certainly have been preferred.

Plantronics rated the BackBeat Go 3 at 6.5 hours of listening time, which is accurate if the volume is at a medium level. Since they’re not really loud lớn begin with, you will have to go above that, knocking the time down lớn between five and six hours. That’s still not a bad number, all things considered, & the charging case is handy, especially on the go, with enough juice lớn double listening time.

Warranty information

Plantronics offers a one-year limited warranty from the date of purchase from an authorized reseller, covering repair or replacement.

Conclusion

The BackBeat GO 3 use a familiar lightweight design, yet Plantronics was too conservative in closing the gaps it needed to lớn to put these earbuds over the top. As is, they are serviceable, but far from exceptional and not a real standout from the competition. Given their size, they will be a hard fit for many users, and that is problematic. Still, Plantronics folded some great features & solid sound quality into this phối of active in-ears, and they are worth a look if you value excellent call unique and a water-proof design.

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At $100, or $130 with the battery pouch, they don’t necessarily break the bank, but if you’re looking for a phối of comfort & audio performance, the Jabra thể thao Pace Wireless are one option that prove to be better at both.