I almost never run, cycle or do anything active without headphones (I’m sociable that way) and I’ve tried dozens of sets of wireless headphones. The Plantronics BackBeat FIT aren’t just good – they’re the first pair to finally convince me to give up my trusty wired Bose SoundSports when exercising.
The requirements of a set of wireless headphones for sports are quite simple. They have to stay in your ear, be comfortable, have a decent battery life and sound good. However, I’ve found that most sets don’t hit even half of these targets. The BackBeat FIT delivers on every count, and throws in some extra features for good measure. And all for a very reasonable £70.40 on Amazon at time of writing (RRP £99.99).
The lightweight headset is barely noticeable once on and didn’t shift at all over the course of a half marathon. The earbuds are not designed to be jammed right down into your ears, which I found far more comfortable than standard in-ear buds, and they also let in some ambient noise – always handy when running on busy roads.
The battery life is a healthy eight hours and every time your turn them on a voice notification tells you how many hours you have left. That’s an extremely useful feature and one that should be on all Bluetooth headphones. The BackBeat FIT charges fully in around 2½ hours, with a 15-minute quick charge delivering an hour of playback.
Given the ambient fit and modest price point, it’s perhaps not surprising the sound quality doesn’t quite match top-end headsets like the BEOPLAY H5, especially when it comes to bass. As someone who mostly listens to podcasts and embarrassing pop music when running, I value a comfortable fit far more than thundering bass, but for some it might not suffice.
The headset has controls for play and pause, and taking calls, although the latter will reduce the battery life by a couple of hours. The band is flexible and the whole caboodle is waterproof, which bodes well for its durability. A wide variety of colours is available and the headset also has some reflective detailing. It probably won’t be the difference between life and death when running at night, but every little helps.
Every time I tried to pair the BackBeat FITs with a device I had no problems connecting quickly – in fact, they turned out to be a little too good at this. It’s all too easy to turn the headset on accidentally when it’s in a rucksack and once on, it immediately connected to my phone, overriding the headphones I was wearing. It took a while to work out why my music had suddenly stopped.
Aside from that minor confusion, the BackBeat FIT was a joy to use, setting standards that I wish were met by far pricier Bluetooth headphones. Unless you’re an absolute bass fiend, or prefer an in-ear fit, it’s a fantastic headset at a very good price. plantronics.com