The lightweight BackBeat Go ($ 99.99) is a stereo Bluetooth headset that is also great for voice calls, listening to music or podcasts, and watching movies without disturbing anyone in the neighborhood. In fact, it’s the best Bluetooth stereo headset we’ve ever used for phone calls, period. Some traps with sound quality keep the music back from a perfect review. But the BackBeat Go is still pretty easy to guarantee the price of our Editors’ Choice for wireless headphones and is worth watching, especially as the Samsung Modus HM6450’s convertible mono and stereo design ($ 99.99, 4 stars) you do not like the taste.
Design, online operation and cable
The BackBeat Go weighs only 0.46 grams. The plastic earphones have a curved shape, with a rubber cover on the micro USB charging port on the right earpiece. The rubber tips are made of a very soft material (more on this later). Plantronics contains three sets in the package, each of a different size, plus a set of optional loop-shaped stabilizers to anchor them further in place when they are attached to your ear.
The online operation is close to the right ear and is impossible to see with the earplug in place. However, it is quite simple to learn quickly. Three rubber buttons on one side allow you to manage the volume and functions of the multifunction knobs, with the two volume knobs larger than the middle ones and the volume + closer to your ear. If you press + or – for two seconds, the current music track will be moved forward or backward and you can mute the sound by pressing both at the same time. On the other hand, you’ll find a rubber on / off button that you can find difficult by feeling lonely and a little hard to press with your finger (but more easily with a fingernail).
The small cable that connects the two earplugs, has a no-tangle design and is designed to sit behind your neck. It is made from a rubberized material with a soft feel that is comfortable and which, in practice, disappears from view and does not detract from modest neck movements. Larger specimens – like swinging your head to the left or right to look at someone – rub the cable against your collar and possibly loosen one of the earplugs several times. For: Plantronics has the same charger as the BackBeat Go they have added to all the products we have tested over the years. Consistency is good.
Pairing and audio quality
The first time you start it, the BackBeat Go automatically goes into pairing mode. I had no problem connecting the headset to a LG Lucid and Apple iPhone 4. In later combinations, you have to hold down the power button for two seconds. You can also check the battery status by pressing the power button while the headset is turned on.
The BackBeat Go has a pair of 6mm neodymium drivers. The audio quality is good, but not great when you listen to music. The BackBeat Go is very sensitive to getting the right seal in the ear to provide a sufficiently serious answer. This applies to all in-ear headphones, but what makes BackBeat Go more difficult is that you can insert them 10 times into your ears and get 10 slightly different frequency response curves. It does not make sense to record how they are doing the best price Samsung Fashion HM6450 at Amazon, or any number of wired headphones we discussed. If you hit a BackBeat Go with your finger, you change the sound quality almost every time and almost every position does not provide enough bass response. The culprit seems to be the ear plugs themselves, which are just too soft; they change their shape too often and too often. Even if they sit well – what the exercise costs – they are not headphones for bass devils. You may want to activate the bass equalizer that provides your phone or MP3 player.
The upscale is a different story. I still hear a range of smooth treble over Bluetooth stereo as I do here. The BackBeat Go is exceptionally tricky, with little of the obvious hardness and quarrels you get with other Bluetooth headsets. There is a trace, because you can not completely escape the limitations of the Bluetooth codec, but it’s not bad at all. I heard some noise while walking banging, even with the wire behind my neck, but it was no longer a feeling of a distant low frequency “roar” in the headphones instead of the pure and simple shelling sounds that you hear with badly designed wired headphones.
In addition to music, the BackBeat Go is an excellent Bluetooth headset for voice calls. The company’s versatile experience with mono Bluetooth devices such as the Plantronics Voyager Pro HD ($ 99, 4.5 stars) is shown in the BackBeat Go. Compared to the Samsung HM6450 mode – both in stereo and headset mode Mono convertible – the BackBeat Go seemed more natural, with much less wind noise across a noisy street in Manhattan. The HM6450 was almost incomprehensible across the headset’s microphone and wired microphone on the same windy test.
Other functions and conclusions
Plantronics offers MyHeadset, an Android app that adds a battery counter when connected to Android 3.0 (Honeycomb) or Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) tablets. BackBeat Go has also automatically added one to the iPhone 4 with which I tested it. The range is excellent; I could walk about 20 feet from my test handset before the signal started to break. The BackBeat Go loads quickly two and a half hours. We always test the life of the battery and update this assessment with a result as soon as we have one.
In general, the BackBeat Go is a solid effort and an easy purchase, as long as you are not a demanding audiophile when it comes to the quality of stereo sound. The BackBeat Go is lighter and more convenient than the Samsung Modus HM6450, though the HM6450 offers its convenient mono-convertible mode and stronger bass response when listening to music. The Novero Tour ($ 79, 3.5 stars) is also very light and looks about as good with music as BackBeat Go, but because it’s a hard plastic design with a metal band in between, you just have to fold halfway and you need a lot more pocket space than the BackBeat Go. Finally, the LG HBS-700 ($ 69.99, 3.5 stars) is a bit of a medium term, with small earphones hanging from threads that fold into a hard plastic band; it’s another good choice, if not as discreet as the BackBeat Go.