Plantronics BackBeat Go 2 wireless earbuds

Decent quality sound for a reasonable price, but we still long for better bass

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Plantronics BackBeat Go 2
  • Plantronics BackBeat Go 2
  • Plantronics BackBeat Go 2
  • Plantronics BackBeat Go 2
  • Expert Rating

    4.00 / 5
  • User Rating

    2.50 / 5 (of 2 Reviews)

Pros

  • Improved audio quality
  • Inline controls provide much better tactility
  • Charging case is a nice extra

Cons

  • Battery life could be better
  • Lack of bass
  • Fit won't suit all users

Bottom Line

The Plantronics BackBeat Go 2 earbuds produce decent quality sound for a reasonable price and are a big improvement over the original model. However, we still long for improved battery life and better quality bass.

Would you buy this?

  • Buy now (Selling at 17 stores)

  • BackBeat GO 2 Bluetooth Headset White with Trav... 130.70
  • BackBeat GO 2 Bluetooth Headset Black with Trav... 130.70
  • Backbeat Go 2 With Charging Case In White 115.09
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Plantronics is aiming to be a market leader in wireless earbuds with the BackBeat Go 2, and the second generation model is a significant improvement over its predecessor. The BackBeat Go 2 earbuds produce decent quality sound for a reasonable price, but we still long for improved battery life and better quality bass.

What wireless earbuds should look like

The BackBeat Go 2 are wireless, stereo earbuds designed primarily for use with a Bluetooth-enabled smartphone or tablet. The original BackBeat Go headphones were one of the first wireless earbud products on the market and more than a year later, the second generation model is here.

A new moisture-proof coating claims to guard against sweat.

The BackBeat Go 2 headphones look very similar to the original model, featuring the same two earbuds connected by a single, flat wire with an in-line microphone and music playback controls. The flat wire doesn't tangle and is designed to sit around the back of your neck. The design makes the BackBeat Go 2 ideal for physical activity, such as jogging, or working out in the gym.

While the look remains similar, Plantronics says the BackBeat 2 Go headphones include a new moisture-proof coating to guard against sweat. We tested the headphones for over three weeks and they didn't skip a beat.

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The BackBeat Go 2 is available in black and white colour variants. We reviewed the black model, and the two-tone colour scheme of gloss black for the sides of the earbuds, and grey for the back provides a nice contrast.

We found the seal wasn't always stable during exercise.

The Plantronics BackBeat Go 2 headphones are relatively comfortable, but the earbuds themselves are larger than most ordinary headphones. This means some users may struggle to find a solid fit. The inclusion of in-ear stabilisers that sit inside your ear do a decent job of holding the BackBeat Go 2 in, but we found the seal wasn't always stable during exercise, particularly when we used the headphones while jogging. Plantronics includes small, medium and large silicone tips in the sales package that should fit most ears.

The most welcome improvement to the design of the BackBeat Go 2 is the in-line playback controls. The volume up, volume down and play/pause/answer/end button provide far better tactility, and the use of hard plastic instead of soft rubber of its predecessor makes them much easier to press.

None

Multipoint Bluetooth, improved sound quality

The Plantronics BackBeat Go 2 has multi-point Bluetooth, so it can pair and remember up to eight devices. Bluetooth setup is as simple as any similar device, and the slightly larger LED on the side of the right earbud makes it easy to see the status of the Bluetooth connection.

Voice prompts are a simple but effective way to add a little more to the user experience.

A new feature to the BackBeat Go 2 is the inclusion of voice prompts to alert users about charge remaining, battery life, and what device is paired. The alerts are very basic, mostly two word prompts including "headset connected", "power off", "power on", "connection switched", and "battery level medium'. They are a simple but effective way to add a little more to the overall user experience.

The Plantronics BackBeat Go 2 is definitely an improvement over its predecessor when it comes to sound quality. It is noticeably louder in volume and produces full and clear sound quality that usually doesn't drown out the vocal track. The sound also doesn't distort even when volume is high, though best results are achieved by keeping volume levels around 80 per cent.

None

Like the original model, the BackBeat Go 2 offers weak bass response. This is particularly apparent in the house and electro genre, with the earbuds not able to produce the thumping bounce sound the artists intended.

The BackBeat Go 2 doesn't fare too well for Bluetooth audio calls.

Disappointingly, the BackBeat Go 2 doesn't fare too well for Bluetooth audio calls. It's perfectly fine in a quiet room, but it picks up too much ambient noise outdoors. It's particularly poor when walking in a street with even light traffic noise. Given Plantronics' heritage in Bluetooth phone audio products, this is a big letdown.

The BackBeat Go 2 has the same battery life as its predecessor, rated at up to 4.5 hours of playback time by Plantronics. It lasted around four hours during our tests before requiring a recharge. However, the inclusion of a "DeepSleep" hibernation feature that keeps battery power preserved for up to six months between charges is a nice touch, as is the optional charging and storage case.

The latter is a $129.99 option ($30 more than the standalone earbuds) and bundles a case with a built-in battery that increases listening and talk time by two full charges, or approximately 10 hours. The case is then charged via a standard micro-USB connection on the bottom. Charging the case while the headphones are plugged in is a nice way of ensuring you shouldn't be left without power.

None

The Plantronics BackBeat Go 2 wireless earbuds are available now through JB Hi-Fi, Officeworks, Apple Stores, Telstra stores, Vodafone stores and other authorised retailers across Australia for $99.99, or $129.99 with the charging case accessory.

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Fernando Duran

1

Having trouble connecting to iphone5 . Do I need an app

John

2

A little tinny compared the the earphones that came with my galaxy s2, but I'm getting used to the difference. my major gripe is the fact that you cannot use them while charging, nor with a battery pack, which seems just silly, but maybe that's a limitation of the technology. (surely they could have made it possible with a little forethought?)

decent range, more than enough run time for getting out and about. I'm happy with them as my birthday present :D also of note, there is a batter level app for both iphone and android called "headset battery meter" by plantations, excellent widget to give you info on remaining battery life.

Aditya

3

@Fernando : turn off the headset, turn on the iphone's bluetooth, then hold the headset power... Hold until the blue red blinking. Then you can connect to iphone.

kim

4

Why isn't there a connection for garment for security .

Alejandro

5

a connection to your garment? That's the whole point of having the pouch really.. especially the freedom to run without being connected to everything

Innes

6

With regards to the comments about a 'garment connection', I think this is a good idea. I have my Go Beats around my neck pretty-much all day, most days, even when I am not using them. This means that I can pop them in my ears at any time; walking the dog, catching a bus / train, walking through the city, etc. I remove my earphones from my ears completely when I talk to someone; for example, when being served in a store, and I would like to have the confidence just to pull them out of my ears without having to tuck them into my collar or hang on them. It wouldn't be too difficult to lose them if they were just dangling, without being secured to one's collar, so a small, flexible clip of some sort would be a great feature.

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Bill Filby

1.0

1

Pros
Connects OK. No wires!
Cons
Does not fit normal ear canal. Terrible volume.
• • •

Without prattling on with jibber jabber ....

Almost everything is excellent except the poor volume level and ear pain:

1)- I'm not a headbanger nor a teenager, but, these buds are too quiet compared to every other high quality or price-comparable set of earbuds.

2)- I've never had a set of earbuds not fit my ears nicely, so it's fair to say that my ears are reasonably standard sized (within the S, M, or L size range). The earbuds on this gadget are too bulky and definitely do not fit properly at all. They will definitely fall out and should never fall out at all unless accidentally going into a horizontal tailspin at 6G's in you fighter jet!

Plantronics need to go back to the drawing board and redesign higher volume and a better fitting system, then, they will have the best set of earbud speakers anywhere anytime. Until then, these headbuds are practically useless.

Innes

4.0

2

Pros
Excellent value; they sound great, and they just work!
Cons
The earphones cannot be used whilst being charged
• • •

I am definitely not an audiophile (copper or gold cables; who cares?), but I do like good-quality, comfortable earbuds; that's what the BackBeat Go 2 offers.

The earphones charge quickly; about 20 minutes provides an hour of listening, but there's no excuse to let the battery go completely flat; if you're not using them, connect them to the charging pouch, and they'll charge up on-the-go. Of course, you need to keep the charging pouch charged! No mains charger is provided; just a USB cable. I'm happy with the lack of mains charger; I'd rather not pay extra for something I don't need! Once you have fully charged the earbuds and (optional) pouch, you have over 10 hours of listening. The earbuds can play audio for around 4.5 hours, but note that you cannot listen to them whilst charging; there'll be some 'down time' whilst you refuel! It would be great if this issue could be resolved; that accounts for one half of the star I knocked off my rating!

Due to the nature of my job, I can wear my BackBeats whilst I work, and in a quiet office environment, they work well for hands-free phone-calls, easily switching between listening to audio and making / receiving calls without touching the phone (tip: give your regular callers unique ringtones, so you know who's calling without looking at your phone); the in-line controls enable calls to be picked-up, and with the iPhone, a 'medium-length' press on the 'play' button invokes Siri (sorry, I don't know how hands-free calling works on Android devices). However, in a noisy environment (such as in the street), the in-line microphone is useless. I have found that it is nearly always the case that the person I am speaking to cannot hear me due to background noise. I assume that there is no noise-cancellation and, although I wouldn't expect such a feature at this price, I would expect the in-line microphone to be partially useful when outdoors; it's not! If you will regularly need to make calls when outdoors, or in a noisy environment, then these earbuds may not be suitable for you. That accounts for the loss of another half star in my rating.

Finally, when you first see these earbuds, they look quite large (almost scarily large; how are they going to fit in an ear canal?). However, I find that they fit very nicely, are comfortable, and I certainly don't think about them when they're in use. The body of each earbud has to be large enough to contain a battery and a Bluetooth transceiver, so the size is not unreasonable; certainly no larger than any other wireless earbud I have seen.

I'm extraordinarily careful with my money; my last set of wired earbuds cost about $25, and they lasted for about 5 years. $130 for the BackBeat Go 2 earbuds with the charging pouch is a lot of money for me to part with for listening to music, and I suppose the ultimate test is, would I buy another pair if I lost or damaged my current set? The answer is yes, so they must be good!

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