When I think about bluetooth devices, I will be honest and say, the first company I think of is Plantronics. I can remember in the early 2000′s, when bluetooth was just starting to get big, having a Plantronics hands free headset for my phone. Mind you, this was when cell phones were just starting to become popular, and New York was one of the first states to make it illegal to use your cell phone while driving.
I was excited to find out that Jeff came away with a pair of the Plantronics BackBeat GO headphones after he interviewed them at PAX East. If anyone knows how to create a bluetooth device it has to be them, right? After all, they have been creating them for years now.
The headphones are elegantly packaged, showing off how small and light they are. After connecting them to my iPhone, which was easy to do, it was time to really put these headphones through the paces. When I test anything for sound quality, I pick a few musical extremes: Death Metal, Dub Step, Drum and Bass, Symphonic, Classical, and something that you would normally hear on the radio. I know, it’s a bit crazy and a lot of music, but I really needed to get a feel for how they sound.
I loved how light they felt and how comfortable they are when they are placed in the ears. They come with a few different sets of ear cushions to fit as many different ear types as they possibly can. The more comfortable the ear bud and the better the fit, the better the sound.
Also worth mentioning is the amount of battery life they have. I left them paired up to my phone without shutting them off for three days, using them intermittently within that time period, before the battery died. Charging the batteries seems fast as well, after draining the batteries completely, only two to three hours were needed to fully charge them again.
The sound quality was superb on all the different genres of music I played through them. Things were crisp and clear, and some of the subtle differences in the classical pieces were easy to distinguish. When playing the metal music there was very little, if any, distortion with the volume totally turned up. Volume is where the headphones run into their first problem. I love my music loud, and the headphones themselves aren’t very loud. For the normal every day person they would be absolutely perfect. I also found them to be lacking bass tones. When playing Dub Step and Drum and Bass, you can hear the bass notes, but you really can’t feel them. Bass is something that needs to be felt through your whole being.
I am going to assume the lack of bass and loudness has something to do with the long battery life. In order to conserve on battery life, you need to sacrifice the amount of power you can put out of the head phones. And this is a balancing act that all companies that put out wireless sound equipment have to go through. This also appears to be an issue that most wireless bluetooth headphones are dealing with.
Overall, I like them when I’m not looking to blow my ear drums out of my head. I will be honest, there are times that I wish I could just blast music out of these headphones. I know that would be sacrificing battery life, but that is something I should be given the choice on. They are a little pricey at 99USD, but they do their job and they do it well.