“Disclaimer: I received the Plantronics Back Beat Fit Wireless Headphones to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!”
I love a good BibRave Pro mail day. Anymore with direct billing, my mailbox is empty unless I buy myself something. I love coming home to a new package on the doorstep.
This time it was from Plantronics, the makers of bluetooth headsets, telephones, head phones and accessories. I was excited to try out their Back Beat Fit Wireless headphones. I really needed to catch up with my podcasts.
This will be long, I am thorough. I’m going to tell you how they work for me. If you want all the product specifics check out the website, they have a lot of technical and helpful information (http://www.plantronics.com/us/)
I am no stranger when it comes to bluetooth technology or wireless headphones. My car has bluetooth and I have worn wireless headphones, which are always a hard fit for my ears. They usually don’t stay in, although I love not having the extra cord.
It was late at night, but I ripped open the box, I found the cord and plugged them into charge, there is a small port located near one of ear phones. Knowing I had a 6 mile run in the morning, I went to bed.
When I woke in the morning, I knew I needed to read over the instructions. They were neatly tucked into a zippered pouch, which was where I found the USB charging cord the night before. It only takes 2.5 hours to fully charge and lasts 8 hours. Turns out the zippered pouch turns inside out and becomes an arm band for your bluetooth device. (phone, ipod)
The headphones are hooked together by a flexible rubber cord. Each ear phone has a hook that goes over you ear. Each ear piece has a flexible piece that fits snug in your ear, (the ear bud is not removable) but also allows to hear sounds in your environment.
There are two locations for controls, one on each ear phone. I wanted to make sure which side to push to control the volume and which to stop, play, forward or rewind what I was listening too. Depending on which you wanted to do a short tap or long holding of the button controls each feature. You can also switch to phone calls.
Ok as I mentioned, I like to listen to podcasts, well in addition to music and audiobooks. This means I carry my bulky phone with me, so it’s nice to have wireless headphones, just one less thing. I need a bluetooth tiny mp3 player.
THE FIRST RUN: I left my house with a 6 mile run on the training schedule. I looped the hooks around each ear, and pressed play. Not only did these head phones fit snug in my ear, the sound was very clear, yet I could hear cars passing by. I am a difficult ear bud fit, I need the over the ear hook for them to stay in. However with the snug fit of these I am not sure I would need the ear hook.
It was a humid run, so there was a lot of sweat, the phones didn’t budge and sound didn’t cut out. I even took some pictures as I ran, an impromptu Plantronics photoshoot.
I carried my phone in a waist belt, so it wasn’t too far from the headphones, and reading through the instructions, they work up to 33 feet away.
When I returned home, I was sold. Ok this was the first run and I didn’t have any major problems. They paired with my phone quickly, the controls were easy to use, they never felt bulky on my ears, in fact I hardly knew I was wearing them. The only problem I had at this point was when I turned my phone to airplane mode, it turned the bluetooth connection off. (More to come on that later)
THE SECOND RUN: For this next run I was going to see how they fit with a hat, figure out airplane mode and try the fancy arm band / storage pocket.
I woke up to the sound of thunder, which pushed my run back to a “runch” – a lunch time run. However this had me thinking; it was sweaty yesterday, so obviously they were sweat proof, but were they waterproof? Well…. maybe that’s the same thing, but I did find out the answer from the website “through rain, sweat, and even the splash of a sports drink. BackBeat FIT headphones are protected against sweat and moisture by design and P2i nano-technology. The P2i nano-coating is applied during the manufacturing process, resulting in invisible liquid repellent properties.”
Now that I know I can basically run through a waterfall, it was done raining come lunch time. Oh well, I laced up my shoes, looped on the phones, tossed on my hat, strapped on the armband and hit the trail for 4 miles.
The phones fit just like they did the day before, and I had no problem with wearing a hat. When I turned them on the lady said “power on, battery full.” I had only charged them once.
I have an iphone 5s that I am running with. I opened itunes and had no problem advancing or rewinding through songs. I just need a refresher as to which button is which, but that will come over time.
My phone fit in the armband with no problem. However with the new GIANT phones I am not sure if one would fit, but the neoprene is very stretchy. The band has a velcro strap which adjusts to any arm size, unless of course you are Ed Hochuli..ok ok I kid, I bet it would fit him too.
When running with the arm band, I knew it was there. To be honest, I don’t like to have anything strapped to my arm. It just bothers me, but I tried it out and survived, if you like to wear an arm band, I am sure this would be just fine. It is also reflective.
I think I had more fun splashing around in puddles than worrying about the headphones coming out of my ears. I did stop and shake my head around to see if they would budge, nothing.
When I was done with my run, it was easy to hit stop and turn them off, the lady said “power off.” I took the arm band off and noticed quite a bit of sweat, which had me worried for my phone. However I took my phone out and it was dry!
The only concern I still had was the airplane mode use. I am on the 8th life of my phone, sometimes the screen goes black and dots appear, and the battery cycles quickly. When I listen to my music or a book I like to turn it to airplane mode to save some of the battery. When I first did this in the settings menu it turns off the bluetooth, but I did some thinking. So after I turned it to airplane mode, I then went to the bluetooth settings and just turned it back on, VIOLA!!!! My phone paired back to the headphones.
CONCLUSION: I might have only ran in these twice, but I am sold! They are great, nice sound, no bulk, snug fit, light weight. No cords to deal with, no ear buds falling out, and I can hear the environment around me.
Sept 1, 2015 Update: I run in these all the time!!! I have needed my phone nearby on a few of my last runs, and using them for a phone call is perfect, the person on the other end can hear me, and vice versa. I have listened to 3 audiobooks, and my phone battery isn’t draining away.
There are also a couple of apps for your phone. One is “Plantronics Hub” which is an overall app for most of the products offered, it is compatible with the iwatch, it also has the find my headphones feature. The other app “BackBeat Fit Updater” is designed to update the firmware in the headphones, so they will be performing the best they can. My phone has storage issues, I haven’t loaded either app. However I will look into loading app that will keep my headphones updated.
UPDATE: Fellow Pro Samantha says the Plantronics Hub app displays the battery level. (this is also displayed as a tiny icon on my phone) Make sure to check out her review, link below.
If you are considering a pair, you could own a pair for $129.99. The website offers free shipping, or you can find them at a store near you.
I was given a teal blue color, but they also offer them in a lime green.
Check out what the other Bibrave Pros had to say: