For several years I had religiously stuck to using the standard white iPhone headphones but was always disappointed with their quality, fit, volume, and sound quality. Whether it was the earbuds slipping out or the cord getting tangled during a long-run, it was definitely time for an upgrade. But with so many choices and questionable online reviews, it was difficult to commit to investing in a pair, when so many fitness headphones seemed a gamble. So, when Rich and I received the Plantronics BackBeat FIT wireless bluetooth headphones back in December of 2016 as Christmas gifts, I was desperately hoping that they were not just another nicely wrapped headphone that would inevitably delay my workouts.
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The BackBeat Fit is marketed to be as “unstoppable as you are”, and is engineered specifically for sport. These flexible, durable, and waterproof headphones claim to stay comfortably in place even through your most intense workouts. Here a a few of the key components that are designed to separate the BackBeat FIT from the standard athletics headphones. First, they have a waterproof design that meets IP57 rating:
The two numbers in the IP57 rating code rating refer to:
- 5 – “Dust Protected” ; Ingress of dust is not entirely prevented, but it must not enter in sufficient quantity to interfere with the satisfactory operation of the equipment; complete protection against contact (i.e. dust proof).
- 7– “Immersion Protected” ; Protected against short periods of immersion in water. Ingress of water in harmful quantity shall not be possible when the enclosure is immersed in water under defined conditions of pressure and time (up to 1 m of submersion). Test duration: 30 minutes; Immersion at depth of at least 1 m measured at bottom of device, and at least 15 cm measured at top of device (SourceTech, 2014).
Additionally, the headphones are sweat-proof due to their nano-coating (chemical process that builds a consistent network of molecules) surface. The BackBeat FIT also contains an 8-hour battery and a 15 minute charging session will yield one hour of play time. Finally, the open ear tip design allows for maximum listening satisfaction as well as complete audible awareness of your surroundings (i.e they are not noise cancelling).
Anywhere from my gym sessions, to sprint workouts or leisure walks around town, these have been my go-to headphones. My only regret is that I didn’t have these sooner!
In the past I have preferred headphones that wrap around my ears. If it was not for having this particular pair gifted to me, I probably never would have chosen this style on my own accord. Even though I know they are more practical for athletes or individuals with an active lifestyle, I had yet to find a pair that fit around my ears properly whilst remaining in place even through my long distance runs. A few downsides of standard headphones is they do not allow you to be fully aware of your surroundings and many are easily damaged by sweat or rain.
Rich and I have two very different styles of training and these headphones have allowed us both to stay focused and distraction-free. One of my favorite features is the subtle voice alerts that notify me when I am/not connected, my battery status and my volume level. Rich likes the in-line controls for skipping tracks through a playlist. Rich and I have had no problems with the fit of the BackBeat FIT and they feel very secure during use. Of particular note, Rich found the 15-minute quick charge feature (which gives you an hours playback) to be an excellent feature. Should you be getting your things together for your workout, remembering you forgot to change your headphones as you grab them isn’t an issue with these- USB charge in your car on the way!
The sound quality is really, really good with a warm bass and clear treble. Using them for warm-ups is great. They don’t allow us to blast our ears off, but that’s probably a good thing and the older versions of ourselves will be thankful. With that said, these certainly have plenty of punch about them to fire you up for heavy sets in the gym and really are set and forget once you have them on (just like our sunglasses!).
- Sweat Proof Nano-Coating
- Very durable in our experience
- Flexible, such that they don’t seem like a piece of electronic equipment
- 8 hour battery
- Eartip design- hear your music while remaining alert of your surroundings
- Variety of colors
- Controls on headset
- Perfect partner to the Athletes Insight shades as the flexible design does not interfere with eyewear
- Can answer incoming calls via a tap on the headset
- Stable through multiple types of workouts (ideal for gym, sprinting, track, distance)
- 15 minutes of charging = 1 hour
- Does require charging
- Not as quick to use as typical headphones because they must wrap around your ear rather than be inserted.
- More expensive than standard headphones (you get what you pay for?)
- Small inner ear discomfort after wearing for a while (Sara found this, Rich did not)
Plantronics BackBeat FIT Conclusions/Appropriate use cases:
Rich and I have been incorporating these headphones into our daily routine for several months now and can easily say that they are the best headphones we have come across thus far. Which is no small feat given we have both been involved in athletic training for as long as we can remember! Though we did not ourselves purchase these $129.99 headphones – they were a family Christmas gift to us (and what a great gift that was!), we have both agreed that this is a brilliant investment for athletes of any lifestyle should get they be able to get their hands on them.
We hope you enjoy our unbiased reviews (see more here), and we hope this helps our audience make informed decisions.