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Review of Plantronics BackBeat Go 2 wireless earbuds w/lots of pics!!!

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vectron
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Default Review of Plantronics BackBeat Go 2 wireless earbuds w/lots of pics!!!

This is a review of Plantronics BackBeat Go 2 wireless earbuds with charging case. http://www.plantronics.com/us/product/backbeat-go-2

Even so I have reviewed a lot of wireless and wired headphones in the last few months, once Plantronics announced an update to their original BackBeat Go earbuds, these became one of my most anticipated gadget for review. Plantronics doesn't need any special introduction since this company name became synonymous with quality wireless headsets for personal and business use. With that in mind, I wanted to see how it will translate into active style design with new improvements introduced in Go 2 model. So let's check it out.

I always like to start with a package since it sets a tone for the review. I was very impressed with presentation and especially a fact that Plantronics used all recyclable material with hardly any plastic. The product came with a set of wireless earbuds, a soft case with a built-in rechargeable battery, a travel charger (750mA) with a quality usb/micro-usb cable, 3 pairs of eartips of different sizes, and a detailed manual. The headset design is basically 2 earbuds interconnected with a flat noodle cable and in-line remote - a common design used by a few other wireless headphones. But that's where the similarity ends and all the new innovations begin which set BackBeat Go 2 ahead of their competition. First of all at 14g these are super lightweight and hardly even noticeable you have them on Part of that is due to an ergonomic design and custom eartips I found to work for me right away using large set of silicone tips. I usually reserve to go with Comply tips especially when dealing with such large 6mm drivers, but for my personal use I found included eartips to do a great job with fitment and sound isolation which is very important in order to experience the best sound quality. Earbuds also come with one size removable stabilizers which I personally didn't care for, but found them to be super useful to interconnect headphones like a necklace so these stay around my neck when not in my ears. This is not a documented feature, but one that you will definitely find useful. In general the build quality of these headphones is among some of the best I have tested; very rugged, and with military-grade moisture/sweat resistance thanks to coating technology by P2i. The in-line remote features 3 multi-function buttons with a nicely defined shapes you can feel easily with your fingertips considering remote will not be in your sight when you are wearing these with cable around the back of your neck. It also features a built-in microphone with a pretty good quality considering all my test phone calls went really good.

Pairing up with a phone was a breeze, and I was actually very surprised to leave my phone in one side of the house while walking away through our open floor plan and still maintaining a solid connection 50ft away. Multi-function remote is able to control playback with play/pause and skip next/prev along with volume up/down control. It worked great for audio as well as video, and switched seamlessly to phone functionality when picking up the call. Charging is done using a standard micro-usb connector, no need for any proprietary adapters. I do have to note that battery is specified for 4.5 hours of music listening time and 5 hours of talk. Its a bit disappointing but Plantronics compensated this with a totally awesome feature by including rechargeable battery inside of a storage case. The headphone actually comes in two versions, by itself and with charging case for an additional $20. This charging case is a must have option, so I would strongly recommend getting it. It adds 10hours of additional playback to headphones by charging it up with a built in micro usb cable As a matter of fact, you can do rapid charging where 20min will give you 1hr of additional playback time. This charging case is one clever design. With a total dimensions of about 3" x 3.5", the battery takes about 1/3 of the space at the bottom and has an exposed charging port with led indicator. In the corner of the case you have a battery status button, activated by pressing on the case itself which reveals a bi-color status led with blinking lights corresponding to 25% capacity increments. Furthermore, and that is brilliant, it has a pass-through charging where you can connect built-in micro-usb cable to headphones for charging and charge the battery itself at the same time. Once you done charging, fold and store earbuds inside of this case which has a soft inner lining and a nice durable outside layer.

Once headphones are paired up, you get a voice prompt telling you about connection to the phone and battery status. In addition, you can download a free Battery Status Meter widgets that gives you an indicator of headphones battery in 4 segments with increments of 25%. I know a lot of wireless headphones can be monitored from iOS status bar, but this is the first one for Android with a free widget to provide the same functionality. Also, I want to mention that battery has up to 10days stand by mode and a deepsleep mode with ridiculous 180 days standby. Of course, I decided to save the best for last. When I first looked at the spec of these earbuds, I was disappointed to see bluetooth 2.1 + EDR support. Sure, the protocol will support A2DP and AVRCP, but from my previous experience I found sound quality of wireless connection with 2.1 to be not that great, not until bluetooth 4.0+BLE and apt-x implementation. WELL, I was blown out of my seat when I started listening to music. Beside sounding better than any bt4.0+apt-x headphones I have tested, it blew out of the water some of my quality wired headphones. BackBeat Go 2 delivered a true Hi-Fi sounds thanks to its custom SBC codec. With a 3D soundstage filled with crisp highs, very clear mids, and clean bass - the sound came very natural, with quality suitable for any music genre. I especially love how rich was the bass sound without sacrificing high frequencies. I mean, these are not exactly in the same category as some $400+ audiophile earbuds with triple drivers, but the quality of sound these $79 (plus $20 charging case) wireless headphones delivered was very impressive.

Overall, I don't often use "must have" term in my reviews, but if you are serious about exercising or keeping your headphones wireless while enjoying a high quality sound with a nice bass enhancement - these stand above any other wireless headphones I have tested. If it wouldn't be for 4.5hr battery life, I would go as far as saying these are absolutely perfect. But compensated with a charging case, a truly innovative concept from Plantronics, these could be considered as nearly perfect.

Here are the pictures.























































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Reviewing headphones is a lot more trickier than speakers. With speakers you have an acoustics of surround space in the open room which reflects the sound, thus giving you a better impression of how it arrives at your ears (easier to judge good from bad even without a/b comparison). With headphones sitting right in your ear canal with air-tight noise isolation tips you get in-your-face sound which might be good by itself but pales when you do A/B comparison with other set of headphones. That is why often I have a positive review of new set of headphones, but when start to compare it to others - find faults.

When it comes to wireless sport earbuds, JayBird Blue Buds X used to be a golden standard. With a design of two lightweight earbuds connected by a tangle-free flat cable, in-line remote, and sweat-proof coating, those became very popular although it came with a hefty price tag. Recently Anker ventured into bluetooth accessories and introduced their re-branded version of bluetooth headphones with a very similar design. I didn't have a chance to review original BackBeat Go earbuds, only their recently introduced version 2, but from everything I read it was a significant improvement over the original one and considering similarity of design with other two - I wanted to show it side by side.















Everything looks good in the picture, until you start using it and compare one to the other. First of all, all 3 are in a different price categories where BlueBuds X are now about $149 on amazon, Anker BT4.0 goes for $59 on amazon, and BackBeat Go 2 is $79 (+$20 rechargeable storage bag which is a must!). When it comes to build quality, all three are pretty good and look durable, although only BlueBuds and BackBeat have sweatproof coating. Also, BlueBuds and BackBeat support direct micro-usb connection, while Anker uses proprietary usb clip - not as convenient since you can't rely on standard micro-usb chargers/cables you can find anywhere. Although you are stuck with a custom charging clip and have to make sure you don't loose it or break it, Anker's 18-months warranty should cover that. All 3 have in-line remote, but BlueBuds and BackBeat buttons are more defined and easier to feel since remote will be behind your neck where you can't see it and have to rely on feeling it. I also found BlueBuds and BackBeat to have a much better bluetooth range in comparison to Anker. When it comes to batteries of the actual earphones, BlueBuds and Anker are at about 7-8hr while BackBeat is at 4.5hr although with an included charging pouch you can add 10 more hours. But you have to keep in mind that once battery gets low or dies, you will have to keep BackBeat on a charger for about 20min to give you a rapid boost of another hour.

Where these really differentiate is a sound quality. Although Anker uses bluetooth 4.0 with apt-x, in comparison to BackBeat and Bluebuds with their bluetooth 2.1 and proprietary sound enhancement mechanism it didn't sound as good. This is a case where listening to Anker headphones by itself for awhile is enjoyable until you switch to BlueBuds to discover a much better lower end (bass) response, although with some decrease in high frequencies in comparison to Anker. But when you switch to BackBeat Go 2 - game is over because you get a lot richer and more natural sounding bass (BlueBuds low end sounds muddy in comparison to BackBeat) and regain back crisp and clarity of mids and highs which sound even more impressive than Anker. Keep in mind, judgment of sound quality is always subjective matter of personal opinion and has to do a lot with a proper ear-tip sealing of your ear canal.

So in my opinion based on comparison of these three, I found Plantronics BackBeat Go 2 to be the best overall value taking into account design, sound quality, price, and performance. I just wish BackBeat Go 2 would have the same 7-8hr battery life, but as I mentioned in my original review - charging case compensates for that.
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Reserved.
Reserved... A pair or these head phones :P simply wonderful, and simply wonderful review as always!!

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Reserved... A pair or these head phones :P simply wonderful, and simply wonderful review as always!!

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The 2nd post is a place holder where I'm going to post a few comparison pictures between BackBeat Go 2 and BlueBudsX and Anker BT4.0 headsets - all 3 in a similar design style; and provide some of my thoughts on how they stack up
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The 2nd post is a place holder where I'm going to post a few comparison pictures between BackBeat Go 2 and BlueBudsX and Anker BT4.0 headsets - all 3 in a similar design style; and provide some of my thoughts on how they stack up
Wow! Really good!! Can't wait to see it!! In the meantime I'll try to save my money to buy this little present both for me and my gf :P

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Wow! Really good!! Can't wait to see it!! In the meantime I'll try to save my money to buy this little present both for me and my gf :P

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Comparison is up in Post#2.
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Comparison is up in Post#2.
Solid review as always bro! I would take the leap for the Plantronics, but the battery life is definitely the deal breaker. I'll be honest, if I don't have to charge something, I'll get lazy and forget. I've gotten used to the great battery life of the LG Tone's and the Anker 4.0's so much so that I can't see myself buying something with a weaker battery. I wish they had thought of that. It's also a huge fail on the Samsung Gear's part. It will only last 24 hours! That's terrible, even though it looks amazing .
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Does anyone know where to buy the back beats 2 at the best price and with shipping to Europe (italy)? Official site ships to Usa and Canada only, and I can't find anything on eBay. Just one item but it hasn't the charging case, is at more than 100 (130$) and ships from AU, which means a month or more to wait and a lot of cash for shipping and custom duties... Any European fella please let us know if you can find this earphones somewhere!

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Does anyone know where to buy the back beats 2 at the best price and with shipping to Europe (italy)? Official site ships to Usa and Canada only, and I can't find anything on eBay. Just one item but it hasn't the charging case, is at more than 100 (130$) and ships from AU, which means a month or more to wait and a lot of cash for shipping and custom duties... Any European fella please let us know if you can find this earphones somewhere!

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http://www.amazon.it/Plantronics-Bac...s=back+beats+2
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Solid review as always bro! I would take the leap for the Plantronics, but the battery life is definitely the deal breaker. I'll be honest, if I don't have to charge something, I'll get lazy and forget. I've gotten used to the great battery life of the LG Tone's and the Anker 4.0's so much so that I can't see myself buying something with a weaker battery. I wish they had thought of that. It's also a huge fail on the Samsung Gear's part. It will only last 24 hours! That's terrible, even though it looks amazing .
I hear ya. Actually, running a stress test now. Charged up the headphones to full (very convinient how you can have battery pack plugged into headphones and charge both headphones and battery pack at the same time), then once it was 100% - paired it up with Note 2 and set both my phone and headphones at MAX volume. I figured I can kill two birds, do a battery endurance test and break in headphone drivers. Of course this is a worst case scenario, earbuds are like external speakers now, that loud. Been playing it for 2h15m and the app shows 2h30m left. If I can get 4.5h out of full charge playing at absolute max volume setting, this will translate to an additional 1h of battery life playing at moderate volume. Yes, not 7-8h like Anker or Jaybirds, but 5.5h would not be bad either. What I absolute LOVE is their included widget. It gives you a quick visual of battery status. Plus, when you click it launches an app where you can disconnect headphone with a single tap without going to Bluetooth setting menu and it shows you approximate playback time left rounded off to 30min. You also get a shortcut to system Bluetooth menu setting as well. Taking a guess out of remaining battery life is a Big plus. But you do get 3h less time which is a downer. BUT, at the same time 4+ hours of playback is more than enough for 2 decent workouts, and when you done and place earbuds into a storage case, connect it to a case charger. This way you don't have to worry about coming home and plugging it in. A very convenient factor!

I will update this post once headphone batteries are fully drained.

*** UPDATE *** so at max phone volume and max headphone volume it lasted exactly 3.5h which translates to about 4.5h-5h or use at more ear-friendly volume. Basically, Plantronics speced 4.5h audio playback time based on normal listening level which I have confirmed.
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