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Plantronics BackBeat Fit Wireless Headphones Review

Tested using Methodology v1.3.1
Reviewed Jun 21, 2018 at 11:59 am
Plantronics BackBeat Fit Wireless Picture
6.1
Mixed Usage
5.1
Neutral Sound
6.4
Commute/Travel
7.6
Sports/Fitness
6.0
Office
4.7
Wireless Gaming
4.6
Wired Gaming
6.1
Phone Call
Type Earbuds
Enclosure Semi-Open
Wireless Yes
Noise Cancelling No
Mic Yes
Transducer Dynamic

The Plantronics BackBeat Fit Wireless are above-average sports headphones but mediocre for more casual everyday uses. They have a sturdy and flexible build quality and stable ear-hooks that will prevent them from falling, even during more strenuous exercises. Unfortunately, their sound quality is sub-par and very inconsistent. They also have a semi-open design that won't block a lot of noise, but on the upside, it does make them a decent choice for outdoor runners since you can monitor your environment for traffic.

Our Verdict

6.1 Mixed Usage

The Plantronics BackBeat Fit are mediocre at best for mixed usage. They're decent and stable for sports with sturdy, sweat-resistant build quality and decently compact form factor that fits into your pockets despite being slightly larger than typical in-ears. Unfortunately, since they have a one-size-for-all semi-open earbud design, they won't be the most comfortable headphones for everyone, and they don't isolate enough in loud noisy environments to be a good option for commuting.

Pros
  • Stable enough for sports.
  • Lightweight and flexible.
Cons
  • Poor noise isolation, by design.
  • Poor sound quality consistency.
  • Bass and treble delivery varies significantly across users.
5.1 Neutral Sound

The Plantronics BackBeat Fit are sub-par for neutral listening. These headphones have a poorly balanced sound quality that could sound decently balanced or boomy and dark depending on their tightness on the ear. Unfortunately, since they have a semi-open design, their bass does not have a lot of thump and rumble and sounds more boomy and cluttered. Their poor consistency could create a large mismatch between the left and right channels, which means that you may have to adjust the position of the headphones quite often to get the earbuds to sound the same.

6.4 Commute/Travel

The Plantronics BackBeat Fit are mediocre for commuting or traveling. They have poor isolation that can't remove the rumble of an engine. They're decently comfortable for longer trips but have a strange shape that some people might find uncomfortable. They have a decent battery life, but they won't last longer flights without recharging and can't be used wired.

7.6 Sports/Fitness

The Plantronics BackBeat Fit are decent for sports and fitness. They have excellent breathability and very good stability, so they aren't likely to fall out during brisk movements. They're a bit bigger than some other in-ear headphones, but they fold nicely and can easily be kept in your pocket.

6.0 Office

The Plantronics BackBeat Fit are mediocre for office use. They have decent comfort and can be worn for longer periods without any problems, but they won't last a typical work day and have poor noise isolation and poor sound quality. They don't leak very much so the volume can always be increased to drown out any surrounding noise.

4.7 Wireless Gaming

The Plantronics BackBeat Fit have high latency, so they aren't suitable for wireless gaming.

4.6 Wired Gaming
6.1 Phone Call
  • 6.1 Mixed Usage
  • 5.1 Neutral Sound
  • 6.4 Commute/Travel
  • 7.6 Sports/Fitness
  • 6.0 Office
  • 4.7 Wireless Gaming
  • 4.6 Wired Gaming
  • 6.1 Phone Call
  1. Updated Nov 21, 2019: Converted to Test Bench 1.3.1.
  2. Updated Nov 21, 2019: Converted to Test Bench 1.3.

Test Results

Design
Design
Style

The Plantronics BackBeat Fit have a minimalist design but feel a bit cheap. They have a heavily coated neckband that's flexible enough to fold and put into your pocket. This neckband seamlessly blends into the ear hook design. Unfortunately, since these are sports-oriented sweatproof headphones, the heavy use of rubber and lack of metal accents does make them look a bit cheap, especially since the rubber does collect a bit of dust and grime as you use them. On the upside, they're fairly compact and come in a couple of different color schemes.

6.5
Design
Comfort
Weight 0.05 lbs
Clamping Force
0 lbs

The Plantronics BackBeat Fit aren't comfortable for everyone. They don't enter the ear canal like typical in-ears. Unfortunately, unlike the Bose SoundSport Wireless or the Sony WI-SP500 Wireless, the tips of the earbuds don't yield as well, so they tend to sit poorly in the notch of your ear, which does cause a bit of soreness and fatigue during longer listening sessions. They also have a one-size-fits-all design, so they don't come with extra tips or stability fins to better adjust the headphones for your ears.

6.8
Design
Controls
OS Compatibility
N/A
Ease Of Use Mediocre
Feedback Okay
Call/Music Control Yes
Volume Control Yes
Microphone Control No
Channel Mixing
N/A
Noise Cancelling Control N/A
Talk-Through
N/A
Additional Buttons No

The Plantronics BackBeat Fit have a mediocre control scheme that provides all the essential functions but feels cramped. There's a dedicated play/pause/track skipping button and a call/multifunction button. Unfortunately, they also have these slightly raised buttons for volume controls and to turn the headphones on/off and put them in a pairing mode that are small, difficult to use, especially while working out, but at least they're fairly easy to find by touch alone a deliver decent feedback when pressed.

8.7
Design
Breathability
Avg.Temp.Difference 1.3 ยฐC

The Plantronics BackBeat Fit are fairly breathable, although they do have more points of contact with your ears than typical in-ear headphones. They will be breathable enough for most sports and workout routines and shouldn't make you sweat more than usual when running or exercising. They do make the back of your ears a bit warmer than other in-ears with ear hook design, but it's not that noticeable.

8.1
Design
Portability
L 2.8"
W 2.2"
H 1.8"
Volume 11 inยณ
Transmitter Required N/A

The Plantronics BackBeat Fit are a bit larger than typical in-ears, but they're flexible enough to fold and place into your pockets. You can easily carry them on your person at all times, and they come with a decent case, which makes them portable for traveling and commuting.

7.0
Design
Case
Type Soft case
L 5.2"
W 3"
H 1"
Volume 16 inยณ

The Plantronics BackBeat Fit come with a decent soft case that adds quite a bit of bulk but should protect the headphones from most impacts, scratches, and regular wear and tear when they're in your bag. Unfortunately, it won't shield the headphones against water damage, and since it's a soft case, it won't protect them as well as some of the better hard cases we've tested like that of the Anker SoundCore Spirit X Wireless.

7.5
Design
Build Quality

Like the Fitbit Flyer, these headphones have a good build quality. They have a unique neckband that's heavily rubberized and flexible enough to fold and put into your pockets. Their design is also made to be sweat and water-resistant up to one foot for 30 minutes, although some users have damaged their headphones by sweat alone. The earbuds and the rubberized audio cable feels dense enough that they won't get damaged from pulling on them or by physical stress. However, the inconsistent water resistance may be an issue for some listeners. You can also check out the Jabra Elite Active 45e Wireless and their IP67 rating.

8.0
Design
Stability

The Plantronics BackBeat Fit have a stable ear-hook design. The earbuds also have built-in stability fins. They won't fall from your ears even during more demanding exercises. Unfortunately, the earbuds move around a bit, which does slightly change their sound profile. However, they don't come with any additional tips or stability fins, so you can't adjust the headphones to fit better the shape and contours of your ears, which is a little disappointing, especially for a sports headphone.

Design
Headshots 1
Design
Headshots 2
Design
Top
Design
In The Box

  • Plantronics BackBeat Fit headphones
  • USB charging cable
  • Carrying case
  • Manual

Sound
Sound
Sound Profile
Bass Amount
-1.3 dB
Treble Amount
-3.88 dB
5.4
Sound
Frequency Response Consistency
Avg. Std. Deviation
2.08 dB

The Plantronics BackBeat Fit have sub-par frequency response consistency. Due to their earbud design, they tend not to have a very consistent placement across multiple re-seats and multiple users. They show more than 12dB of variance in the bass range and about 12 of variance in the treble range.

Sound
Raw Frequency Response
5.7
Sound
Bass Accuracy
Std. Err.
5.97 dB
Low-Frequency Extension
18.88 Hz
Low-Bass
-3.98 dB
Mid-Bass
3.52 dB
High-Bass
6.64 dB

The Plantronics BackBeat Fit have a mediocre bass accuracy. Depending on the amount of pressure the earbuds put on the ear, the bass of these headphones can fluctuate between very light and heavy. With low pressure, they will have a balanced high-bass but a lacking mid-bass and no sub-bass. This will be perceived as a warm bass that lacks thump and punch. With high pressure, they still won't produce much thump or rumble, but there will be an increase in mid and high bass, which results in a heavy but boomy sound.

6.4
Sound
Mid Accuracy
Std. Err.
4.82 dB
Low-Mid
5.94 dB
Mid-Mid
1.68 dB
High-Mid
-4.07 dB

The Plantronics BackBeat Fit have mediocre mid accuracy. The overall response is quite even but shows a tilt favoring lower frequencies. This thickens the vocals and adds a bit of clutter to the overall mix. The tighter the earbuds in the ear, the more pronounced this effect will be.

6.4
Sound
Treble Accuracy
Std. Err.
4.8 dB
Low-Treble
-1.34 dB
Mid-Treble
-2.57 dB
High-Treble
-3.24 dB

The treble accuracy is mediocre. The overall response is relatively even and flat, which is good. But since the treble delivery is very dependent on the tightness of the earbuds in the ear, the perception of their treble could vary from balanced to dark. The more pressure the earbuds put on the ears, the darker their treble will be.

Also, their treble delivery varies noticeably across users. The response here represents the average response, and your experience may vary.

7.4
Sound
Peaks/Dips
Peaks
1.56 dB
Dips
1.49 dB
3.5
Sound
Imaging
Weighted Group Delay
0.22
Weighted Amplitude Mismatch
11.24
Weighted Frequency Mismatch
11.28
Weighted Phase Mismatch
12.97

The imaging performance is sub-par. Weighted group delay is at 0.22, which is very good. The GD graph also shows that the entire group delay is within the audibility threshold. The large spikes in group delay below 20Hz are not in the audible range, so they shouldn't have a noticeable negative effect on the sound. However, our test unit showed a significant mismatch on our dummy head between the L/R drivers. This is likely due to the earbud design, which results in an inconsistent bass and treble delivery. This may vary from user to user.

1.3
Sound
Soundstage
PRTF Accuracy (Std. Dev.)
N/A
PRTF Size (Avg.)
N/A
PRTF Distance
N/A
Openness
5.5
Acoustic Space Excitation
1.2

The Plantronics BackBeat Fit have a poor soundstage. Creating an out-of-head and speaker-like soundstage is largely dependent on activating the resonances of the pinna (outer ear). Since the design of in-ears and earbuds is in such a way that fully bypasses the pinna and doesn't interact with it, they tend to have a small and inside the head soundstage.

6.2
Sound
Weighted Harmonic Distortion
WHD @ 90
1.107
WHD @ 100
0.352
Isolation
4.3
Isolation
Noise Isolation
Isolation Audio
Overall Attenuation
-10.17 dB
Bass
-0.41 dB
Mid
-7.28 dB
Treble
-23.35 dB

The Plantronics BackBeat Fit have a sub-par isolation performance, which is due to their semi-open design. In the bass range, where the rumble of bus and airplane engines sits, they achieve no isolation. In the mid-range, important for cutting out speech, they isolate by 7dB, which is sub-par. In the treble range, occupied by sharp S and T sounds, they isolate by about 23dB, which is above-average. If you need an even more open design for outdoor use, check out the AfterShokz Trekz Air Bone Conduction or the AfterShokz Aeropex Bone Conduction.

9.0
Isolation
Leakage
Leakage Audio
Overall Leakage @ 1ft
27.11 dB

The Plantronics BackBeat Fit's leakage performance is great. These headphones don't leak in the bass and mid-ranges. A significant portion of their leakage is in the treble range and between 4kHz and 6kHz, which is quite a narrow range. The overall level of the leakage is not loud either.

Microphone
Microphone
Microphone Style
Integrated
Yes
In-line
No
Boom
No
Detachable Boom
N/A

The Plantronics BackBeat Fit have a mediocre microphone. In quiet environments, speech recorded or transmitted with this mic will sound relatively thin, noticeably muffled, and lacking in detail. However, it will still be understandable. In noisy environments, it will struggle to separate speech from background noise even in moderately loud situations, like a busy street.

6.6
Microphone
Recording Quality
Recorded Speech
LFE
293.44 Hz
FR Std. Dev.
2.96 dB
HFE
3,466.89 Hz
Weighted THD
4.604
Gain
43.38 dB

The microphone has an average recording quality. The LFE (low-frequency extension) of 293Hz means speech recorded/transmitted with it will sound relatively thin. The HFE (high-frequency extension) of 3.5kHz results in a speech that's relatively muffled and lacking in detail.

6.0
Microphone
Noise Handling
Speech + Pink Noise
Speech + Subway Noise
SpNR
10.7 dB

The integrated microphone is mediocre at noise-handling. In our SpNR test, they achieved a speech-to-noise ratio of 11dB, indicating they're best suited for quiet environments and will struggle to separate speech from ambient noise in moderate and loud situations.

Active Features
5.9
Active Features
Battery
Battery Type
Rechargable
Continuous Battery Life
6.5 hrs
Additional Charges
0
Total Battery Life
6.5 hrs
Charge Time
1.7 hrs
Power Saving Feature
Standby mode
Audio While Charging
No
Passive Playback
Charging Port micro-USB

The Plantronics BackBeat Fit have decent battery life. They won't last an entire day for listening at the office and they don't support passive playback. There's a quick charge feature that delivers an hour of playback on a 15-minute charge, which is good. They can be fully charged in about 100 minutes, and they can be placed in standby mode for as long as two weeks.

4.0
Active Features
App Support
App Name Backbeat FIT Companion
iOS Yes
Android Yes
macOS N/A
Windows N/A
Equalizer
No
ANC Control
N/A
Mic Control No
Room effects
No
Playback Control
No
Button Mapping No
Surround Sound No

Technically, there's a companion app, but unfortunately, it doesn't do much and is more of an interactive user manual than anything else. The companion app has to be used to update the firmware, but there have been widespread reports of bricked headphones when done incorrectly.

Connectivity
8.2
Connectivity
Bluetooth
Bluetooth Version
3.0
Multi-Device Pairing
2 Devices
NFC Pairing
No
Line of Sight Range
85 ft
Default Latency
179 ms
aptX Latency
N/A
aptX(LL) Latency
N/A

These wireless headphones use the older Bluetooth 3.0 protocol and are a bit limited compared with more recent devices. There are reports of some compatibility issues with newer phones, including the iPhone X. They don't support NFC and have to be paired by holding the power button, but they remember the last device they were paired with and can easily switch between them.

Like most Bluetooth headphones, the Plantronics BackBeat Fit have too much latency for watching videos. They don't support the lower latency aptX codec.

0
Connectivity
Non-Bluetooth Wireless
Non-BT Line of Sight Range
N/A
Non-BT Latency
N/A
0
Connectivity
Wired
Analog Audio
N/A
USB Audio
N/A
Detachable No
Length N/A
Connection N/A
Wired Latency
N/A

There's no wired option.

Connectivity
PC / PS4 Compatibility
PC / PS4 Analog
No
PC / PS4 Wired USB
No
PC / PS4 Non-BT Wireless
No
Connectivity
Xbox One Compatibility
Xbox One Analog
No
Xbox One Wired USB
No
Xbox One Wireless
No
0
Connectivity
Base/Dock
Type
N/A
USB Input
N/A
Line In
N/A
Line Out
N/A
Optical Input
N/A
RCA Input
N/A
Dock Charging
N/A
Power Supply
N/A

The Plantronics BackBeat Fit don't come with a charging dock or case.

Compared To Other Headphones

Comparison picture

The Plantronics BackBeat Fit are good sports headphones with a unique design. They're heavily rubberized, which gives a strong and water-resistant build quality but also makes them a bit larger than typical wireless in-ears. On the upside, their ear-hook design makes them stable enough for most activities. Unfortunately, they don't have the longest battery life, and their one size fits all earbud does not come with any additional tips or fins, which is a little disappointing.

Jabra Elite Active 45e Wireless

The Jabra Elite Active 45e Wireless are better headphones than the Plantronics BackBeat Fit Wireless. Their control scheme is better and easier to use, and they are more portable. While both headphones have poor audio quality and barely isolate, the Jabra have the edge over the Plantronics thanks to their app that offers a good 5-band EQ. The Jabra also have better wireless range.

Sony WI-SP500 Wireless

The Plantronics BackBeat Fit are slightly better sports headphones than the Sony WI-SP500 Wireless, but they both have seal issues that negatively affect their sound quality. The Plantronics have a much better build quality and a more durable and sweat-proof design. They're also a lot more stable for the gym and will stay on your ears no matter the physical activity, thanks to the ear-hooks. On the upside, the Sony have a better control scheme that's a little easier to use than that of the Plantronics, although not by much. They also have a slightly longer battery life and are a little bit more comfortable to wear for some people.

AfterShokz Aeropex Bone Conduction

While the Plantronics BackBeat Fit Wireless and the AfterShokz Aeropex Bone Conduction look similar, the Plantronics have a more traditional earbud design that goes inside of your ear. The AfterShokz, however, are more comfortable, have better controls, and a better battery life. On the other hand, the Plantronics block more ambient noise and have a more neutral sound profile, which some may prefer. Some may also prefer that they have a more conventional earbud design, as opposed to the Aeropex, which deliver sound via bone conduction and sit outside your ears. 

AfterShokz Trekz Air Bone Conduction

If you compare the Plantronics BackBeat Fit Wireless to the AfterShokz Trekz Air Bone Conduction, the Plantronics are better typical headphones, especially sound-wise. This is due to the Plantronics being in-ear and not bone-conducting like the AfterShokz. The Plantronics are more stable, more portable, thanks to the flexible band, and isolate more sound. If you’re looking for openness and want to stay aware of your surroundings while training with background music, the AfterShokz might be the better choice. The AfterShokz are also more comfortable and use a more recent version of Bluetooth.

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