The Plantronics Backbeat Fit are above-average sports headphones but mediocre for more casual everyday use cases. 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 fit 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.
Mediocre-at-best for mixed usage. The Plantronics BackBeat Fit are a decent and stable headset for sports with a sturdy, sweat resistant build quality and decently compact form factor that will fit into your pockets despite being slightly larger than typical in-ears. Unfortunately, since they have a one-size-fits-all semi-open earbud design, they won't be the most comfortable headphones for everyone and they do not isolate enough in loud noisy environments to be a good option for commuting. They also have a poorly balanced sound that showed a lot of mismatch. It doesn't sound as uneven in person but may still be a deal breaker for some listeners.
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 an semi-open earbud design their bass does not have a lot of thump and rumble and sounds more boomy and cluttered. Their poor consistency in delivery bass and treble 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. They are passable for more casual listeners but will not be ideal for neutral listening.
Mediocre headphones for commuting or traveling. They have poor isolation that can't remove the rumble of an engine. They are 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.
Decent headphones for sports and fitness. They have excellent breathability and very good stability so they aren't likely to fall out during brisk movements. They are a bit bigger than some other in-ear headphones but they fold nicely and can easily be kept in your pocket.
Mediocre headphones for an office setting. 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.
These are bad headphones for gaming. The Plantronics BackBeat Fit have poor sound quality, and the latency is too high, so the sound you hear won't match what is seen on screen. They also can't be used wired, so an adapter is required to use them on a game console.
These headphones have a cool 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 which looks great. 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 are fairly compact and come in a couple of different color schemes, so you can match them to your gym attire or stand out a bit more with your favorite color.
These headphones have an odd fit that won't be as comfortable for everyone. They do not enter the ear canal like typical in-ears and have a more earbud fit similar to some of the Bose headphones. Unfortunately, unlike the SoundSport Wireless or the Sony WI-SP500, the tips of the earbuds do not yield as well, so they tend to sit poorly in the notch of your ear which does cause a bit soreness and fatigue during longer listening sessions. They also have a one-size-fits-all design, so they do not come with extra tips or stability fins to better adjust the headphones for your ears.
The Plantronics BackBeat Fit have a mediocre control scheme that provides all the essential functions but feels cramped. There is a dedicated play/pause/track skipping button on the right earbud and a call/multifunction button on the right. 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 are fairly easy to find by touch alone a deliver decent feedback when pressed.
These headphones 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.
The Plantronics BackBeat Fit are a bit larger than typical in-ears, but they're flexible enough to fold and fit 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.
These headphones 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 will not shield the headphones against water damage, and since it is 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.
Like the Fitbit Flyer, these headphones have a good build quality that feels durable and is flexible enough to fit into your pocket. Like the Beats Beats X, they have a unique neckband that's heavily rubberized and flexible enough to fold and fit into your pockets. Their design is also made to be sweat and water resistant up to 1ft for 30 minutes although some users have damaged their headphones by sweat alone. The ear buds 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 and their IP67 rating.
The Plantronics BackBeat Fit have a stable ear-hook design. The earbuds also have built-in stability fins. They will not fall from your ears even during more demanding exercises. Unfortunately, the earbuds of the Fit move around a bit which does slightly change their sound profile. However, they do not come with any additional tips or stability fins so you cannot adjust the headphones to fit better the shape and contours of your ears, which is a little disappointing, especially for a sports headphone.
The frequency response consistency is sub-par. Due to their earbud design, they tend not to have a very consistent fit 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.
The Plantronics BackBeat Fit have a mediocre bass. 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.
The mid-range is mediocre. 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.
The treble 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 the 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.
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 shouldn't have a noticeable negative effect on the sound. However, our test unit showed 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.
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.
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 then check out the AfterShokz Trekz Air or the AfterShokz Aeropex.
The leakage performance is great. These headphones don't leak in the bass and mid-ranges. The 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.
The Plantronics BackBeat Fit have a mediocre microphone. In quiet environments, speech recorded or transmitted with this mic will sound relatively thin, and 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.
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 is relatively muffled and lacking in detail.
The integrated microphone is mediocre at noise-handling. In our SpNR test, they achieved a speech-to-noise ratio of 11dB, indicating they are best suited for quiet environments and will struggle to separate speech from ambient noise in moderate and loud situations.
The Plantronics BackBeat Fit have a decent battery life. They won't last an entire day for listening at the office and they don't support passive playback. There is 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 2 weeks.
Technically, there is 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 of the Backbeat Fit, but there have been widespread reports of bricked headphones when done incorrectly.
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.
There is no wired option for these headphones.
The Plantronics Backbeat Fit are good sports headphones with a unique design. They are 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, they're compact enough to still fit and their ear-hook design makes them stable enough for most activities. Unfortunately, they do not have the longest battery like and their one size fits all earbud does not come with any additional tips of fins which is a little disappointing when compared to some of the other sports headphones below.
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.
The Jabra Elite Active 45e 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 Active 45e have the edge over the BackBeat Fit thanks to their app that offers a good 5-band EQ. The Elite Active 45e also have better wireless range.
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 will block out much more ambient noise and will deliver more traditional sound reproduction, as they aren't bone conduction headphones.
The Plantronics BackBeat Fit are slightly better sports headphones than the Sony WI-SP500, but they both have seal issues that negatively affect their sound quality. The Fit 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 Sonys have a better control scheme that's a little easier to use than that of the Fit, although not by much. They also have a slightly longer battery life and are a little bit more comfortable to wear for some people.