In another mall on another day, there were no such issues. There was just the regular crowd, not the insane post-Christmas one.

Phone and between-bud connections with the BackBeat FIT 3200 earphones were generally quite stable, with only occasional drop outs. Orientation became important at distances greater than around ten metres.

Quality

As I’ve already indicated, you shouldn’t expect to get truly deep bass from BackBeat FIT 3200 earphones. I think that they produce it, but because of the lack of a good ear seal, it doesn’t come through. You need a tight coupling between the small driver in earphones and your eardrums for that kind of bass.

But apart from that limitation, the sound from these earphones was very attractive. Their main virtue was a good tonal balance across the upper bass, midrange and lower treble. That, along with avoiding marked distortion, is a good half of making music sound enjoyable and pleasing. On songs like “King of Pain” by The Police, there was enough of the deeper drums (probably the second and higher harmonics) to give a good sense of their presence. Likewise for Sting’s bass guitar. But compared to earphones with a good seal, or headphones with larger drivers, there was a definite absence of weight.

The upper treble was also a little recessed. On the same track, the cymbals weren’t quite as prominent as usual. They were there, but further back in the mix.

BackBeat FIT 3100
There are plenty of customisation options (left); Google Pixel 2 XL reports AAC codec supported (right)

On voice, including phone calls, the BackBeat FIT 3100 earphones were clear, making for easy coherence on phone calls and podcasts. The only time that failed was when those damned omnibuses went past on the street, drowning out material.

My Google Pixel 2 XL phone reported that it was able to use the AAC codec with the BackBeat FIT 3200 earphones, so you’re at least potentially getting higher quality sound, especially if you’re using an iPhone or iPod Touch.

Calls and Assistants

It took a little practice to get the button press right for Google Assistant (I assume it’s the same with Siri). You have to hold it for two seconds. But if you hold it for four seconds, you turn off the earpieces. (You can hold either one down to turn them off. Both of them switch off as a result.) So, you have to get the timing right. There is a beep when you’ve hit two seconds, but sometimes it was hard to hear.

But once I worked it out, the BackBeat FIT 3100 earphones picked up my voice quite well enough for Google Assistant to understand my queries. She, in turn, responded clearly.

Call management was fine, too, with these earphones. I asked a couple of the people with whom I spoke whether my voice was clear, and they claimed it was.

Conclusion

The Plantronics BackBeat FIT 3100 earphones are ideal for those who want respectable sound while they’re working out, but also wish to retain situational awareness. That is, they want to be able to hear approaching traffic. Another advantage of this system is that if you simply pause the music, you can hear what people are saying pretty well as clearly as if you were wearing no earbuds. No need to pull them out.

If you want true isolation and deep bass, though, probably best to look elsewhere.

The Plantronics website for the BackBeat FIT 3100 earphones is here.

Plantronics BackBeat FIT 3100 earphones (review)
Name: BackBeat FIT 3100 Price (RRP): $239.99 Manufacturer: Plantronics
Secure fit Allow situational awareness Good value for money Good tonal balance
Little deep bass Sound can be drowned out by surrounding noise
Features
Value for money
Performance
Ease of use
Design
4.4Overall Score