Price (RRP): $149.95
Plantronics Backbeat Fit 500 is an on-the-ear sports headphone designed for sweaty athletes who love music over grunts.
I say grunts because these on-the-ear memory foam phones provide a reasonable level of noise isolation without clamping too heavily on your ears – as many on-the-ear cans are wont to do. And I say music lovers because its 40mm drivers produce a respectable amount of bass, mids are recessed, and treble is boosted.
Out of the box – Plantronics Backbeat Fit 500 series
- The headphones (in black or teal headband)
- A way too short USB-A to micro-USB charge cable
- 2m x 3.5mm audio cable
- Woven drawstring pouch
The first thing you need to remember is that these are low cost – don’t expect metal bands and bling. They are made from plastic and are strong enough for the purpose. Just take a little care of them.
What they don’t have: NFC pairing, or auto power-off
Don’t confuse this with the lower cost Backbeat 505 that looks similar but does not have IPX2 sweat resistance.
The battery takes about 2 hours to charge and depending on use and volume should give up to 18 hours playback or 16 hours talk/play.
I was only able to test this once. I set them at noon up playing a music loop at normal volume and checked back hourly until they ran out at 8 am.
They will hold a charge for about six months.
How do they sound?
You can use either a wired 3.5mm connection (no amp) or a Bluetooth wireless connection (with amp).
On 3.5mm audio the sound is brighter, but volume was less than Bluetooth.
Bluetooth uses an SBC codec (subband coding) – designed to obtain a reasonably good audio quality at medium bit rates with low CPU overheads. In other words, it is okay for MP3, and it does not claim audiophile quality like aptX/HD or LDAC codecs etc.,
A lot depends on content played. If you play something like the Beach Boys, you want to hear the vocals, and if you play Beethoven, you want to hear the bass drums and crisp cymbals.
Plantronics aims for a balanced sound signature as it allows you to ramp up the bass or ramp down bass and focus on clear, crisp voice depending if your Bluetooth device has Equaliser pre-sets.
Frequency response it 50Hz-20,000kHz. Maximum volume (claimed) is 92dBPL (decibel pressure level) which is roughly equivalent to 70db loudness.