Plantronics BackBeat GO

by Volker Weber

You may remember my Nokia BH-505 fiasco: dead within three months, most likely because of moisture from working out. Then I found out about the moisture protection in the Plantronics Voyager Legend. No wonder this thing wouldn't break down even if it got wet.

For phone calls that's all nice. They work perfectly well when you listen through one ear only. But that's not the case when you want to listen to music. This got me looking for earbuds from Plantronics, and bingo, there they were, BackBeat Go. Same moisture protection!

I wasn't disappointed. The headset comes in a packaging that is nicely designed. It's held together with stickers that are clearly marked. The headset itself is presented at the top of the box and it's just a great experience to unbox the content. Sorry, no stupid video. :-)

Well, how does it work? It's a Bluetooth headset with two earbuds, connected by a flat wire that does not tangle. You wear that wire behind your head so you can take out one earbud without dangling the whole headset from the other ear. Close to your right ear, there is a microphone and the buttons that control the headset. You can see that piece in the top most photo.

I have only briefly tested the headset. Pairing is a no-brainer, it fits right in my ears without any discomfort. The sound is very very clear, clearer than on any Bluetooth stereo headset I have tried so far, and it is somewhat lacking in the bass department*. Now it's charging.

A small pouch, ear gels in three different sizes and a small USB-MicroUSB cable complete the box. The cable has a clever design. You can daisychain a USB cable to charge your phone from the same charger.

I will keep you posted on how well the BackBeat GO work out over the next couple of weeks.

*) Correction: this was an issue with the seal. Ear canal headsets only deliver a solid bass, if you can fit them into the ear canal. I was using the small gels and then the large ones. Both did not seal. Now I am on the medium size and all is well.


Hmmh, würden die auch beim Joggen im Ohr bleiben?

Mariano Kamp, 2012-10-16 14:05

I've had mine for a couple of months and love them. These have a big advantage over similar around the back of the head headsets in that they fit around my fat head. As with all things the plantronic the call quality is very good.

I tried a couple of gels before I settled on the best ones for my ears, and now on transatlantic flights it keeps most of the plane noise out due to the fit.

Because of the looseness of the cord, you can choose to have it hang at the back or the front, and I can easily fall asleep with them in one flight, and wake up and still find them in place, I couldn't say the same with my old backbeats.

I find the headsets battery lasts about the same as a transatlantic flight.

Carl Tyler, 2012-10-16 14:05

Only a short question that occured on my side. Normally I am not an earbud person cause they fall off my ears - how well do they fit? Would you assume that one could go running without loosing them?

I for myself had difficulties with the so-called "sweatproof" headsets. I had three exchanges with a philips sport headset caused by sweat damages in the remote.

Dirk Bartkowiak, 2012-10-16 14:06

Mariano und Dirk, ja die bleiben drin. Das sind mit Kabel gerade mal 13 Gramm und die stecken ziemlich fest in den Ohren. Die Frage ist nur, ob man ECHs beim Laufen tragen will. Du hörst sehr viele Innengeräusche Deines Körpers. Steck Dir einfach mal beim Laufen die Finger feste in die Ohren.

Volker Weber, 2012-10-16 14:12

Carl, you must be flying BOS-LHR. :-) FRA-MCO is 10.5 hours and FRA-SFO is more than 12 hours. Battery life may be the one thing that's not working for me. I guess it depends on the volume you are playing at. Since I have some long train journeys coming up, I will be able to test that.

Volker Weber, 2012-10-16 14:26

Sehr gut. Bestellt.

Ich laufe jetzt auch mit in-ear phones. Da habe ich mich dran gewöhnt ;)

Mariano Kamp, 2012-10-16 14:29

Vowe every time I read your hardware reviews it makes me want to spend money and these are exactly what I have been after.

Looks like I need to do a planetlotus on you to save money ;-)

Mark Barton, 2012-10-16 14:30

Thanks, Mark. We break things so you don't have to. :-)

Volker Weber, 2012-10-16 14:34


They include clips that you can put on that make them stay firmly in your ear, these clips do not go on the outside of the ear, but inside, hard to describe. Obviously every ear is a little bit different, but for me they stay firmly put.

Carl Tyler, 2012-10-16 14:50

Carl, Plantronics has a video showing them.

Volker Weber, 2012-10-16 14:52

That's easier than me trying to explain them :-)

Carl Tyler, 2012-10-16 15:21

Thank you all, I've placed my order at amazon.
I shouldn't read this site too often. ;-)

Dirk Bartkowiak, 2012-10-16 16:02

Funktionieren die auch mit iOS 6 problemlos? Mein Nokia BH 905i zickt zur Zeit viel rum.

Michael Klüsener , 2012-10-16 19:41

They look good, probably a good replacement for my trusted Motorola S9-HD headset - a great device apart from the poor sound quality.

Thanks for the tip, Volker. I know they're very different beasts, but how would you rate sound quality and comfort compared to the Nokia BH-905?

Stuart McIntyre, 2012-10-16 19:42

Michael, ich habe sie bisher nur mit iOS 6 getestet. Kein Problem in den ersten vier Stunden. Das Nokia ist etwas diffizil, wenn sich die Gegenstelle nicht korrekt verhält. Ich habe sie noch nicht benutzt, seit ich auf iOS 6 umgestellt habe.

Stuart, I like the BH-905i more than any other headset and find them to be very comfortable. Headphones that sit on top of your ears, without cupping them, are very comfy. I never sweat when wearing them. They also provide active noise cancellation and run for a full 24 hours.

ECHs are very different. They are inside your ear and can get uncomfortable within hours. The gels on this particular set are very soft (in contrast to my gold standard, the Ultimate Ears), so they might do OK. We will see. As far as the sound goes, they are both very very good, well above my threshold for being good enough. I need a direct comparison to rank them.

Volker Weber, 2012-10-17 00:58

Comments closed for a bit until the spammers have moved on.

Volker Weber, 2012-10-17 01:00

Comments are back on.

Volker Weber, 2012-10-17 18:20

Hab mir aufgrund der Empfehlung die Plantronics BackBeat GO angeschafft und bin begeistert.

Einer dert häufigsten Kritikpunkte bei Amazon ist, dass sie zu leise sind. Prinzipiell ist die Kritik berechtigt. Sie könnten etwas mehr Power haben. Andererseits schirmen sie Außengeräusche relativ gut ab so dass ich eigentlich gut damit leben kann.

Solange die Musikaufnahme in ordentlicher Qualität ist reich (zumindest für mich) der Sound völlig aus. Hab allerdings den Equalizer am iPhone und iPad von "keiner" auf "mehr Bässe" eingestellt. Dadurch gibt es ein etwas volleres Volumen.

Harald Gaerttner, 2012-10-22 09:49

Hier ein Update von mir. Die BackBeat klingen toll, haben aber mein Lauftraining genau 21 Tage überlebt. Ich bin nun bei Monster iSport STRIVE gelandet.

Dirk Bartkowiak, 2013-02-17 15:11

Dirk, 70€ für drahtgebundene Kopfhörer finde ich ganz schön happig.

Halt uns doch mal auf dem Laufenden, wie lange die halten.

Mariano Kamp, 2013-02-17 18:06

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Ceci n'est pas un blog is a personal website published by Volker Weber a.k.a. vowe. I am an author, consultant and systems architect based in Darmstadt, Germany.

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