It was just about a year ago that we reviewed Plantronic’s BackBeat Go wireless headphones. The BackBeat Go were, and are (I still have and use them on occasion) impressive. Looking not much larger than standard wired earbuds, these wireless headphones were a feat of engineering that packed Bluetooth technology and a battery large enough to let you listen to music, watch a movie, or talk on the phone for up to four and a half hours per charge. They even had an inline microphone and controls that allowed you to take calls, skip tracks, and adjust volume on the go. The BackBeat Go shipped with three sizes of cushioned eartips and optional in-ear stabilizers that allowed you to get a comfortable fit that also stayed put when moving.
I got a review sample and was taking calls as I walked down the street in New York within moments after my Press Meeting. Best of all, the Backbeat Go wireless headphones actually sounded quite good! I was impressed at the time, and I continue to be impressed that something this small and light can be a good sounding wireless headset. Now Plantronics are back with the next generation of the BackBeats line. The BackBeat GO 2 maintains the same design as the original BB Go headphones, but this new version offers a more refined design and even better sound.
The BackBeat GO 2 features:
High fidelity audio highlighted by rich bass, crisp highs, and natural mid tones for music, movies, and more
Fully charged portable case provides two additional charges on the go, tripling the use time of the earbuds alone
Sweat Proof coating with P2i moisture protection technology that repels sweat, rain, or spills
Lightweight, wireless Bluetooth earbuds with microphone
Voice prompts to alert the user about charge remaining and what device is paired
DeepSleep™ hibernation mode that keeps earbuds charged and ready to use for up to six months
Extended listen (up to 4.5 hours) and talk time (up to 5 hours)
Battery status meter for iPhone and iPad
Improved fit with small, medium, and large eartips and stabilizers for personalized comfort and optimum sound quality
I feel that there are a few key standout features offered by the BackBeat GO 2. The original version sounded good, but these sound significantly better to my ears; Judie, who had not previously used the Plantronics BackBeat GO headphones, was extremely impressed with the sound they put out. And while the original BackBeat GO headphones were far from bulky, these are just as thin if not a bit more refined.
Plantronics has updated the design of the ear tips and stabilizers in order to make them even more comfortable than before, and it’s not like the original ones were slouches!
There are two big improvements that truly stand out with the BackBeats GO 2: The first is the new DeepSleep hibernation mode. This new technology will let you charge the headphones and then find them ready to use up to six months later. This is a great feature, since uncharged Bluetooth headphones aren’t worth a damn. Knowing that, so long as you put away these headphones in a charged state they will be good to go.
The second improvement comes in the form of the compact storage case, which is a $20 accessory. This small pouch isn’t just a way to protect your BackBeat GO 2 headphones when you are not using them …
… the storage case also doubles as a charging station for the headphones that can add up to two full charges. That means you can get up to an additional 10 hours of use from the BackBeat GO 2, and you’ll have an attractive place to store them. It is a great accessory that is well worth the added expense.
I’ve been using the BackBeat GO 2 for the past week, and I have been impressed with both the comfort and the sound they offer. I do wish Plantronics had been able to increase the amount of time you get per charge, but I do understand the limitations they bumped into when trying to create something as small, thin and light as these wireless headphones.
My biggest issue with the BackBeat GO 2 headphones came when I went to run with them. I was initially a bit frustrated because I could actually hear the cable brush against my neck and the sound travel up to my ears when I moved. This is a common issue that I have when I run with headphones, but it seemed a bit more pronounced than I was used to.
Things became worse when… the headphone’s charge ran out. Yup, I had failed to charge the headphones before running with them, and the initial charge wasn’t enough to make it through my run. Suddenly the movement sound of the headphones cable was the least of my issues.
Now it is certainly my fault that the charge ran out, but it is a reminder that it is important to keep Bluetooth headphones charged, and it is an argument for spending the extra $20 for the charging storage case. In the end, while I’m not sure if I will be using the BackBeat GO 2 headphones when I run, I do love using them during less physical activities. They are so light and comfortable that you quickly forget you are wearing headphones. That kind of freedom of movement is pretty neat, and when it brings great audio? That is a winning combination. Best of all the BackBeat GO 2 Wireless Earbuds maintain the original version’s MSRP of $79.99. Adding the charge case brings the total to just $99.99. You can learn more here.
MSRP: $79.99 for the earbuds, $99.99 for the headphones and case
What I Like: Light and comfortable; Sound surprisingly good; Over 4.5 hours of music per charge; DeepSleep hibernation will keep the headphones charged for up to six months
What Needs Improvement: Do not offer longer runtime per charge than their predecessors; Cable noise travels to ears while running
Source: Manufacturer supplied review sample