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Thread: My Plantronics BackBeat Go 2 review

  1. #1
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    My Plantronics BackBeat Go 2 review

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    While I love my Smartphones, there are times when I need a real computer. At the same time, I don’t like lugging a computer around with me so my favorite computer to take out is a Surface Pro 3. It’s the lightest computer that’s big enough to actually use. I carry it in a small backpack along with a Bluetooth mouse (don’t always need it) and a pair of wired headphones.

    Since the Surface Pro 3 is really light, attaching a pair of wired headphones to it is generally a bad idea since it’s easy to forget you’re wearing them when walk off which results in my computer ending up on the floor..

    Anyways, my wired headphones recently died on me so I figured I’d replaced them with a pair of Bluetooth ones. Since my goal is to be as portable as possible I didn’t want to carry a pair of large on or over the ear headphones like the very good Parrot Zik 2.0’s or my Beats Studio Wireless.

    Since these headphones would be replacing my earplug style Sony headphones (I think they’re MDR-EX71) I figured I’d buy something similar but with the addition of Bluetooth.

    I decided to try the Plantronics BackBeat Go 2’s. Let’s check them out:

    Design:

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    They're available in black or white, with or without a case.

    Included are 3 different sized ear plugs; I was pretty happy with the large ones.

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    The earplugs have a small plastic spring which can be repositioned. I’m guessing they’re supposed to help hold them in place. I’m not sure how much this helps. I will say that the Go’s fit as well as any wired earplug style headphones that don’t have this spring so it’s not a bad thing.

    While the Go’s don’t have any sort of active noise cancellation, the design itself helps block out a lot of noise. You just need to make sure you pick the right earplug size or else they’ll let noise in plus it will reduce the bass.

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    The fit is secure enough and the cord is short enough that they won’t fall or get pulled out of your ears.

    The 2 plugs are linked by a flat cable. Close the right earplug is a controller with 3 buttons. The function of these buttons depends on whether you press or hold them down.

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    Volume Up, Answer/Play/Pause Volume down. All three buttons have different functions when you press and hold them. They become skip back, power off and skip forwards.

    To me this is a very intuitive setup though I thought they could have cut down on the amount of time you have to press and hold the buttons. I guess some may also prefer to be able to skim forwards or back within a song if you press and hold the buttons down and don’t release them.

    The flat cable makes them tangle resistant. However, it also means that they tend to not lie flat when you’re wearing them plus it makes them a little tougher to stuff in the included carrying case. I have mixed feelings about them.

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    The cables themselves are covered with a soft finish (similar to silicon) so they don't slide around on your clothes. If you're only wearing one the other will rest on your shoulder without sliding off.

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    The carrying case doubles as a portable charger - There’s a short microUSB cable in there which you can attach to the Go’s.

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    I love how you can plug the Go’s into the case to charge them and then plug the case into your charger to charge it. Some older battery packs weren’t able to do this.

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    Included is a charger with a USB port and a MicroUSB cable.

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    The case itself has LEDs which are so bright you don’t want to charge them next to your bed at night.

    Speaking of charging, the Go’s can run for around 4.5hrs before they’re out of juice.

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    The MicroUSB connector is located behind one of the earbuds.

    In one way, I’ve very impressed since the Go’s are so compact - the earplugs themselves are only slightly bigger than a wired pair so it must have a very small battery.

    On the other hand, 4.5hrs sounds really short compared to the competition which can run for 7hrs+.

    Here’s how I think about it; 4.5hrs should last just about anyone their commute to and from work, school, whatever. With that in mind, would I be willing to trade increased battery life at the expense of making them bigger? No. Get them because you appreciate the form factor.

    'Nuff said.

    When the battery level is running low, the Go’s will warn you with an audible warning. Don’t worry, it doesn’t do this incessantly so it’s not annoying or anything. Eventually, it will tell you to go charge and then again right before it shuts off.

    If 4.5hrs isn’t enough, the battery case can add around 2hrs of listening time if you hook the Go’s up for 20 mins. I’m not the type that likes to leave my headphones dangling so I don’t mind stuffing them in the case when I’m not using them.

    Plantronics claims the case can enable up to 14.5hrs of playback which means it should be able to fully charge the Go around 3 times.

    Still, I think many don’t want to go through the inconvenience of this, so Plantronics also sells the Go 2.1’s without the case. However, if you need longer runtimes than you might want to look for something with a little more stamina.

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    If they’re connected to an iPhone, you can see the status of the battery at the top of your screen. On Android, you’ll need to download a widget to see this (I didn't try it). There's also an app from Plantronics but it's more of a manual than anything else. It doesn't allow you to adjust any settings on the Go's.

    Sound Quality:

    While I got the Go's to use with my Surface Pro for testing I used my iPhone 6 Plus.

    I was pretty impressed the first time I tried time on. The Go’s preserve the quality of the sound. It doesn’t sound processed or anything.

    I did find that the Go’s don’t go extremely loud. I guess you could argue that this isn’t necessarily a bad thing - most headphones can go so loud that they can easily damage your hearing. To me they were just loud enough that I was satisfied but I guess if you have some music which lacks volume you may find yourself wanting more.

    Compared to fancier models, the Go’s lack some low-end bass. That’s not to say that there isn’t any bass at all but if you’re used to something with more fireworks (like some Parrot Zik 2.0’s) you’ll have to manage your expectations with the Gos.

    Still, to my ears there issues are relatively minor. Overall I thought the sound was really good.

    Bottom Line:

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    I paid $65 for my Go’s from Dell.ca. As far as I’m concerned they are a complete steal at this price. Heck, even the regular price of around $130 is still fairly competitive. If you don’t need the battery case then you can save yourself a few more dollars which makes it an even more attractive deal.

    4 Howies out of 5. I gave them 4 out of 5 mostly because they're a really good deal.

    Pros:
    Slick form factor
    Carrying case/charger is a brilliant idea
    Comfortable
    Well priced

    Cons:
    Not extremely loud
    Short battery life
    weak low end bass
    flat cable can be hard to manage

  2. #2
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    I also tried them. Give them 4 of 5 stars. I like JayBirds X better. I have JayBirds now with Comply t-500 Tips. Sound is perfect. Go2 gives better price/value, but I opted out for sound quality and battery life.

    P.S. Now I know how you look like :-) I'm a forum member since 2002. Almost 13 years :-)

  3. #3
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    LOL now that's a smexy model.

  4. #4
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    I have these. They're very convenient; super small in the pocket, very slim. Good for exercise and music. And I really like that it blocks out noise & goes in both ears, which makes it very easy to hear/understand calls.

    But like all hanging-mics, the mic is not near your mouth (unless you hold it there) so it's not as good as boom mics. And most importantly; it's not a noise cancelling mic. So it picks up *everything*. That's the one huge flaw, and what's making me look for a replacement.

    If outgoing sound is not important, this is a very good/convenient headset.

  5. #5
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    I recently picked up a pair of these as a wireless solution for my riding commute to work and general podcast listening.

    After a week of use, I have to say that while I like the headphones themselves and I'm largely happy with their performance, the battery case has proven to be a real frustration.

    This case does not offer a full charge to the headset.

    After fully charging the battery pack, the longest I've observed it charge for is an hour before the red charging light on the headset goes out. I've unplugged and replugged in the battery pack. The light will go on for maybe 20 seconds and then it will go out again. I've never witnessed the battery pack charge the headset to, what I regard as being, a full charge with the blue light flashing on the headset.

    I've already returned one unit to the place of purchase and exchanged it for another but this "quirk" continues with the second unit.

    Is this a fault generic to all of the plantronics battery packs? Or have I just been unlucky? Or is there something I'm doing wrong?

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