Light and Convenient
Plantronics BackBeat Go 2
As far as sweat-proof headsets go, the Plantronics BackBeat Go 2 isn’t at all unimpressive. Plantronics claims that the BackBeat Go 2 come protected by militarygrade P2i moisture resistance. What this means is simply that you can bring this for your runs or workouts, and not have to worry about sweat seeping into the nooks and crannies of your earbuds and eventually ruining them. Plantronics also uses flat cables designed to be tangle-free; they’re also just long enough to fit around the back of your neck without being too long as to be unwieldy.
Being Bluetooth-powered (only Bluetooth 2.1 though), pairing is simple enough, and despite officially only supporting Android and iOS devices (on the box, at least), the BackBeat Go 2 paired flawlessly with a Windows Phone 8-powered Nokia Lumia 1520. You can execute a number of actions on your smartphone via a combination of button-presses on the control pod, all of which work properly on Windows Phone. For example, you can mute a call by simultaneously tapping on the volume + and – buttons; you’ll hear “mute on” or “mute off”, with a repeating alert when mute is on. You can also double-tap the audio/call button to quickly redail the last number called. Holding the + or – buttons for more than a second either skips to the next audio track played, or goes to the previous track.
The BackBeat Go 2 is charged via microUSB, with the connector hidden behind a rubber flap behind the right-side earbud. Plantronics claims about 4.5 hours of music playback, or up to 5 hours of talk time. For an additional $40, you can purchase the BackBeat Go 2 that comes with a combination carrying case/ portable charger (with hidden microUSB connector inside), which adds another 10 hours of run-time. We like how Plantronics enables pass-through charging, so you can charge both the carrying case and the earbuds at the same time. A button at the base triggers a flashing light that indicates battery status.
In terms of audio performance, the BackBeat Go 2 performs reasonably well. These aren’t audiophile-grade earbuds to be sure, but there was sufficient range in the trebles, mids and bass to make music reasonably enjoyable. Plantronics does throw in a set of different-size ear tips to accommodate different ears, while a set of adjustable ear-stabilizers help keep the earbuds in place during particularly vigorous movements.
Overall, the asking price of $159 for just the earbuds seems reasonable. It performs well, is comfortable to wear, and looks good. Adding in an additional $40 for what is essentially a travel case with small built-in battery might not sound cheap, but when you also factor in a two-year warranty for the whole package, the price tag becomes a little more bearable.
You can get a handy carrying case that doubles up as a portable charger, at extra cost.