Plantronics BackBeat Go 2 full review
Plantronics is aiming to be a market leader in wireless earbuds with the BackBeat Go 2, and the second generation model is a significant improvement over its predecessor. The BackBeat Go 2 earbuds produce decent quality sound for a reasonable price, but we still long for improved battery life and better quality bass. See all headphones reviews.
Plantronics is aiming to be a market leader in wireless earbuds with the BackBeat Go 2, and the second generation model is a significant improvement over its predecessor. The BackBeat Go 2 earbuds produce decent quality sound for a reasonable price, but we still long for improved battery life and better quality bass. See also: Top 10 best headphones: What are the best headphones you can buy in 2013?
What wireless earbuds should look like
The BackBeat Go 2 are wireless, stereo earbuds designed primarily for use with a Bluetooth-enabled smartphone or tablet. Theoriginal BackBeat Go headphones were one of the first wireless earbud products on the market and more than a year later, the second generation model is here. See all audio reviews.
The BackBeat Go 2 headphones look very similar to the original model, featuring the same two earbuds connected by a single, flat wire with an in-line microphone and music playback controls. The flat wire doesn't tangle and is designed to sit around the back of your neck. The design makes the BackBeat Go 2 ideal for physical activity, such as jogging, or working out in the gym.
While the look remains similar, Plantronics says the BackBeat 2 Go headphones include a new moisture-proof coating to guard against sweat. We tested the headphones for over three weeks and they didn't skip a beat.
The BackBeat Go 2 is available in black and white colour variants. We reviewed the black model, and the two-tone colour scheme of gloss black for the sides of the earbuds, and grey for the back provides a nice contrast.
The Plantronics BackBeat Go 2 headphones are relatively comfortable, but the earbuds themselves are larger than most ordinary headphones. This means some users may struggle to find a solid fit. The inclusion of in-ear stabilisers that sit inside your ear do a decent job of holding the BackBeat Go 2 in, but we found the seal wasn't always stable during exercise, particularly when we used the headphones while jogging. Plantronics includes small, medium and large silicone tips in the sales package that should fit most ears.
The most welcome improvement to the design of the BackBeat Go 2 is the in-line playback controls. The volume up, volume down and play/pause/answer/end button provide far better tactility, and the use of hard plastic instead of soft rubber of its predecessor makes them much easier to press.
Multipoint Bluetooth, improved sound quality
The Plantronics BackBeat Go 2 has multi-point Bluetooth, so it can pair and remember up to eight devices. Bluetooth setup is as simple as any similar device, and the slightly larger LED on the side of the right earbud makes it easy to see the status of the Bluetooth connection.
A new feature to the BackBeat Go 2 is the inclusion of voice prompts to alert users about charge remaining, battery life, and what device is paired. The alerts are very basic, mostly two word prompts including "headset connected", "power off", "power on", "connection switched", and "battery level medium'. They are a simple but effective way to add a little more to the overall user experience.
The Plantronics BackBeat Go 2 is definitely an improvement over its predecessor when it comes to sound quality. It is noticeably louder in volume and produces full and clear sound quality that usually doesn't drown out the vocal track. The sound also doesn't distort even when volume is high, though best results are achieved by keeping volume levels around 80 per cent.
Like the original model, the BackBeat Go 2 offers weak bass response. This is particularly apparent in the house and electro genre, with the earbuds not able to produce the thumping bounce sound the artists intended.
Disappointingly, the BackBeat Go 2 doesn't fare too well for Bluetooth audio calls. It's perfectly fine in a quiet room, but it picks up too much ambient noise outdoors. It's particularly poor when walking in a street with even light traffic noise. Given Plantronics' heritage in Bluetooth phone audio products, this is a big letdown.
The BackBeat Go 2 has the same battery life as its predecessor, rated at up to 4.5 hours of playback time by Plantronics. It lasted around four hours during our tests before requiring a recharge. However, the inclusion of a "DeepSleep" hibernation feature that keeps battery power preserved for up to six months between charges is a nice touch, as is the optional charging and storage case.
The latter is a £104.38 option and bundles a case with a built-in battery that increases listening and talk time by two full charges, or approximately 10 hours. The case is then charged via a standard micro-USB connection on the bottom. Charging the case while the headphones are plugged in is a nice way of ensuring you shouldn't be left without power.
Plantronics BackBeat Go 2: Specs
- Bluetooth Headset: Yes
- Wireless Range: Up to 33 feet (10 meters) from device
- Bluetooth: Yes
- Battery Power: Up to 5 hours Talk Time | 4.5 hours Listening Time | Up to 10 days Standby Time
- Charger Type: Micro USB Charging
- Weight: 14 grams
- Noise-cancellation: Digital Signal Processing (DSP) and full duplex echo cancellation
- Volume +/-: Yes