Home Technology Audio Devices Reviewed: Plantronics BackBeat Fit 3100

Reviewed: Plantronics BackBeat Fit 3100

I have been searching for the perfect pair of true wireless headphones since they started to be a thing a few years ago. While they generally do offer great freedom of movement, superb convenience, and a handy size, they tend to all have the same problems with latency and maintaining a connection, particularly if any movement is involved. Plantronics, a name that’s synonymous with great audio products, has released true wireless earphones, and as a bonus, they’re perfect for working out.

Design: 4.5/5

Plantronics has moved away from plain designs and colors with these earphones. Orange eartips and blue-green, metallic side buttons that make it clear that they aren’t made for the confines of an office cubicle. Soft, rubber loops rest comfortably around the back of each ear to keep the buds in place, even with intense activity. The earbuds come with a charging case, which is bulkier than average, but works out great, since you’re less prone to losing them. They’re about the size of hard cases for wired earphones, so aren’t all that difficult to toss in a bag anyway.

Hardware: 4.5/5

The charging case, which is the only way the buds charge, carries a 740 mAh battery, and has space to hold and charge both earphones at the same time. There are charge indicator lights, and a button you can press to check power levels. A small pocket holds a short microUSB cable for charging the case, which has a microUSB port on the outside rear.

The earbuds have 90 mAh batteries internally, internal microphones, and are IP57 rated for moisture and dust ingress. They come with sports eartips, and connect to your device via Bluetooth 5.0. 13.5mm drivers deliver the music.

User Experience: 4/5

Plantronics nailed the design on this device. The ear hooks are comfortable and secure, and though the earphones themselves are a little larger than my usual go-to true wireless pair, they’re still small enough to remain comfortable. They also look the part, with a busier-looking color scheme than plain, boring black. The orange ear tips are designed to sit firmly in your ear canal without creating a seal, to let ambient noise in. It’s a simple solution for safety that’s effective nonetheless.

Taking them out of the case initiates a connection to the last known device, and shortly after you get them in place, they should be connected to each other and the host device, ready to play your favorite tunes. There are no discernable controls on either earbud, but the flat, outside portion of each is touch-sensitive, and allows you various controls over your music. The instructions aren’t quite as clear as I would have wanted, but after fumbling with the left ear for volume control, I found that tapping and holding on the earpiece will drop the volume, but increasing the same requires a slower, more patient cadence of tapping and releasing. It was a tremendous source of frustration at first, but one that sorted itself out eventually.

One of the things I loved about it was the practically imperceptible latency. On some true wireless earphones, the delay between the video and audio is unbearable, leading one to just give up and go wired. These, however, don’t have that issue, allowing me to finally watch videos on my device without any wires whatsoever.

Comfort is also way up there. There’s no pinching, they’re extremely light, and they are totally secure for all but the most extreme moves. Anything short of parkour, and these are going to stay on your head. This is an extremely good thing, given that the earphones are rated for five solid hours of use per charge, something I found to be reasonably accurate. Should additional time be needed for your workout, popping the buds back in the included case can charge them two additional times, for a total of 15 hours of power per top-up. The case itself is also well-designed, and feels like a sturdy piece of kit itself. While it’s a little large to stow in a pocket, it’s more than handy enough to toss in a gym bag and forget. Micro USB charging on the case means you can give the charging case a quick boost with any commonly available cable.

Sound quality is more than acceptable, though it is important to note that since these are designed to let outside noises in, it’s not going to be able to compete with in-ear monitors. Lows in particular, take a hit, but it’s all in the interest of safety, as these are meant to go with you on your runs in the outside world. Overall, it’s a good tradeoff, though its something that any potential user should be aware of.

Value: 3.5/5

At a converted price of about php 10,000, this is a pair of true wireless earphones that are worth considering. Solid fit, zero lag, and enough power to outlast even your longer workouts means it’s the perfect gym or running buddy.

SPECIFICATIONS:

  • Weight: 22 g/ .78 oz
  • Wireless range: Up to 33 ft/ 10m
  • Bluetooth technology: 5.0, HFP 1.7, HSP 1.2, A2DP 1.3, AVRCP 1.5
  • Speaker driver size: 13.5 mm
  • Frequency response: 20- 20,000 Hz
  • Sensitivity: 94 dBSPL @ max volume
  • Microphone: MEMS microphone with DSP
  • Listen time: Up to 5 hours (earbuds only) and up to 10 additional hours with charge case
  • Talk time: Up to 5 hours
  • IP rating: IP57 sweatproof and waterproof
  • Quick charge: Up to 1 hour of listening time with a 15-minute charge
  • Battery capacity (earbuds): 90 mAh
  • Battery capacity (charge case): 740 mAh

What’s Hot:

  • Great comfort
  • Hours of charge
  • Latency-free performance

What’s Not:

  • Sacrifices sound quality for safety

Bottomline:

If you need your jams so you can break a sweat, this is the perfect companion.

Also published in GADGETS MAGAZINE May 2019 Issue
Reviewed by Ren Alcantara

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