Although I recognize good audio quality when I hear it, I’m not an audiophile. My audio needs are usually utility over luxury, which is why I’ve used the same corded over-the-ear headphones for eight years. I like practicality, so my KOSS headphones have served me well in my office cubicle to allow me to listen to music and internet audio for years without disturbing my coworkers. When I work out, I’m usually the odd man out who doesn’t listen to any music other than what the gym pumps through the overhead speakers. However, just because I’m practical and set in a routine doesn’t mean I’m not willing to try new things, so I jumped at the opportunity to review the new Plantronics BackBeat GO 600 series headphones and see where the experience takes me.
While I’m not a fashionable fellow, I recognize that sleek audio headphones double as both functional listening device and as a fashion accessory. When I unboxed my headphones, I immediately noticed that these would look the part of any athlete walking off the team jet or stepping off the bus on the way to the stadium with these on their ears or around their neck. It has smooth curves and a few distinct lines to appeal aesthetically to almost any individual and the soft memory foam earcups are pleasant to the touch and fit perfectly over the ear with a snug fit. Color-wise, the BackBeat GO 600 series comes in four distinct color options: black, navy, grey, and khaki. My review unit was the khaki color, which I, the nerd that I am, noticed look awfully similar to the off-white/light grey color of a vintage computer. Needlessly to say, right out of the box I was instantly on board.
I was a little taken aback by how little there was in the box, as essentially you get a drawstring storage bag, the headphones themselves, and two cords; one for USB charging and one headphone jack to plug directly into an audio source if desired. Simplicity carries over into the design of the headphones as well. I’ve already touched on the aesthetics, but it’s the subtleties that make me a fan of this one. A clear “R” and “L” are labeled inside each ear cup for proper placement, and a smooth play/pause and forward/backward skip button on the outer left speaker allows for easy navigation on the move without having to fumble for your device. Pairing the device is simple as is charging, and the pivot feature of each ear cup makes storage a breeze in a drawer, suitcase, or the provided drawstring bag.
Of course, I immediately brought these to work to test out, but because of the cordless nature I also brought them along to the gym to see how they would fare in my workout routine. At my desk, these things are gold. Not only is the sound super smooth, but the noise reducing feature worked almost too well. The memory foam comfort is nice and helps to keep sound both in and out. With my old headphones, I could faintly hear if someone knocked on my cubicle door or said my name. With the new BackBeat GO 600 series headphones, I nearly jumped out of my skin when someone had to tap me on the shoulder to get my attention!
At the gym, I knew these would be bulkier than earbuds, but with a slim design, I was able to do most activities without any interference or discomfort. The noise reduction feature in this instance was fabulous as I didn’t have to hear anyone else and it really kept me focused on my workout. My only complaint for workout (and even long periods of sitting) is that because of the snug seal of the memory foam, my ears got really hot and needed to “breathe” occasionally. One of the advertised features of the BackBeat GO 600 series headphones is the “EQ setting features bass boost mode and balanced mode,” but I wasn’t too blown away with the bass boost and I feel that is the only thing lacking in the audio experience. Otherwise, these headphones are amazing!
One of my favorite features is the extra-long charge these can hold. Right out of the box I was able to do normal listening over the course of several days and never had to recharge. It’s advertised as up to 18 hours with a single charge and I’d say that is accurate as I would listen at work for a few hours at a time with no interruption. Because of the built-in microphone, that time also works for using them for talking on the phone. The range on these things is great, with an advertised 33ft detection zone for Bluetooth-compatible devices which rocked my previously-corded world.
With a purchase price of $99, I can safely say that you’ll get your money’s worth for these practical and stylish headphones with fantastic sound. I’ve used Plantronics before and still utilize my computer headphones with attached microphone for podcasting. If you’ve been on the fence or looking for a lower-cost, yet high quality Bluetooth headphones, look no further than the BackBeat GO 600 Series from Plantronics.
Disclaimer: I received a free unit for review purposes. All opinions are my own.