Tech Talk: Plantronics Backbeat Fit Wireless Headphones

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Today we’re going to talk wireless headphones. But before we do that, we really have to talk about smartphones. You see, the only reason we’re talking about wireless headphones is because Apple (and whole lot of other phone manufacturers) has solved a problem that no one had by removing the headphone jack. It makes you wonder; if Steve Jobs was still alive, if he’d assault Tim Cook and his cronies for doing something so blatantly inconveniencing to users. But the mildly-crazy ghost of Jobs with his poor hygiene habits isn’t coming back to save us anytime soon. As a result, iPhone users are stuck carrying around a $9(!) dongle so they can use wired headphones with their $750+ phone. Progress and innovation, this is not.

At any rate, users are eventually going to lose their dongles. If you’re a cyclist or runner, you’re going to inevitably lose your aforementioned dongle minutes before heading out for your ride or run. And, after replacing that $9(!!) dongle a few times, you’re going to say “screw it” and look for some wireless headphones to solve this F%^&*( problem once and for all. And when you start looking for wireless headphones to use while working out, you’re going to soil your chamois. The selection is diverse, confusing, and the process is not really all that fun. I want to save you some time, so here’s what I did.

Apple AirPods

Yeah, I considered AirPods for all of two seconds. But at $159, there was no way I was buying those things. First off, there’s no way those are staying in my ears on a run. No way. I sweat like a stripper in church, so those thinks were never going to stay in beyond mile 2. And when one inevitably fell out, I had zero interest in stopping to look for a white ear bud on white snow in the winter, or in the brush on a mountain bike ride the rest of the year. Apple AirPods? Totally out of the running.

Wireless Headphone Criteria

I made some specs that my headphones had to have. First, they had to be secure in my ears somehow. I’m not placing earbuds of any price point in my ear if they’re just going to dangle. Second, the battery life had to be at least 8 hours. I was going to use these for running, but also for calls and listening to music for work. Lastly, they had to be inexpensive. Times are somewhat tight at Chateau de Sovis, so splashing big money on Beats by Dre was totally out of the question. And, to be honest, I just wanted something that worked so I don’t have to spend another fortune on dongles. Like an IDIOT.

The Search

If you’re like me, you can think of a zillion things you’d rather be doing than researching headphones. I have hundreds of Worth It videos to catch up on, as just one example of many. So, I looked around, but finding a pair that had good battery life, was secure to my head, and didn’t cost as much as kidney was almost impossible. Then, I ran into my brother at Breakaway one morning. He had a pair of headphones on - wireless, secure to his head. and the battery lasted 9 hours. SOLD. I went to my personal version of Hell, Costco, and got a pair and have been using them ever since. Thanks for the tip, Cody Bear.

The Results

Those headphones are the Plantronics Backbeat Fit - but I don’t give a donkey kick about the brand name. These things are sweet. They charge super quickly, the battery lasts all day, and the sound quality is surprisingly good for the price point. I did a run in 6 degrees today and they didn’t cut out or die like a lot of devices would. I also really like how I can still hear what’s going on around me when on my runs. I can still hear cars coming and other ambient noise really clearly, which is sort of a big deal as far as safety goes. They claim to be sweat-proof, and as I indicated above, I get insanely sweaty, so I’m certainly putting that claim to the test. Is it the best $50 I’ve ever spent? No. But is it better than buying five more dongles when I lose them? Heck. Yes.

So, is this really progress? Buying $50 wireless headphones so we can conveniently listen to music on our $750+ phones while we exercise? I’m not convinced it is. But if we’re stuck without headphone jacks, and you (like me) refuse to pay $9(!!!) for a tiny plastic adapter to make your phone usable, this is what we’re stuck doing. Running, riding, lifting; these are all activities that are infinitely more enjoyable with a soundtrack if you’re going solo. If you’re ready to take the wireless headphone plunge, the Plantronics Backbeat Fit ain’t a bad way to go.

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Wes Sovis