REVIEW: Plantronics BackBeat GO 2 wireless earbuds
Earphones that let you enjoy music on the go with a store-and-charge case
I have a Christmas gift idea which I would like to share with you. What could possibly be the best present to give to your loved one who owns a mobile device and enjoys music on the go? My answer to that would be the new Plantronics BackBeat GO 2 with Charging Case.
Why BackBeat GO 2?
There is no wire connected to your smartphone or tablet, which saves you the hassle of untangling your earphone cord, plugging in, having messy wires between you and the smartphone, or removing earbuds from your ears if you need to walk away from the phone for a short while. You can change tracks, adjust volume, answer phone calls. It's freedom.
It's conveniently compact
There are many wireless earphones in the market, but none as simple as the BackBeat GO 2. Just look at it: only a short cable to link between two compact normal-looking earbuds; the transceiver is built in the earbuds; no separate or huge transceivers like other Bluetooth earphones (compared to the Jabra Sport Wireless+, which I recently reviewed); no more hassle of untangling your earphones after removing from the case.
The BackBeat GO 2 can be connected to any device that supports Bluetooth audio profile. There are buttons to control audio volume, tracks, and answer/call button for handsfree talk.
Worry about battery life? The included charging case allows you to store the earphones and charge at the same time. And even better, there is an iOS and Android app that lets you monitor the remaining battery life, so you can better manage your BackBeat GO 2.
Impressive audio quality
The BackBeat GO 2 produces pretty faithful audio quality, as long as you get the correct earbud fit. The treble is bright, the mid range is adequate and not muddy, and the bass is firm but not overpowering. If you favour heavy bass, a tweak on the software equalizer should do the job. The sound staging is relatively tight, so for loud music, it might sound noisy.
The new version is certified sweatproof, so you can wear it for your activities. In a way the soft stabiliser helps to keep the earphones in your ears. And they feel pretty comfortable in my ears, although my wife, who has more sensitive ear tissues, feels the earbuds are too heavy for her liking.
Two-year local warranty
The BackBeat GO 2 with Charging Case comes with two-year local warranty. Without the case, it remains at one-year warranty. Buying a parallel import unit from online shops could save you about 40 percent, but there is no manufacturer warranty. Personally, I do not buy overseas electronic items because of the lack of warranty, unless it's cheap and disposable. I'm not saying it's wrong to buy non-warranty products, but just be aware that the additional cost you pay for local set is like an insurance for product failure.
But why not?
For every product, there are always a few issues that make it less than perfect. For the BackBeat GO 2, here are some that I found:
1. Short battery life - Normal Bluetooth earphones should last at least a single full day (i.e. 8 hours). For BackBeat GO 2, it can only last 4.5 hours. Saving grace is the charging case which you can plug into after every use, so that you can be ready for the next use. And a 20-minute charge gives you an hour of usage. There is also a battery meter widget app for your iOS and Android devices, so you can monitor the battery's remaining life (the charging case cannot be used to charge your smartphones, though. I tried, and doesn't work). But if you demand a continuous usage, then either you get bulkier Bluetooth earphones or you have to opt for wired earphones.
2. Not for extreme sports - The BackBeat GO 2 stabiliser is just a small soft rubber, which might not hold well for aggressive sports. Perhaps more "pro" earphones like the Jabra Sport Wireless+ might suit you better.
3. Price - It might seem a little pricy compared to other Bluetooth headsets with similar specs, but hey, it's a small price to pay for quality and design. A similarly designed product from Jaybird is priced beyond $200.
Are you convinced? Here's a discount code
I have actually ordered a unit for myself and as a Christmas gift. The Plantronics BackBeat GO 2 is the perfect gift to pamper your favourite partner. I am glad the audio quality is comparable to a good pair of earphones.
The BackBeat GO 2 with charging case retails at $199, maybe a little cheaper depending on in-store discounts. But to save you the hassle of searching, you can get this right at your doorstep at 15 percent discount with free delivery. Take note, the old BackBeat GO (without "2") is selling for $99. The new version has better audio quality, louder volume, and certified sweatproof. Plus, it comes with a case to charge your earphones for additional 14.5 hours of usage time. There is also another BackBeat GO 2 variant without charging case, retailing at $159. But for $10 more, you get a useful charging case, free delivery, and an additional 1-year extended local warranty (don't worry if the warranty registration website says otherwise, the distributor advises that the website is not updated).
To enjoy the 15 percent discount (final price $169.15), visit the direct distributor's website and enter the promo code bbg2ct15 , valid till 31 Dec 2013.
Merry Christmas! May your loved ones be delighted.