Quick Review: Plantronics BackBeat Go 2 Wireless Earbuds Part 2

Continued from Quick Review: Plantronics BackBeat Go 2 Wireless Earbuds Part 1

Techs who have worked with Bluetooth know that Bluetooth pairing is the easy part. It's the reconnecting that becomes an issue later in the life of the Bluetooth product. Thus far, the BackBeat Go 2 handily reconnects to the Lumia 650 and Moto G4 Plus after disconnecting or powering down.

The BackBeat Go 2 has a theoretical battery life of 4.5 hours for playing audio, which is average for earbuds since their batteries are extremely small. Talk time is slightly longer at 5 hours, which isn't an essential metric for users like me who use their mobile device primarily for listening to audiobooks, podcasts, and music. 

Many ignorant audio snobs (and tech review sites) always forget that audio devices, like most consumer electronics, are always dependent on user taste and preference. No product is universal despite all the marketing claims and ludicrous hyperbole from "writers" at CNET and PCWORLD. Headphones may either be too tight or too loose on your head. Fitted neodymium drivers may either reproduce or fail to produce the audio that you prefer. The necklace design of the BackBeat Go 2, in this case, may not be for everyone, nor are the oversized earpieces. The control box also has raised physical buttons for powering on and adjusting the volume, which may be uncomfortable to press for users accustomed to touch controls.

Plantronics includes 3 sizes of plastic eartips, and even that may not be comfortable enough for everyone. Components and accessories such as earbuds and headsets are the reasons why showrooming is still popular, and why electronic stores still get walk-in customers and why retailers allow a limited return policy.   

I'm accustomed to using my oversized JVC HA-S500-B, the desktop Sony MDR-ZX100 headphones, and I've been a fan of basic Sony and Creative earphones for years. However, I'm slowly getting used to the medium-sized earpiece included with the BackBeat Go 2, and while draping the product around my neck was initially awkward, the BackBeat Go 2's weightlessness makes it virtually unnoticeable to the user. There is a certain amount of security associated with wearing the cord in front because it's visible and you know it's there. However, it also feels like you're wearing a stiff, almost immaterial bib.

I used the BackBeat Go 2 daily with the following tracks and devices:

Lumia 650
  • The Very Best of Ray Charles - Ray Charles
  • Dual! Parallel Trouble Adventure OST / デュアル!ぱられルンルン物語 OST - Pioneer LDC
  • Willenium - Will Smith
  • A Series of Murders audiobook - Simon Brett
  • Au Revoir Taipei OST
  • BBC World Service: The Documentary
  • BBC 4 Radio Service: The Archers
Moto G4 Plus
  • Easy Street (1997) - Eric Marienthal
  • Free Me - Emma Bunton
  • BBC iRadio
  • The Best of Ella Fitzgerald & Louis Armstrong - Ella Fitzgerald; Louis Armstrong
  • The Best of Chet Baker Sings - Chet Baker
  • Awakening - Color Me Badd
  • Pimsleur Mandarin Chinese
  • Pimsleur Spanish
As long as an audio product's quality is several levels superior to cheap airline headsets, my tone-deaf ears are generally happy. The BackBeat Go 2 matches wired standard earphones from Philips and Sony despite Bluetooth compression. As expected, however, it lacks the well-rounded audio effect of the JVC, though you can probably use software such as the audio utility on Sony Xperia smartphones to improve the quality of the audio. Finally, the Go 2's loudness is clearly superior to the entry-level desktop Sony MDR-ZX100, though I found the latter more comfortable to wear for long periods.


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