Lots of companies have attempted to provide a bass heavy, premium audio experience for less than $100. With its BackBeat Fit 500s, we reckon that Plantronics has succeeded where most have failed.
They are chock-full of features that you normally only get by shelling out a lot more money.
We have no hesitation in awarding them a “Recommended” status.
Design and Build
Some of the colours in their range are not to our taste (we’re really not a fan of lime green), but the teal and black versions of these cans are very attractive.
Their real strength is how well they will deal with a workout. They’re covered with a P2i water-repellent coating meaning they can handle even a heavy downpour (and, importantly, any sweat you might be giving off). They clamp a bit more firmly than your average headphones meaning you don’t have to worry about them flying off on your morning jog. The trade-off here though is that they can get a tad uncomfortable after you’ve worn them for an hour.
The ear cup memory foam is a nice touch. The on-ear controls are super handy – we’re just not used to seeing something so feature packed and well designed for so cheap.
Do we have any quibbles? Well, one minor point. The headband padding doesn’t extend down far enough so you can sometimes feel plastic against the side of your head. It’s not a deal breaker by any means.
Plantronics has clearly optimised the sound of the Backbeat Fit 500’s to appeal to bass lovers. They don’t go as far as, say, Beats by Dre, but it is noticeable.
So bass is the name of the game – but they still perform adequately in the mids and trebles. The result is a lively and distinctively fun sound that is perfect for working out.
Are they going to stack up against $300 plus models like B&W’s P9 Signature or Sennheiser’s Momentum 2.0 headphones? No – but they’re surprisingly not that far off.
Battery life is an impressive 18 hours. However, it’s the BackBeat Fit 500’s DeepSleep hibernation mode that really impressed us. If you leave them out of range or switched off for a period of time they will go into power preserving mode and keep their charge for up to, wait for it, 6 months.
We found that connecting by Bluetooth was straightforward and the internal microphone gave HD quality on our trial calls.