I actually have a bit of a love-hate relationship with Bluetooth If it works, it’s great, but so often I have pairing issues, I try frantically to reconnect devices, or the connected device is empty … be it my magic mouse, keyboards, bluetooth speakers. Sometimes it drives me crazy.
So I was a little apprehensive when I had the opportunity to review the Plantronics BackBeat FIT 3100 earbuds. It is a new model Bluetoooth Sport headset with two separate wireless (obviously) earbuds.
I mainly used them during mountain biking and running. But also during walks, commuting in the car and on my bike and in daily life. In dry and rainy weather at various temperatures.
First of all, they are not small earbuds. There is an in-ear part that fits well in my ears, but also a flexible ear brace that fits around your ear. They are quite comfortable, although I sometimes felt a bit of pressure developing after having worn them for a long time. During bike rides, they stay in place very well, even with heavy sweating. For me, the real testimony to their stable fit was during running, where you move around much more. In my case, the buds stayed really well in place.
The sound is really good, with deep tones that ground well, but the Backbeat also performs very well in higher tones. For example, in some of the songs I have been listening to for some time, I suddenly heard new little details in the music. The balance is very good and you can hear well without having to turn the music very loud.
Plantronics indicates that the Fit 3100 are “Always Aware” earbuds so that you can hear your surroundings well. To be honest, I did not really notice that in any obvious way. That also depends of course on the volume of your music, which, as mentioned earlier, you can continue to hear well without having to turn up the sound very loudly.
That will be less if you experience more wind. Because the earbuds are quite large I noticed that at higher speeds on the bike there was quite a lot of wind noise.
You can answer the phone and use them for your conversations, as long as there is not too much wind. Otherwise, your caller will not be able to hear you at all.
Ease of use
The ease of use of the Back Beat is what really stood out and I really started to love this set.
Setting up the connection with my phone was very easy, and I didn’t have to worry about it afterwards. It always connected quickly and flawlessly. The set comes in a sturdy protective case that also serves as a charging station with a battery. If you store them in the case, the earplugs will be charged, even if the case itself is not connected to power. I have never been left with empty earbuds.
When you take them out of the case, they turn on automatically, and by the time you have them on your ears, you hear the friendly female voice announcing that they are on and that you are connected to your phone.
After you have turned on your music, your phone can actually remain in your pocket. You, mute control volume and skipping ahead or back in your playlist, by pressing the outside of the left and right headphones respectively. The flat part of the earbuds is itself the button, which is not too sensitive that you inadvertently operate your music, but again responsive enough that you can operate all well with a thick glove.
Via the Back-Beat app you can further adjust the tap control on the earbuds, with different commands for different tap combinations (1 tap or 2 tap left or right). In itself useful, if you like personalizing and can remember what you have set the taps to.
The sustainability component actually falls into two parts: on the one hand with how much attention to the environment was the product made, and on the other hand, how durable the products is. Plantronics does not actually provide any information on the first part. We therefore assume that sustainability in production was not a consideration.
Regarding durability I cannot really say anything definitive since I have only been able to use the headset for 6 weeks. So long term I don’t know how well they keep doing. What is true is that in that period of intensive use (also in the rain) the headset continued to function very well.
In short, it is nice and stable, connects well, easy to operate, good sound and always ready to do. They are not the smallest earbuds, but all the advantages outweigh. With 149.99 they are not super cheap but very good.
BackBeat FIT 3100
Retail price: € 149,99