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Plantronics' BackBeat Go 2 stereo Bluetooth headset improves on the original: First Look

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First Look: Plantronics' BackBeat Go 2 stereo Bluetooth headset improves on the original

2:51 /

The company brings better sound and some design tweaks to version 2.0 of its affordable wireless earphones.

Hi. I'm David Carnoy. Executive editor for CNET.com and I'm here with Plantronics next generation wireless stereo Bluetooth headset, the BackBeat Go 2. This about looks very similar to the original BackBeat Go, but Plantronics has made a few small changes to design. For starters, the inline remote/microphone has been tweaked so the buttons are easier to operate by feel. Also the earphones are now covered in a coating of P2i Moisture Protection technology that makes them water-resistant, so you can wear them while you're working out or when it's raining outside. The other changes are on the inside. The headphones now play louder and sound better. It offered good clarity and a decent amount of bass, though it's crucial to get a tight seal or they can end up sounding thin. As with all in-ear headphones, some people would be able to get a better fit than others. I was able to get a tight seal with the large ear tips and easily paired the headphone with both an iPhone 4S and a Samsung Galaxy S4 and stream music wirelessly from both devices with only minor hiccups. To be clear, while there's a cord that goes between the earpieces, these earphones don't plug in to anything. They're, indeed, wireless and you make calls with them. Like the original BackBeat Go, the new model comes with little stabilizers to get a more secure fit. While they work pretty well, I think Plantronics could come up with better stabilizers that really keep the earphones in your ears even more securely especially when you're running. As far as accessories go, these guys come with three different size of ear tips, plus a USB charger. They come in two colors, white or black, and there's also a version that comes with a charging case for $99.99 or $20 more. The idea behind the case is that it not only protects the earphones, but it has a built-in rechargeable battery for charging on the go. It's probably a good idea to get the version with the case because Plantronics didn't improve the battery life. You still only get about 4.5 hours of listening time. When fully charge, the case can charge the headphones twice which gets you up to over 13 hours of battery life, though you won't be able to use the headphones while you're charging them. I personally thought the case could stand to be slightly larger to more easily accommodate the headphones, but that's a small gripe. I do like the improvements Plantronics has made and it's $79.99. These are clearly a better value than the Jaybird BlueBuds X Bluetooth earphones which cost $179.99. Those Jaybird sound superior to the original BackBeat Go's, but the new Go 2's sound the same as the Jaybird's. I'm David Carnoy and that's the BackBeat Go 2, a nice improvement on the original and definitely worth checking out if you're looking for an ear bud style wireless headphone. Thanks for watching.

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