The BackBeat 903 is comprised of two earpieces connected by an 8-inch, soft, rubber cable that runs behind the neck. The connecting cable used by Altec Lansing is thicker than most headsets we've tested, making it less prone to tangles, but slightly more irritating when it comes in contact with your neck.
The BackBeat stereo Bluetooth headset comes in two models: a BackBeat 903 (shown here)that includes the headset and a charging adapter; and a BackBeat 906 that includes the headset, charging adapter, and a universal Bluetooth audio adapter that can transmit audio from any device that uses a 3.5 millimeter headphone jack.
Just like competing headsets from Motorola and Jaybird, each earpiece on the BackBeat 903 wraps up and over the back of the ear and is held in place with a slight pinching tension. The headphone fit is also helped by asymmetrically shaped silicone ear tips that hug the opening of the ear canal. All that pinching and hugging may sound uncomfortable, but the BackBeat 903 is actually one of the most lightweight and unobtrusive stereo headsets we've ever tested.
Controls for playing and pausing music are placed on the right earpiece, with an additional switch on the bottom edge of the earpiece for controlling volume and track skip. Holding down the BackBeat's play button for a few seconds engages a bass boost feature that emphasizes lower frequencies, but has a tendency to sound overdriven.
As much as we appreciate all the design nuances of the BackBeat 903, there are a few elements that some people won't be thrilled with. For example, those with sensitive ears may dislike the way the BackBeat's earpieces wrap over the top of the ear and place two 0.25-inch thick slabs of rubber-coated plastic against their heads.