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Plantronics BackBeat 903+ Headset review: Plantronics BackBeat 903+ Headset

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With the BackBeat 903+, Plantronics redesigned the earbuds slightly. The plastics that hold the earbud in place are now melded on the outer piece of the headset, while the older 903 mesh seams were flush against the head. According to Plantronics, the older model allowed more sweat to seep into the seams, which isn't good. The newer 903+ model should be more durable as a result.

The controls of the BackBeat 903+ are identical to those of its predecessor, so we'll point you to our review of the Altec Lansing BackBeat 903 for more details. Like the BackBeat 903, the 903+ supports the AVRCP Bluetooth profile that lets the headset act as a remote control when paired with an AVRCP-compatible device. Thankfully, the iPhone and iPod Touch have since received a firmware update that permits these functions, so you can now easily use these devices with the BackBeat 903+.

Aside from the basic player functions, the BackBeat 903+ can of course also answer, end, and reject calls. It performs other Bluetooth headset features like last-number redial and voice command support. Additional features of the BackBeat 903+ include voice alerts that will inform you of the time, volume level, connection status, and more. It also has an OpenMic button that lets you hear the outside world. Like the Plantronics Voyager Pro Plus, it will display a visual headset battery meter when paired with an iPhone.

We paired the Plantronics BackBeat 903+ with the Apple iPhone 4. Music quality was pretty decent--sound was clean and clear, and the bass effect did add some oomph to most songs. It's not quite as good as more sound-isolating earphones, but it's good enough for everyday use.

We didn't experience great call quality. While incoming sound was loud and clear, outgoing sound did not fare so well. Callers said we sounded much softer than usual, and static seemed more pronounced. When we stopped using the headset and switched back to the phone, callers said quality improved quite dramatically. The call quality wasn't terrible per se, but it was definitely not as good as we expected.

The Plantronics BackBeat 903+ has up to 7 hours of continuous music playback or talk time, and 7 days of standby time. It comes with an AC adapter plus a mesh storage pouch.

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