The company's new $100 over-ear Bluetooth headphones are full-sized yet comfortable, and sound pretty good.
Last year Plantronics put out affordable wireless on-ear headphones called the BackBeat 500 Series that sounded decent and fit comfortably -- for an on-ear model anyway. Now the company has brought the same value concept to an over-ear design with the BackBeat Go 600, which costs $100 or £90 and comes in four different colors. (We're awaiting Australian pricing, but £90 is about AU$130 converted.)
The first thing you'll notice is that for full size headphones, these are really light -- they weigh in at 6.4 ounces (181 grams), while the BackBeat 500 on-ears weigh 5.4 ounces (153 grams). I'd give it an 8 out of 10 for comfort.
They feel like premium cheap headphones, which sounds like an oxymoron, but I'm sticking to it. They seem fairly sturdy and have some metal in the headband for extra solidity. The plastic finish on the earcups, however, will show scratches over time if you're not careful.
They fold flat, which is good, and slip into a thin, almost paper-like carrying pouch. A cord for listening in wired mode is also included.
While the feature set is pretty no-frills -- there's no active noise canceling, for example -- the BackBeat Go 600 does have two equalization modes. You can alternate between Bass Boost and Balanced with the press of a button . It's not a huge difference, but Bass Boost does give you a little more. It's also easy to skip tracks forward and back using the controls on the left earcup, where you'll also find volume controls and the USB charging port.
I thought they sounded quite good for the price. They're more open sounding than the on-ear BackBeat 500 and have plenty of clarity with ample but not overpowering bass (in Balanced mode). In both listening modes I thought the bass lacked a little definition -- more so in Bass Boost mode -- and overall the headphones aren't quite as articulate, dynamic or rich sounding as higher end models. So they're good, but not that good.
As you might expect from Plantronics headphones they do work well for making calls, although they don't have a sidetone feature that allows you to hear your voice in the headphones as you talk. Battery life is good at around 18 hours at medium volume levels.
For the money, I liked these headphones a lot. They're lightweight, comfortable to wear, sound decent and work well for making calls. They didn't blow me away, but they're as good or better than a lot of wireless headphones in this price range.
Here's a look at the BackBeat Go 600's key specs, according to Plantronics: