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Plantronics BackBeat Go 600 review: Sounds good for the money, and comfy too

The company's new $100 over-ear Bluetooth headphones are full-sized yet comfortable, and sound pretty good.

David Carnoy Executive Editor / Reviews
Executive Editor David Carnoy has been a leading member of CNET's Reviews team since 2000. He covers the gamut of gadgets and is a notable reviewer of mobile accessories and portable audio products, including headphones and speakers. He's also an e-reader and e-publishing expert as well as the author of the novels Knife Music, The Big Exit and Lucidity. All the titles are available as Kindle, iBooks, Kobo e-books and audiobooks.
Expertise Headphones, Bluetooth speakers, mobile accessories, Apple, Sony, Bose, e-readers, Amazon, glasses, ski gear, iPhone cases, gaming accessories, sports tech, portable audio, interviews, audiophile gear, PC speakers Credentials
  • Maggie Award for Best Regularly Featured Web Column/Consumer
David Carnoy
3 min read

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.)

7.5

Plantronics BackBeat Go 600

The Good

The Plantronics BackBeat Go 600 are lightweight, comfortable over-ear Bluetooth headphones that sound decent and work well for making calls. You can toggle between more neutral or bass-boosted sound modes.

The Bad

Bass lacks a little definition. The earcups can show scratches.

The Bottom Line

Don't expect a "wow" from the lightweight, comfortable Plantronics BackBeat 600, but they're as good or better than a lot of headphones in this price range.

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.

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The BackBeat 600 in black. They also come in gray, navy and khaki.

Sarah Tew/CNET

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.   

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The headphones fold flat to fit in an included carrying pouch.

Sarah Tew/CNET

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:

  • Rechargeable battery delivers up to 18 hours of wireless listening time
  • Connect at up to 33 feet (10 meters) to Bluetooth-compatible phones and tablets
  • Earcups fold flat for storage in an included carrying pouch
  • Also included: An audio cable for wired listening, even if the battery is dead
  • On-ear controls for pause/play, skipping tracks, adjusting volume and taking calls
  • Wideband-enabled microphone for making calls
  • Answer calls or accesses Siri , Google Now and Cortana hands-free via voice command
  • Available for $100 or £90 in four colors: black, khaki, navy and gray.
7.5

Plantronics BackBeat Go 600

Score Breakdown

Design 7Features 7Sound 7Value 8