Just about everyone I speak to says that having music with them when they work out is a must. Whether it be running, lifting, or cycling, music helps them all stay motivated and get through their workouts. The question I am always asked is what are some of the best products to put that music in the ears of these athletes?
Recently, I purchased the Plantronics 903+ BackBeat headphones, and I’ve been so very impressed with these headphones.
From the Plantronics Website (http://www.plantronics.com/us/product/backbeat-903-plus):
The Plantronics Backbeat 903+ is great for workouts, commutes, or just chilling out at home. Immerse yourself in rich audio streamed from your iPhone®, smartphone or Bluetooth®-enabled MP3 player. There’s even an iPhone® battery meter. Wherever you enjoy listening to your music, never miss a beat or a call with easy-touch button controls. The voice alerts also let you know the status on battery, music track forward and back, mute, out of range and more. With three levels of size adjustment you can find a perfect comfortable fit for whatever you’re doing, and the ruggedized, flexible design lets you toss it in a gym bag or stow it in the handy carry pouch.
Multi-Point functionality limited to pairing one A2DP device and one non AD2P device
I have never been one fond of in-ear headphones; however once I really started hitting the running trails hard, the over-the-head, wired headphones just were not doing me justice, and the cords were always getting in my way. I didn’t want to tuck cords in my shirt, up my sleeves, or any other place you could imagine hiding cords so you couldn’t get tangled in them. I needed to try something different. Enter the 903+ BackBeat headphones.
First, upon receiving the 903+ headphones, they were packaged very nicely, and once I was able to get the package open, I was very pleased with the look of the headphones themselves in person. The functionality of the headphones seemed in tune with what I would expect from an in ear headphone designed for working out, a design to stay in place.
Upon initial use, you do need to fully charge the headphones, so I did, and away I went. After the initial charge, I then had to quickly pair them with my Motorola Motoactv and my iPhone, and within minutes, I was up and running.
Having not used this type of headphone before, it did take some time to get them adjusted for a nice, snug fit. The headphones have a periscope adjustment option on the headphones, you can adjust them up and down to get a good fit over the ear, and they also swivel to get the ear buds to get a nice snug fit in the ear. After going thru the process a couple of times, getting the headphones on is a snap.
Ok, so we have the headphones paired and on, so it is time to get the music going. WOW!! I was shocked. I’ve used other Bluetooth headphones before, and I was blown away by the sound of these headphones. Clear, crisp, deep bass. Very solid sound. On the headphones, there is a deep bass option by holding the play/pause button on the right side of the headphone down for 3 seconds, and it will increase the bass. I’ve found that it is not necessary to do this as the bass sound was deep enough in the headphones. You can also move the tracks forward or backward on the headphones with buttons that are placed on the backside of the left headphone (more on this later).
Now, I’ve got the music going, it is time to run, so away I went. I didn’t know what to expect, but I was always cautious that at some point during my run, one of the ear buds would pop out of my ear. It never happen. I was happy about that. The headphones did not cut out as some Bluetooth headphones can do.
I have yet used the 903+ headphones to make any phone calls; however, when you do push the play/pause button on the right headphone, it turns the headphones into a mode where you can clearly hear someone talking to you, and on the bottom of both ear buds, there are microphones making it easy to have a phone conversation. You can activate phone calls via a vocal command into the headphone microphones.
I’ve been using the 903+ headphones religiously on every run for over a month now, and the sound quality of the headphones have not changed. I will continue to use these headphones. They have not made my ears hurt like some reviews have stated, and I have yet to have them slip out of my ears which has been great. I’ve been extremely pleased with these headphones, and they’ll continue to be my headphones I run it. You can activate voice command calling by clicking the outside of the left ear bud.
- Ease of Use
- Great Sound
- Audible voice in the headphones when the battery level is getting low
- If paired with an iPhone, a nice feature is it will show a battery level icon on the iPhone in the upper right corner of the phone
- Great for working out in, especially running
- When on the road/trail (might not always be a good thing), they do a great job of noise cancelling outside sounds and really all you hear is the music
The Not So Good:
- These are not sweat-proof; however, I’ve had little to no issues with this. If you periodically wipe sweat away from the ears (not always easy) when working out or running, you won’t have any issues.
- Periodic issues of the Voice Command option kicking in to make a phone call when I don’t even have the headphones connected to the phone. There is an easy fix to this problem by doing a hard reset to the headphones which takes about 30 seconds. I’ve had to do this twice (last time about 3 weeks ago), and I have not had any reoccurring issues of this problem.
- Because these are not sweat-proof, the sweat can play havoc on the functionality of the play/pause button and the deep bass activation. When things are working correctly, you hear a beep in the headphones notifying you of going from one mode to the other.
- No volume control on the headphones themselves. This is not a huge issue as you can usually control the volume of music on whichever device you have music playing
- The track forward/track button buttons are useless. They are placed on the back portion of the left ear bud that is positioned on the backside of the ear. To get tracks to move forward/back, you have to press and hold these buttons down for 3 seconds. When I say press, I mean you literally have to press the button down, and it pulls the headphone out of your ear or hurts your ear to do so. I don’t use this function as I can move forward/back on my listening device with ease while on the move.
- Again, this sort of all ties into these not being sweat-proof; however, after a workout, at times it takes some time to get the headphones to shut off. There are 2 colored lights on the headphones, red and blue. Blue basically shows when the headphones are turned on and flashes when pairing. Red is the primary light shown, and usually shows constant when turning the headphones off. After a workout, with them wet with sweat, you have to be patient with getting them shut off. Sometimes it happens immediately, and other times, it takes a few minutes.
With all of that being said, I do recommend these headphones to work out in. I’ve been extremely pleased with the quality of the headphones, and the customer service from Plantronics has been very good with helping get thru some of the early issues of the headphones which have decreased as the use of the headphones has increased.
If you are looking for new headphones, or for that matter, Bluetooth headphones, I do recommend these, and hopefully, this review helps you decide which way to go.
Stay safe on the roads.
Please follow our sponsored running in his quest for 3 marathons in 4 weeks, @Dixonrunning.