When I reviewed the initial Plantronics BackBeat Go stereo Bluetooth headset back 2012, I said it had been simple to observe how the product could possibly be improved and that another version of the BackBeat Go will be better and better to recommend for what it cost ($79.99).

Well, I’m pleased to report that with the BackBeat Go 2 Plantronics has fixed most — though not absolutely all — of the tiny flaws found in the initial, and indeed, it really is better to recommend at its $79.99 price.

Alas, the engineers didn’t increase the so-so battery life (4.5 hours), but Plantronics offers a battery extension solution in the kind of a bundle which includes a charging case (BackBeat Go + Charging Case), so that you can juice through to the go. In the event that you curently have an external battery charger for the phone, the $20 extra you’ll spending for the charging case might not exactly be worthwhile, but for plenty of folks it’ll be.

Design and features
This model looks nearly the same as the initial BackBeat Go, which remains among the smallest and lightest stereo Bluetooth headsets on the market, featuring two slightly oversize earbuds joined by way of a flat, fettuccine wire that’s made to lessen tangles. Having said that, Plantronics has made several small changes to the look. To begin with, the inline remote/microphone has been tweaked therefore the buttons are better to operate by feel.

The headset includes a cord between your two earpieces however the link with your Bluetooth-enabled device is wireless. Sarah Tew/CNET
A closer look at those buttons reveals that the center button serves as a call/answer end button, redial button, also it pauses your music during playback. The quantity buttons do double duty as skip track forward/back buttons (you should contain the volume up button down for another to advance a track and contain the volume down button another to restart a track).

It is also worth noting that once you pair the headset together with your Bluetooth-enabled device once, it’ll remember these devices and automatically pair with it. With Bluetooth activated on your own device, you just need to hold down the call/answer end button for another to carefully turn the headphones on and they’re going to automatically pair from then on. However, make sure never to contain the button down too much time or the headphones will get into setup mode (for a fresh device) and won’t automatically pair with these devices you’ve already create.

The inline remote/microphone has been redesigned. Sarah Tew/CNET
Which could all sound just a little complicated, nonetheless it isn’t, and voice prompts alert you once the headset is on, if it is connected, and how full the battery is. A little, more accurate battery-life indicator for the headset can be displayed toward the most notable of the screen on iOS devices, though not Android phones.

One small change a whole lot of folks won’t notice is that Plantronics made the tiny LED on the earpiece brighter, to help you view it better now. It had been hard to inform if the headset was charging for the reason that LED was so faint, however now it’s obviously obvious (it changes from red to blue once the battery is fully charged).

The Go 2 is obtainable in white. Sarah Tew/CNET
Apart from the tweaks to the inline remote/microphone and LED, another notable difference is that the earphones are actually covered in a coating of P2i moisture-protection technology which makes them water-resistant, in order to sweat on them as long as you’re training or take them outside if it is raining. In the 10 days roughly I used them, they seem to be to be pretty durable, but they’re definitely not indestructible.

The ultimate new feature addition is “DeepSleep hibernation mode,” that allows the headset to carry a charge for around six months, and that means you don’t have to be worried about the battery draining unless you use them for a couple weeks. Just how long that battery can last over time, I can’t let you know, nonetheless it will eventually degrade and not have a charge, like all lithium batteries.

The USB charging port is hidden in the proper earpiece. Sarah Tew/CNET
Another changes are inside. Plantronics says this model has a 6mm third-generation speaker that’s a noticable difference after the first-gen 6mm speaker in the initial BackBeat Go. I possibly could definitely hear the difference. The headphones now play louder and sound better, though it’s essential to get yourself a tight seal or it is possible to finish up losing a great deal of bass.

Much like all in-ear headphones, some persons should be able to get an improved — and much more comfortable — fit than others. I thought the earphones were pretty comfortable and didn’t are having issues wearing them within my daily 30-minute commute to work. I could get yourself a tight seal with the large ear tips and easily paired the headphone with both an iPhone 4S and a Samsung Galaxy S4, streaming music wirelessly from both devices with only minor hiccups. To be clear, while there is a cord that goes between your earpieces, these earphones don’t plug into anything; they’re indeed wireless and you could make calls using them.

You obtain a charging case in the event that you intensify to the $99.99 bundle. Sarah Tew/CNET
Just like the original BackBeat Go, the brand new model includes little “stabilizers” to have a better fit. While they work pretty much, I believe Plantronics could develop better stabilizers that basically keep carefully the earphones in your ears a lot more securely, in particular when you’re running. For example, I liked the stabilizers on the Monster iSport Immersion and Audio Technica’s SonicSport ATH-CKP500. However, both those are wired in-ear sports headphones.

So far as accessories go, this business include three different-size eartips, and also a USB charger. They’re obtainable in two colors — black or white — and there is a version that is included with a charging case for $99.99, or $20 more.

The included accessories. Sarah Tew/CNET
The theory behind the case is that it not merely protects the earphones nonetheless it includes a built-in rechargeable battery for charging on the run. When fully charged, the case may charge the headphones twice, which gets you around 13 hours of battery life, if you won’t be in a position to use the headphones as long as you’re charging them. Personally, i thought the case could stand to be slightly larger to support the headphones easier (you really feel just like you’re stuffing them within), but that’s a tiny gripe.

Performance
The original BackBeat experienced some performance issues, the largest which was that it didn’t play very loudly (I felt I possibly could purchased more volume when I was outside on the noisy streets of NY).

I didn’t have that problem with this particular model and overall, the sound was fuller and much more dynamic, though I cannot say it’s incredibly open or detailed. The bass was pretty punchy, but again, in the event that you fail to get yourself a tight seal, the earphones will sound thin.

The loop ‘stabilizers’ could possibly be better designed to give you a better fit. Sarah Tew/CNET
For those not used to stereo Bluetooth, it’s worth noting that Bluetooth does compress audio tracks files and contains a tendency to flatten out your music, leaving it sounding less dynamic. But Bluetooth headphones are receiving better, even though this model doesn’t feature the aptX codec, which may offer slightly improved Bluetooth sound quality with cellular devices that also feature aptX (no iPhone models have aptX, but lots of the new Android models do), I thought it sounded best for a Bluetooth earphone as of this price. It’s relatively natural-sounding, fairly sensible, and lively. It might not exactly fulfill probably the most critical listeners nonetheless it can hold its with with plenty of wired in-ear headphones which are in the $30 to $70 range.

Comparing it with the drastically more costly Jaybird BlueBuds X Bluetooth earphones ($169.99), both models sound virtually identical. That model includes a cord-management feature and claims better battery life, but it isn’t worth the excess dough.

For call quality, Plantronics hasn’t changed the microphone, and the performance of the headset was good (callers said they might hear me well, though it obviously really helps to pull the microphone nearer to your mouth).

Conclusion
It’s challenge to create tiny wireless Bluetooth earphones as you need to cram a battery plus some extra electronics right into a compact housing how big is something that isn’t much larger than, well, an earbud. Plantronics’ first-generation BackBeat Go was very good, nonetheless it did have several rough spots, particularly using its performance.

Cosmetically at the very least, the BackBeat Go 2 really isn’t not the same as the prior version, but with the tweaks in the look to the remote/microphone and the addition of the moisture-protection coating, there were some notable improvements, though battery life still isn’t great. But the main change would be to the sound quality — it’s there with the sound quality of competing products including the Jaybird Bluebuds X Bluetooth earphones, which retails for a great deal more.

As the Go 2 still has room for improvement (a bit smaller design, better stabilizers, and better battery life), it is a nice intensify from the initial and strongly worth taking into consideration if you’re searching for an earbud-style wireless headphone.