Plantronics just released their third version of the BackBeat GO wireless bluetooth in-ear headphones. You can check out our review of the BackBeat GO 2 headphones here. The GO 3 headphones are nano-coated and completely sweatproof, making them an ideal companion for the gym. In addition to superb audio quality, they feature inline controls with microphone, 6.5 hours of playtime, and a case with its own built-in battery for getting the GO 3’s up to 13 hours of additional playtime.
The Plantronics BackBeat GO 3 headphones are fairly typical looking Bluetooth headphones. It’s two earbuds attached by a two foot cable. The cable has an inline ControlTalk near the right earbud. There are three buttons that control music, phone calls, voice activation, and even power/pairing. The earbuds are angled and designed to fit ergonomically inside an ear. There’s a built-in silicon ear stabilizer to help keep the buds from falling out.
GO 3 comes with three different sized silicon eartips. They are a little atypical in that they snap securely onto the bud like a button. You’ll feel like you’re going to break the tip when you pull it off, but so far I’ve had no issues with nearly a dozen removals.
The back of the buds come in a few different styles, and give the GOs a pretty sophisticated look. The glossy copper colored backings on ours look like a rich wood. The backings also come in granite or cobalt, and they’re all glossy with a patterned texture. The backing on the left earbud actually conceals the micro-USB charging port. This was a nice way of keeping the port hidden from water and sweat.
It’s an optional $30 upgrade, but Plantronics offers an included charging case. The case feels like a durable canvas, and the inside is a soft fabric. Inside the case is a battery sewed into the bottom, and an attached micro-USB cable that extends a few inches outside the case. On the outside of the case is a button and battery meter that displays remaining battery and charging status. On the side is its own micro-USB charging port. The case isn’t especially small, but it’s still pocket sized. The battery is a little smaller than a pack of (orbitz) gum.
The headphones will last about 6.5 hours of streaming audio, and can standby up to 14 days. If you press the volume button with music paused, the headphones will announce remaining battery power. Alternatively, most smartphones will display GO’s remaining battery power. The charging case contains up to two full charges for GO.
The audio quality is pretty terrific. The overall experience is really clear and crisp. The bass is good and natural sounding, however you need to use ear-tips that fit well otherwise the bass can sound a bit light. They’re really kind to various genres. Mid-range audio is very detailed and the highs are nice and vibrant. There are a couple of caveats, though. They don’t get as loud as most bluetooth headphones we’ve reviewed; we listen regularly at 90%+ volume. We’ve also had a bizarre recurring issue where the audio gets muffled if the eartip isn’t sitting perfectly in our ear. This usually just takes a bit of adjustment to fix.