Sarah Tew/CNET

I’ve been playing around with Plantronics’ new BackBeat Fit ($77.00 at Amazon.com) 300 Series ($80, £90, AU$120), which the company is calling “one of the world’s lightest Bluetooth headphones designed to easily transition between fitness ($119.00 at Amazon.com) and everyday life.” The headphone ($149.89 at Amazon Marketplace) is available now in four color options: black and gray, dark blue and blue, gray and coral, and — at select retailers — gray and lime green.

When I wore them they felt light and unobtrusive, yet I was able to get a secure, tight seal thanks to the integrated loops and oval design of the eartips. More companies are moving to an oval tip design. Jaybird has them for its Run and Freedom Wireless 2 headphones and Bose (SoundSport Wireless ($149.00 at Amazon.com), SoundSport Free) has had oval tips for several years. The Plantronics tips are shaped a bit different, however. These are noise-isolating headphones designed to seal off your ear canal.

I thought they sounded good, too, with decent bass and a reasonable amount of clarity for this type of headphone. They’re right there with the BeatsX and other in-ear sports headphones that cost over $100.

Battery life is rated at up to six hours, which is not bad but not great, and the ear buds are joined by a nice “low-friction” cloth cable that and included carrying pouch. 

My only issue so far is the size of the inline remote, which also houses the headphones’ electronics and battery. It’s just a little clunky, which is too bad considering the ultralight feel of the rest of the ‘phones. The remote contains the battery and has a microUSB port you connect for charging.

So far the headphone seems good for the gym and everyday use, but I’d be a little hesitant to run with them because I felt a little too aware of the remote. But I’m going to spend a little more time with them before passing final judgment. Look for a full review in the near future.

The BackBeat Fit 300 doesn’t replace the original BackBeat Fit, which remains on sale and will be available in October in “enhanced” Training and Boost Editions. The Training Edition ($130, £110 or AU$170) includes unlimited access to 12 hand-picked PEAR Personal Coaching App workouts and a six-month access to PEAR+ membership. The Boost Edition ($160, £140 or AU$230) includes everything in the Training Edition plus an IPX5-rated water resistant charging pouch that provides up to 10 additional hours of listening time and a quick-drying sport mesh fabric.

In October Plantronics is also shipping a new on-ear Fit model — the BackBeat Fit 500 ($100, £90 or AU$140) — based on the BackBeat 500 we gave high marks to earlier this year. The two models offer identical performance and fit but the BackBeat Fit 500 is sweatproof.

The inline remote is slightly clunky.


Sarah Tew/CNET



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