Plantronics BackBeat Fit 3100 review
Plantronics BackBeat Fit 3100 are one of the best gym headphones around thanks to their water-proof design, secure fit, all-day comfort, and “stay aware” safety design. Since ambient noise is not always appreciated, we’d emphasize while these are amongst the best gym headphones out there, they aren’t the best everyday headphones.
- Very comfortable
- Stays in-ear securely during exercise
- 5-hour battery + 10-hour battery case
- Customizable controls
- Volume controls are awkward
- Could get a little louder
- Not perfect as everyday headphones since you can hear ambient noise
- Should have come with additional ear tips
Plantronics BackBeat Fit 3100 headphones are the true wireless version of Plantronics very popular behind-the-neck BackBeat Fit headphones. We loved the Backbeat Fit 500 Sports headphones, so after seeing these with their secure ear loops, we knew very quickly we were going to have a new favorite pair of gym headphones. These headphones are designed to never fall out of your ear, which makes their “true wireless” design even more appealing.
My first thought when unboxing these headphones was “it’s missing extra ear tips,” and then I realized that’s by design. the BackBeat Fit 3100s come with just one pair of silicon ear tips shaped to fit in any ear. While they fit in all ears, they won’t create a tight seal. This is the “Stay Aware” feature that allows you to hear your surroundings at the gym or outside. While it’s a personal preference and makes them less ideal on the train, it’s actually a terrific safety feature that makes them really comfortable and natural to wear, especially at the gym.
If these are the most anything of headphones, they’d have to be the most comfortable of in-ear headphones. The “Stay Aware” eartips means you don’t have to keep pressing them in your ear; it’s effortless to pop them in and take them out. The over-the-ear flexible earloops give you the security and reliability that these are headphones that will never fall out of your ear, almost regardless of the sport or activity. The lack of cable means there’s no added pressure pulling the headphones in any direction. They are a very comfortable and stress-free pair of buds that feel natural to wear.
Of course, a good pair of gym headphones has to be at least sweat proof. These are IP57 water and sweat proof, capable of taking a dip in the water for 30 minutes. We wouldn’t recommend swimming with them though.
All “true wireless” headphones have a charging case that’s not as much a feature as it is a requirement, and sometimes a nuisance. On the one hand, you get more battery, added protection, and a cool looking home for your headphones. On the other hand, you get an added liability of something you can lose or break, and something that’s not as portable as a pair of wired buds. The charging case is zippered and as pocketable as a pack of cigarettes. One thing we do love about charging cases is the ease of turning on and off your headphones that they afford you. Just remove the headphones from their charging case, and they’re on, pop them back in the case and they’re off – no button presses required.
Plantronics actually beats a lot of the averages by providing a 5-hour battery with the Fits and an extra 10 hours from the charging case for an impressive 15 hours of total battery life on the go.
With that said, buttons tend to be a little weird on true wireless headphones, and these are no exception. Each earbud has one button, however, the left bud is also a touch button. The right button is your play, pause, skip track multi-button. The left button is a touch-for-volume-up and a touch-and-hold-for-volume-down button… which seems kind of weird. Fortunately, using the accompanying app, you can swap out volume controls for a handful of different customizable commands, like playing your favorite Spotify playlist. We’d love the extra customizable features without giving up volume features.
Considering there’s no “seal” in your ear, and you can hear ambient noise, they sound great for gym headphones. They’re usable as everyday headphones, but not ideal in loud environments, like the train. We find ourselves usually listening at nearly max volume, which isn’t ideal. We think that they should be able to get a bit louder. Because there’s no seal, it’s tough to get great bass. There’s still bass, but they’re a bit light on it. All in all, they’re pretty well balanced, they’re detailed enough, and they don’t distort at high volumes. We like them better than most gym headphones, but if we’re not at the gym or walking around, we’d listen to something else for better quality sound.
The Plantronics BackBeat Fit 3100 can keep up with just about any exercise or sport, and the ear loop and bud design keep them perfectly in-ear. Which is why we’re proud to announce that we’ve got ourselves a new go-to pair of gym and exercise earbuds. The Plantronics BackBeat Fit 3100 are hands down the most comfortable buds we’ve worn to the gym. To that effect, this is an unusual instance where we prefer the true wireless design over regular a wireless design with a cable tethering together the buds.
Our biggest gripe is the weird volume controls…. gym headphones should never have touch buttons, and we’ve never heard of a touch-and-hold for volume down. Aside from that, the next biggest pill to swallow is the price. Plantronics BackBeat Fit 3100 retail for $149.99 but are available for $128.95 on Amazon, depending on color. This price would be a steal if they were also great as everyday headphones, but most users will prefer everyday headphones that offer better more noise isolation and a better seal for listening.