Altec Lansing Plantronics Backbeat 906 & 903Accessories


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  1. Reprobate

    Reprobate Active Member This Topic's Starter

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    I bought the 906 version which is identical to the 903, but adds a bluetooth transmitter dongle for non-bluetooth device.

    This is my 4th Plantronics bluetooth device and the 2nd that has been stereo BT. I will be taking this back after a day of use for these reasons:

    1) These are uncomfortable. I hate ear phones and love earbuds(or canal phones or In-Ear-Monitors). These seem to be somewhere in-between. After about 30 minutes my ears hurt. Granted, I've been using Sony earbuds for the last 8 years, so that's what I am comparing them to. I can wear my buds for 8+ hours with no discomfort, I've been wearing the Backbeats for 3.5 hours today and they've been uncomfortable throughout. You only get one size and I'd say I have average to small ear canals.

    2) These only sound alright. Again I'm coming from 8 years of the same $60 earbuds from Sony. These have a lot more treble and sound tinny to me. I had a much better experience with the older Plantronics 855 stereo bluetooth which used earbuds similar to the Sonys. I like more defined bass that gives rock and alternative music a punch. The Backbeats make music I am familiar with sound much less dynamic. I had to use the bass boost option on all music. I think most people will be fine with the sound, but more discerning listeners should look elsewhere. There is a feature called OpenMic which is supposed to allow you to hear the outside world better when you press a button. I had no problems hearing around me with this option turned on or off, one of the 2 settings just adds a low static hum.

    3) I made one phone call for 30 minutes while driving in my car with the windows up and after 5 minutes my friend told me to take them back because I was difficult to understand and my voice sounded "hollow". They were functional, but not transparent. On my end, I had no problems understanding my friend so no complaints receiving.

    On a positive note, all of the buttons on the Backbeat worked as expected with my HTC Incredible. I was able to pause, back track and forward track songs, adjust volume. Pairing was easy. I use Meridian music player on my Incredible and the Backbeat controls it well. If you go into the Meridian player's preferences you can turn off the headset controls and that will allow you to control Pandora, Last FM and Slacker. Slacker sounded terrible - it seemed to have a dramatic lack of bass which I've read is a known problem with Slacker when not using Wi-Fi.

    Battery life seems great. I've been listening to music and made 40 minutes of phone calls for the last 4 hours and the Backbeat battery indicator shows that it is still 1/3 to 2/3's full. I'm not willing to use these any longer due to ear discomfort.

    The over the ear design wasn't too bad when I had my thick Arnette sunglasses on. But add a baseball cap on top and you've got a problem. The cord behind the neck is solid, but as others have noted, if you want to lay with the back of your head against a pillow or headrest, it will significantly apply pressure to your ears and this really highlights how uncomfortable the Backbeat is to wear.

    The separate dongle that you get with the 906 model worked as expected. I had to go through the pairing process each time I switched between my Incredible and the dongle. I'm not sure if there is a better way, but it didn't seem automatic after the initial pairings.

    Bottom line, don't bother trying these out unless you can take them back for a full refund. They look good on, but if they don't fit you just right, I think you are going to be disappointed. I've also read that there may be some huge reliability issues with the Backbeat and they do not seem to hold up to sweat so you should probably avoid these at all costs.
     

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  2. Randino

    Randino Well-Known Member

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    I appreciate your solid review, you saved me some money!
     
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  3. Reprobate

    Reprobate Active Member This Topic's Starter

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    Thanks. Glad to be service! I've since given up on BT stereo headsets for music. The Backbeats were so bad I've retreated into the head-fi forums looking for something wired, mic or not.
     

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