Saturday, 25 February 2012

Tech Review: Plantronics BackBeat 903+ Stereo Bluetooth Headphones

Tech Review - Wireless Stereo Headphones

Product: Plantronics BackBeat 903+
Stereo Bluetooth Headphones
RRP: £69.99/$99.99
Current Price: £45.99/$59.99
Release Date: 12 Oct 2010

I realise that this review is about two years late, but if your reading this I'm sure that you realise that that amount of time does not affect the abilities of this product. This product happens to have aged quite well. Bluetooth is still used widely in a plethora of devices such as mobile phones, tablets and laptop computers.

Going by what I've experienced over the last few days, these Bluetooth headphones have been quite convenient for me so far; they seem like they will last me a while (seeing as all my other headsets break at the base of the wiring.) But on to what you came for, the review.

Music Sound Quality:
They provide very high quality audio, the treble is very crisp. There are other brands with crisper and sharper treble but normally at a higher price. However the highlight for me was the bass on these headphones: it is at the perfect level. That is to say that it is there, but it is not overpowered (Which I find with most headphones now) and allows me to fully appreciate the music as a whole.

As for noise cancelling, for a pair of non-noise cancelling dedicated headphones, which by the way are not in ear either, they provide quite a good level of noise cancellation. I mean obviously it's not exactly going to isolate you from everything around you, but it will cut out most of background noise, and the everyday shuffling and ruffling of everyday activities, provided you're listening with the volume above medium.

Call quality:
Although not as good quality as when used for music they are still quite good for calls, they do cancel out most background noise, however when calling I did seem to get lots of background noise through my mic, however I think this may just be an error with my headset, as many others say that the sending quality is excellent. Or it could be an environmental problem such as wind or loud surroundings.

Comfort, Controls and Functionality:
I have to say first, that if this is your fist pair of around ear headphones, they may be uncomfortable at first but after a while you will find a comfortable position to have them. Some people find in-ear headphones uncomfortable and may prefer to get these kind of headphones, the major advantage to around-ear headphones is that they don't tend to fall out easily like in-ear ear buds. 

The controls are very conveniently placed and are very easy to use. They can potentially end up being a hassle when adjusting the height and angle of the headphones, since when adjusting you may tend to accidentally hit a couple of them. However the overall functionality was excellent. They were extremely easy to set up (charge, turn on, scan for them, connect) and have not failed me since. The battery life is excellent lasting 7 hours straight (so far) on a single charge and still running strongly.

The overall feel of these headphones proves to be quite comfortable, the headsets stay quite firmly on my ears, and the wire round the back rarely bothers me, however the ear buds themselves are quite a bother, as I have never used this type of ear buds before I think it may be due to my lack of adjustment to them. However they feel very large, and out of place, and trying to find a comfortable spot for them to rest at first seems nigh on impossible to me. Even with this factor, after more adjustment they seem to get comfier every day so it might just be a matter of getting used to them.

The main feature of this device is of course: the Bluetooth connection. This by far is the most convenient part of the device, being able to walk around with no worry of being held down by your cable or accidentally tugging the cable too hard and breaking it or knocking your device out of your pocket. This feature removes all that hassle, which I thoroughly appreciate as all of my previous headphones have broken at the cable end of things not to mention the constant tangling of headphones in your pocket. Particularly useful for people who like to listen to music while participating in heavy exercise as they are more likely to stay put than traditional in-ear headphones.

However even if this is the highlight of the device, it too experiences some problems. Some of the potential problems include: the connection can be lost; sometimes the song doesn't stream quick enough and is jumpy; and there can be a significant delay in changing song and the next song actually playing. But honestly a little lag is to be expected from a wireless device. After all data can always move faster on a wired connection. Considering the problems I've had in the past with wired connections, I will definitely stick with these though.

Another thing about these headphones is that the style is a bit unusual. I mean nobody really wants to look like they are using a 1960’s hearing aid, but once you get past that initial feeling it's fine, anyone who mocks you is probably just jealous their headphones aren't wireless.

By The Numbers -

Music: 8/10
Calls: 7/10
Features/Design: 7/10
Comfort: 6/10
Ease of Use: 8/10
Overall Rating: 7/10

Although they are not the best of the best headphones, I still say these are worth a shot, if you are a fan of over-ear headphones already, or are able to get used to the style of non in-ear-buds. They are by no means poor quality or bad value for money. These headphones are very good quality for their price bracket, especially for: the Bluetooth, the sound quality and the ease of use. I believe that these are one of the highest quality Bluetooth headphones you will probably find for under £50 (At their current sale price), and for that reason I would recommend them to anyone looking to ditch the tether to their portable device or home computer.

- Alasdair Kerr


Ratings are much too high for these shit-tier headphones. Obvious advertising is obvious.

Reviews are subjective, and products don't need to be the highest price bracket to earn good ratings. This review has nothing to do with advertising at all so please take your misguided views elsewhere.

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