Plantronics BackBeat family: High quality audio for smartphone users

Last year, headsets were all about the iPod, this year, headphone manufacturers are targeting the increasing numbers of smartphone users.

So, the fact that Plantronics has announced the release of a family of three headphones all optimised for smartphones with multimedia capabilities comes as no surprise.


Aimed at iPhone and Android handset owners, the BackBeat family of headphones promises to delivery high-quality audio, along with easy switching between calls and music.

The wireless offering for people on the go is the BackBeat 903+, the update to the BackBeat 903. Your wireless connection will offer rich stereo, along with the ability to answer or finish a call with a single button press. Designed for runners and gym bunnies, it is made of a ruggedized, sweat-resistant (ugh!) material, and offers a choice of three earpiece adjustments to ensure you get a secure fit and won’t lose your headphones as you’re running on the treadmill.

iPhone users will get a battery-life indicator on their screen, as well as being alerted by voice on how much talktime is left, low battery warning, connection, mute and track control status. Dual mics and Plantronics’ digital signal processing aim to ensure clear call quality, even if there’s a lot of background noise. An excellent safety feature for runners is the OpenMic technology, which enables the user to instantly hear the background without removing the headphones.

The 903 will be available from Apple at £69.99 from November.

The BackBeat 216, meanwhile, is a certified corded headphone for iPad, IPhone and iPod. They are simple to use – just plug and play – and also have noise-isolating ear buds with neodymium micro-speakers that apparently deliver well-balanced high and mid ranges and boost bass levels. It also has an inline controller with built-in mic for easy phone calls, as well as volume and music track control. The 216 will cost £39.99.

The baby of the family is the BackBeat 116, which comes in the form of earphones, with a simpler in-line controller and built-in mic. It can be used with iPad, iPhone and iPod, as well as most Android phones, BlackBerry devices and other music phones. Both the 116 and the 216 have tangle-free cloth cords, and the 116, which will cost £24.99, comes in electric blue. Nice.