Plantronics BackBeat 216 In-Ear Headphones review


I picked up these smart earbuds for £40 in Leigh Delamere service station in my desperation to find something to provide some noise isolation. I walked out of the shop and promptly put them on in a bid to try and block out some of the 70 mph gale about my helmet. I know you’re supposed to run these things in, but people have places to be.

The headphones themselves have an attractive black body and bronze accents, with a rugged (and essential for my riding) rain resistant braided cable and the chunkiest mic / remote I’ve ever had the pleasure of using – a real blessing compared to having to fish blind for the tiny remote with leather motorcycle gloves. The unit itself is cylindrical, a little over an inch long and matches the earphones’ colour scheme. It uses the common Vol+ play/pause/call Vol – layout for 3 buttons, although these buttons seem only to be fully recognised by iPhones and recent Mac computers.

So, what about sound quality and call quality? I can report that the sound produced is wonderfully deep and rich, without missing out on any of the high details. This is all provided that you are using the right size of in ear cup- it makes all the difference. Listening to any music on these is a pure delight, comparable to my Sennheiser HD 202′s. Obviously, both sets are for entirely different purposes, but I enjoy listening to these little beauties just as much- plus they fit in under a motorbike helmet. They provide a good deal of noise isolation, though one shouldn’t expect BOSE levels of quiet from the outer world while they are in. Adequate is what I’d call it.

Oddly, I think I can tell the difference in audio hardware between my Mac and the iPhone 3GS that has been by my side for so long.

Worth the £40, for sure!

4 / 5 stars     
Posted in Audio, Hardware and tagged .