Words by Chew Yi Heng
From a company that initially specialised in workplace audio communications equipment, Plantronics has made quite a name for itself in the portable audio playback segment over the last few years. The new Plantronics BackBeat FIT 3100 True Wireless Sport earbuds are something quite different from other wireless earphones, with a form factor that seems to be designed firstly for active use, then with playback systems built around it.
The first thing that caught my attention was the palm-sized matte black elliptical charging case that houses the earbuds. It features a micro-USB charging input at the rear and an LED panel in the middle that indicates the case’s remaining battery life. Everything can be packed snugly into the case and tucked away my gear bag for a race or training while making sure the earphones are charged and ready for use when required.
Opening the case revealed a pair of cleanly designed grey earphones with eye-catching sport holographic panels tucked within. Initially sceptical of the flexible silicone ear hook design, I was pleasantly surprised by how comfortable and secure they were when I put them through a long run and some dynamic routines.
The BackBeat FIT 3100 provides a much more stable fit than the usual bone conduction and rear-wired sport headphones, and features comprehensive music controls and a unique touch interface on the left side where the user can easily change tunes and increase or decrease the volume during a session – even with sweaty fingers! I really appreciate these functions as it allows me to stay focused on my workout rather than stop to skip a track or make adjustments on my phone.
However, in crowded spaces the connection occasionally drops in and out, this is undoubtedly due to the masses of radio waves from modems and mobile phones all crowded together. It is worth pointing out that the Bluetooth 5.0 platform still works relatively well in comparison to other earphones in the same class and I did not experience any occasions where I had to conduct a manual reset.
Designed with safety in mind, the Ambient AlwaysAware ear tips by Plantronics are designed in such a way that they allow surrounding sound in, diminishing the audio quality slightly because of a lack of isolation and auditory masking – but I personally feel that it is a worthy trade-off for situational awareness. Overall sound quality and bass of the BackBeat 3100 is still great in the sports category. We recommend the BackBeat FIT 3100 to runners and athletes looking for a pair of a rugged earphone that can withstand the harsh environments and conditions we operate in.
This is what really sets the BackBeat FIT 3100 apart from the other earphones in the market, because Plantronics engineered it as a true tough-man earphone – centred on product durability and user safety. It features a nearly indestructible IP57 rating that can withstand operation in dusty conditions and allows for complete submersion in water over prolonged time. Coupled with its sleek design and five-hour battery life per charge, it is currently one of the best true wireless earphone packages in the market for the avid outdoor or aquatic athlete in search of music on the go.
It’s time to be boundless with my music playlist, and I’ll tell you how it’s been holding up in a later update.
Find out more here: https://www.plantronics.com/sg/en/product/backbeat-fit-3100