The Plantronics Backbeat 906 is one comfortable Bluetooth stereo headset that will let you enjoy music and let you take calls in style.
Plantronics Backbeat 906: Features & Design
The sleek Plantronics Backbeat 906 is a replica of the Altec Lansing Backbeat 906 which was launched a year ago. It is just the rebadged version of the Altec Lansing Backbeat 906 by Plantronics (which is the parent company of Altec Lansing) as it sports similar hardware design and features, hence the name Plantronics Backbeat 906. Apart from the headset, the Plantronics Backbeat 306 comes with a Bluetooth adaptor which will lets you stream audio from any source which has a 3.5mm stereo jack. The headset works with any mobile phone, MP3 players or laptop that supports A2DP Bluetooth stereo profile. If the paired device supports AVRCP, the headset will not just play audio but will give you full controls over the audio playback, meaning you will be able to skip tracks, play/pause the audio playing on your device.
The Plantronics Backbeat 906 has a flexible headband design and the earphones are designed similar to those earlier Bose In-ear headphones. The headband is made of a flexible rubber band which can be folded and twisted. This flexible design makes wearing them comfortable even while lying on the bed. You could also just fold and tuck them away in your shirt's pocket. This made the Backbeat 906 easy to lug around. The earpiece supports three-way adjustment for better fit but fitting the earpiece tightly into the ear canal is tough. On the other hand, the headset looks good and has good build quality.
Controls are easy to reach - in a way too easy to reach, it was hard to put on the Plantronics Backbeat 906 headset without accidentally hitting one of the controls. On the left earpiece is the call answering key and the back side has LED indicator, pairing key and charging port. Controls for music playback are on the right, this includes play/pause button, and switch for volume controls and skipping tracks. The Bluetooth adaptor is as big as a small cigarette lighter and it has a pairing button and a 3-inch long cable with the 3.5 stereo plug.
Plantronics Backbeat 906: Performance
After charging them for three hours as suggested by Plantronics, we started using the Plantronics Backbeat 906 with a couple of mobile phones including Motorola Milestone, Nokia 5800 XpressMusic and Apple iPhone 3GS. Pairing the devices happened without a hitch. Pairing the headset with mobile phones requires entering the passkey 0000 on the phone for pairing it with the adaptor, it just requires holding down the pairing key on the headset first, followed by the one on the adaptor. We faced no problem while paring the devices, and for most phones we tested with except for the iPhone 3GS and iPod Touch 64GB, the playback controls worked perfectly. For the iPhone 3GS and the iPod Touch 64GB, volume controls and play/pause button were the only working control buttons. As a handsfree, the Plantronics Backbeat 906 performed satisfactorily. Caller's voice were loud and clear, thanks to the Altec Lansing's Dual-mic AudioIQ technology. The built-in microphone also did a pretty good job in picking up voices, callers did not have any problem hearing our voices even on a busy traffic day.
Getting the in-ears sitting tightly on the ear canal is quite difficult and took time. Besides, there were no different ear-tips for different ear-sizes, so we’d advise you try out the headset as getting the right fit is required to get better sound. The Plantronics Backbeat 906 has good reception, but this again also depends on the device you paired it with. While pairing with the non-Bluetooth device using its Bluetooth adaptor, there were not much cut-out signal issues. The reception signal was working well within 10 metres range, however, cut-outs in signal reception happened a few times while on the move and my paired devices (mobile phones) residing in my pant's pockets.
For music, the Plantronics Backbeat 906 provided rich and clear vocals with sharp highs but the bass was almost non-existent which is what holds us back from recommending it for music playback. For casual music listening and voice communication, the Backbeat 906 would be just fine. But if you are looking for a headset that would get the best out of your music phone or MP3 players, then look elsewhere. The fully charged battery lasted for around 5 hours against the rated seven hours which is still good.
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