We are still not done with sport and active audio here! With the sport and active audio market being heavily saturated with ear buds here and there, it is always refreshing to see a change of scenery in terms of sport headset types. Here, the Plantronics BackBeat FIT 6100 Wireless Sport headphones give you a closed back, over-ear solution for your workouts. It sports touch controls for full management of your media, and is IPX5 sweat and water-resistant.
Let’s jump into the Plantronics BackBeat FIT 6100 Wireless Sport headset to find out what $179.99 gets you.
BackBeat FIT 6100 Wireless Sport Headphones Specs
|Speaker driver size||40 mm|
|Receive frequency response||20-20,000 Hz|
|Audio profiles||Advanced Audio Distribution Profile (A2DP) 1.3, AVRCP 1.6|
|Microphone and technology||MEMS microphone with DSP|
|Moisture protection||Sweatproof and IPX5-rated water resistance|
|Bluetooth technology||Bluetooth 5.0 Headset/Hands-Free Profile HSP 1.2 and HFP 1.7|
|Roaming range||Up to 65 feet/20 meters|
|Battery capacity||500 mAh|
|Listen time||Up to 24 hours of listen time|
|Charge time||Up to 2 hours for full charge|
|Quick charge||Up to 6 hours of listening with a 15-minute quick charge|
Build, Features and Comfort
The BackBeat FIT 6100 uses 40mm angled drivers, arranged to face your ears directly as it presents its sound. You have leatherette ear cups, designed to both form an acoustic seal for unhindered listening as we well as protect the drivers from your sweat.
The cushioned headband uses a sort of perforated leatherette skin that is designed to promote some breathability while also resisting sweat.
What’s particularly interesting with the headband is the ability to tighten the headset’s clamp, ensuring that the headset remains stable during your more rigorous workouts. Do you want a loose fit during your non-active listening sessions or a very secure grip that gives you piece of mind during a run? Making the choice is as simple as pulling and locking this cord.
All of the headsets controls and ports reside on the right ear cup. You have a button for toggling Awareness Mode (aka Open Mic), a power and Bluetooth pairing switch, and a microUSB port for charging the headset.
For media control, taps handle play and pause, swipe forward for forward track, swipe back for back track, and swipe vertically up or down to control volume respectively. These controls can go even further, where swiping and holding your finger on the ear cup also advances that function. For example, swiping back and holding rewinds within the track directly, and vice versa with forward. You can also use this method to raise or lower the volume faster.
When it comes to active or sportswear headsets, you have to make sure comfort is on point, especially when you step into the on-ear or over-ear realm. That said, I really like how the BackBeat FIT 6100 approached wear styles. While not entirely unlikely, people are not usually buying one headset for exercise and another for leisurely listening. It’s usually a one-and-done purchase. So being able to swap between a gentle grip for when you’re just sitting or walking around to then a tight and secure one was a nice feature of the BackBeat FIT 6100.
The “loose fit” setting was quite comfortable, allowing me to listen to music for hours with little or no fatigue. It was still a strong enough grip to workout with, however the sweatier I got during my run, the lower my confidence was in the grip. The BackBeat FIT 6100 definitely stayed on during my workout, it just felt slippery. However, with the “tight fit”, that worry went out the window. The grip was very secure, where my level of sweatiness simply did not matter to the headset at all. For kicks, I spent a week using the headset in a non-exercise fashion with the tight fit. Wearing fatigue did eventually settle in slightly after about 3 to 4 hours of continuous use, however wearing was still manageable in terms of comfort.
Best of all, the BackBeat FIT 6100 did a great job keeping sweat at bay, where a simple wipe down was all that was needed after a workout to bring the headset to a respectably clean level. The headset, for the most part, stayed out of my way during resistance exercises, where I would raise my arms near or over my head. Shoulder presses with dumb bells as well as all kinds of pre-workout stretches were all fine and non-restrictive with the headset on my head.
As far as build and comfort goes with the BackBeat FIT 6100, I had nothing but praise for the over-ear sports headphone.
More Features, Performance, and Final Thoughts
The backbone of many of the BackBeat FIT 6100’s features is the BackBeat app for iOS and Android. You can toggle through the BackBeat FIT 6100’s core EQ’s and fiddle with the headset’s various behaviors and settings. For example, Awareness Mode is a feature of the BackBeat FIT 6100 that lets you hear your surroundings. This is perfect for outdoor joggers that want to hear music while being aware of oncoming traffic or the occasional mountain lion. However, you may only want to use Awareness Mode when you only need to hear an announcement or have a quick conversation, without removing the headset. In that case, the BackBeat app allows you to decide if you want music to stop whenever you activate the mode.
The headset houses its various sound presentation styles in three different EQ’s: PLT Signature Balanced, Bright, and Bass, where PLT Signature Sound was the default. Going off the default, the BackBeat FIT 6100 sports a solid and mostly balanced sound presentation, which seemed to lean on mids and lows, more than high. Specifically, vocals and bass came over more prominently than drum percussion sounds, like the high hats or crashes. I then gave Bright a go, where the EQ focuses on Treble and high frequencies. This of course sharpened the percussion sounds I mentioned earlier, while laying off on the bass. Bass was the polar opposite of Bright, giving you a deeper lows and bass, while not sounding too muddy and still giving the highs and mids some presence.
Usually with headsets that confine you to preset EQ’s, I’ve always had a favorite EQ that I would run with the most, that I would then suggest. That was a little tricky here with the BackBeat FIT 6100, where I found myself bouncing between PLT Signature Balanced and Bright the most. Bass is solid throughout all the EQ’s, so I didn’t use the Bass EQ too much. If I did, it would take even more away from the treble and highs, where I already thought they had a slight back seat in the default setting. I was surprised at the amount of songs that would better with the Bright EQ, since that bass was always there. Occasionally, songs that already had a sharp treble recording made the Bright EQ harsh, leading me back to PLT Signature Balanced.
Overall, the sound presentation of the BackBeat FIT 6100 is an enjoyable one, where only your personal treble vs bass tastes would steer you to swap from PLT Signature Balanced.
As far as active and sport headsets go, the BackBeat FIT 6100 surprised me. This is not the first over ear sport headset I’ve used, but it is easily the best. Having grip tightness options, even if it is only two, was a feature I didn’t know I wanted until now. I tend to perspire a lot, even during stretches. So, I’m absolutely drenched after a run. Having that “extra tight” option handy took away any worry that I had of the BackBeat FIT 6100 slipping off of my soaked shaved head. On top of that, the touch controls were quite responsive, very rarely mistaking a vertical swipe for a horizontal one, or vice versa.
The BackBeat FIT 6100 doubles as an excellent workout companion and a solid casual listening headset, thanks to its two wearing styles and collection of features. Of course, last but not least, it is a solid presenter of sound, giving you an enjoyable audio experience throughout your various listening scenarios. Personally, since I’ve been seeing EQ customization in more and more wireless headsets, I would have liked to see that option here, with the BackBeat app. Hopefully it’s something that could be added with ease in a firmware and/or app update. Outside of that, the three built-in EQ options are plenty satisfying, especially for users that do not want to get that granular with their sound output.
If you’re looking for a sports-ready wireless headset, and earbuds aren’t your thing, the BackBeat FIT 6100 is a solid activewear product in the over-ear space. Plantronics may have a solid competitor to corner the over-ear activewear market with this one. Do check out the $179.99 BackBeat FIT 6100 for yourself here.
However, if you are still not sold on over-ears vs ear buds for fitness, Plantronics has two new refreshed models of the BackBeat FIT 3100 Sports Earbuds, which we reviewed and loved from last year. The BackBeat FIT 3150 is the more direct refresh model, sporting the same Always Aware eartips that allow you to be aware of your surroundings at all times. The BackBeat FIT 3200 is the new noise-isolating version of that same headset, offering three ear tip sizes and the same Awareness Mode function we went over in the BackBeat FIT 6100. Both go for $149.99 and are IP57 sweat and waterproof.
† As usual, there are no affiliate links contained within this post. We were provided a Plantronics BackBeat FIT 6100 Wireless Sport Headset for review purposes and were not compensated for this review.