on December 4, 2010
This is a very specific review to help others figure out if this product will fill a specific need. I couldn't find this info when I was making my purchasing decision so I'm leaving this review to help others.
In my case I purchased these headphones specifically for use with a desktop computer to use with skype and general music listening. The idea was to use these for 8 hours a day to listen to music and take 10-30 phone calls that come in on skype a day. This has worked great forever with plantronics wired headsets but I would like to be free of the wires.
What the specs and the other reviews I have seen don't point out is a very important design element in this headset, this headset doesn't support Multipoint. Which means The 903+ is essentially two discrete products in one. First there is a Mono Headset that provides mono sound through both ear pieces and has dual microphones. Second there is an excellent Stereo Headphone that has no Microphone function.
These two modes are completely separate. At any given time only the Headset function or the Headphone function can be active but not both. Therefore there is no way to combine the microphone and the stereo audio function. This has two implications: (1) You can't pair the headset with a phone; and the headphones with a separate physical media player at the same time. (2) Any device you connect can only actively be using either the headphone or the headset but not both at the same time. A single physical device would have to switch modes on the fly to use both.
On a cellphone with the latest bluetooth profiles these two modes will work great; you can listen to music in full stereo and when a call comes in the headphones mode shuts down and the headset function fires up. You need the latest in cellphone but it does work nicely.
However if you want to use them with desktop computer, then you can in practice use them only in a single fixed mode. They are either going to be just bluetooth stereo headphones or a bluetooth headset. Desktop computers aren't expecting the dual mode device and will see the headset as two separate devices at the audio layer and there will be no indication to the computer that both can't be used at the same time. So the computer will try to access both simultaneously if you are playing music and try to take a phone call. The net result is conflicts and lockups.
Until desktop bluetooth functions catch up with cellphones; or plantronics adds multipoint to this family of head sets; you will need to look else where if you want a dual mode bluetooth headset/headphone for your desktop computer.
on October 12, 2010
Also own a Backbeat 906. When I decided to buy a second headset, I chose this 903+ without second thoughts even though there wasn't any price discounts for this newly released product. The sound quality, when listening to stereo music, is excellent.
A new and neat feature is that, after you turn on this headset, a female voice announces/whispers to you the approximate operating time left so that you know when you may need to charge the headset. The 906 instead uses LED light pattern (blink 1, 2, or 3 times) to indicate approximate battery life.
update: the microphone volume seems to be too weak. you may want to get a traditional headset for making calls. The 906 doesn't have this problem (but picks up much more background noise than the 903+, which has great noise-cancelling feature).
Giving it a rating of "It's OK" for me is due almost entirely to the ergonomics of the design. The performance is quite good.
For starters, the sound quality on these headphones is great. Music on these surprised and impressed me, and hearing people during phone calls is easy. The size, feel, and button use of these, though, are not something that I like. Below are some details.
- To me, music sounds full and engaging. I was very pleasantly surprised by the amount of bass - as well as the quality of it. They sound good and not just boomy. Music performance is the biggest plus to this headset, IMO, and they do a good job with it.
Phone Calls (Neutral)
- On phone calls, people's voices come through clearly. I have no trouble at all hearing people on these.
- When I spoke through these, my brother indicated that I sounded just like my other bluetooth headsets. So, no better, but no worse.
- It was weird for me, though, talking with both ears plugged by these. The ear pieces fit in and partially block the ear canal. So, great for music, but it's like talking with your fingers partially covering your ears. I got used to and it's not a big complaint, but I prefer talking with my single-ear headset.
- IMO, the behind-the-ear portions are big and not comfortable to wear with glasses. Some of you won't be bothered by them, but I'm rating them lower because I don't find them very comfortable.
- The buttons aren't easy to use. Perhaps they will be with more practice, but I'm not sure. Pushing some of the buttons isn't very easy because pushing them puts force on the ear piece in a direction that tends to move it off my ear. I have trouble pushing them just sitting around, let alone when I'm moving. Also, the buttons have different functions depending on how many times you push them or how long you hold them. I feel older just typing this next part, but...I'll never remember all of them.
So, I commend the performance but don't like the ergonomics. If you have a chance to try these on at a store, I recommend that. If you like how they feel, these might just be the solution for you (provided that working the buttons isn't an issue for you).
on March 5, 2011
First off, my main reason for these headphones are to be used at the gym.
Ive had 3 wired headphones before this and after breaking 2 Sony in-ear bud headphones at $50 each, I figure its time for a wireless.
Ive been searching for bluetooth headphones to be used with my Blackberry Bold 9650 for months now. Ive been looking at the Sony IS800, Jaybird Freedom, and Plantronics Backbeat 903. (I was only look for in-ear headphones) Ill do a quick run down between these.
The Sony IS800 loooks like an excellent product, but for $100+ its hard to purchase them when its only features are Play/Pause and Answer Call. (BTW, Im still looking at purchasing them anyway because of the simple design) These are nothing more than a bluetooth in-ear bud headphone that lasts about 2-3 hours which is ok with me.
The Jaybird Freedom was my first pick but they no longer make them anymore and are very hard to find. I found them on ebay for $120+ and that was used. I will not buy a used item after it was in another persons ear. These headphones were great after reading specs and reviews. They were waterproof/sweatproof and had all the features wou would need. Play/pause, Skip/next, Answer Call/Disconnect, Volume.
The Plantronics Backbeat 903 was a good product and I purchased these from a local AT&T store for $100. I used them for about 2 weeks to try them out, but I was not to impressed with them and also I saw them on ebay and amazon at the time for about &70. The sound was OK on them only because it looks like they were designed to let you listen to music and hear whats going on in the outside world while you are outdoors. After using them at the gym and hearing alot of the TOUGH GUY STEROID users grunting with the ear phones on, I had to return them.
After waiting a few more weeks or months, it looks like Plantronics released the Backbeat 903+.
Seeing that I waited months and see no signs of anything new coming out and risk breaking another pair of wired headphones, I went ahead and purchased these off of ebay for $70 whipped with a $8 3 year warranty through SquareTrade. Between the 903 and 903+ there are a few additions.
First, the sound was improved a little and no more outdoor sounds like Tough Guy grunters. Next, when you press the power button, it tells you how many hours of battery are left (only tell you in 1 hr intervasls rather than 30 min which I feel would of been better). The 903 had a switch when chaging tracks. The 903+ has a button that you hold for about 3-4 seconds which is a little easier. The range of this is pretty darn good. I could leave my phone on the floor, walk about 20 feet to pick up a weight and it would not drop a connection at all.
Pairing this with my phone took seconds and was very easy.
If anyone is reading this review and looking to use this for the gym, Id say yes. I used this on Flat, Incline, and Decline bench and it stays where it is and does not get in the way. Also these stay in your ear when you are on the treadmill, stairmaster, or eliptical. I would def suggest getting the SquareTrade warranty only because I dont know how well they will work once they start getting wet from sweat.
-Sound quality (Make sure your MP3 have good quality)
-Pairs with Bold 9650
-Has a battery gauge on the iPhone4
-Headset has all features at your finger tip
-Great for the person who wants to use at the gym or cardio
-Should of included additional ear tip sizes
-I def. reccommend this to anyone and everyone. This is the best bluetooth in-ear bud out there.
on May 9, 2011
Most of the pros and cons of these headsets have already been mentioned in other reviews, so I won't beat a dead horse. I did, however, want to confirm that the 903+ is NOT moisture-resistant, and will consequently fail. Just one day after my return window, my 903+ started acting up during a workout. I was listening to music from my phone through its bluetooth connection, when the 903 started beeping as if I were pressing any of its function buttons (except I wasn't). Then, my phone's bluetooth voice dialer application started opening and closing, at times dialing what it THOUGHT it was hearing through the 903. Some of the 903's buttons stopped responding to my inputs, and eventually, they all did. Then the music stopped.
When I got back to my room, I examined the headset, shaking it a bit to see if any sweat had gotten in them. It had, and started dripping out of nearly every joint and crevice on the device. I shook as much of it out as I could, and after letting them dry out overnight, most of the buttons work again, and I can hear music again. However, the "phone call" button still doesn't work, and the left ear speaker sounds blown out and distorted. Needless to say, my only recourse at this point is to return them to Plantronics for warranty work.
Bottom line: the 903+ sounds and works great when it's bone dry, but if you plan to use them for any sort of workout where you might get sweaty, it's just a matter of time before you have issues. Had I known they were so easily susceptible to moisture intrusion, I would have saved my money and stuck with my wired set.
on April 28, 2011
I called Plantronics a couple of days before my product arrived because I was concerned about my sweat shorting it out while I used it at the gym. All bluetooth headsets are susceptible to shorting out with sweat so for those that claim the Motorola Rokr's or any other brand are sweat proof they are NOT. My friend shorted out 3 Rokr headsets by sweating in them. The tech support guy gave me some helpful tips.
1. If sweating excessively try to wipe ears down with a towel occasionally.
2. Gently towel off the unit after your workout and don't store it next to sweaty t-shirts or wet towels in your gym bag.
3. And most importantly.....NEVER charge your 903+ headset immediately after a workout. Give the unit several hours to dry (preferably overnight) before attempting to charge the unit if you have worked out with them on.
Another helpful tip I learned was that the actual bluetooth antennae is located inside the left earpiece. That means you'll have less skipping or cutting out of your music if you keep your phone inside your left front or left rear pocket instead of on the right side of your body. I don't understand why they did this since most people are right handed but it is not a big deal.
I've had them for a few days so far and I love them. They are very light and don't make my ears stick out at all. The sound is excellent. They are plenty loud enough and for those who say they are not loud enough remember that you have to turn up the volume on your phone as well as on the headset. We'll see how they hold up over time but as far as music at the gym and occasional phone calls the 903+ can't be beat. Noise canceling is not the best on these but in a normal setting it's more than sufficient to handle phone calls with. Adjust the silicone ear buds to the correct angle for your ears and the comfort of the unit gets better and better as you get used to them.
on August 29, 2012
headset worked great for 2 months..
It broke and then I went through a surprising pain free warrenty replacement process. The headphones shipped and then I shipped my broken ones back.
I paid painstaking attention to taking care of these headphones and the replacements died after 2 months.
They work amazingly well when they work but their lifespan is terrible and their QA process is just terrible.
Would not purchase again
on June 3, 2011
These headphones are amazing in the freedom they give you from a wired headset. I absolutely fell in love with these the first time I used them. On my first set the buttons were hard to push and not very responsive. I was able to use for two full charges before they died. I plugged them in and got a quick flashing red light. When I searched on this condition, I found that it was a common complaint about these headphones. The flashing red light means they are dead, non recoverable.
I sent these back and ordered a second set hoping I had just ordered a dud. The next set came, the buttons worked perfectly on this headset. Made it to my third charge again, and the red light is blinking quickly. Another dead set after two weeks.
Not worth the hassle of reordering and sending back. Plantronics has made a very bad product.
on May 12, 2011
I start by saying that, as a headset, this product works very well. I'm no audiophile, but the sound quality seems very good to me and it functions as a better-than-average headset for phone calls, as well.
My problem was more a function of expected usage. I purchased the headset to use not only around the house, but while exercising and other activities where I might work up a sweat. Unfortunately, this is a big problem for the BackBeat product line. Within a very short time, the buttons on the headset ceased functioning. First the pause/play button failed completely and then the left answer/hangup button began behaving erratically and causing the voice-dial function on my phone to kick-off at odd moments. Eventually the power button stopped working.
While chatting with a customer service representative, I was informed that the product " is not waterproof" and that "if sweat gets inside, the headset will eventually fail like any electrical device." Given it's expected usage, I find that to be a big flaw in the design. People sweat, even when they aren't exercising.
Unfortunately, I didn't know this was a design issue. I purchased this headset to replace a BackBeat 903 that failed in the same manner, but was out of warranty. This was not an isolated issue with a single unit, but something to consider with the entire BackBeat line.
on April 11, 2012
I use to run with an armband carrying my iPhone where I used Nike+ and a Sony wired sports earbuds. I got tired of the cord dangling around my back, and to keep the armband on required blood pressure checker levels of pressure on my arm. It wasn't ideal so I started looking for alternatives. My friend spoke very highly of the Nike+ GPS watch, but I'd have to still get a separate MP3 player which wouldn't be a great upgrade to my current set up. Then I found the Motoactv. GPS tracking, full featured website, bluetooth, MP3 player, Heart monitor tracking. And I could wear it on my wrist like a watch!
So after finding that wonderful device I needed to search for the perfect wireless headsets. I ordered 3 of them, A motorola, a Jabra, and this one. And to be honest, they were all pretty comprable, but these were by far the cheapest, and had things I really liked. Pairing was a cinch, turning on and off was easy, checking battery life is easy. But I really liked how these weren't trying to be noise canceling headphones. Noise canceling headphones when you are running where cars are is a bad idea, so its nice to get some tunes while also being able to hear your surroundings. I also loved the way these fit, they are lightweight, and I don't ever notice them when I am running, I don't need to adjust their position, and my ears don't hurt after a long run. So very comfortable for me. The earbud stem is adjustable for different ear heights, and the construction of these things is rugged and sweat-proof.