Plantronics BackBeat Fit 505 review

Nick Broughall 3 January 2018

Sweat-resistant on-ear headphones for your workout.

Quick Verdict
Plantronics has made its affordable Backbeat 505 headphones fit-friendly with a sweatproof design and a slightly tighter fit to help it stay in place as you work out.

The Good

  • Solid sound balance
  • Secure fit for exercise
  • Great battery life

The Bad

  • Can get a little uncomfortable with extended use
  • Not officially IP rated for water resistance


Plantronics impressed us with the BackBeat 505 when it launched, bringing high-quality Bluetooth audio to a pair of affordable wireless headphones. The BackBeat Fit 505 basically takes the same style and audio quality and adds a layer of sweat resistance and a slightly tighter fit to make them a great pair of on-ear headphones for working out.

Plantronics BackBeat Fit 505 Bluetooth Headphones from rebel Sport

Laced with a military-grade P2i sweat-resistant coating, the Plantronics BackBeat Fit 505 is the perfect companion to your high-intensity gym session.

View details

Design

If it wasn’t for the slight difference in colour schemes, you could easily miss any difference between the BackBeat Fit 505 and the BackBeat 505.

The general shape, style and button layout are identical on both pairs of headphones. On the left earcup, you have music playback controls on the side and a volume rocker on the back, while the right earcup has a power switch and a call receive/end button that doubles as a digital assistant activation button.

The Micro USB port for charging sits on the bottom of the left ear cup as well and can get a full charge in about 90 minutes. There’s also a 3.5mm headphone jack next to the charging port for occasions you aren’t able to charge your headphones (provided you’re not using a new iPhone X, of course).

The ear cups are made from memory foam and swivel around to rest on your collarbone when wrapped around your neck.

The key difference between the two models is a layer of P2i sweat-resistant coating on the Fit 505, though it’s not visibly noticeable when comparing the headphones.

backbeat fit 505 review

Setup and Sound Quality

The Fit 505 will pair with two devices concurrently, with the power switch extending up a little further to put the headphones in pairing mode.

Just like the Backbeat 505, the Backbeat Fit 505 headphones feature 40mm drivers to deliver an incredibly well-balanced sound. You get a good depth from bass notes, clarity in the high end and a full-sounding mid-range that sounds like it’s worth a lot more than the asking price.

While the headphones don’t feature any active noise cancellation like the BackBeat Pro 2 or the Sony WH-1000MX2, the combination of memory foam, a snug fit and impressive sound reproduction means that the Fit 505 will drown out a lot of the background noise anyway.

BackBeat Fit 505 review

Performance

So with so much of the BackBeat Fit 505 mirroring the BackBeat 505, what has Plantronics added for the extra $30 on the RRP?

These are fitness headphones, and unlike most of the BackBeat Fit line-up which features an in-ear design, the on-ear design needs to be especially robust to handle the pressures of an active user.

And to that end, there’s a noticeable pressure the Fit 505 adds that the standard 505 doesn’t feature. It’s subtle in short bursts but definitely makes extended listening sessions outside of the gym a little more uncomfortable.

The good news is that it makes the headphones reliably secure for most activities. Go for a jog, and the Fit 505 will stay nicely attached to your ears, pumping in the music you so desperately need to hit your peak levels.

However, it does make them slightly less suitable for everyday use. Long commutes can become uncomfortable with the consistent pressure definitely becoming uncomfortable over time.

The other big difference is the P2i coating on the Fit 505. This promises to keep the headphones safe from copious amounts of sweat or moisture from a passing rain cloud.

Plantronics hasn't gone so far as to give the Fit 505 an IP rating for water resistance, so it’s hard to put a definitive rating on how much impact this has on the longevity of the headphones.

It’s unlikely that sweat would cause the downfall of any pair of wireless headphones after a few sweaty uses, being more of an ongoing issue that would impact them over time. So while the Fit 505 continued to work admirably despite the sweat coating added by this reviewer, it’s impossible to tell if that justifies the price increase.

For peace of mind though, $30 isn’t a big price to pay.
backbeat fit 505 review

Battery Life

Just like the Backbeat 505, the Fit 505 offers 18 hours of playback from a 90-minute charge, with an impressive standby mode to keep the headphones juiced when not in use.

You do get a voice reminder of the battery level every time you turn on the headphones as well as regular updates when the battery hits the dreaded “low” state.

These reminders mean you should never be caught off guard with an empty battery, but if you do, the 3.5mm headphone jack is your friend, so long as you have a device capable of connecting to it.

Verdict

For most gym-goers, fitness headphones mean sweatproof in-ear models that wrap around your neck. The BackBeat Fit 505 offers a welcome alternative with an over-the-head, on-ear model with impressive sound, sweat protection and an affordable price point.

If you’re just after an affordable pair of Bluetooth headphones and aren’t planning on hitting the gym with them, the BackBeat 505 is a better option thanks to a slightly more comfortable fit and lower price. But for the active readers among you, the Fit variant is a solid option.

Pricing and availability

The Plantronics BackBeat Fit 505 headphones are available now with an RRP of $149.

Plantronics BackBeat Fit 505 Bluetooth Headphones from rebel Sport

Laced with a military-grade P2i sweat-resistant coating, the Plantronics BackBeat Fit 505 is the perfect companion to your high-intensity gym session.

View details

Specifications

Product Name
Plantronics BackBeat Fit 505
Speakers
40mm driver unit
Connectivity
Bluetooth 4.1

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