November 19, 2014

Backbeat Fit Review

VZW Disclosure

Anyone who knows me would never describe me as someone who loves working out. I do try to exercise, but I’m no gym rat. Which makes it a bit ironic that I was asked to try out the new Plantronics BackBeat Fit bluetooth headset since they’re the next big thing in technology many of my fitness friends are talking about.

Having been a Plantronics customer for the last decade or so, I knew the headset would be well-made, comfortable, and utilize the best technology on the market. And the Backbeat Fit did just that. But my experience with Plantronics is for work, not fitness. And I have a headset that plugs in to my computer. Like the Backbeat Fit, it’s a behind the neck model so I knew I’d like that about my new headset.

One of my biggest complaints with my current Plantronics headset is that I’m always tethered to my computer. It makes it difficult to be very productive if I’m on hold or on a call I’m just listening and not actively participating in. And when it comes to exercising, as phones have gotten bigger I’ve found it more annoying to use my phone as my music player.

With just one device, I’ve become more productive and have found a renewed desire to start an exercise program. So what’s so great about these headphones? Why would you or someone you know like them?

Things I love about the Backbeat Fit headphones:

1. Bluetooth – Using the latest bluetooth technology, you’re untethered from your device for about 30 feet. This is fantastic if you like to do calls on Skype or Google Voice and not still be attached to your computer. It’s awesome to not have to deal with a cord attaching your head to your phone while you’re on a bike or treadmill or using machines at the gym. Since I try to walk for 30 minutes every day, I’ve found I’m much happier with the wireless headphones because I don’t have the cord to deal with.

2. Sweatproof – Not so much for me, but for those who exercise vigorously, this is important. Why have a headset for exercise if you have to worry about it shorting out when you sweat. I know a lot about this because over the years I’ve bought so many “sports” headsets for CycleGuy to wear when he rides his bike. Plantronics is a high quality company and they definitely brought their attention to detail to the BackbeatFit.

3. Easy to use – For women with fingernails, this is often a problem with these small headsets. The buttons on the BackbeatFit are easy to find and use, even with fingernails. I know this isn’t important to everyone, but if you’re going to spend the money you want to know you’re getting something you can actually use. One little raised bump on each earpiece not only gives you the ability to control key functions, but gives you a navigation point to find the other functional buttons. On the right ear, the raised bump is the On/Off button. On the left earpiece it’s the Volume Up/Down button. And since these work with the call function of your phone, on the right earpiece just below the raised bump there is an Answer/End button. It’s easy to access when you’re on the go, if you need. On the left, since it’s important to be able to control what you’re listening to, just below the raised bump is the button for the Play/Pause/Skip/Previous functionality. It takes a little time to get used to using your device through the headset but it’s such a great feature.

backbeat fit

4. Comfortable – The sleek design and soft materials make the BackbeatFit much more comfortable than other headphone I’ve used. I’ve used mine quite a bit for working at my computer, and there have been a few times I’ve forgotten I had them on. The low profile behind-the-neck style makes them great for people with longer hair. They sit comfortably at the back of the neck and don’t get tangled into your hair. They earpiece fits into the ear and may take a little while to get used to them. I have small-ish ears and had to adjust them the first few times I used them to get just the right fit. Now, I don’t feel them! The only part that could be a problem is the over-the-ear style. It’s taken me using them for a few weeks to figure out how to put them on easily so they sit comfortably the first time I do it.

5. Increased Productivity – Since I use these while I am at my desk, I’ve found I’m able to do things I was not when I used my traditional plugged-in Plantronics headset or my earbuds. Invariably, I’d make a call and end up on hold and be stuck at my desk. Now, I’m able to walk around even when I’m on hold for a very long time. That’s a big benefit for people who work at home and may need to go grab something to eat, check on the kids, let the dog out or, something that seems to happen a lot – sign for that package so you don’t miss it even though you are home.

Overall, I’m very happy with the Backbeat Fit and think you would too. They charge quickly and easily with the included USB charging cord. At $129 they’re very competitively priced for quality bluetooth headphones. They are available at Amazon or you can pick them up in person at your nearest Verizon Wireless store.

Disclosure: I was provided a sample product at no charge. I am a member of the Verizon Insider team and share information about technology. This review was not required or edited by a third-party. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Sara

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November 11, 2014

STEM Chat

IAT Logo

Disclosure: I am a compensated panelist for #STEMChat. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

Mark your calendar to join the November #STEMChat on Twitter this Thursday (11/13/14) at 9pm ET on Twitter. This hour-long chat will focus on project based learning and how project based learning gives kids a more broad-based education when compared to traditional rote memorization. Sponsored by IT’S ABOUT TIME® (IAT), we will have the opportunity to learn how It’s About Time’s project-based learning curricula and edtech is part of a comprehensive education program from kids of all ages.

The Twitter chat will be hosted by The Maker Mom, Kim Moldofsky, together with IAT. I will join the other panelists to talk about how project based learning can enhance gifted and homeschool education programs. As a STEM advocate, my goal is to encourage kinds of all ability to have an interest in STEM projects.

As she prepares for middle school, I’ve noticed that much of BabyGirl’s school time is spent in project-based learning opportunities. Gone are the days of reading a book and regurgitating what you remember onto an exam paper. Now, BabyGirl’s teacher is much more focused on interdisciplinary learning and having the kids become more engaged through project based learning. I’ve seen first hand the benefits, both in the quality of work and in the level of interest.

Meet the #STEMchat Panelists

  • @Venspired, Krissy Venosdale is passionate educator, STEAM advocate, Space Camp alum and maker of inspirational classroom posters. Learn more about her atVenspired.com.
  • @JanelleWilson, Janelle Wilson, is passionate about STEM, space, learning, and making all of which she shares with her chemistry and engineering students at Lanier High School in Sugar Hill, GA in a PBL-focused STEM-certified program. Read more about her at Stretching Forward.
  • @BetaMiller, Andrew Miller, is an educational consultant with ASCD and the Buck Institute for Education as well as a regular blogger for Edutopia.
  • @LaurieEDU, Laurie Kreindler, Co-Founder and Managing Partner of IT’S ABOUT TIME®. You can read her writings at Education Insider™.
  • @ItsAboutTimeEDU, IT’S ABOUT TIME®, is the leading provider of SF-backed, project-based STEM curricula and edtech for K-12 and college students across the country.
  • Moderator and host, @KimMoldofsky, also known as The Maker Mom and founder of #STEMchat. You can also follow her at @STEMchat, which is her default account if she lands in Twitter “jail.”

Whether you homeschool, public school, private school, or charter school, please join us on Twitter, Thursday, November 14, 2014 at 9pm ET, for what is sure to be an interesting and informative #STEMChat about project based learning. We’d love to hear about your experiences as well as answer questions. Tweet you there!

Sara

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