My story with the Playground BH120 started when I wondered why I’m toiling everyday bringing my bulky Bluetooth headphones to work. They may have shielded my choice of music from innocent bystanders but they standout and can be cumbersome at times. Lo and behold, Playground sent me a review unit of the BH120 exactly as I was about to voice my first-world complaint.
So what’s with the Playground BH120? Is it a device that shares the magic of the previously impeccable outdoor-oriented BH200? Or is it a shoddy attempt for a Bluetooth earpiece? Read on to find out.
“You look like an android, bro!” –some bystander commenting on the BH120.
The BH120 is one small and tiny device. It fits the palm, is as thin as a finger, and is not that weighty. It sports an somewhat L-shaped design, with the mic at the edge of longer side and the earpiece located at the shorter one. A micro-USB slot sits at the bridge between the receiver and speaker. On the outside, we are greeted by three white LEDs and the logo of Playground.
The one and only button rests on top. Holding it down powers the device up/down. There are no volume controls, nothing that would resemble switches for next/previous track. All non-existing functions can be configured only at the host device.
Since this is a consumer product, I tested it using a variety of methods such as wearing it on a morning, during lunchtime, and at dinnertime. Much to the chagrin of my compatriots, they mostly just left me alone with an odd alien object dangling from my ear. Some say it looks cool, some think of it as a hipster artefact, while others know it as it is – a Bluetooth headset.
For starters, I tested how it can snugly hug my ear. To my disappointment, the whole package does not come with any custom fittings. Unlike the Playground BH200 that I reviewed a while back, the BH120 lacks those nifty attachments. It feels unsecure and just a slight push might be more than enough to plummet the device out of your ear and onto the pavement. You are held at the mercy of its plastic plug. If it fits well, then good for you. If not, then I do hope that you can manage.
After sometime, I did find a comfortable angle and then proceeded to test the BH120’s audio. While it did give off clear and somewhat acceptable bass, the Playground BH120’s main caveat is again due to its ergonomics. The earpiece itself wasn’t that “attached” to my ear thus giving me a winded down output. Yes, I can press it on my ear for more clarity, but it’s not designed like that and who would do that? On the otherhand, the mic picks up well and clear, filtering out the background noise while ensuring that it receives what you want it to transmit. Also, there’s no need to be concerned with audio leaking out of the earpiece despite its “unattachment”. It’s weak and audible enough for it to be clear on one’s ear whilst keeping things private.
In terms of battery performance, the Playground BH120 proved to be one resilient device. I had it run for six hours, bursting out tunes for the whole duration. Playground claims that the device can last six hours for talk time and 240 hours standby. What I do hate is the device constantly nagging me that it’s low on juice every three minutes. I can take two prompts, but more than that is pushing it.
I think that this kind of product need not be worn all-day. But for the sake of writing another paragraph for this review, I took it to myself to wear it for a whole day. The Playground BH120 proved to be less than a minor nuisance as it is light enough to be forgotten. I did forget that I’ve been wearing it after sometime. However, if you’re in a meeting or possibly talking with somebody, best take them off unless you want to have just one ear entering the fray.
Oh, and I can recommend not to wear it during strenuous activities. The Playground BH120 is obviously not for sports. Don’t wear it while doing sports. Just don’t.
There’s so much promise in Playground’s BH120. But the overall experience is marred by its inability to hook up with one’s (MY) ear. It’s not just my ear but I also asked some of my colleagues to test it out and likewise, that’s their unanimous verdict. Some additional accessories could’ve mitigated or downright eliminated this problem. Playground might’ve had an oversight on this feature which is kind of a downer.
Other than that, the Playground BH120 performs well and is about just a quarter shy of perfection. Comparing it with other similar but more expensive sets, its audio output is better or on par. It properly gets what you want to the other side of the conversation, while filtering out those unnecessary background noises. The good thing about it all is the price which is PHP 990. The Playground BH120’s specs are often found on products that are equal to twice or even thrice of its price tag. This is undoubtedly a bang for the buck product for those looking for quality without burning the bank.