I used the Sennheiser PMX 680i Sports while cycling around country lanes, sea kayaking and during two one hour gym sessions. While cycling I found that I never needed to readjust the fitment of the headphones, once in place they stayed there comfortably for the whole duration, even when having to raise from my seat to power up some steep country hills! However, one thing to note is that if your cycling helmet comes below your ear at the rear these headphones will not fit, as they overhang at the back of your head.
While kayaking I was fortunate enough to not fall in and get these headphones soaking wet with sea water, however needless to say luck wasn’t on my side as the heavens decided to open while 3km or so away from shore, so these headphones did get a good soak testing from the rain and splashes from my paddle. Sure enough they worked completely fine in the wet and never crackled or missed a beat.
Using these in the gym was not so successful. Due to the overhang of the headband at the rear, when trying to bench-press or do any other exercise where your head rests against something, you need to flip the headband up or remove them completely as they will not stay in your ears with the overhang pushed against your head. This isn’t really a fault of these headphones specially, you’ll find it an issue on most sports headband type headphones – the only solution would be to offer them in a range of sizes, which may not be possible for Sennheiser and would probably raise the price.
The audio performance of the Sennheiser PMX680i headphones is impressive for a pair of sports style headphones. The volume offered is remarkable which is especially important when your trying to block out your gym’s horrific ‘Ultimate Workout’ CD, you don’t risk destroying the speakers either, even at maximum volume (which is insanely loud) I still struggled to make them distort. But in actual terms of noise isolation, they are really quite good, I was stunned to find all background noise blocked out at only 50% volume, so don’t think you are going to be able to use these during team based sports!
In terms of actual quality, the bass offered is nice and punchy, not as low as I would have liked but its enough to make your head nod back and fourth. The mid-range is clear, perhaps not as sharp as I would have liked, but still noticeably better than your run-of-the-mill headphones. The detail in the highs is where these headphones really prove themselves, compared to the Bose IE2’s I reviewed not long ago, you can hear everything in the high range with the Sennheiser PMX 680i’s. All in all, the quality is not as good as I would have hoped for, but for Sports designed headphones you’ll struggle to find better.
Designed for sports, the Sennheiser PMX 680i offer exactly what it says on the tin. They allow a far richer listening experience over most sports headphones and require no fiddling around with; they fit great and stay comfortable for your entire exercise session.
The remote and microphone is another great addition. Whether you want to be taking calls while slogging it out at the gym is your choice, but being able to control music and volume all from nothing more than three buttons is great.
The sound quality isn’t as good as I would have expected from a pair of Sennheiser headphones, however for £50 sports headphones I wouldn’t have expected much better, you’d need to spend at least double that for a pair of significantly better earphones.
All in all, if you’ve only got £50 to spend, you would struggle to find better sports headphones than these.