Sennheiser PMX 686i Review


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Sennheiser Pmx 686 Headphones Review – Who Should Buy It?

The Sennheiser pmx 686i is mid-range earphone that is specifically tailored towards athletes and active sport enthusiasts. The company’s effort to team-up with Adidas may prove an added attraction for gym-goers. After reviewing the model, we think that the earphone offers a good sound quality, particularly for music listeners looking for something in the price range of under hundreds of dollars. On the downside, the headphone design has limitations as it does not fit well for everyone.

Design of PMX 686i and Sennheiser 686G Models

Opening the box reveals a subtle, thin and trendy looking bright neon green headset, with ingrained Adidas logo. The 1.2 meter cable length is suitable for most as it allows users to tuck in the headphones under their shirts. The cable also features the stand-alone control consisting of three buttons.

Perhaps, the location of the controls could have been further down allowing users to retain control of the buttons during workouts. Besides, its presence close to the ears makes it inconvenient to change settings. It means that users may struggle to take control during running and jogging. The complexity increases further as a single button in the headphone accounts for multiple settings.

Not everyone may feel that the location of the switch control is a problem, they will need to readjust the headband and earphones, frequently. Regarding the headband, it is provided as an extra support to sustain high-intensity workout. Still, the extra support will do little to help as numerous tests found that the earpiece are frequently dislodged during intense exercise regimen.

Overall, it seems that the old-school plastic earbuds are not be a universal fit. For buyers, it also means that Sennheiser pmx 686i are mostly practical for low-intensity runs for jogging and exercise. However, when wearing in high-intensity situations, it is more practical to try it before spending those $100.

Voice Quality

If you are not going to do intense exercise or feel that it will be an acceptable fit for your head size, good sound performance at this price is a hefty bonus. Regarding sound, numerous tests reveal that the headset smoothly filters out high volume noise from trains, traffic and television. In fact, there are no visible degradation or distortion when sound is raised from low to high.

Still, it does not mean that the headphone are able to cancel noise like their pricier counterparts. There will be some noise in and out of the microphone, depending on the volume and the environment. It should also be noted that people who are accustomed to very high levels of sound quality may be distracted because the sound levels does not match the pricier counterparts. Still, this is some of the best sound quality that you can get for the price.

Value-Added Features

Sennheiser 686i Headphones box

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Another feature that makes these earphone stand out from the crowd is sweat-free coating. According to the company, these earphones are specifically designed to cater to excessive sweating resulting from hard exercise. It seems that the company is very confident of their claims as the accompanied literature suggests users to wash the earphones under tap water to remove sweat particles. Perhaps, the plastic design of the headsets was introduced to make it easier to apply sweat-proof and water-proof coatings.

Some users have complained that the anti-bacterial coating is visible after some months of extensive workout. Although online reviews of such complaints are rare, thankfully the company also offers 2-years of warranty to deal with any issues. For most users, Sennheiser approved service centers are mostly available everywhere in and North America and Europe, which should help take care of the issue.

Final Verdict After Sennheiser Pmx 686i Review

Overall, the two models, Sennheiser 686G and Sennheiser 686i offer a descent quality headphone choice that can be used during workouts. Not as good as the similar styled Plantronic backbeat fit, as these model specifications fall short of the perfect design. As a result, users may find it difficult to keep the earbuds in place during intense workout sessions. Also, prolonged use of the earphones may induce uneasiness and discomfort. Still, the voice quality is good enough to warrant its use because additional features such as anti-bacterial sweat-proof coating and resistance of the plastic cable to water makes it a viable alternative to various pricier models.

go back to our full wired earbud reviews guide

Bose QuietComfort 20 Acoustic Review

bose quietcomfort 20 headphones

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Bose QuietComfort 20 Acoustic headphones are trendsetters for a new breed of Bose equipment that particularly focuses on in-ear headphones. What makes this version of Bose QuietComfort brand different from previous offerings by the company is an impressive noise cancellation technology integrated in the tiny device. Earlier, Bose has effectively used the noise cancelling features in its best selling over-ear and on-ear headphones, Bose QC3 and QuietComfort 15, respectively.

The Design

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Despite different design features compared to other in-ear headphones, buyers should notice a rectangular PowerBrick down the phone jack. The PowerBrick is the battery storage unit of the device, which is not overly exposed in models such as QuietComfort 20i. However, experts agree that the PowerBrick unit was required to hold on to a powerful battery that could smoothly tackle noise cancellation in a device as small as Bose QuietComfort earbuds. In fact, the power switch is also located in this PowerBrick. Despite the somewhat oversized PowerBrick panel, only regular users of the Boss may notice it as it integrates nicely with other components of the headphone. Besides, it is also lightweight, which does not impact handling of the earphone. In addition, the textured soft-touch makes it nearly unobtrusive.

Just down the chin, where the cable splits is another unit, which controls noise cancellation functions. The piece has a single control button adjacent to a side control switch that allows users to switch off the noise cancellation to hear surrounding noise. There is also a small pinhole mic, which is used for hands-free calls.

The overall design of Bose QuietComfort 20 Acoustic headphones offers a light feeling despite the presence of PowerBrick and control unit. The only drawback to the design is inability of users to automatically switch between the noise-cancellation and standard modes. For instance, users have reported that it is easy to turn off the noise cancellation, after use. It also means that the user may get a dead battery the next time they use the earphone. Still, some will say that manual transition from standard to noise-cancellation mode is a better option.

Noise-Cancellation Verdict

Regarding noise cancellation abilities, test clearly demonstrate that these Bose QuietComfort earbuds can easily cancel noise in the train, airports and similar areas of high intensity volume. Switching off the noise cancellation mode to standard mode allows users to hear loud sounds in the background without disrupting the music. Compared to other similar units, the noise cancellation effect is clearly evident because it can easily filter out noises in packed trains and noisy environments. However, it does not mean that the earphone will also cancel very intense sounds such as screeching of a loud train approaching the platform. In fact, users will hear the screech, but the screech does not interfere with the music even in the low volume mode. On a positive note, no one wants to suppress very high intensity sounds that often act to warn listeners of the nearby dangers. Basically, the device is made to cancel sounds such as air-condition hums and motor noise, even when it is coming from immediate vicinity.

The Battery

Another great feature of the product is the extended battery time, which provides almost 16 hours of listening time. For an average commuter, the battery time is sufficient to use the microphone for at least three days. As for the battery, it can be recharged using a standard microUSB port found in most smartphones. Whereas, the earphone excels in extended battery time, the battery is not replaceable. For a gadget, which is almost $300 in price, it can put off some users who need an option to replace the battery. Interestingly, the sound quality may suffer if the battery starts depleting.

Overall Verdict

GOOD: Bose QuietComfort 20 and 20i in-ear headphones are among the best noise-cancelling headphones in the industry. We specifically like the option to switch the headphone to standard mode without noise cancellation. Even in the standard mode, listeners can listen
to the music without degrading the quality of voice, unless in high-noise environments. In addition, the extended battery time of almost 16 hours adds to the value.

BAD: For most users who want to switch to a high quality in-ear headphone, the price is high. Perhaps, they are better off looking to a variety of other options in the market. Moreover, the irreplaceable battery is also a slight disappointment.

check out more of the best workout headphones on the market

Sennheiser CX 685 Adidas Sports Review

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Sennheiser CX685 Adidas Sport Headphones

The field of sports headphones is becoming increasingly crowded, so finding the best possible pair for specific activities at a reasonable price is tough. These particular headphones have a lot to recommend them, but ultimately are not likely to be the first choice for many people. Read the rest of our Sennheiser CX 685 Adidas Review to find out why.


The design is probably the best thing about these headphones. There is an elongated piece of flexible plastic extending above and below the ear bud. The bottom piece of this elongated plastic connects to the cord, but the upper piece is a wing that hugs the upper curve of your ear to help secure the earphones in place while you work out. This is a tremendously good idea, one that helps makes the earbuds feel securely attached to your ear, even when doing fast, jagged movements, like running or playing basketball. The headphones also come with three sizes of inserts for the earbuds themselves, allowing you to pick the size that best fits your ears.

The CX685’s also seem fairly tough and durable, which is an added bonus for people who put their headphones through a lot in the course of their workout, especially those who workout outside and expose their headphones to the elements.

The cords do become tangled easily, which is a real annoyance. You will have to make a definite point of carefully coiling them and storing them that way between workouts or you will lose some time each day untangling them before you can workout.

The biggest design drawback, which is a significant one, is that there is no in-line remote or microphone. Most sports headphones now come with an in-line remote that at a very minimum allows you to adjust the volume of your music, and many include the additional ability to skip forward and backward on your music tracks and some also include a microphone and the ability to take and make calls without getting your phone out. In this environment, a set of headphones that does none of those things seems like a dinosaur.

Comfort of Fit


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Considering that you can pick the size of your earbud insert, you would expect the Sennheiser Adidas Sports headphones to among the most comfortable of the headphones we have reviewed on this site. Unfortunately, that is not the case. After about half an hour, the earbuds become uncomfortable. Really uncomfortable. The problem, we suspect, is not the size of the earbud inserts but rather the materials used. Unlike most headphones that use a soft silicone for their earbud inserts, for some inexplicable reason the Sennheiser cx685 headphones use rigid plastic. If you expect to do shorter workouts at high intensity, this issue might not be a problem for you, but for people who spend more time in the gym, this could be an ongoing annoyance.

Sound Quality

The sound quality of these headphones is top-notch. These headphones maintain true sound until you get to the loudest audio settings. The bass sounds come through true and clear, and so do the higher pitches. You can listen to opera or Jay-Z, and both will sound as good as you can expect from an in-ear headphone.


The price is another point where these headphones seem a bit like a failure. They are listed at around seventy dollars retail, which is on the high end of average for a pair of sports headphones. And indeed, you could spend that and get a less durable pair of headphones with lower quality sound. However, you could also spend that–or less than that, in some cases–for a pair of headphones with greater comfort and the in-line remote that is useful. If you just set your audio and never adjust it during your workout, these are probably a good choice for you. Similarly, if your workouts are short enough that the discomfort of the rigid plastic earbuds are not an issue for you, these are probably a good choice for you. But if you like to adjust your music’s volume and skip tracks, or if you work out for longer periods, the Sennheiser CX 685 might eventually annoy you. If that is the case then you might want to check out a more comfortable pair, like the jaybird x2’s.

read more reviews on the best gym headphones

Bose SoundSport In-ear Review

Bose SoundSport In-Ear headphones

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Bose SoundSport In-Ear Headphones

Bose SoundSport earbuds are the current No.1 in our favorite workout headphones of 2016 list. One might argue that Bose are certainly not cheap, but I don’t think you will find many saying that they arn’t darn good value for money. The difference in sound quality when you slip a pair of bose in your ear compared to cheaper alternatives is palpable.


These Bose SoundSport In-Ear headphones are very athletic looking. With a sporty, comfortable design, specifically designed for workouts, they stay firmly placed in the ear whilst also providing excellent quality sound, as you would expect from a pair of Bose.

As you can see in the photo above, they come in range of color choices and have a multicolor ribbon cord just to add to that sporty flair. With rounded C-shaped ear ‘wings’ that allow the headphones to sit loosely in your ears, as opposed to them being jammed into them uncomfortably – it really feels like they’re not even there.

The cord has an inline remote, which features a volume rocker and multifunction button for pausing your music and answering calls.

The Apple/iOS version with the remote has many colors available to choose from. The Android version has a more limited color selection, and the “audio only” version has the same color selection as the Andriod version. When Bose add more colors and accessories, you will find that the older colors are at a discounted price.

I like the fit of the earbud because I don’t like having headphones stuck all the way in my ears. Plus, the rounded C-shaped ear ‘wings’ make it easy to have a hard workout without always needing to adjust them if they slip out.

What’s Included?

Bose SoundSport In-Ear stuff included

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When you buy your Bose SoundSport headphones, they include three different sizes of ear tips. Keep in mind that these earbuds won’t seal your ear canal off. This means noise from the outside world will be heard, though, if you want to block noise from the gym, they are great. Along with the different sizes of ear tips, Bose also includes different sizes of wings to give you the best fit and comfort.

You will also receive a round, compact carrying case. It is easily clipped to the inside of your gym bag or pocket book with an attached carabiner.

Comfort & Fit And Audio Quality

These earbuds come with silicone tips – that sit in your ear canal – and have C-shaped wings, that set into the side of your ear. This will secure the earbuds, ensuring your workouts aren’t paused momentarily by having to put them back in your ear if they fall out.

The audio quality is excellent – everything you’d expect from Bose – but I feel the bass could have just a tiny bit more ‘oomph.’ – but thats just nitpicking. They do have good bass, but not quite up to the level of other Bose versions.

The Bottom Line

As I conclude my Bose SoundSport review, I do have to say that these headphones are very comfortable, and the sound quality is above average. What really makes these earbuds stand out as fantastic workout headphones, is that you really don’t notice they are there. Really lightweight, yet they stay put and provide well above average sound quality. Everything you would expect from a pair of gym headphones. – If you’re looking for a pair of headphones that are solely used for working out – then as things stand – these are the best around.

check out more of the best headphones for working out here