That said, if you don’t want to spend $200 (£230, AU$250) on a set of wireless headphones but still want active noise cancellation (ANC), the all-new Plantronics BackBeat Go 810 are an excellent choice.
These $150 (£140, AU$240) headphones are built just as well as the BackBeat Pro 2, but with a less premium materials. Similarly, sound is nearly on par but you’ll miss a few features. (Although, the BackBeat Pro 2 can’t stand up against the competition when it comes to ANC prowess and that hasn’t changed with the BackBeat Go 810.)
For the money, however, the Plantronics BackBeat GO 810 are an excellent pair of noise cancelling, wireless headphones for those on a budget.
The Plantronics BackBeat Go 810 feature an understated design that’s even more conservative than its more expensive BackBeat Pro 2 brother. Whereas the BackBeat Pro 2 featured wood inserts and leather, the BackBeat GO 810 is made of mostly plastic, silicone and metal. The headband is made of plastic and padded with cloth – that, while not as comfy as leather, should stand up against abuse better.
Moving down to the earcups, the BackBeat Go 810 uses plastic and silicone on the outside and a faux leather for its earpads. Each ear cup is capped with silicone, which while durable, attracts a ton of dust. It’s a small gripe but the headphones constantly look dirty and we wish Plantronics would have stuck with plastic buttons.
The combination of plastic and faux leather makes the BackBeat Go 810 comfortable to wear for long periods, making them suited for travel. Adding to the robust build quality are the headphone’s metal forks that hold the earcups to the headband and allow the headphones to fold flat for travel. Unfortunately they don’t fold up for travel and only come with a mesh pouch instead of a hard case for travel.
The left ear cup houses playback and volume controls while the right ear cup features the power/pairing slider and an adjustable ANC button. There’s a 3.5mm headphone jack so you can still use the headphone when you’re out of juice. To charge the headphone, you have to use the microUSB port which could be a problem if you're used to carrying around USB-C cables.
In terms of sound, the Plantronics BackBeat GO 810 are good, but fall flat of a few areas: the tonal balance is slightly warm from neutral, but the headphones don’t provide a lot of detail. We tried the headphone with both ANC on and off and found it sounded best with ANC on. With ANC disabled, the headphone’s bass gets overwhelming and sounds loose. There’s also an annoying faint hiss when there’s no music playing, something that doesn’t happen with the Platronics BackBeat Pro 2.
The Go 810's ANC leaves a lot to be desired, especially compared to leaders like the Bose QC 35 II and the Sony WH-1000XM3 ... but, at half the price, you wouldn’t expect them to be. The headphones do a decent job of keeping out the noise of a busy commute but voice and higher frequencies still get through.
Battery life is rated at an impressive 22 hours with ANC enabled and up to 28 hours with ANC disabled. In our testing, we found the headphones lasted closer to 20 hours with ANC on, which isn’t far from the company’s rating. This is excellent and will get travelers through long flights without a problem.
If you can stretch the budget, the BackBeat Pro 2 offer better sound, materials, and more features like auto play/pause when you remove the headphone.
That said, the Go 810 are an affordable pair of ANC headphones that will please travelers and commuters who don’t want to spend too much money on headphones. While the Plantronics BackBeat Pro 2 are still the better headphone of the two, those who want to save some cash won’t be disappointed by the 810.
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