Plantronics has been a household name for headphones since the 1960s, famous for designing headphones for the NASA moon landing mission, and they’ve only started venturing into the consumer market in the last two decades. I have to say, I’d take these headphones to the moon if I could.
The Backbeat GO 810 is made mostly from plastics with an aluminum extendable headband. I love the minimalistic design that keeps it sophisticated and not gaudy - it comes in black, blue and white. The ear cups and the top of the leatherette has matte finishing which looks great but this material tend to wear down over time. Earcups padded with memory foam and faux leather make it comfortable for long commutes or travelling. The yokes also turn for 90 degrees, adding to the comfort factor. However, the playback buttons on the left earcup are layered with rubber which is usually in a perpetual state of dustiness.
The controls for the GO 810 around the earcups are all non-capacitive. The playback buttons and volume rocker are on the left cup, while the power/Bluetooth toggle and EQ button are on the right. These headphones also come with a 3.5mm jack and a micro-USB port for charging. When going wireless, the Bluetooth can connect up to two devices at once, which is particularly useful to connect to a PC and a phone.
Sound quality is pretty crisp across the spectrum, which can be fully realised in music with layers of instrumentation. First to test, ‘Holocene’ by Bon Iver; a song that builds in complexity with a lot of subtleties - like the brass instruments that sneak into the song during the first chorus. When the song reaches its climax in the final chorus, the instruments that were previously featured are present with his voice above it all. With the GO 810, the layers are there for you to catch without pay too much attention. If you prefer louder bass for your headphones, this might not be for you. Though that isn’t to say the bass on this is bad, just that the bass doesn’t drown out the mids and highs.
These headphones also feature active noise cancellation (ANC) but it isn’t exactly the best. Even when set to ‘high’, conversations could still be heard in a quiet office environment. I’ve also noticed that when active noise cancellation is on, there’s this pressure in my ears instantly goes away when it’s off.
In terms of battery life, it’s definitely one of the GO 810’s strengths, besides the great audio quality. With a full charge, the headphones last 22 hours with ANC on and even longer with it off - at 26 hours. That being said, you can still use it with the power off with the 3.5mm headphone jack.
Plantronics has a Backbeat app that allows you to track the battery life and control the noise cancellation and EQ. Although the EQ is only switching between the ‘Bright’ and ‘Balanced’ preset, without any sort of customisation options. Fortunately, the presets offered are good enough already.