After a successful run of the premium BackBeat PRO series and the entry-level BackBeat 500 series, Plantronics released a midrange over-ear headphones for the first time to address the mid-market segment. The BackBeat GO 810 is available in Singapore at the price of S$249 and comes with active noise cancelling.
The BackBeat GO 810 takes after the features and earcup design of the PRO series and the headband design of the BackBeat 500 series. The whole design appears very stylish and premium until you start to handle the product. The giveaway is the creaky headband that mars the perception, but otherwise the GO 810 is stunning to be seen, especially the “Bone White” colour with copper headband accents.
Compared to the BackBeat PRO 2, the GO 810 comes with 2 ANC modes, lacks ambient mode, and no auto-pause feature. It also connects via Bluetooth 5.0 with SBC codec with no aptX in sight. I certainly prefer the cleaner design of the GO 810.
Playback controls is on the left earcup. Volume adjustment is also more conventional via rocker keys instead of the turn-table on the PRO 2.
The dual-mode ANC is adjustable via the BackBeat app. High mode is more aggressive in eliminating the low frequency, while Low mode is less aggressive in the low frequency but also suppressing the high frequency slightly. The result is that under the Low mode, the high frequency does not stick out as much, which is preferred for urban setting with noisy people. To turn on or off the ANC on the headphones, you need to press both volume buttons at the same time, and that is not an elegant method. ANC effect is definitely incomparable to the industry-leading Bose and Sony, but it’s still better than having none, and I thought it is slightly better than the PRO 2 in this aspect.
In the BackBeat app, it is also possible to select one of the 2 EQ presets. With ANC disabled, the EQ adjustment is more pronounced. EQ Bright mode brightens up the treble while EQ Balanced bumps up the sub-bass excessively. To me, EQ Bright is rather hard to listen to as the treble is just too bright, while EQ Balanced is too bass-heavy. The best selection is ANC High mode enabled with EQ Balanced, and in this mode, the bass is firm and impactful without excessive sub-bass, while the treble is detailed with sufficient transparency. Compared to the BackBeat PRO 2, the BackBeat GO 810 is tamer on the bass but I prefer the latter’s flatter V-shaped tuning. Thanks to the over-ear closed back design plus ANC, musical details are more forthcoming on the GO 810 than any of the current range.
An unpleasant by-product of the BackBeat GO 810 is the relatively high noise floor when music is streamed. It’s not annoying unless you are particular with audio faithfulness, to which you probably won’t be getting this headphones. Most of the time, the hiss relegates into the background and won’t bother most of us.
The BackBeat GO 810 is the new star of Plantronics over-ear headphones. Although the BackBeat PRO 2 has more premium features and finishing (and the street price is just a few red notes more), the GO 810 has a more youthful design and the headband won’t flake over time since it’s not wrapped with synthetic leather. The BackBeat GO 810 is also more versatile, allowing user to go for massive bass feel or excessive treble brightness by choosing a combination of ANC and EQ modes. An alternative model of the same price range, Sennheiser HD 4.50 BTNC, exhibits weaker treble clarity and musical excitement, plus the earcups are smaller, though the design is classic and the headphones can fold for a more compact storage, suited for the traveling executives.