The Sennheiser MX 686G are sports earbuds designed for use with Android devices. There’s no corresponding iOS version available. At $69.95, the model is one of the two cheapest sports models currently offered by the company, the other being the Sennheiser CX 686G. The sports features on the MX 686G are well-implemented, although the audio quality hasn’t been given the same level of attention to detail. The only colour option for the model is bright lime green with white and grey highlights.
The model has an inline mic and three-button remote. The two volume buttons also control track changes with multiple presses, and the middle button can pause music as well as starting and ending calls. If you use the earbuds with an iOS device then the volume controls will not work. The mic is located at the Y-shaped junction where the cable splits towards each earpiece. As a result it’s a little further away than some other designs. The mic still works fine though, and can be used without interrupting your workout. As with all headsets it’s worth checking your device on Sennheiser’s compatibility listing before committing to a purchase.
Sennheiser MX 686G stays tangle-free
The symmetrical cable is 1.2 metres long and terminates in a 3.5mm angled jack. The cable is oval-shaped and has a tangle-free design. Not every “tangle-free” cable actually delivers the goods, but Sennheiser have got it right for the MX 686G. It’s heavier than the average cable. But rather than being a hassle, the thicker build just makes it more durable and helps keep it in place during exercise. There’s a slider which can be used to shorten the Y-shape gap to personal preference. There’s also a clip for securing the MX 686G to your clothes. Cable noise isn’t a big issue but if you want to reduce it, the clip will help. The model is sweat and water-resistant. A mesh pouch is included to store the earbuds. It might not provide as much protection as a hard case but it’s convenient to use. If you run into any issues with durability, a two-year warranty is offered on the product.
The Sennheiser MX 686G doesn’t have the most impressive audio fidelity. All of Sennheiser’s current sports models have a decidedly average frequency response of 18–20,000 Hz. With all the sports features, perhaps this was the only way to keep the price down. If you want more serious audio quality in your headphones, you could investigate the Sennheiser CX 5.00G. The MX 686G provides a boosted bass response, although to get the full effect it’s important that the earbuds fit you well. The treble is not harsh or fatiguing but it’s also not particularly detailed. Overall it’s a decent showing but there’s nothing to get overly excited about in this area.
The build of the model is worth looking at as it’s a little unconventional for Sennheiser. Most of the company’s current line-up consists of earphones, which sit deeper in the ear and provide stronger isolation, while the MX 686G has a flat earbud build. The included ear adaptor does enter the ear canal a little so it does differ from a stock-standard earbud design. A result of the earbud build is that the isolation is not as strong. As a sports model, this will be welcomed by many as it helps you stay aware of your surroundings while out and about.
The ear adaptors have an antimicrobial coating designed by UK specialists SteriTouch. There’s only a single set of ear adaptors included in the package. The adaptors and earpieces are a little on the large size, perhaps to ensure a good fit from the flat earbuds. The single set of adaptors present two issues. One is, if the adaptor doesn’t fit your ear, then you have no alternative and are stuck with an uncomfortable fit. Also, if you lose or damage one of the adaptors, there’s no spare pair to use. The only solution is shelling out more cash and waiting around for replacement adaptors to arrive.
Adjustable ear hook design
The ear hook design of the MX 686G is a little unusual. The hooks can be extended out to get the hooks in the right position. The hooks are designed to fit within the fold of your ear rather than circling around the top of your ear. It depends on personal preference if you like this design. It holds in the ear pretty well for vigorous movement but the design will definitely turn some users off. This is because the hooks are on the hard side and can be uncomfortable for some.
The Sennheiser MX 686G earbuds hit the mark for sports uses, with a tangle-free design, adjustable ear hooks and limited isolation. Par for the course with Sennheiser sports models, the audio performance is fair but nothing special. The earpiece design strays from the standard set-up in a number of ways and whether that attracts you is a matter of personal taste.