Plantronics BackBeat GO 410 is an interesting product of in-ear headphones with active noise cancellation (ANC). Its neckband part is made of silicone with some sort of rubbery feeling, a bit similar to BeatsX. There are 2 small plastic housings, one on each side, I assume they are for the battery and the Bluetooth and ANC processing. This is a mid-range level product that offers high-portability ANC product to consumers, which is interesting because most of good earphones with active noise cancellation come in over-ear form factor.

On receiving the product, I had mixed feeling about the product design. Neckband is thicker that I expected, but it’s still flexible enough for storage and it turned out to be comfortable enough for usage.the charging slot is protected by a rubbery cover, but opening the cover would actually cover the LED indicating the charging process, I found it quite annoying. Next, the earbuds are usable, but they are far from my expectation of comfort. I almost found this as dealbreaker, but I read from some reviews that I can actually use the StayHear+ earbuds from Bose QC30 with these earphones. And so I did, it makes the listening experience so much better.

Sound quality is surprisingly good. The bass is rich and punchy. Nothing special about the highs and mids, but they are not bad as well. With the sound character leaning a bit towards bass, these are not the most natural-sounding earphones, but I find it quite enjoyable for everyday listening. I bought these only for AUD 68 (USD 47), therefore I had set my expectation rather low, telling myself that I should not compare mid-level earphones to my Bose QuietComfort 35. So happy to be proven wrong.

Active Noise Cancellation is decent. It is not nearly as good as my Bose QC35, but for its price-range and portability, I am more than glad to accept the trade-off. The sound around me does not disappear, but they are less noisy, allowing us to enjoy the music more. With Bose, I could actually just turn on ANC and not playing any music. With BackBeat GO 410, I feel that the ANC feature is a non-separate-able pair with the music.

Battery life is reasonably okay. Plantronics promises 8 hours with ANC and 10 hours without ANC. I had around 7 hours, showed low battery and I charged it without waiting until it got completely off, so I guess 8 hours is about the right claim. I have to give special mention to the charging cable that can be transformed into 3.5mm jack, allowing us to use BackBeat Go 410 in wired mode. I don’t personally use that because, well, my phone doesn’t have the 3.5mm plug anymore, but I applaud the creativity of providing the 2-1 cable.

Microphone quality is rather poor. I tried using these for a phone call while outdoor and was told that the background noise around me sounded louder than my voice on the receiving end. Bluetooth connectivity is great, I had used BackBeat GO 410 for several weeks and hadn’t had a single unwanted disconnection.

Even though I bought these earphones with long flight travel in mind, I ended up using them for everyday commute. Combination of decent sound, decent ANC and compatibility with Bose earbuds, these become my new favourite for casual listening. Happy with the purchase.