I bought these as a replacement for the older model MX680i, as my workout headphones (didn't fancy ruining my Bose pairs with sweat and Lucozade!). This time I went for the ear-hook and earbud combination that the OCX685i offers, as opposed to my old MX680i, which sat just outside the ear canal, and had a fin system which was meant to keep them firmly in your ears. In reality it was just irritating, with them constantly falling out. So, was I right to upgrade? You bet.
As an aside, I bought the PowerBeats by Dre at the same time as these, but returned them after a week. I will therefore give a direct comparison between the two.
On construction; the OCX685i is built to last. DuPont kevlar reinforced cables mean that if you were to say, accidentally tangle the cord in an exercise bike, which I have done before, ruining iPod headphones, in this case they're absolutely fine. Sennheiser have worked with Adidas to make the perfect workout headphones, and they have succeeded here. Rugged enough to withstand anything that anyone who isn't the Hulk can throw at them, they'll take all the punishment of my 2 hour daily triathlon training laugh it off and ask for more. Sennheiser claim they are waterproof too, to the point that you can run them under the tap to clean off all your sweat and gunk after a run. The remote is much more chunky than it used to be on the 680s, and the buttons are more distinct; on the old 680s, I was constantly hitting pause when trying to change volume, but no problems on the new model. Compare this to the PowerBeats, which are made of really flimsy plastic, have a thin cable which could probably be broken by a bored 3 year old, and what's more, the remote stopped working after 4 workouts.
They are incredibly comfortable. The hook over the ear design is perfect for exercise; I've ran, cycled, and lifted weights for hours on end, and they don't even budge. They're so lightweight and comfortable that you wouldn't know you were wearing them if it weren't for the occasional time the cable clips your neck while running. Being earbuds, they block out almost as much noise as a pair of active noise cancelling headphones, which is fine when you're in the gym; you don't have to listen to the permatan covered TOWIE reject grunt and groan when he's showing off to any women within a mile. But if you're running or cycling outside, in the real world, then be careful. They cut out the noise of passing cars a little too well; carelessness will find you splattered on a bus windscreen in very little time.
On the other hand, the Beats were horrifically uncomfortable; Dr Dre certainly needs to head to medical school and learn human anatomy; the fit seems as if it would fit the ears of something, but not a human being. They also let in a lot more outside noise, which was better when I went on a run down at the beach, but not in the gym, where I heard Mr Permatan making some sort of boar cry at a volume which drowned out Kenny Loggins' Danger Zone (my go to workout song). This was not the case with the Sennheisers, which reduced his boar noises to nothing.
My old 680s were in a similar vein to the Beats; they let in outside noise. Great when you're on the street running, but not in the gym.
Now, the sound quality. The marketing hype would have you believe that the Beats should be lightyears ahead here. But the reality is the exact opposite. The Beats sat outside of the ear, and the massive bass that they are famous for was reduced to a horrible mess, especially when the mids and treble weren't taken care of properly.
The Sennheisers though, were nothing short of amazing. As long as you fit the buds into your ears properly, then the bass response is superb. I'd say it has even more bass than the big Beats cans (Studio, Pro etc), which is an achievement in itself. What's really impressive though, is that while I criticise the Beats for having 'too much' bass that it ruins the mids and trebles, somehow Sennheiser have managed not to ruin them. Cymbals crash, guitars scream; they are wonderful. I always criticised my old MX680i for a lack of bass, and thankfully Sennheiser have listened.
Finally, the price. A pair of PowerBeats cost £120. The OCX 685i, which as I have established is superior in every way, cost £65 in the Apple Store, which is a bargain in itself, but Amazon will do them anywhere from £30-45 (the price fluctuates). I got them for £30, and that makes them a huge bargain. If you're like me and cannot workout without music, but won't reduce yourself to the horror of Apple bundled earphones, then the OCX685i is the best sports headphone out there.
Accessory for iPod / Enjoy your favourite music on the move with OCX 685i Sennheiser headphones which deliver a clear natural sound with lightweight premium ear-buds and earhooks for an ergonomic fit. Designed in conjunction with Adidas, these durable and reliable sports headphones also boast Sennheiser quality sound and can keep up with your workout. A moisture protection system means you can exercise in challenging conditions with your favourite tunes, and rinse the headphones clean under running water. Carefully selected materials absorb shock and minimise wear. Noise isolation and comfort are achieved with a choice of ear-bud sizes so you can hear just musical detail and not the surrounding noise. Adjust the volume, skip tracks, answer phone calls and activate Siri with the included smart remote for iPod, iPhone and iPad.