I bought this pair of headphones in April 2010, having previously owned 2 pairs of Sennheiser PMX 70's and a pair of PMX 80's. I mainly use my headphones whilst commuting (including going on the tube) and in the gym. I've always had issues with headphones staying in my ears, especially whilst exercising, so this range is ideal from that point of view. I've loved the comfort and sound quality of my previous PMX 70 and 80's, but they've all fallen apart far too quickly. Hence - as these PMX 680's were advertised as "rugged", and slightly more expensive (£25 v £15), I thought I may have found my ideal pair of headphones.
Alas, this didn't turn out to be the case. I write this review on the day that I'm throwing away these headphones as they've gone the way of their predecessors. The sound suddenly disappeared from the right earphone. With twisting of the cord, it may return for a few seconds or minutes, but ultimately cuts out again. This same problem has blighted all of my previous Sennheiser's. Now, I probably don't take as good care of them as I should, but I certainly don't abuse my headphones. They're always in the case when taken out, and I can't recall ever dropping them. For headphones that are designed for sports use, and are sold as "rugged", the build quality is just not up to scratch.
Aside from the build quality, I've been more disappointed with these headphones than their previous, and cheaper, incarnations. As mentioned in other reviews, the volume control is in completely the wrong place. With the music player in a trouser pocket, the control dangles in the middle of your chest, and has nothing to clip onto. Hence, it moves around whilst running, bashing into you and causing sound disturbance.
Another complaint is that the volume seems to be much lower than the headphones in the series. To be able to use only the volume control on the headphone cable, I have to set my music player volume to maximum.
There are positives, however, that prevent me rating this product 1 star. The sound quality is excellent - strong bass, reasonable detail and clarity - much better (obviously) than cheap headphones supplied with music players. The headphones are light and comfortable - they stay in your ears, and don't budge even with vigorous exercise. They're very reasonably priced, albeit more expensive than PMX 80's, which offer the same positives. The only advantage over it's predecessors that I can think of is that the design and colouring of the headphones is much subtler than previous editions (and all the better for it), whilst still looking sporty, modern and funky.
Overall, then, it's with disappointment that I consign my PMX 680's to the bin, as I had such high hopes for them. In the past I've returned to Sennheiser repeatedly for their sound quality, comfort and value for money. However, I can no longer overlook the seriously compromised build quality, and will be trying a different brand. If I do return to Sennheiser, it will be to the PMX 80's, which do the good every bit as well as these PMX 680's, but are cheaper and come without the unnecessary, and downright irritating, volume control.