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Sennheiser CX Plus True Wireless
Retail price: $179.95$179.95 at Amazon
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Sennheiser CX Plus True Wireless
Sennheiser has been moving in a more reasonably priced direction with its CX True Wireless line for a while now, but this new entry is a bit pricier. The Sennheiser CX Plus True Wireless are almost identical to the CX True Wireless, except now these true wireless earbuds have active noise-cancelling (ANC). Is that enough to justify the $50 price increase? Find out in this Sennheiser CX Plus True Wireless review.
Who is the Sennheiser CX Plus True Wireless for?
- Commuters who want something reliable and straightforward with ANC.
- Active people looking for something sweatproof with good sound for their workouts.
- Anyone who just wants a versatile pair of wireless earbuds for a less-than-Apple price.
What are the Sennheiser CX Plus True Wireless like?
The Sennheiser CX Plus True Wireless don’t take much getting used to, and they work the same as most wireless earbuds. They sport a new glossy surface, but are otherwise basically identical to the Sennheiser CX True Wireless earbuds.
The Sennheiser CX Plus sport a new glossy surface, but are otherwise basically identical to the regular Sennheiser CX earbuds.
Past aesthetics, these also work in the same way as the previous generation earbuds, which isn’t a bad thing. The CX Plus earbuds are light, and come with four different sized ear tips (extra small, small, medium, and large), so you should be able to get a good fit. Getting a good fit is important for sound quality, but it’s especially important with these buds since there are no other stabilizers like a fin or hook to keep them in your ears.
The case is pretty much the same as its predecessor, which is a bit bulkier than the case of something like the Apple AirPods Pro, but still fits in pockets. The case charges via USB-C, and has a light on the front to indicate charge level. The case is made of plastic, and the hinge feels a bit flimsy, but otherwise well constructed. The earbuds fit into the case with magnets and pegs.
The CX Plus use Bluetooth 5.2 and support the SBC, AAC, and aptX Bluetooth codecs, meaning there’s a high-quality option for Android and iOS users. There’s no support for Google Fast Pair or anything similar, so you’ll need to tap and hold both earbuds for three seconds to initiate pairing mode.
Read more: Bluetooth codecs 101
How do you control the Sennheiser CX Plus True Wireless?
These earbuds are pretty straightforward. The CX Plus feature capacitive touch panels where the glossy Sennheiser logo is, and you can control playback and calling with a single tap, twice, or three times, or tapping and holding on either ear. This time around Sennheiser added both ANC and transparency mode, which filters sound from your surroundings into your ears using the microphones.
|Action||Left side||Right side|
|One tap||Transparency mode||Play/pause|
|Two taps||Previous track||Next track|
|Three taps||ANC||Voice assistant|
|Hold||Volume down||Volume up|
What is the Sennheiser Smart Control app like?
Sennheiser Smart Control is a well laid-out app that’s available on Android and iOS, and it’s easy to connect to your earbuds once they’re paired to your mobile device. Smart Control lets you remap controls on the earbuds, but volume is still locked to tapping and holding on the right or left bud. You can also adjust your earbuds’ EQ with either a three-band equalizer or a dynamic visualizer interface where you can raise or lower a frequency line, with the ability to save presets to swap back to later.
The app also lets you adjust the level of sidetone, so you can hear how you sound through the mic on phone calls, and you can set whether you want virtual assistants to hear your voice prompts. You can also get firmware updates for the charging case and earbuds, so it’s an essential install.
How long does the battery last on the Sennheiser CX Plus True Wireless?
Sennheiser claims that the CX Plus True Wireless can last up to eight hours on a single charge, but our testing reveals that the battery life falls short of that. With ANC off, the left earbud lasts five hours, 44 minutes at a consistent output of 75dB(SPL), while the right earbud lasts a tad longer at five hours, 47 minutes. This is pretty average for true wireless earbuds.
Sennheiser also claims that the charging case holds 16 hours of charging capacity, and we haven’t experienced anything to challenge that. Over the week of testing, the case only needed charging twice. It doesn’t feature any fast charging or wireless charging, but it’s reliable.
Check out: The best workout earbuds
How are the Sennheiser CX Plus True Wireless at noise-cancelling?
The Sennheiser CX Plus True Wireless feature rather good ANC performance for a pair of wireless earbuds. They’re not quite as good as something like the Sony WF-1000XM4, but they compare well to earbuds like the Apple AirPods Pro or Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro.
These earbuds have great passive isolation, which helps with incidental noises like car horns or clattering dishware. The ANC renders lower sounds in the 100-300Hz range to about one-quarter as loud, and even lower sounds are about half as loud as usual. This means bassy, droning sounds like a bus engine or a lightbulb will be very quiet, potentially inaudible.
Read more: Best noise-cancelling wireless earbuds
How do good the Sennheiser CX Plus True Wireless sound?
The Sennheiser CX Plus True Wireless sound great. This frequency response chart from Soundguys shows that the CX Plus (cyan) follows our consumer target curve (pink) fairly closely, save for a slight bass and midrange emphasis, and slight de-emphasis in the high range. Music of all kinds should sound quite nice from these earbuds. In the Scary Pockets cover of Just the Two of Us, Lizzy McAlpine’s vocals and Swatkin’s talkbox singing come through really clearly, and the bass guitar has a nice little boost that doesn’t drown out the guitar picking throughout the song. When Swatkin’s talkbox mingles with the keyboard around (1:47), the keys get a little masked, but not so much that you can’t hear it.
How is the microphone on the Sennheiser CX Plus True Wireless?
The microphone on the Sennheiser CX Plus True Wireless sounds like what you’d expect from a product like it. It’s a little muffled sounding, and struggles with low-end sound and background noise, but not in a horrible way. This is fine for a phone call, but it’s not a good idea to record speech with it.
You can listen to a sample of the microphone here.
Sennheiser CX Plus True Wireless: The verdict
If you’re looking for a reliable pair of noise-cancelling true wireless earbuds for under $200, you should definitely consider these. While these buds aren’t the best in class, they check a lot of boxes and do everything well.
The Sennheiser CX Plus True Wireless earbuds check a lot of boxes and do everything well.
The Sennheiser CX Plus True Wireless earbuds sound very good and offer great noise-cancelling for the price. The app experience is minimal but easy to use, and customizable EQ is a nice feature. The IPX4 rating and different ear tip sizes make this a great workout option. The battery life is average, but it’s more than enough to get you through a commute.
Sennheiser CX Plus True Wireless vs Sennheiser CX True Wireless: What’s the difference?
Only a few features actually differentiate the CX Plus True Wireless from the CX True Wireless ($129), so it’s worth thinking about what’s worth the money to you. They sound almost identical, have similar isolation, design, IP ratings, and controls. The CX True Wireless lack ANC and transparency mode, but they’re $50 cheaper at the original price. It really comes down to what features are worth it to you at that price.
The best Sennheiser CX Plus True Wireless alternatives
Apple users might want to consider Apple AirPods Pro ($249) for a more integrated experience. The H1 chip makes pairing and controlling the buds as simple as possible, and the CX Plus True Wireless don’t have any fast pairing abilities. You also get some fancy features like Spatial Audio and automatic device switching if you have an iPhone paired with the AirPods Pro.
If noise-cancelling is a priority, consider spending more on the Sony WF-1000XM4 earbuds ($279). They have better ANC than anything else in the wireless space so far, and they’re spectacular overall, with 360 Reality Audio and LDAC support, as well as foam ear tips for a truly premium experience.