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Sennheiser CX True Wireless
What we like
What we don't like
Sennheiser CX True Wireless
Sennheiser has been in the true wireless buds space for a while, and with the Sennheiser CX True Wireless they’re aiming to make earbuds with a more affordable price. This pair of earbuds lack active noise-cancelling, but otherwise offer features in line with Sennheiser’s more expensive models. Is the CX True Wireless the next high-value contender?
Who are the Sennheiser CX True Wireless for?
- Anyone looking for a new pair of earbuds that can last all day and won’t break the bank.
- Athletes looking for something sweat-resistant but don’t care about noise-cancelling.
What are the Sennheiser CX True Wireless like?
The Sennheiser CX True Wireless are pretty similar in design to other Sennheiser true wireless earbuds. These have the same boxy shape we’ve seen before, now with all-black matte touch panels instead of glossy ones with silver logos. The case is almost identical to previous buds as well.
The Sennheiser CX True Wireless are light and secure, but the lack of hooks or fins means you'll need to find the right tip.
The earbuds are a bit bulky, but they’re light and secure, with four sizes of ear tips provided to make sure they fit in your ears well. These don’t have any hook or fin to securely fit into your ears, so finding the right tip is important.
The case is a little bulky too, but still compact. It’s made of plastic but doesn’t feel cheap, and the earbuds fit nicely into their slots, held in place with magnets and pegs.
The Sennheiser CX True Wireless are IPX4 rated, so they can handle sweat and splashes of water, making them safe to work out with. Be warned that going for a run can shake them loose a bit, so make sure your fit is good and you aren’t moving your head too much while wearing them.
The CX True Wireless connect using BLUetooth 5.2, which means maybe one day they’ll be able to use the LC3 audio codec and LE Audio. For now, the CX True Wireless support the SBC, AAC, and aptX codecs, so these buds are great whether you’re using an Apple or Android device.
See also: The best workout earbuds
How do you control the Sennheiser CX True Wireless?
Since these earbuds have capacitive touch panels, you can adjust volume, answer calls, control playback, and access your voice assistant without using your phone at all. Tapping once pauses playback, two taps take you to the previous track from the left earbud, and the next track from the right. Three taps will activate your voice assistant, and holding will decrease your volume from the left bud or increase it on the right.
The Sennheiser Smart Control app gives you more control over the buds, including swapping any of the tap controls. It also allows you to adjust the EQ of your earbuds either with a three-band EQ module or through preset options. More crucially, you can also get firmware updates here. While there’s no Bluetooth multipoint, the Smart Control app will let you switch between recently paired devices seamlessly, but only one at a time.
How is the battery life?
Sennheiser claims the CX True Wireless last up to nine hours on a single charge, but in SoundGuys’ testing, they fell short of that. At a consistent output of 75dB, the left earbud lasted eight hours, 31 minutes, and the right one only lasted five hours, 30 minutes.
It’s pretty normal for one earbud to drain faster than the other with true wireless earbuds, since one bud is connected to both your phone and the other earbud, while one earbud is just connected to the other one. Sennheiser says it designed the earbuds to switch between which earbud functions as the primary connection point when taken out of the case each time to mitigate this lopsided battery drain, so more regular use will mitigate this problem.
According to Sennheiser, the CX True Wireless case holds up to 18 hours of additional charges, and it lived up to that. The case charges with USB-C, but features no quick charge or wireless charging options.
How well do they block noise?
The Sennheiser CX True Wireless don’t have active noise-cancelling (ANC) — you’ll need the Sennheiser CX Plus True Wireless for that — but that doesn’t mean they have poor attenuation. Once you have the right fit with the right ear tips, you get some solid isolation performance. Isolation rarely affects mid and low-range sounds from reaching your ears, but the CX True Wireless actually do a decent job of reducing this noise. It’s not going to be like having actual active noise-cancelling, but noises should seem considerably less distracting.
How do the Sennheiser CX True Wireless sound?
The Sennheiser CX True Wireless frequency response (cyan line) follows the SoundGuys target curve (pink line) pretty closely in some of the higher ranges, but has a bit of an emphasis in the bass and mid-range. It sounds nice, nothing is too boosted, and it doesn’t cause anything to be notably distorted.
Most genres of music should sound nice through these earbuds, though the drop in the treble range may mean that cymbals and some strings, as well as higher-pitched “whirr” sounds in some genres like EDM might be a bit harder to pick out.
How is the microphone?
The microphone in the Sennheiser CX True Wireless is pretty standard for a pair of true wireless earbuds. It’s clear enough, though there’s some muffling and digital compression sounds. It still does a decent job of reducing low-level environmental noise, but it’s definitely not great for recording speech. This is definitely a mic for phone calls, and it’s alright for that purpose.
Sennheiser CX True Wireless microphone demo (Ideal):
Sennheiser CX True Wireless microphone demo (Street):
Sennheiser CX True Wireless review: The verdict
The Sennheiser CX True Wireless aren’t perfect, with issues in the high range audio, battery life concerns, and a lack of features like wireless charging and ANC holding them back from being great. If you want the perfect thing for a specific use case, like working out, commuting, or taking calls, this isn’t it.
The Sennheiser CX True Wireless are affordable buds that can do a little bit of everything.
However, these earbuds do enough things well enough that you can’t totally knock them. They sound nice, have solid isolation performance, a good app, and that IPX4 rating is great. If you’re looking for something that can do a little bit of everything, these might be worth considering.
What are the best Sennheiser CX True Wireless alternatives?
If you like the idea of these earbuds a lot but wish they had active noise-cancelling, Sennheiser updated its CX line with the Sennheiser CX Plus True Wireless ($179), which have a similar design, BLUetooth 5.2, and expanded high-quality codec support as well.
If you’re looking for true wireless earbuds that have a great battery life, the Samsung Galaxy Buds Plus ($149) can handle almost 12 hours of playback on a single charge, and they’re easy to find on sale. If you want something that falls between the Buds Plus and Buds Pro, the Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 ($149) might be worth considering.
If you want a great pair of workout earbuds, the Jaybird Vista 2 ($149) have silicone ear hooks to keep the buds in place, as well as active noise-cancelling. And if you prefer to be extra aware of your surroundings, the Sony Linkbuds ($179) have a ring-shaped ear tip design to keep outside noise coming in like normal, though they don’t sound great.