Sennheiser CX True Wi-fi

MSRP $130.00

“They pack a few of the greatest sound you may discover in an inexpensive set of earbuds.”

Execs

Glorious sound high quality

Customizable EQ

Exact and customizable controls

Aspect-tone for cellphone calls

Good battery life

Cons

No in-ear sensors

No transparency mode

Could be laborious to get a safe match

True wi-fi earbuds have all the time introduced a dilemma. In contrast to their wired cousins, wi-fi earbuds require an unlimited array of parts, like batteries, charging instances, Bluetooth radios, amplifiers, and so forth. All of those drive up the fee, making it laborious to ship high-quality sound at inexpensive costs. Sennheiser — a model with an enviable fame for very good sound — has been experimenting with the road between high quality and affordability.

Its first shot was the $200 CX 400BT, which it launched in 2020, a set of true wi-fi earbuds that delivered on sound however lacked a variety of options we’d anticipate at that worth. Sennheiser’s second act is the $130 CX True Wi-fi. Do these buds obtain that magical stability of worth versus efficiency? We put them to the check to seek out out.

What’s within the field?

Simon Cohen / Digital Developments

Sennheiser is a part of a rising checklist of corporations which have made their packaging extremely recyclable. The CX True Wi-fi’s field is plainly printed cardboard and even the small packages that defend the included ear ideas are paper-based. You gained’t discover a trace of plastic or foam wherever. Inside, you’ll discover the earbuds, their charging case, 4 sizes of ear ideas, a brief USB-A to USB-C charging cable, and a few paper documentation.

Design

Sennheiser CX 400BT (left) and CX True Wi-fi Simon Cohen / Digital Developments

Visually, the CX True Wi-fi are nearly indistinguishable from the CX 400BT. Each the charging case and the earbuds have equivalent proportions. There are small variations in case you look carefully: The CX True Wi-fi have extra delicate branding, which some will little question favor, and their charging case has dropped the devoted pairing button from the CX 400BT’s case. The contact controls now use a matte plastic end as a substitute of a shiny end.

For those who take one factor away from this assessment, right here it’s: The CX True Wi-fi are a sonic discount.

The earbuds stay a bit on the cumbersome aspect, they usually gained’t win any awards for type. However the rounded-box form makes inserting them into your ears with out by chance triggering a management approach simpler than many different earbuds — it additionally makes it simpler to take away and change them of their charging case.

One factor that has modified from the CX 400BT is the addition of an IPX4 score for water resistance. This places the CX True Wi-fi on par with different earbuds just like the AirPods Professional. They gained’t survive a dunk within the pool, however at the very least now you may take them to the health club, the observe, or wherever you prefer to sweat, with out worrying about your earbuds.

Consolation, controls, and connections

Sadly, as a result of the CX True Wi-fi inherited their measurement and form from the CX 400BT, in addition they inherited the way in which these earbuds match, which is to say, they could not really feel snug. To be able to get a extremely snug, safe match, I ended up grabbing a set of Comply Foam ear ideas — the identical ones I ended up utilizing on the CX 400BT to cope with the identical state of affairs.

Sennheiser stays one of many few corporations that basically perceive what it takes to do contact controls proper.

Now, to be truthful, the silicone ear ideas Sennheiser consists of with the CX True Wi-fi will in all probability work for lots of people and I’d by no means say they weren’t snug. However they undoubtedly don’t provide as safe a match as foam, nor do they seal your ear canals as successfully. For those who encounter the identical factor, simply purchase some Comply ideas from Amazon for a couple of bucks — you’ll thank me for it.

The CX’s contact controls are very good. Sennheiser stays one of many few corporations that basically perceive what it takes to do contact controls proper. The management surfaces are massive and unambiguous — getting persistently correct faucets is easy. As a bonus, a delicate tone will affirm that you simply tapped appropriately.

Sennheiser’s Sensible Management app allows you to customise these controls. Single-, double-, and triple faucets can all be assigned your perform of alternative, and you’ll choose a unique perform for every earbud — helpful in case you intend to make use of the earbuds independently (which you are able to do for each music and calls). You get the whole lot you want: Play/pause, observe skip ahead/again, set off your voice assistant, and quantity up/down. The one perform that may’t be altered is quantity, which requires the long-tap gesture if you wish to use it.

Pairing with both iPhones or Android gadgets is straightforward, even when the CX aren’t geared up with Google’s Quick Pair — just a few faucets and also you’re carried out. For those who’re on an iPhone, you’re restricted to the nice, however lossy AAC codec, in the meantime Android customers get to benefit from the barely higher-quality aptX codec. However no matter your supply gadget, you gained’t have the ability to roam very far. The CX have one of many shortest wi-fi indicators I’ve ever examined — they began to interrupt up once I put simply 20 ft between me and my cellphone. For those who preserve your cellphone on you, it shouldn’t be an issue. However in case you like to depart your cellphone in a bag, a locker, be ready to remain shut by.

Sound high quality

Simon Cohen / Digital Developments

With the included silicone ear ideas, I discovered the CX True Wi-fi considerably anemic for bass, however this was purely a perform of match. As soon as I swapped them for the froth ideas, the sound improved dramatically. For those who take one factor away from this assessment, right here it’s: The CX True Wi-fi are a sonic discount. They ship an impressively detailed and exact efficiency that comes extremely near earbuds from Sony, Bose, JBL, and Grasp & Dynamic that may value wherever from $250-$350.

The soundstage is each large and deep, and purists will like that Sennheiser’s manufacturing unit EQ settings provide you with a flat/impartial signature. However I sometimes discover impartial EQ sounds boring at my most popular quantity ranges, so I like that the Sensible Management app offers you two methods to visualise and alter the emphasis on lows, mids, and highs, and create presets whenever you discover a setting you want. You’ll be able to considerably energize the lows and highs with out dropping element within the mids.

I spent a good period of time bouncing from one style to a different, and whether or not it was jazz, pop, metallic, or hip-hop, the CX True Wi-fi dealt with them fantastically. For those who’ve by no means listened to actually respectable earbuds, the CX may also provide you with considered one of my favourite experiences: Listening to a element in considered one of your favourite tracks that you simply’ve by no means heard earlier than or rendering it in a approach that places a smile in your face.

When situations are comparatively quiet, your voice might be good and clear, with little or no compression or wobble.

One observe that definitely did this for me is Melanie Martinez’s Excessive College Sweethearts. On the one-minute mark, Martinez transitions from her breathy and F-bomb-laden intro into the physique of the observe, at which level you may hear somebody writing on a chalkboard. The CX place that unmistakable scratchy sound behind Martinez’s voice so exactly, it looks like you may look over her shoulder and see the particular person doing the writing. It gave me goosebumps.

Battery life

Simon Cohen / Digital Developments

The CX 400BT promised seven hours of battery life per cost, with a complete of 20 hours whenever you included the charging case — acceptable however hardly noteworthy, particularly for earbuds with out energetic noise cancellation (ANC). However the CX True Wi-fi are a step up, with 9 hours per full cost and a complete of 27 hours with the case.

A fast cost of 15 minutes will get you an additional hour of play time. These put the CX True Wi-fi on par with a few of the greatest earbuds for stamina —  a welcome enchancment.

Name high quality

Calling on the CX True Wi-fi is about common for true wi-fi earbuds. When exterior situations are comparatively quiet and there’s no wind, your voice might be good and clear, with little or no compression or wobble. This have to be the “speech optimized sound” that Sennheiser refers to in its description of the earbuds.

However the identical can’t be stated for instances when there’s wind or loud sounds close by. At these instances, the microphones battle to maintain your voice persistently clear. Since so few earbuds do an superior job of this, I can hardly fault Sennheiser, however simply preserve it in thoughts: These are earbuds for making calls at your desk or whereas ready in your flight — not for whenever you’re jogging, biking, or strolling close to heavy site visitors.

These had been my observations when testing the CX 400BT too, however right here’s the place the CX True Wi-fi as soon as once more improves on its dearer predecessor: The CX True Wi-fi have adjustable side-tone, which helps you to hear your personal voice rather more clearly throughout calls. It really works very well, however I did discover that it was difficult to regulate the quantity of side-tone whereas on a name.

Something lacking?

The CX True Wi-fi have actually hit a candy spot when it comes to worth and sound efficiency they usually’ve even managed to ship actually good battery life, however there are nonetheless some options you would possibly miss. There’s no hear-through (transparency) mode, which is shocking given the side-tone calling characteristic — these two typically go hand-in-hand.

There aren’t any in-ear sensors that can be utilized to auto-pause your tunes whenever you pull out an earbud. Given the shortage of transparency mode, that’s one thing you’ll be doing so much if you wish to speak to somebody in actual life.

The charging case lacks wi-fi charging — a minor annoyance maybe, but it surely’s turning into normal on a variety of earbuds that value lower than the CX.

It’s true that there’s no ANC both, however that’s one characteristic I’ll give Sennheiser a go on at this worth.

Our take

For people who love high-end sound high quality however lack the funds to go wild on the perfect true wi-fi earbuds, the CX True Wi-fi are an important purchase. So long as you will get alongside with no few options like transparency mode, and are keen to purchase some third-party ear ideas if the sound or match doesn’t be just right for you, I feel you’ll be actually joyful.

Is there a greater various?

There are tons of nice true wi-fi earbuds between $100-$130 that may outshine the CX True Wi-fi on options. The second-gen Amazon Echo Buds come to thoughts, in addition to the Soundcore Life P3, and the Jabra Elite 75t. However none of those can beat the CX for sheer sound high quality.

Mockingly, now that Sennheiser has seemingly discounted the CX 400BT to simply $100 — it would simply be the perfect various. Identical nice sound, however with shorter battery life, no water safety, and no side-tone on calls. For those who’re prepared to offer these up for a $30 financial savings, giddy up!

How lengthy will they final?

Although it may be laborious to foretell, the CX True Wi-fi look higher constructed than a variety of different true wi-fi earbuds. Match and end is superb and Sennheiser backs them with a two-year guarantee which speaks so much to the corporate’s confidence in its product. The business normal is only one 12 months. With IPX4 safety and an excellent beginning battery capability, they need to final you for a few years of use.

Do you have to purchase them?

Sure. The CX True Wi-fi clear up the issue of how one can get nice sound on a restricted funds.

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