Sennheiser CX True Wireless Earphones Review
It's an entry-level true wireless phone that promises a lot, but does it deliver? Matthew Jens decides…
CX True Wireless
For every protege, there is a teacher. For every apprentice, there is a master, and for every flagship, there is a budget option. I know this sounds dramatic, but bear with me here!
Recently, I reviewed the Sennheiser CX Plus and claimed it was one of the top competitors in its price bracket, not just for the phenomenal sound but also because of the ridiculous amount of features it managed to pack under the hood. But if you want to spend even less, there is now the base level Sennheiser CX true wireless. In an almost identical package, this is essentially the same product, sans noise cancelling.
Well, I say “identical”, but the CX case and buds forego the silver Sennheiser logo favouring a sleeker, sexier matte finish, which I think looks way cooler. The rest of the CX flavour remains much the same, though, such as the boxy outer shape of the bud and the confidence-inspiring “snap” noise the case makes when you close it.
It's not a bad fit, mind you. Despite being slightly bulkier than some more expensive rivals, the lightweight makes it easy to pop these in and out without fuss. If I had the choice, I'd prefer the fit of the Momentum True Wireless 2 – but at over double the price, I'd have to be seriously keen on the smaller form factor to want to upgrade.
Surprisingly, Sennheiser also kept the same 3-band eq, as well as the “sidetone” feature, which allows outside noise to enter the earbud when you're making phone calls. Hey, Sennheiser: this means you could have made an “ambient noise” mode for music playback as well, but I assume you chose not to, in favour of letting the CX plus hold that spotlight. I see you. Well played!
With aptX codec support and Bluetooth 5.2, the CX is pleasantly up-to-date with wireless spec. There's also the cheeky addition of IPx4 water resistance and a 9-hour battery to boot, all charged via a USB-C port. The case also packs a 400mAH battery, which can be fully charged in one and a half hours (and can give you an hour of playback time just from fifteen minutes of charge).
The touch panels, exactly like the CX Plus, are generously sized and easy to use. I didn't have any problems with accidental track skipping or pausing. After updating to the latest firmware, you can customise these touches to whatever you like. This alone is a rare feature on high-end buds, so it's surprising to see it here.
Sound-wise, these are almost identical to the CX Plus, with plenty of mid/bass-heavy fun being pushed by the 7mm TrueResponse drivers. A bold, toe-tapping dollop of enjoyable sound instead of a clinical, analytical one. Studio-friendly these are not; they would be more akin to an AirPods competitor when it comes to this department.
In fact, coming in at similar pricing, it's worth mentioning that the sound quality here is comparable - nay, advantageous, to the recently released AirPods 3 from Apple. This is especially true when comparing bass extension and impact, mainly due to the proper seal and passive noise cancellation offered here. Still, even if it has a logical explanation, it; doesn't make it any less accurate. These are cheaper than AirPods and sound better, too. I'll let that one sink in for a while.
The comparisons start to balance out a little once we start looking at voice call quality; however, while the CX does an admirable job, the Airpods were better at rejecting stuff like wind and ambient noise. Still, I could happily spend an average office day using these to listen to music, and to handle all of my usual phone call duties, too.
There's no point beating around the bush here – this is the best wireless earbud you can get in this price bracket. While it doesn't have the noise-cancelling ability of the more expensive CX Plus or the superior call quality of the AirPods 3, it balances out the best of both worlds to create a cost-effective, feature-packed, great-sounding package.
Constantly keeping himself busy, Matthew is a production manager, Brazilian jiu-jitsu blue belt, Head-Fi fanatic, coffee enthusiast and all-round cool Dad.
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