Sennheiser relaunches its popular CX True Wireless in-ear headphones and equips the Plus model with active noise cancellation for an additional price of around 30 euros. In practice, the Sennheiser CX Plus True Wireless are an excellent overall package, as our test proves.
|Maximum operating range||15m (without obstacle)|
|Battery life||Up to 8 hrs, 24 hrs total with charging case; (varies depending on volume level and audio content)|
|Charging time||About 1.5 hrs. (for charging case + headphones via USB-C)|
|Size charging case (W x D x H)||59 x 33.8 x 42.3 mm|
|Weight||47g (earbuds + charging case); 6g per earbud|
|Speaker type||Sennheiser TrueResponse 7mm driver (dynamic)|
|Bluetooth codecs||SBC, AAC, aptX, aptX Adaptive|
|Frequency Range||5 Hz – 21,000 Hz|
Scope of delivery
Already with the tidy, mainly white packaging including light blue font give the Sennheiser CX Plus True Wireless rather dignified. Here, Sennheiser once again concentrates on the essentials and relies on its well-known name, which is associated with excellent sound quality throughout the industry, instead of unnecessary gimmicks.
Opening the box, we are directly greeted by the charging case in the upper half. Below that is the quick-start guide, which houses the rest of the scope of delivery below it. Besides a warranty card and a more detailed manual, Sennheiser only includes a USB-A to USB-C cable for charging the case, as well as three pairs of silicone ear inserts in different sizes. XS and S are aimed primarily at users with small ears, while the L variant is slightly larger than the pre-installed M size.
This means that almost every user should be able to find the right size for him or her. However, the Sennheiser model unfortunately does not come in as many variants as the Melomania 1+ (our review).
Design and workmanship
In terms of design, the new CX Plus True Wireless hardly differ from the Sennheiser CX 400BT (our review). Thus, the manufacturer once again relies on the rather chunky, tried-and-true exterior that you already know from the other in-ear models from their own company. However, anyone who has ever had a pair of Sennheiser headphones in their ears knows that this design makes for very good wearing comfort.
Accordingly, only the manufacturer’s logo is found in white on the outside, which stands out very well as an accent from our black test model. The inside also hardly differs from other Sennheiser models and offers the familiar indication of the correct orientation with contact points for charging, status LED and L and R, respectively. Thus, Sennheiser once again relies on a simple and at the same time noble appearance for the CX Plus True Wireless.
The same goes for the charging case, which has hardly changed compared to the CX 400BT. Neither visually nor in terms of dimensions. Its dimensions are 59 x 33.8 x 42.3 mm. Once again, a matte black color scheme is used, with the manufacturer’s logo on the lid in silver and a shiny contrasting bar at the opening as the only eye-catching accents. The USB Type-C port, which is used to charge the case, is found on the back. However, the dedicated pairing button is omitted in the new edition.
As usual from Sennheiser, the build quality of the CX Plus True Wireless is outstanding. This applies to both the earbuds and the charging case. Only a relatively high susceptibility to dust is a bit of a sour note.
Although Sennheiser once again dispenses with earpieces that protrude from the ear in the CX Plus True Wireless, the wearing comfort is more than impressive. Thanks to the extremely low weight of around 6 grams per earphone and the ergonomic driver housings, the in-ears rest comfortably in the ear canal despite their chunky design with the right silicone attachments.
Even after hours of use, nothing presses due to the rounded edges. At the same time, the Earbuds sit surprisingly securely and withstand even fast movements, for example during sports, without any problems. Overall, we like the wearing comfort even a bit better than that of the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds, which is mainly due to the smaller dimensions.
Features and battery life
Compared to the CX True Wireless, the new edition now uses Bluetooth version 5.2 to communicate wirelessly with various audio sources. The CX Plus has also learned in terms of codecs and now also offers support for aptX Adaptive with a particularly low latency and an adaptive bit rate in addition to SBC, ACC and Qualcomm aptX.
The initial setup is a bit unusual, because the TWS in-ears first want to be woken up out-of-the-box with a connection to the charging cable before they are even ready for use. Once this is done, pairing is triggered automatically. Later, the in-ear headphones can be put into pairing mode via touch control by holding down on both outer sides simultaneously for 3 seconds, which works quickly and reliably.
The battery life of the Sennheiser CX Plus True Wireless is in the average range. Overall, the in-ears last for about 24 hours in combination with the charging battery (capacity: 420 mAh). This value is made up of 8 hours for the Earbuds and another 16 hours in combination with the charging case. However, this value only applies in combination with the active noise cancellation (ANC) turned off.
Here you are on par with the Bose counterpart, in practice the battery life is completely okay – but the most enduring in-ear headphones are undoubtedly not delivered. The charging case is fully recharged within one and a half hours, and a multicolored LED on the case’s front informs about the charging status. It is also commendable that the case can also be charged inductively.
In terms of operation, the Sennheiser CX Plus True Wireless once again rely on touch control via the touch-sensitive outer sides of the earphones. The control concept works more precisely than most competitors and confirms the inputs with an acoustic signal – although this can only be perceived without music playing.
Single, double and triple clicks as well as a hold on each side trigger different actions. For example, it is possible to activate the transparency mode with a single click on the left, while the same command pauses or resumes playback on the right. A double tap lets us quickly jump to the previous or next track, while a hold decreases or increases the volume. ANC control or voice assistant activation (Google Assistant or Siri) is also possible, as is telephony control.
Conveniently, both earbuds can also be used individually, while playback is initially paused when one earbud is removed. On the other hand, there is no dedicated option to turn them on and off: they are automatically activated or turned off when they are removed or placed in the charging case. The accompanying software can also be used to set a time window in which the in-ear headphones automatically deactivate when not in use. Overall, we like the operating concept of the CX Plus True Wireless very much.
Audio quality, ANC and microphone
Sennheiser’s own TrueResponse drivers with a size of 7 mm are used, which ensure a really very good audio quality. Especially in combination with the new 24-bit aptX Adaptive Codec.
Thus, the CX Plus True Wireless achieve a full-bodied and dynamic sound image that comes up with a wide stage, leaving no feathers in the bass, midrange or treble. The sound is built on a solid bass foundation that reflects deep basses surprisingly precisely – at least as long as you don’t turn the Eqwualizer up too much.
However, the strengths are mainly in the mids and trebles, as the instrumentalization and voices offer a warm mix with excellent precision. Even without the aid of an equalizer, the focus on voices is immediately noticeable, with the treble taking a minimal back seat. Nevertheless, Sennheiser offers a very good spatiality here, where many details can be perceived that tend to be lost in many other in-ear headphones.
In places, however, the upper treble remains a bit too much in the background, which leaves a fullness in the sound somewhat lacking with certain music titles. But this can be easily ironed out with the help of the equalizer in the companion app, where a bass boost can be added, for example. This way, fans of booming basses can get a bit more out of it without the low tones turning into sound mud.
Active Noise Cancellation
We were naturally very curious about perhaps the most important new feature of the Sennheiser CX Plus True Wireless, namely active noise cancellation (ANC). Indeed, the Earbuds do a really good job in this area. One external microphone per earbud analyzes the noise and tries to suppress it, which works better than some competitors in practice.
Especially static and low tones, i.e. especially engine noises or fans, are suppressed particularly effectively. However, voices are also strongly put in the background, while clicking sounds, for example from a keyboard, are still clearly audible (even if strongly reduced). We particularly liked the shielding of wind noise, which is almost completely suppressed, especially when music is playing.
However, it is a pity that Sennheiser does not offer any gradations of ANC here. It can only be activated or deactivated. Nevertheless, it works at a decidedly high level and definitely justifies the surcharge of around 30 euros compared to the normal CX True Wireless.
The optional Transparent Hearing mode, which noticeably amplifies voices in particular, also does a good job. Especially the switchable automatic function, which automatically detects voices when earphones are used and activates the transparency mode for a short time, pleased us.
Of course, you can also make phone calls with the CX Plus True Wireless. The quality of the built-in microphones is also on a good level, because the own voice is reproduced clearly understandable and noise-free.
We also find it practical that the transparency mode can also be switched on during calls, which means that you can hear more of your surroundings during conversations – which naturally provides additional security. In addition, you can determine how much of your own voice should be audible to you via sidetone. This way you can make sure you don’t accidentally yell at the caller, even in a noisy environment.
App connectivity via Smart Control
The companion app is Sennheiser Smart Control, which is free to download for iOS and Android. Here you have the option of importing firmware updates, customizing the touch controls or adjusting the sound according to your own preferences with the help of an equalizer.
However, the EQ settings are not really extensive due to the three-band equalizer used, but at least you can create and save your own individual presets.
In addition, the software offers the option to activate or deactivate various functions such as Smart Pause, ANC or automatic call acceptance. Ultimately, the software offers almost everything you would expect, but especially in terms of EQ settings, we would have liked to see a few additional options.
Sennheiser delivers a really successful new edition of its in-ear headphones in the mid-price segment with the CX Plus True Wireless. For an additional price of around 30 euros, the manufacturer not only spends an ANC function including transparency mode, but also Bluetooth in version 5.2, as well as the high-quality aptX Adaptive Codec.
The active noise suppressor works exceptionally well and shields us excellently from external noise. At the same time, the build quality and touch operation are also convincing, while the wearing comfort is pleasing even over several hours despite the somewhat clunky shape.
In terms of acoustics, the Sennheiser CX Plus True Wireless draw an all-around coherent, dynamic and relatively neutral sound image that stands on a broad stage. Only the trebles take a bit of a back seat in the standard mix, but this can be handled with the clear software. Ultimately, the CX Plus True Wireless are an excellent overall package at an attractive price that leaves hardly anything to be desired. Clear purchase recommendation.