Sennheiser's consumer audio division might be under new management, but that hasn't held the company back from launching new products. The Sennheiser CX and CX Plus have recently been launched in India, and they both compete with current options in the mid-range TWS segment from Samsung, OnePlus, and Jabra. Today, I'm reviewing the more expensive and better-equipped of the two, the Sennheiser CX Plus true wireless earphones.
Officially priced at Rs. 14,990 in India (the price online is around Rs. 12,990), the Sennheiser CX Plus is an impressive pair of true wireless earphones. You get active noise cancellation, app support, and features such as the Qualcomm aptX Adaptive Bluetooth codec, making this an attractive proposition under Rs. 15,000. However, does the sound quality live up to expectations? Find out in this review.
The Sennheiser CX Plus is available in black and white in India
The Sennheiser CX Plus is a well-equipped pair of true wireless earphones
Sennheiser has been in the personal audio business for a long time, but its true wireless range hasn't earned much acclaim beyond the Momentum True Wireless 2, in my opinion. With the CX Plus, Sennheiser hopes to make a mark in the much more competitive mid-range TWS segment, and promises a lot of features for its asking price of Rs. 12,990.
With a design similar to that of the Sennheiser CX400BT (Review), the Sennheiser CX Plus is considerably larger than competing options in its price segment, such as the Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 (Review) and Jabra Elite 85t (Review). Not only are the earpieces fairly bulky, but the charging case is also considerably wider.
The earphones are available in two colours, white and black. Despite their size, the device looks and feels good. The outer parts of the earpieces are glossy, with a Sennheiser logo and touch-sensitive playback controls on each one. The inner sides of the earpieces have the contact points for charging, and proximity sensors to automatically play or pause music depending on when the earphones are worn or taken off.
I found the fit of the earpieces to be comfortable enough, despite their slightly unwieldy shape which causes them to stick out of your ears quite a bit. They stayed in place while walking and climbing stairs, and although the fit always felt a bit precarious, I didn't actually face any situations when the earpieces might have fallen out. Four pairs of silicone ear tips of different sizes are included in the box, along with a short USB Type-A to Type-C charging cable. The earpieces are IPX4 rated for water resistance.
The charging case of the Sennheiser CX Plus is large, similar to that of the CX400BT, and consequently quite difficult to store in a pants pocket along with anything else such as a wallet or smartphone. The USB Type-C port is on the back, and there is an LED indicator on the front. On the whole, the headset sticks to Sennheiser's classic style for TWS earphones.
The touch-sensitive controls on the Sennheiser CX Plus true wireless earphones are customisable through the companion app. It's possible to control playback, volume, ANC and hear-through modes, and invoke the default voice assistant on your paired smartphone through various tap gestures. All these gestures worked reliably, and I quite enjoyed the ease with which I could operate the earphones without needing to pull out my smartphone.
Apart from control customisations, the Sennheiser Smart Control companion app (available for iOS and Android) lets you manage paired devices, make changes to the equaliser, toggle the ANC and hear-through modes, and more. It's well designed, and easy to use, covering pretty much everything you'll need to do with the earphones.
The earpieces of the Sennheiser CX Plus are a bit bulky, and as a result, feel somewhat unwieldy when worn
The Sennheiser CX Plus is powered by 7mm dynamic drivers, and has a frequency response range of 5-21,000Hz. For connectivity, the headset uses Bluetooth 5, with support for the SBC, AAC, aptX, and aptX Adaptive Bluetooth codecs.
Battery life on the Sennheiser CX Plus is decent for the price. The earpieces ran for around five hours with ANC on and the volume at moderate levels. The case added around two and a half additional charges, for a total runtime of around 18 hours per charge cycle. This is about what's expected from a TWS headset in this price range. This performance is actually a bit better than what I got with the Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 and roughly on par with what the OnePlus Buds Pro offers.
Very good audio and ANC performance on the Sennheiser CX Plus
For a market price of Rs. 12,990, the Sennheiser CX Plus offers a lot including plenty of customisability, good active noise cancellation, and most importantly, very good sound quality for the price. Support for the Qualcomm aptX and aptX Adaptive Bluetooth codecs makes for better sound when paired with a supported device.
The Sennheiser CX Plus is a no-nonsense true wireless headset at its core, and that shows in the sound quality. Listening to Living On Video (Claptone Remix) by Trans-X was an energetic experience from the get-go, with the earphones' natural tuning offering plenty of attack and drive. There is a subtle bump in the lows which makes for very refined and enjoyable bass. The mid-range also came across as imposing, while the treble felt a bit laidback. I also liked how the Sennheiser CX Plus was able to keep up with the fast pace of this track with ease.
This cohesiveness and pace were also evident in other quick, beat-driven tracks such as Go by The Chemical Brothers and The Great Divide (Soundprank Remix) by Velvetine. The sound was fast and engaging, making this sort of bass-focused track an absolute joy to listen to.
Sound quality and ANC performance are very good on the Sennheiser CX Plus
With slower, down-tempo tracks such as Opposite Ways by Brasstracks, the Sennheiser CX Plus allowed the detail in the lows and mid-range to shine through. The soulful saxophone riffs blended perfectly with the hip-hop beats and rap verses. Although the tight and well-tuned bass held my attention over everything else, it wasn't hard to focus on any of the numerous elements of this track.
This level of detail was particularly noticeable when using the Sennheiser CX Plus with an Android smartphone, which allowed it to benefit from the Qualcomm aptX Adaptive Bluetooth codec. When using an iPhone, the same sonic signature and general feel were retained by the earphones, but there was a noticeable difference in the detail of the sound. I used these earphones to listen to audiobooks too, and while the experience was decent, the Sennheiser CX Plus is definitely tuned for music above all else.
Active noise cancellation (ANC) performance on the Sennheiser CX Plus was largely on par with what I've heard on other true wireless earphones priced under Rs. 15,000. It's optimised for indoor use, where it did a decent job with reducing the noise levels in the typical office environment such as the hum of central air conditioning, and even the low chatter in common areas felt noticeably softer.
ANC on these earphones definitely made music a lot easier to listen to, both indoors and outdoors, and had no impact on sound quality. The hear-through mode on the Sennheiser CX Plus was effective when needed, and a useful option in the app lets you choose whether audio playback should continue or pause when hear-through mode is activated.
Connection stability on the Sennheiser CX Plus was good, with the earphones performing stably at distances of up to 4m from the source device. Call quality was decent indoors, and acceptable outdoors for short calls, although my voice sounded slightly drowned-out to the person calling when I was in noisy urban areas.
Sennheiser has been relatively quiet in the mid-range true wireless segment in India for a while, but the CX Plus marks a strong return to form for the established and well-regarded brand. These earphones are feature-rich, well-tuned when it comes to sound quality, and well-priced for what's on offer, making this a very good pick if you have a budget of around Rs. 15,000. This is a music-focused headset and is ideal for anyone looking for refined bass and plenty of detail in the sound.
The earpieces and charging case of the Sennheiser CX Plus are a bit bulky, but that's about it when it comes to drawbacks. Decent ANC and a very good companion app are useful bonuses, making this TWS headset among my top picks at its price. Consider the Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 if you have a Samsung smartphone, or the OnePlus Buds Pro if you want to spend a bit less, but for all other use cases, the Sennheiser CX Plus is the one to get.