Sennheiser’s on a roll with their new true wireless offerings, and the CX Plus True Wireless takes everything that makes the CX True Wireless good and throws in some more features.
We have the new CX Plus True Wireless with us and I know what you’re thinking; this looks and sounds a lot like the CX True Wireless that I just reviewed a few months ago. Well, not quite.
So design-wise, it’s really almost exactly the same. The difference in the case is that the logo on top is now shiny metal, similar to the CX400 BT’s case. Aside from that, it looks identical, same design, same USB-C port on the rear. There is a slightly stronger hinge I feel, when opening, although it could be because I’ve opened the CX True Wireless so much. The words on the inside of the case are also silver instead of debossed black, and that’s about it.
The earbuds are a little more changed. Instead of the matte faceplate on the CX True Wireless, the CX Plus True Wireless has glossy faceplates, which is a bit of a bummer in my opinion since they really are fingerprint magnets. There’s also three microphone holes instead of one at the bottom of the shell, although both earbuds have 2 microphones in each earbud for a total of four.
It is, of course, very possible that Sennheiser has taken the shell design of the CX 400BT because it seems almost identical, right down to the charging pins. The only difference between the CX Plus True Wireless and CX 400BT shells is that the CX Plus True Wireless’ shell has a sensor that allows for in-ear detection, which is a new feature that Sennheiser is adding to the CX series. Speaking of the CX 400BT, it’s actually being replaced by the CX Plus True Wireless, which makes sense. When this was announced, I was like, so where does the 400BT sit? It’s more expensive than the CX Plus, it doesn’t have ANC, it doesn’t have aptX Adaptive, but yeah, the 400BT is gone now and the CX lineup basically just consists of the CX True Wireless and CX Plus True Wireless.
That being said, while all three offerings in the CX lineup have the same dimensions for the case, the CX Plus True Wireless’ case is two grams lighter than the other two. Make of that what you will, I literally have no idea what Sennheiser did to cut the two grams, but yeah.
Moving on, these also have touch controls, and again, they’re super customisable, as is the case with all of Sennheiser’s offerings. By default though, a single tap on the left turns on Transparent Hearing, a double-tap skips to the previous track and a triple tap toggles ANC while a long press and hold turns the volume down. On the right, a single tap controls play/pause, a double-tap skips to the next track, a triple tap pulls up your phone’s voice assistant and a long tap and hold brings the volume up. It’s pretty well thought out and I didn’t see the need to change anything because these controls are essentially all I need. They’re responsive and pretty good.
Features-wise, though, is where these get fun. Of course, you need to use the Sennheiser companion app as usual for customising the touch controls, changing the EQ, checking connections and all, but in the Settings cog up top, you can now see there’s a toggle for Smart Pause, which is Sennheiser’s name for in-ear detection and auto-pausing music when an earbud is removed. That’s something that was previously only available for the MTW 2. Transparent hearing is also available now, which basically is an ambient sound mode, and it’s a welcome addition because we now come to the biggest addition, ANC.
Yes, we finally get ANC on CX series earbuds, and it’s not even the most expensive CX earbuds to boot. It works fantastically, let me just say that. Sure, it’s not to the level of the Sony WF-1000XM4, or even quite as good as the noise cancelling on the MTW 2, but keep in mind these cost way less than those earbuds. For the price point of US$179 or S$259, these do an excellent job at reducing low pitched noises, although noise like rain was still somewhat audible.
You get Bluetooth 5.2 in these, which is excellent. Sennheiser has been putting Bluetooth 5.2 into all of their true wireless products, and it definitely helps to justify the price. There’s also support for SBC, AAC, aptX and aptX Adaptive, which means high-res audio with variable bitrate scaling from 279kbps to 420kbps. There’s 24-bit/48kHz playback, but if your phone supports Snapdragon Sound, that can go up to 24-bit/96kHz.
Battery life is also very good. You get eight hours in the earbuds and an additional two charges in the case for a total of 24 hours. Now, as to whether eight hours is with ANC or not, probably not. I turned ANC on, started playing music at around 40% volume and the earbuds got to around six hours and 22 minutes with 10% left, I got a “recharge headset” prompt at around 6:32 and it finally died at 6:54. Better than I expected, honestly. An hour off the estimated time with ANC turned on is pretty good. There’s no wireless charging for the case though, but I think that’s a feature that Sennheiser is pretty much limiting to just the Momentum True Wireless at this point in time.
There’s IPX4 water resistance, so yeah, safe for sweat or light rain, but only for the earbuds. The case itself isn’t water-resistant.
Microphone quality isn't crazy, but it does an okay job of reducing background noise and my voice is relatively clear.
The sound quality is really, pretty much identical to the CX True Wireless. The lows are relatively clean with a good amount of detail and rumble, and the mids are full-bodied and a touch more emphasised in the upper mids. Vocals are transparent and slightly more forward, which I do like. The main difference would be in the treble I think. For some reason, it just doesn’t feel quite as bright and energetic as the CX True Wireless does. Of course, it really isn’t a big deal since you do get the EQ feature and you can tweak it as you prefer. Just out of the box though, I think the CX True Wireless edges it out just a touch for me.
All in all though? I’m all for the addition of ANC. I’ve been waiting for this for a while now, and honestly, Sennheiser’s CX series has some of the best passive noise isolation. So I’m very happy that we’re now getting ANC at a relatively affordable price while still being able to enjoy the Sennheiser sound.
Content by Cheryl Tan