Sennheiser CX True Wireless headset review: Long battery life, affordable price, solid audio quality

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There are a lot of options for wireless earbuds today and with headphone jacks gone from smartphones with music support on watches there is an expansive market for these earbuds. For the past couple of weeks I have been listening to music and podcasts with audio streaming through the Sennheiser CX 200 True Wireless earbuds.

While I have had the opportunity to test many earbud brands, these are the first Sennheiser ones I have tested. The charging case is a bit bulky and the design is a bit bland, but Sennheiser gets the important things right and at an affordable $129.95 price point. Audio performance is great, they are very comfortable for extended use, the earbuds have long battery life, and there is a smartphone app to optimize the user experience.

Also: Best wireless earbuds in 2021: AirPods and alternatives

One feature that has become a focus lately is active noise cancellation and in most cases, earbuds with this advanced feature appear in the $200 plus price range. ANC is not present on the Sennheiser CX True Wireless earbuds, but there is still many other aspects that make the headset worth consideration.

Specifications

  • Speaker size: 7 mm TrueResponse transducer
  • Wireless connectivity: Bluetooth 5.2 BLE
  • Microphone: Two beamforming mics in each earbud
  • Supported codecs: AAC, SBC, and aptX
  • Dust and water resistance: IPX4
  • Battery life: 60 mAh in each earbud and 400 mAh in the case. Up to nine hours of play with the charging case providing 18 more hours of battery life. A 15-minute charge provides up to one hour of play time.
  • Earbud weight: 6 grams each
  • Box contents: Earbuds, charging case, USB-C charging cable, silicone eartips (XS, S, M, L)

Hardware

The charging case is bulkier than many other competing earbuds with dimensions of 59 x 33.8 x 42.3 mm. Most other cases have a flatter depth or more curves to make slipping the case into your front pocket a viable option. The case here is a bit too large in all ways for easy pocketability. It also does not support wireless charging.

The top of the charging case opens up easily and locks into the open position. It is spring-loaded so closes securely as well. There is a single LED on the front of the case that lights up to show the status of the case. Magnets in each earbud compartment also help align and hold each earbud in place.

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The earbud design is also fairly basic with a cube shape, similar to a sugar cube, with an extension out of one corner with the silicone tip at the end. Two gold charging points are found on the inside of the earbuds with a letter on each one indicating the right and left side. Two mics are positioned on each earbud and provide good quality performance during calls.

With the rather simple, blocky design, I didn't have high expectations for the earbuds. However, it turns out that they are extremely comfortable for extended wear and also stay in well while pounding the pavement during a run. I don't care about a flashy design as long as the earbuds stay in place and fit well.

The earbuds also have a long battery life of up to nine hours with the ability to use either earbud by itself. The charging case provides two additional full charges of each earbud so you can go days with the earbuds between charges. A standard USB-C port is present to charge up the earbuds.

The Sennheiser CX True Wireless earbuds support AAC, SBC, and aptX codecs with aptX playback limited to Android devices. Audio sounds fantastic on the earbuds with solid volume output, crisp and clear notes, solid bass, and reliable Bluetooth performance.

Also: Sony WF-1000XM4 earbuds review: Superb noise cancellation, clear calls, and long battery life

Smartphone software

Sennheiser's Smart Control app is available for iOS and Android devices. You can always use the headset with a standard Bluetooth connection, but the smartphone application gives you the ability to customize single, double, triple, and hold taps on both outside touch panels on the earbuds. The default functions are well designed with hold actions controlling the volume, but if you want to set up the actions for your own preferences then this is available in the app. You can also disable touch controls if you desire.

An equalizer option is available in the app so you can establish your own presets. Simple buttons are present for podcast, movie, and bass boost adjustments to the equalizer.

Firmware updates for the earbuds will also come through the smartphone app. Device settings include auto power off timer, current codec identifier, tone & voice prompts, and more. The ability to control how much sidetone (audible feedback of your own voice) is present during calls is provided on a sliding bar that toggles from 0% to 50% to 100%.

Daily usage experiences and conclusion

The smartphone app offers a great balance of full access to button actions and simple adjustments to the equalizer. You don't have to spend much time in the smartphone app and primarily just need it initially to setup the earbuds for your specific needs. After that you can visit the app to check for updates or to tweak the settings you have established.

The earbuds are very comfortable for extended wear and I would categorize them as a mid-size earbud. They are not as large as a Sony ANC earbud, but not as small as the Pixel Buds. The silicone eartip and end that protrude out from one corner can be made small to fit smaller ears while the rest of the earbuds sits nicely into the curve of my ear. There is no ANC, but passive cancellation is provided by the ergonomic design.

A battery life of up to nine hours for an earbud is fantastic and is a standout feature of these affordable earbuds. It's great to go days with the earbuds without even thinking of charging them up. A full charge from drained earbuds only takes 1.5 hours.

The touch panel works very well and is sensitive to touch so you won't be pressing the earbuds deeper into your ears as you control playback. The earbuds have an IPX4 water-resistant rating too so you can use them for working out without worry.

There is no ear detection sensors in the earbuds, but you can use either one by itself. Audio on the earbud does shut off when you put the earbud into the charging case.

Apple AirPods always fall out of my ears so they are not an option for me and the Sennheiser CX are priced $30 less. The Sennheiser CX 200 earbuds also have almost double the battery life and an IPX4 rating so they are an excellent alternative for those thinking of the standard AirPods.

The audio quality was very impressive and I kept picking up these earbuds when I wanted a loud classic rock session to jam out during my commute. The subtle design is easily overcome by awesome audio performance, excellent comfort, and long battery life. You can pick up the Sennheiser CX 200 True Wireless in black or white for $129.95.

Sennheiser CX True Wireless earbuds review: Solid audio and battery life