Sennheiser CX Plus True Wireless Review – Is the Plus version worth it?

by Nicole on December 2, 2021
Sennheiser CX Plus True Wireless
Positives
  • Good noise canceling, with transparency
  • Good sound quality
  • IPX4 rating
  • SBC, AAC, and aptX
  • Decent app
Negatives
  • 60€ more for active noise canceling and transparency

The Sennheiser CX Plus True Wireless is almost identical to last year’s Sennheiser CX True Wireless, there are a few differences, the biggest being it now offers active noise canceling (ANC), Transparency Mode, and a slightly different design. The price difference now that the previous generation is on sale is significant. We take a look if it’s worth it to pick up the latest generation.

Taking a look at the design the CX Plus buds sport a new glossy surface but are otherwise visually identical to the Sennheiser CX True Wireless earbuds. The charging case on the Plus feels sturdier when you close it, the sound is deeper, they’ve clearly refined the hinge for durability. The new case is also 2g lighter which is not noticeable at all in hand.

Past the aesthetic considerations, they have so much in common. They are both lightweight and come with four different-sized sets of ear tips (extra small, small, medium, and large), so you should be able to find the right fit. Getting a secure seal in the ear canal is pretty important for sound quality, but it’s especially important here because the seal is how they stay secure. There is nothing else tethering them to your ear.

CX True Wireless

CX Plus True Wireless

Though both headphones are still 6g, the CX Plus has a smaller battery 55mAh vs 60mAh on last year’s. This would be because of the addition of active noise canceling into the earbud. The Plus also gets 1 hour of playtime with 10min or charge vs 15min of charge for 1 hour of playtime on the original.

The battery life predictable is less on the Plus at about 6 hours (with ANC turned off) and the case charges the headphones just about 3 times. The CX True Wireless lasted me about 7 hours and the case also charged the headphones about 3 times.

Is the CX Plus True Wireless good for exercise?

The CX & CX Plus have an IPX4 rating for protection from sweat and splashes of water. You should avoid dropping them in the bath but you don’t have to worry if you sweat a lot or get caught running in the rain.

Exercising is the biggest reason to get the CX Plus over last years model, transparency mode will allow you to hear traffic while you’re running which is great for safety. Or if you’re at the gym and want to block the world out (or the guy who loves to drop weights and grunts) you have active noise canceling.

How good is the noise canceling on the CX Plus True Wireless?

In-ear headphones will never be as good as over-the-ear, but the Sennheiser CX Plus True Wireless features pretty good ANC performance for a pair of true wireless earbuds. It’s in the same league as the Apple AirPods Pro or Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro.

The earbuds have good passive isolation, which will help with incidental noises that occupy the high range. This is things like car horns or putting glasses away. What is interesting about the sound rendering is sounds from 100-300Hz are one-quarter as loud as usual and sounds below that up to half as loud. When you’re on a plane the white noise disappears completely.

You can also tell the difference between the headphone as the charging ports have a different design. The difference in charging points has no effect on performance, it’s just a slightly different way of processing. I didn’t expect to find out that the headphones were designed and engineered by two different project teams. Which implemented the two different ways of charging the buds. The additional connectors have no effect on the charging itself.

What Bluetooth codecs does the Sennheiser CX Plus True Wireless support?

The Sennheiser CX Plus True Wireless connects to your device of choice using the Bluetooth 5.2 firmware, which is really nice to see, given that 5.2 is the cutoff for the new incoming lower latency LC3 audio codec. LC3 isn’t available yet, but you’ve still got a decent stable of old favorites to rely on until that time—the CX Plus supports the default SBC codec, as well as AAC and aptX. This means there’s a high-quality option for you regardless of whether you’re an Android or Apple user.

There’s no support for Google Fast Pair, or any other kind of feature streamlining Bluetooth connections. Whether you favor iOS or Android, you’ll still need to tap and hold both earbuds for three seconds to initiate pairing mode.

Do they Sound Different?

These pairs of true wireless earbuds have a very similar sound, however, without looking I could tell when I was listening to the CX Plus. When the active noise canceling is on there is no doubt that background noise is more isolated and there is more emphasized bass and mids. The sound is slightly fuller and on the same volume setting if I switch headphones the CX Plus sounds louder.

Sennheiser CX Plus True Wireless vs Sennheiser CX True Wireless

The sound quality on both headphones is good and identical when you don’t have the active noise canceling turned on.

The price difference has become much larger between the CX Plus and CX versions, last year is currently 99€ on the Sennheiser website with the CX Plus coming in at 159€. The only reason I would get the CX Plus over last year’s model is if I needed transparency mode. The sound isolation with the passive noise canceling on the CX is good, of course not as good as the Plus. If I was the kind of person who did a lot of running or used transparency mode when walking outside, then I would opt for the latest edition.

 

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Rating
Design / 8
Sound / 8
Performance / 8
Battery Life / 7.5
Software / 8
Price / 8
Editor's Choice / 8.5
Hardware / 8
Sennheiser CX Plus True Wireless

These true wireless earbuds sound very good and offer very good noise-canceling. At this price point it makes them a pretty good deal. The IPX4 rating and the many different ear tip sizes make this a stable and reliable workout option. The battery life is pretty average, but it’s more than enough to get you through a commute or two, and the charging case mitigates that issue.

If you're deciding between the two and money is no object, the Sennheiser CX Plus True Wireless is a better all-around true wireless option than the CX True Wireless. But if money is an object and you don't need active noise canceling or transparency mode, the CX True Wireless is the way to go.

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