Since their inception, we've been in a weird relationship with true wireless headphones from getting conned by Kanoa, who stiffed all their early backers to waves of no-name imports that were just terrible. Then the first-gen AirPods came out and looked ok, but knowing the mediocrity of Apple's bud's sound - we passed. Then the AirPod Pros hit, and we passed, and we have tested countless pairs, and only a few have been decent.
The SOL REPUBLIC's Air+ came in solid with ANC and decent sound but had pairing issues that made us shelf them. Others were just sticker slappers or jumped the gun, delivering buds with low battery power and poor stereo connectivity. Even the very ambitious HERE buds ended up running out of runway due to disappointing battery life, but a lovely product and functionality with an included app.
Sennheiser's Momentum True Wireless 2 (MSRP $299) model currently occupies the top slot in their line up, with the CX 400BT coming in as the more price point model at $199.
Out of the box, the experience is very Sennheiser, excellent packaging, and all the essentials neatly bundled together for a quick set up. As always, I took out the buds, hitched them to a power outlet, and patiently waited for my first experience with them.
Design and Build Quality - There is nothing spectacular here regarding build and design; they feel solid and look similar to other buds on the market - somewhat blocky with a protruding bulk while it sits in your ear. We do trust about Sennheiser almost without question because you will get an excellent product regarding sound. So yeah, the look the part and will not win any design awards - but who cares? We just want well-built buds that connect correctly, stay in my ears, and sound solid.
The case is better than most, with an alternative to the long skinny design, instead opting for a short stubby case - which is slightly more compact and more comfortable to hold. You get roughly 20 hours of charging power when the battery in the case is fully powered up, which is fantastic if you are traveling on long haul flights, etc.
Comfort and Functionality - One of our biggest grievances with the true wireless buds ecosystem is terrible pairing and stereo output. Either the buds won't pair correctly, or one loses connection leaving you with a mono bud. Sennheiser has corrected that here and the buds pair immediately out of the case and disconnect when put back in. It's fantastic to be able to pop the buds out and pop them in your ears, and they work, which is one of the huge appeals of the Apple buds, essential compatibility.
The CX 400BT's come with various tips and are quite comfortable for long sessions, whether you are active or just sardined into an airplane seat. You will get about six to seven hours on a full charge, which is plenty and quite good, relatively speaking. You also have great touch-sensitive control, which is easy to use. Simply tap the left bud to stop/play, rewind and fast forward your tracks and hold to control volume. Tap right bud to use Siri or answer a call. As you tap, the tone changes subtly to let you know what tap you are on, like going up semitones on a piano.
The BT is 5.1 compliant and features the Qualcomm aptX connectivity to stream high-quality files, which is pretty standard at this price point. The buds can be connected directly or using the Sennheiser Smart App, which gives you a bit of a coaching session and allows you to fine-tune your buds - so we would recommend that route. The app also provides software updates to your buds, which is seamless and idiot-proof.
So how do they sound? It's funny that's the last thing we were concerned about, mainly because the function is so essential in this type of headphone. Not to worry, Sennheiser delivered an excellent full sound for true wireless and performed well with even bassier music like hip hop and techno, but you need to be realistic about what you expect. These are small buds with 7mm drivers, and they are wireless, so if you are an audiophile type - skip this tech altogether and stick with wired.
More acoustic music and ambient performed a bit better than genres that might be a bit more dissonant or cluttered, like rock and some complex jazz. Overall - we are quite happy with the sound and the overall performance.
Summary - If you are looking for a bud that punches a little bit above its weight for the price, the CX 400BT is worth the duckets. Considering it's $50 less than the AirPods pro and sounds excellent, pairs well, and holds a charge for almost seven hours straight - it's hard to beat. It's easy to control, sounds great with calls, works with Siri, and the case gives you a total of 20 hours of charging - highly recommended, and we are stoked to have a reliable TW bud in our possession finally.
What's in the box?
- CX 400BT True Wireless Earbuds
- Silicone ear adapter sets (XS, S, M, L)
- Charging Case
- USB-C Cable
- Quick Guide & Safety Guide