Sennheiser PX 100-IIi Headset (Black) review: Sennheiser PX 100-IIi Headset (Black)

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Sennheiser PX 100-IIi Headset (Black)

(Part #: 504162)
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4 stars

CNET Editors' Rating

4 stars 1 user review

The Good The lightweight Sennheiser PX100-IIi improves on an earlier design with reinforced hinges for extra durability, an in-line remote, and single-sided cabling for tangle-free transportation and storage in the included carrying bag.

The Bad A prevalent midbass hump muddies the low-end spectrum and adds misplaced sonic weight for music with homophonic melodies, such as classical and jazz.

The Bottom Line Despite their lightweight structure, the Sennheiser PX100-IIi headphones are surprisingly powerful, and we recommend them for travelers, students, and anyone else shopping for new open-backed headphones.

8.0 Overall
  • Design 8.0
  • Features 8.0
  • Performance 8.0

The Sennheiser PX 100-IIi headphones are a modern update to the PX 100 that builds on the classic circumaural (ear-covering) design with a tougher headband, a three-button in-line remote to control your digital music player, and a single wire attached to the left earpiece. The $89 PX 100-IIi continues to exhibit top-shelf sound quality for the price, and the majority of listeners will appreciate its low-end force, although the heavy midbass can overpower harmonies in jazz and classical tracks. These headphones are the ideal marriage of lightweight comfort, travel-friendly design, and a rich sound with Sennheiser's two-year warranty to back them up, so we can think of little reason not to give the PX-100-IIi our full recommendation.

Design and features
The PX 100-IIi headphones retain the same shape as the previous version, but with an all-black profile for a more reserved look than the original's silver-and-black palette. And instead of a star-shaped pattern on the outside of the dual earcups, the PX 100-IIis pare down to a simple horizontal bar supported by the steel-reinforced plastic headband. The soft foam earpads are securely fastened to each earpiece, and we didn't notice any tangible movement, even during active use. Our only critique of the design is that the PX 100-IIi's 4-foot wire terminates in a vertical plug--we prefer an L-shaped plug that tends to last longer since you're not constantly pulling directly on the cord connection point.

The joints where the earpads connect to the band are also supported by a thin plastic protrusion that appears to be the most likely location of future breakage, although Sennheiser backs the headphones with a two-year warranty that will cover such hardware failure. Regardless, we're impressed with the physical improvements to the design that ensure a long life, provided you keep them folded up, clipped together, and protected by the soft vinyl bag included.

To make things even easier on the listener, Sennheiser switches the PX100 series over to a single 4-foot wire in this generation to keep it organized and easy to wrap around the headband while packed away. The single-sided cabling also cuts down on annoying tangles and includes a three-button remote several inches down from the left earcup that you can use to navigate your music on an iOS device.

The headphone remote doubles as a microphone for hands-free calling on a compatible smartphone, and similar to most headphone remotes, you can also double-click the middle button to advance a track on your music player--we should also note that the two volume buttons won't work on any iPhone released before the 3GS, a symptom of Apple's hardware, not Sennheiser. We also had off-and-on success using it with an Android-powered smartphone, so your mileage may vary with non-iOS devices. If you don't own an Apple iPhone, however, you can save $20 buying the remoteless version instead, called the PX 100-II.

Having tested and owned the PX-100 headphones, we're thankful Sennheiser didn't stray too far from the original's sound quality. The sub-$100 price point seems to be the limit for what most consumers are willing to spend on aftermarket headphones, and the PX-100IIi's won't disappoint.

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