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Sennheiser HD 238 review: Sennheiser HD 238

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MSRP: $139.95

The Good The Sennheiser HD 238 on-ear headphones are comfortable and affordable, and sound good for the money.

The Bad The headphones fold flat but lack a compact design like the Bose OE2 headphones; there's no integrated microphone for cell phones (like the step-up 238i); this is a discontinued model that will disappear from stores quickly.

The Bottom Line Priced less than the Bose OE2s, the comparable Sennheiser 238 headphones deliver good bang for your buck.

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7.0 Overall
  • Design 7
  • Features 7
  • Performance 7

Recently, I reviewed Sennheiser's HD 238i headphones and thought they were a great deal because they sounded very good and were selling online for $60 online. Well, as soon as I said they were a great deal, a bunch of people went out and bought them on Amazon and the vendors promptly raised the price on them, making them less of a bargain.

The HD 238 model reviewed here is the same headphone, except that it's missing the integrated microphone for making cell phone calls. That may be a big omission for some folks, but if you don't care about that, these are a good deal at less than $70. Get closer to $100 (or more), and they become just a comfortable, solid set of on-ear headphones that are priced better than their Bose counterparts, the OE2s, which retail for $149.

The Sennheiser HD 238 headphones are lightweight and comfortable. Sarah Tew/CNET

As far as design goes, these headphones are slightly bigger than the Bose OE2s and the earpads aren't quite as plush, but they're decently light and almost as comfortable as the Bose headphones over long periods of wear.

The build quality feels solid to the touch as well, and while these guys do fold flat for storage (a simple canvas carrying case is included), they don't fold into a more compact form factor like the Bose set or Sennheiser's own PX 100-II.

The headphone cord terminates in a straight plug. Sarah Tew/CNET

If you're comparing this with the PX100-II, this model has bigger earcups with more padding -- the PX 100-II headphones feature simple foam pads like you'd find on a generic model. Also the PX 100-II has an open-back design that tends to leak more sound than this model, which features a closed supra-aural design.

It's also worth noting that like the PX100 II, this model's 4-foot wire terminates in a vertical plug -- I prefer an L-shaped plug since it usually lasts longer because you're not constantly pulling directly on the cord connection point. Unlike the Bose OE2s, the cord of the HD 238 isn't detachable from the earcup, and it's arguably a tad thin.

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