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Sennheiser's new CX True Wireless earbuds impress for $130

The company's new entry-level true-wireless earbuds are an improvement over last year's CX 400BT.

David Carnoy Executive Editor / Reviews
Executive Editor David Carnoy has been a leading member of CNET's Reviews team since 2000. He covers the gamut of gadgets and is a notable reviewer of mobile accessories and portable audio products, including headphones and speakers. He's also an e-reader and e-publishing expert as well as the author of the novels Knife Music, The Big Exit and Lucidity. All the titles are available as Kindle, iBooks, Nook e-books and audiobooks.
Expertise Mobile accessories and portable audio, including headphones, earbuds and speakers Credentials
  • Maggie Award for Best Regularly Featured Web Column/Consumer
David Carnoy
3 min read

The Sennheiser CX look very similar to their predecessors, with most of the changes on the inside.

David Carnoy/CNET

Sennheiser last year released the CX 400BT True Wireless, a more affordable alternative to its excellent Momentum True Wireless 2 earbuds. I liked the CX400BT but thought the $200 list price was high and felt there was some room for discounts based on their build quality. Sure enough, their price quickly dropped to $150, then sporadically hit $100 on Amazon, and bottomed out at $80 for Prime Day 2021. Now we get the new Sennheiser CX, which have essentially the same design as their predecessors but offer some small improvements with a lower $130 (£120, AU$200) list price. They ship on July 8 in black or white. 

I've been testing them the last few days and have been generally impressed. As far I can tell, the earbuds have the same overall design -- they fit me comfortably using the largest ear tips but are a bit chunky and do stick out of your ears a fair amount. (They probably aren't the best choice for those with small ears.) The Sennheiser logo is no longer silver but a more muted black (or white), and the earbuds are now all black with a nice matte finish. With the previous model, the outside of the buds, where the touch controls live, had a glossy black finish. 

Read more: Best true wireless earbuds for 2021


I got the black version, but the buds also come in white.

David Carnoy/CNET

The CX adds an extra microphone on each bud, which does improve the voice-calling experience and makes it easier for callers to hear your voice, even in noisy environments. The earphones do a good job muffling background noise, though some noise leaks in when you speak during calls (there's a sidetone feature that lets you hear your voice in the buds). To be clear, however, these are not active noise-canceling earbuds, they simply offer noise reduction for calls.

The buds are equipped with Bluetooth 5.2 and presumably an upgraded chipset. Battery life is up to nine hours at moderate volume levels (the slightly bulky charging case stores an additional three charges) versus seven hours for the previous model. These are splash-proof, with an IPX4 water-resistance rating. And along with the SBC and AAC audio codecs, the buds also support aptX streaming for aptX-enabled devices, which include certain Android smartphones.


The new CX (left) next to the CX 400BT (right). 

David Carnoy/CNET

Sennheiser says its TrueResponse transducer delivers "deep basses, natural mids, and clear, detailed treble" and that's pretty much what I heard during my listening tests. The buds have a smooth, pleasant sound with a fairly wide soundstage. The Momentum True Wireless 2 have a little more bass energy and a bit more refined sound, but the CX sound really good for the price, which will probably settle in closer to $100 with time. 

If you want to tweak the sound profile a bit, you can do so in Sennheiser's Smart Control App for iOS and Android, which offers an EQ customization option as well as the ability to customize the touch controls.

As I said, the buds fit me comfortably and I got a tight seal using the largest of the four ear tip sizes. (I often use Sennheiser's large ear tips on other earbuds; they're among my favorite tips.) These earbuds don't offer some of the extra bells and whistles like active noise canceling, a transparency mode that lets sound in or wireless charging, but they have a nice minimalist quality and are strong where it counts, with excellent sound, good battery life and solid headset performance.

Some people may have an issue with their size and fit, but the upgrades on the inside and price drop make the CX True Wireless an appealing choice for folks who can't afford more premium true-wireless earbud options but want premium performance.