Incredible sound for the price
Useful companion app
Good collection of features
These buds are the missing link between Sennheiser’s budget CX True Wireless buds and its high-end Momentum True Wireless 2. The CX Plus add active noise cancellation that the CX True Wireless lack, alongside slightly better battery life than the aging Momentum 2, at a price that lodges them squarely in the middle of the Sennheiser pack.
About the Sennheiser CX Plus True Wireless
- Price: $179.99
- Battery life: up to 8 hours per charge, up to 24 hours total with case
- Rapid charging: 10 minutes charge for 1 hour of playback
- Wireless charging: N/A
- Voice Assistant compatibility: Siri, Google Assistant
- Colors: Black, White
- Connectivity: Bluetooth 5.2
- Audio codecs: SBC, AAC, aptX, aptX Adaptive
- Water-resistance: IPX4
- Ear tips: small, medium, and large
- Weight: 6 grams per bud, 47 grams with charging case
- Warranty: 2-year warranty
Included with the CX Plus are three pairs of ear tips, a manual, and a USB-A to USB-C charging cable. You’ll also want to download the free Sennheiser Smart Control app which features several different helpful controls..
What We Like
Jaw-dropping sound on a budget
To first address the elephant in the room: no, the CX Plus are not the audio spectacles that their older, more premium relatives are. Sennheiser’s Momentum True Wireless 2 continue to stand out in their field as some of the best-sounding buds we’ve ever tested. Their masterful grasp of balance, depth, instrumental timbre, and dynamic expression are second to none, and try as they may, but the CX Plus can’t rise to this particular challenge.
When slotted in their own weight class, though, the CX Plus immediately stand out. They have a refreshingly neutral signature, with an emphasis on detail and clarity that’s hard to find under $200. I routinely found myself replaying certain tracks (Heart’s “Barracuda'' comes to mind) just to make sure I wasn’t imagining the tantalizing new elements of classic guitar riffs that these buds were uncovering.
For good measure, I ran the CX Plus through the complete gamut of my musical tastes—sampling everything from Mac Miller’s “100 Grandkids'' to the Allman Brothers Band’s “Ramblin Man,” with a healthy dose of Sheryl Crow and Caribbean artists like Kes finding their way into the mix. They offer an impressive display of balance between instruments and vocals, distributing bass and higher frequencies as needed while managing to keep the mesmerizing lyrics of a Leonard Cohen or one Childish Gambino prominent.
At their retail price, the CX Plus do face formidable competition from options like Samsung's Galaxy Buds Pro or the Klipsch T5 II True Wireless buds (though the latter have no ANC). That said, the CX Plus went on sale at $130 during my review period. In that price range, nothing I’ve heard yet can touch them.
A relatively robust collection of features
Frankly, there are far cheaper earbuds options that offer better battery life and weather resistance ratings. Setting that caveat aside, the CX Plus have a decent assortment of features. They net you up to 8 hours of battery life per charge (less with ANC on), support audio codecs like AAC and aptX for improved sound with both iPhones and aptX supported Android devices, and offer an IPX4 splash resistance rating. Plus, they come equipped with the aforementioned ANC, Transparent Hearing, and Smart Pause functionality that were missing in the previous CX True Wireless.
In addition to these features, the CX Plus provide straightforward, responsive touch controls that make it easy to do things like switch between ANC and Transparent Hearing mode, change tracks, or answer a call. Speaking of calls, a system of four mics in total made for clear dialogue during phone calls over the time I tested them.
There are more budget-friendly earbuds that are a better value when it comes to features. The Jabra Elite 4 Active offer things like IP57 weatherproofing and earbuds finding functionality, though they are lacking an auto-pause function. The Anker Soundcore Liberty Air 2 Pro, meanwhile, have nearly identical features to the CX Plus for a $50 discount. Still, the features the CX Plus do have are worthwhile complements to their tremendous audio skillset.
A handy companion app
Sennheiser’s Smart Control app lives up to its name, serving as a particularly useful companion to the CX Plus. In addition to an equalizer tab, the app offers a Sound Check feature that lets you create an entire library of customized EQ presets to span a wide variety of music genres. It also has Sound Zones, which lets you map out locations that automatically prompt specific sound settings, whether it be a bass-focused EQ at the gym or a more conservative signature for the office.
Other controls through the app include Transparent Hearing options, the ability to toggle ANC on or off (but no way to control the level of noise cancellation, notably), and a customizable panel of touch controls.
What We Don’t Like
ANC has a few blindspots
As with audio quality, the CX Plus weren’t outfitted with the same level of active noise cancellation as the Momentum True Wireless 2, which wasn’t an ANC juggernaut in its own right. The CX Plus offer good passive isolation thanks to a solid fit, and their ANC capabilities excel in blocking out midrange frequencies and above. When things get low, however, the CX Plus struggle. Deep exhausts of trucks and muscle cars rolling through my neighborhood were relatively unaltered, allowing those sounds to invade my listening environment much more than I’d like.
It wouldn't have fixed this flaw, but it also doesn’t help that the CX Plus lack adjustable noise cancellation. The feature is an on-or-off function, with no ability to increase or decrease the level of noise that the earbuds block out. The same goes for the CX Plus’ Transparent Hearing feature. It’s still valuable to have, but you can’t choose how much of the outside world you let in.
Sennheiser’s signature bulkiness strikes again
Seemingly, the tradeoff when it comes to Sennheiser is sound-for-size. Regardless of which model you pick, chances are they’ll sound better than their closely-priced counterparts. There’s also a good chance that they’ll stick out of your ears like a pair of sore thumbs.
Such is the case with the CX Plus. I will note that they stayed put surprisingly well during a handful of morning runs and after-work gym sessions, mostly thanks to their firm, yet comfortable fit. If you have ears that run on the small side, though, it’s worth taking the heft of these beefy buds and their cooler-shaped carrying case into consideration.
Should You Buy Them?
Yes, especially if you can find them at a discount
Sennheiser hit the sweet spot with the CX Plus True Wireless. They incorporate features and sound quality reminiscent of the brand’s flagship Momentum True Wireless 2 while flirting with the price point of their predecessors, the CX True Wireless.
The CX Plus lean more toward the middle of the pack when it comes to features, and they are far from industry leaders when it comes to active noise cancellation or water resistance. If you’re after improved ANC or a slimmer and sportier design, the Panasonic RZ-S500W or Jabra Elite 7 Active are compelling alternatives, respectively. Samsung's zippy Galaxy Buds Pro are also tempting rivals with tons of features. But if sound quality is your main guide, the CX Plus are top contenders.
We'd also be remiss not to mention that Sennheiser's top-tier Momentum 2 have also dropped significantly in price over time from many retailers, available for around $200 at publication time.
Though they aren’t the best earbuds Sennheiser has ever made, the CX Plus are the most value-packed, even at retail price. And if you’re lucky enough to catch them on sale, they offer a nearly unrivaled sound experience for under $150.
Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.
Meet the tester
Nick Woodard is a tech journalist specializing in all things related to home theater and A/V. His background includes a solid foundation as a sports writer for multiple daily newspapers, and he enjoys hiking and mountain biking in his spare time.
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