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Back in July Sennheiser released itsearbuds, the follow-up to the , a more affordable alternative to its excellent earbuds. The have essentially the same design as their predecessors but offer some small but notable improvements with a lower $130 list price. They’ve been selling for $100 at Amazon but are now down to $80, their lowest price yet. Also, the step-up , which includes active noise canceling, is down to $130 or also $50 off its list price of $180.
The models look nearly identical and are bit chunky (they stick out of your ears a bit) but both deliver excellent sound for their price, with good clarity and well-defined bass.
Compared to the earlier CX400BT, 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 of it 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 aren’t 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 9 hours at moderate volume levels (the slightly bulky charging case stores an additional three charges) versus 7 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.
I personally use the step-upa fair amount and they’re an affordable alternative to , which have been on sale for . The Sennheiser’s sound is only a slight bit behind the Sony’s. However, the Sony’s noise canceling is superior.