Hands on: Sennheiser CX Sport wireless earphones review

All about that bass

What is a hands on review?
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Image credit: TechRadar

Early Verdict

These sporty earphones look and sound the part, with a cool neon and black design and brilliant bass frequencies – but there are cheaper options out there.

For

  • Fantastic audio quality
  • Sports-friendly design
  • Comfortable design

Against

  • Not the cheapest option

Although true wireless earbuds are all the rage at the moment, there are times when you may prefer the security of a neckband to keep your precious buds connected. 

One of those times is when you're running or working out, as we've all heard horror stories of the likes of AirPods falling into manholes, never to be seen again. 

While Sennheiser is certainly following the trend with its Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless, it's reassuring to see new wireless buds that don't entirely ditch the cable for those who want it - like the CX Sport wireless earphones, which combine Bluetooth connectivity with the security of having a wire between the two buds. 

Price and availability

True wireless vs wireless: what's the difference?

True Wireless headphones – these buds have no cord whatsoever. While wireless allows us to wear headphones a few feet away from our music players, True Wireless cuts the cord between the earbuds, giving us true freedom.

Wireless headphones have existed for some time, basically since Bluetooth as a standard was invented. Though battery powered and not physically connected to your phone, they have a cord connecting both buds – and sometimes a band around the neck too. 

Image credit: Apple

Audio company Sennheiser is no stranger to true wireless, having released its flagship Sennheiser Momentum true wireless earbuds in 2018, but it hasn't abandoned standard wireless earphones by any means. 

Sennheiser has a number of wireless in-ear and over-ear headphones, including the Momentum Frees, which we rated highly when we reviewed them. 

The CX Sports are less expensive than the Momentum Frees, coming in at $129.95 (£119 / AU$199.95), sitting square in the middle of the price range for similar headphones. 

You can get fantastic wireless earphones for less, though; the Optoma NuForce BE Sport 4s are some of our favorite models, and cost around $70 (£70 / AU$130).

Design and features

Like many sports-oriented devices, the CX Sports are black with neon accents – and they look quite attractive. 

They've been designed with comfort in mind, with rubberized ear fins that keep them snug in your ear while you're working out. In the box you get three different ear fin sizes as well as four different ear tips, so you should be able to find the right fit for you fairly easily. 

The buds themselves are small and compact, and we thought that they felt secure and comfortable when we tested them. 

With runners in mind, the CX Sports have an IPX4 splashproof rating. This means they should be able to withstand a sweaty workout session, but you probably shouldn't take them into the shower with you post-workout.  

Another helpful feature for listening on the move is the inclusion of an inline remote underneath the right earbud, which contains volume and play/pause buttons, as well as a built in microphone. 

Sennheiser says the CX Sports have a battery life of six hours, and can be quick-charged via USB in ten minutes to "offer a further hour of playback", and can be "fully charged in 1.5 hours". 

The ability to quick-charge could be a fantastic feature if you listen while commuting (and frequently forget to charge your headphones the night before).

Performance

The first thing you'll notice about Sennheiser's CX Sports is how full-bodied the bass is. 

We listened to 'bury a friend' by Billie Eilish, and we were blown away by the powerful sub-bass synths, wavering pads, and vigorous percussion.

Vocals also sound great, with a smooth yet detailed quality that gives a gorgeous emphasis to every lyric. Despite the power of the bass frequencies, we didn't experience any bleed into the mids, which can often be a problem with bassier headphones.

Wanting to test them out on something more treble-y, we listened to 'M7' by Seba & Ulrich Schnauss. Clattering synths and sonorous chimes had a great level of clarity, with a sweet, warm tone throughout.

Overall, they have a very warm, open sound, with a well balanced soundstage that lends itself to bass-heavy workout music. 

As well as supporting Bluetooth 4.2 apt-X for high quality wireless audio, they also support apt-X Low Latency, which means you shouldn't experience any lip-syncing issues when watching videos – that is, if you have a compatible display like the Samsung Galaxy S9

In terms of connectivity, the CX Sports performed well, and we didn't experience any Bluetooth dropouts in the short time we were using them. They also connected to our phone very quickly, which is ideal if you're listening on the move. 

Early verdict

Sennheiser's CX Sports are all about that bass – which could be perfect if you're looking for a pair of headphones that will bolster your running performance. 

That's not to say they aren't well balanced; the CX Sports provide impressive audio quality across the board, and we were equally impressed by the clarity they provide to treble frequencies. 

The sports-oriented touches that Sennheiser has given to the CX Sports could well make them the ideal workout headphones, with an attractive and rugged design and a comfortable fit. 

Saying that, we're not sure that they will beat the Optoma NuForce BE Sport 4s when we come to do a full review, particularly in terms of value for money – still, they are an attractive, well balanced pair of headphones, and well-suited to those after a touch of bass in their workouts.

We're hoping for more time with the CX Sports for a full review, and we will be able to give a  final verdict once we spend more time testing them. 

Image credits: TechRadar

What is a hands on review?

Hands on reviews' are a journalist's first impressions of a piece of kit based on spending some time with it. It may be just a few moments, or a few hours. The important thing is we have been able to play with it ourselves and can give you some sense of what it's like to use, even if it's only an embryonic view. For more information, see TechRadar's Reviews Guarantee.