Sennheiser has a reputation for making great quality audio for home and office listening, but the company doesn’t really have a reputation for making audio gear for active types. That changes now with the introduction of Sennheiser Sport true wireless earbuds.
Sennheiser Sport true wireless earbuds review
The idea here is to marry Sennheiser’s strong audio quality, with water resistance, durability and the ability to maintain awareness of your surroundings when working out or running outdoors. I recently got hands-on with one of the first pairs of Sennheiser Sport that was released, and in this post I’ll talk about the fit and comfort, the sound quality ad some of those features that make it great for sporty types.
What do you get?
Sennheiser Sport appear modeled on the Sennheiser CX line (check out my review of the CX 400BT TW). This no-nonsense design may not be exciting in the looks department but it sounds good. In the box you get the SPORT True Wireless earbuds inside a charging and storage case. There’s an optional shoelace-style lanyard cord, USB-C charging cable. You’ll also get multiple sets of both Closed and Open ear tips (S/M/L) and Ear fins sets.
What you don’t get in these is Noise Cancellation or fast or Qi wireless charging.
Set up & pairing
To get them connected to your phone is easy: they will be in pairing mode when you first put them in, look in your phone’s Bluetooth menu and tap to connect.
If you need to put them into pairing manually, just push and hold the touchpad on both earbuds for three seconds and you’ll hear a voice say, “pairing”.
Fit, feel, comfort: Sennheiser Sport
The first thing I noticed about these is that they are huge and stick out of my ears quite a bit, and they are a bit of a challenge to seat at first; you kind of need to put them in with a twist, and tuck the ear fin under your ear concha.
I personally had difficulty getting a good fit; the earbuds are quite large and fill the ear concha to the point where it was a bit uncomfortable. The earfins were all a bit big to add onto an earbud that’s already of substantial size, so I ended up going with the rubber band-only version without a fin, which is still supposed to provide some grip. The trade off here is that the tall build of the buds and lack of hook made it feel like these were going to pop out of my ears.
So in my personal experience, the fins are necessary for a secure fit, but I wasn’t able to find a pair that were comfortable.
Like the CX line, these earbuds have strong audio technology with what Sennheiser calls “TrueResponse dynamic, 7 mm diameter drivers”.
So how do they sound? In a word: gorgeous.
I tested the new Sport earbuds out with a variety of music. The bass on these is outstanding. I put on some favourite bass-heavy tracks and found there’s intensity and resonance in these earbuds and they give you a good vibe. Even so they’re extremely well balanced. The vocals are clear, and the treble and the highs are wonderfully delicate.
Having spent some time with the Momentum 2 and the CX 400s, I can definitely say the Sport model delivers on premium sound quality, and match their cousins beat for beat.
One of the draws of these earbuds is the water and dust resistance (and yes it’s resistant, not water proof), making them ideal for outdoor pursuits and rugged activities. The earbuds are IP54 rated meaning they are resistant to dust, splashes and sweat but not impermeable.
A closer look at Sennheiser’s “Adaptable Acoustics”
Sennheiser makes a point of saying these headphones can be adjusted to “tailor your sound experience for the level of immersion or awareness you prefer.” On some websites, i.e. Amazon, it actually lists these headphones as having “noise cancelling”.
The Adaptable Acoustic essentially consists of two types of ear tips… the Blue tipped ones are Open or Aware while the black ones are considered Closed or Focus, and features a small X across the opening.
You choose an ear tip style and then select the companion setting in the app. Sennheiser claims the Open or Aware setting will help to stay aware of your surroundings but at the same time can minimize body-borne noise, like hearing your own breathing or footsteps. And that the. Closed or Focus option insulates you and blocks outside sound for an immersive audio experience.
Now this sounds like a lot of fancy marketing that can be summed up like this: we didn’t put actual digital noise cancellation or HearThrough or ambient mode into our headphones… so we needed to do something cheaper that will sound like we did, to sell them. In short, I don’t really notice any difference between these Adaptable Acoustic ear tips whatsoever so don’t be wooed
Do Sennheiser Sport have noise cancellation?
In a word: No. Sennheisher’s Adaptive Acoustics is nothing like either true noise cancelling or ambient mode. The setting on the app appears to kill some of the bass intensity if you choose the open/Aware option. But that’s it. Don’t let this marketing oversell you. If you want true HearThough and the ability to listen to your surroundings, you’ll want a pair of headphones with HearThrough or Ambient Mode, or a pair of open earbuds like Sony Link Buds.
Battery life & charging
One of the great features for those on the go will be the battery life in these headphones. With up to 27 hours of audio play time, these last longer than the CX by about 7 hours, and they’re about the same as the Momentum 2 (28 hours). You should get 9 hours out of the buds themselves and the rest comes from the case recharging the buds. That’s outstanding battery life and better than average. It’ll take you about 90 minutes to recharge them,
The Sennheiser Sport earbuds, like the CX series has touch controls on the top of each bud.
You can control your music, virtual assistant, and calls by tapping the right or left bud, and using one tap a double tap or a triple tap each does different things. You can use the tap controls as is, or you can customize the touch controls in the Sennheiser Smart Control app. The touch controls worked well and I found the boxier shape of the buds actually helped me hit the touchpad a little more precisely.
Sennheiser Smart Control App & EQ
Speaking of the app, Inside the app you can manage your headphone settings.
You can customize your touch controls here and adjust equalization settings to your preference using some preset options or dial in your own specific sound. You’ll manage your Adaptable Acoustics here and you can check battery life too.
Sennheiser Sport True Wireless connects to your phone, computer or audio device via Bluetooth and has a 10-metre range. I tested these out by wearing the buds and walking away from my phone and there was no breakup or dropouts.
Overall review: Sennheiser Sport
Overall I have mixed feelings about these earbuds. Let’s go with the good: they sound phenomenal; the bass is ace and they are moisture resistant; more so than some other Sennheiser models. Plus the battery life is outstanding and better than average.
On the like-it-less side… the size of these was just too big for a woman’s ear, in my opinion. Even with the smallest tips and fins, these were not comfortable for me personally, even for short stints. Other with bigger ears, or the guys out there might find they have a different experience.
I also thought they were extremely tall… but since those tall buds house a big battery, there’s tradeoffs. And while this isn’t a downside per say, they don’t have noise cancellation, so if you’re hoping to block out the techno at the gym, you won’t be able to.
I also felt like the Adaptable Acoustics thing was a bit misleading for consumers and that it doesn’t actually do much. Adding Noise cancellation or actual Ambient mode would make these a lot more valuable in my opinion.
In short I’m not going to recommend these unless you’re a Sennheiser loyalist who has bigger ears,and who’s looking for better than average sports headphones audio quality. If you’ve evaluated these, you may find that for you, the pros could outweigh the cons, but for me, because they’re so uncomfortable, it doesn’t matter how good they sound: I can’t wear them.
The Sennheiser Sport earbuds sell for about $129USD/$169CAD and you can get them from Sennheiser, Amazon of other electronics retailers.
**A note about Affiliate Links: TechGadgetsCanada is supported by our readers. Occasionally I will include affiliate links in my reviews. I do this partly for convenience of the reader (since I’ll almost always include a link to the company website or similar anyway) in case you want to read more or purchase, but I also may get a small commission from the click, which helps me keep the blog running. If you choose to use this link I thank you greatly for supporting the blog. There’s no obligation or cost to you for using these links.
I'm a journalist, tech blogger, writer, TV producer, silversmith& jewelry designer, foodie and world traveler. I blog, write for publications, and supply freelance writing services to Calgary, and the world.