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Lifewire / Yoona Wagener
Comes with zipper pouch for storing
Adjustable neck cable
Sound lacks depth
Ear fins fit oddly
Visible battery pack
The Sennheiser CX Sport in-ear wireless earbuds offer enough convenience and staying power for most workouts, but some may struggle with fit issues and the lack of depth in the sound quality.
We purchased the Sennheiser CX Sport in-ear earbuds so our expert reviewer could thoroughly test and assess them. Keep reading for our full product review.
The Sennheiser CX Sport in-ear earbuds are ready to head to the gym or provide a soundtrack to your favorite running loop. These wireless earbuds are tough enough to take sweat and splashes of water and combine a stay-put design with decent, though not mind-blowing, sound quality. I used these earbuds for a couple of workouts and general use paying special attention to fit and performance while active.
When you’re headed for a run or to the gym, you don’t necessarily want to grab a heavy or precious pair of earbuds. The Sennheiser CX Sport are incredibly lightweight. They were comfortable to wear around my neck or easily stow in my pocket, in the handy neoprene pouch, until I was ready for them. They also felt substantial enough to sweat with (within reason), and the IPX4 water-resistance rating supports that.
The CX Sport have a sporty appearance with an overall black build color and lime green accents on the rectangular remote control panel and the wing tips that accent the in-ear rubber adapters. The remote features three buttons that are responsive and intuitive to use. Opposite the remote, you’ll notice a larger rectangular-shaped battery pack. While it doesn’t add excess weight, it creates a clunky look and feel to the earbuds. It also seemed like a deterrent to achieving a better fit with the adjustable neckband.
You’d expect a workout-appropriate headphone set to offer a secure fit, and these mostly do that with a bit of work. Out of the box, the medium ear tips and ear fins are affixed to the earbuds, which fit awkwardly. The medium ear adapters were fine, but the ear fins didn’t sit right in my ears. I attempted to size down to the small fins, but one tore immediately. Ultimately what ended up working best for me was no ear fins at all. Though the fit wasn’t as snug and close as I would have preferred it to be, I had no issue with the earbuds falling out of my ears when running or cycling. I’m not sure I would get the same performance on longer workouts or with more erratic movements, but short jaunts were just fine.
If you’re in a pinch, you could try a 10-minute charge for an hour of battery life.
While I didn’t have much luck with the four alternative sizes of ear adapters and three sets of ear fins (sized from extra-small to large), the CX Sport earbuds comes with a few other solutions for a close fit. The adjustable neck cable offers an easy way to cinch or increase the length of the cord depending on your preferences. For extra stay-fit security, the shirt clip can add an anchor point to fight against any movement.
The battery block aside, the other barrier to an easier user experience while engaging in a workout was the length of the cord. It seemed to be just a bit too long or short. When I used the cinching tool to create a very tight fit against the neck, I struggled to access the remote panel. I also had to exhibit a fair amount of control, especially when running, to use the remote control buttons without inadvertently pulling an earbud out of my ear. The fit was secure enough that I wasn’t worried the earbud would fall out completely, but I did have to adjust the fit after making contact with the remote.
While many users report a pleasant bass experience with these earbuds, I was underwhelmed. Bass sounds tended to be the warmest and the tones that resonated the most, and that’s something Sennheiser stresses about this product. But I was more struck by the flat audio quality at mid frequencies. Occasionally vocals came across as tinny and without warmth and songs with a lot of treble came across as sharp and sometimes downright harsh. Classical music sounded the most balanced while many contemporary pop hits skewed toward shrill.
While the CX Sport does support Qualcomm aptX and Qualcomm aptX low latency technology, I used these earbuds to stream music on iOS devices, which use the AAC audio codec. The aptX technologies are used in more and more audio and mobile devices and gaming platforms as well to provide a more accurate and delay-free audio experience. Essentially these audio codecs work to mimic the same experience as a wired connection.
What you won’t find regardless of the devices you use is noise cancellation from the CX Sport, but microphone quality for answering and making phone calls is decent.
Sennheiser says that the CX Sport has a battery life of six hours, which is true. Six hours isn’t very long, so you may have to recharge these frequently if you plan to use them for daily workouts and casual use. The good news is that they charge quite quickly via the provided micro USB charging cord. If you’re in a pinch, you could try a 10-minute charge for an hour of battery life. But it’s more worthwhile to wait for just a little over an hour, which is enough time to bring the battery to 100 percent—and faster than the manufacturer claim of 1.25 hours.
The manufacturer says that these earbuds are capable of supporting a range of up to 32 feet. I couldn’t achieve that upper limit in my time with the CX Sport. In fact, I could barely move 10 feet away from the streaming source before the connection would slip and then drop off completely.
While many users report a pleasant bass experience with these earbuds, I was underwhelmed.
The Sennheiser CX Sport earbuds retail for about $130 MSRP. While that’s not exorbitant, I’m not sure that the price is justified. The water-resistance rating is relatively modest and the sound quality is adequate but not superb. Of course, if you have no issues with the ear fins, it’s possible you could secure a better fit, making these earbuds a worthy addition to your gym bag. Still, there are less expensive options with slightly more or a lot more to offer.
For about $51 less, you could benefit from 12 hours of music listening, a higher IPX-5 waterproof rating, and dual-driver technology from the Status BT Structure (see on Amazon). The difference that two drivers is supposed to make is by handling mid and high frequencies in a more precise way via one driver while the other one focuses on the bass end of the spectrum.
Depending on your headphone preference between earbuds vs. earphones, the BT Structure could offer a more comfortable fit. These wireless earbuds come with four sizes of inner-ear tips and feature an over-the-ear hook fit. Some people dislike this kind of headphone design, but it could provide a more straightforward and secure fit than the ear fin and adapter setup in the CX Sport.
The Status earbuds offer wide device compatibility since they come with the updated Bluetooth 5.0 standard along with aptX support. These competing earbuds are heavier at about 0.88 ounces, but the same kind of accessories (carrying case, cable clip and organizer) make achieving fit and portability a cinch.
A decent pair of workout earbuds if you don’t mind the price.
The Sennheiser CX Sport wireless earbuds offer an attractive mix of features that check the boxes for workout earbuds: sporty styling, tools for achieving a closer fit, a lightweight build, and quick charging. While charging time is the most consistent highlight, some of the other attributes fall a bit short given the overall audio quality and price tag. If you’re not spooked by the price and can get the right fit, these could be the best earbuds for your exercise routine.