Hey everyone, Jimmy with JimsReviewRoom. I tested Sennheiser’s traveling pair of headphones, the PXC550’s several months back, and they feature the same Active Noise Cancelling technology in this pair of headphones I’m reviewing today. These are the Sennheiser 4.50BTNC’s that Sennheiser sent over for review. I’m going to call them the 4.50’s in this video for simplicity sake. But the biggest reason why I’m interested in this pair, it forgoes some of those extra features that some may not want or need, and because of that, it’s 50% cheaper than their flagship, yet cheaper than some of the competitors out there as well. Of course, we have to see if these sound good at all or if the Active Noise Cancelling will perform as good as the competition.
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Going over the physical features first, the headphones are all plastic, and not cheap feeling plastic either. They’re well made, they don’t rattle or feel finicky, they’ve been a confident product to test. I do admit, I wished the inner band itself where it adjusts was metal or at least the hinges were metal for peace of mind and long-term durability. Only time will tell. The headband uptop is very thin without too much padding, but I’ll discuss my comfort in detail later. Going over the earcups, they do fold in for stowing and fits neatly into the provided carrying case. There’s no structural protection, it’s not rigid, which is still fine for most people, but surely it does protect from scratches, nicks and bumps when you throw them into your bag.
But looking at the controls, the right earcup has your power on and off, a very smooth Multi-Function switch that allows you to skip and go back on your music. The same button is also used to answer phone calls as well. When testing this in public, my voice does come across clear, however, light to moderate background noises are still picked up by the person on the other end. Continuing with the physical buttons, a volume rocker is next, and if you press UP and DOWN at the same time, this turns on and off Active Noise Cancelling when you’re using these headphones wirelessly. A 2.5mm port is offered for physical connections, not a 3.5mm so be aware of that. Sennheiser does provide a locking wire cord, so you can’t accidentally yank this out the headphones which is great. Last, a Micro-USB port is offered to charge your headphones. Battery life is claimed to be upto 25hrs on the retail box, but that’s with ANC off. With ANC on, Sennheiser is expecting 19hrs worth of use, which is still very good, and with my testing, I’m getting xxxhrs at 50% volume. I also attempted to connect the 450’s to both of my PC’s at home, and maybe this is just me…both times, they do charge my Headphones, but I didn’t see any drivers being installed or any option to offer music playback through USB which would have been a nice feature. Also, having them connected via Bluetooth, and attempting to plug them into my laptop to charge while I listen to them, once the USB plug goes in, the headphones turned off. You can’t listen and charge them at the same time.
The only other feature that is included on 4.50’s, is NFC or Near Field Communication for streamlined pairing. With your NFC device, simply hold it on the NFC logo, and the Bluetooth connection establishes. Regarding signal strength, Bluetooth technology is great these days. With the 4.50’s, I can walk throughout my entire house, even upstairs and leave the phone downstairs, the signal never cuts out.
Moving onto comfort, on day one of testing, I did feel as though they clamped too tight at the jaw line and wearing fatigue did set in. It wasn’t until day two and then day three and on… where I felt more acclimated with the headphones. The weight of these are quite impressive, coming in nearly identical to the PXC550’s and my very comfortable Bose QC35’s. Because of how light weight these are, many will find the 4.50’s to be a good level of comfort. Those with a bit more of a sensitive head, the clamping force at the jawline is a bit more firm than the competition, and I mentioned earlier about that thin headband uptop, I do notice a slight weigh down at the crown of the head after wearing these for extended periods of time.
Jumping into the Active Noise Cancelling performance, I went back into the city and tested this outdoors, at the local coffee shop, essentially at Starbucks and various other environments while I was there. The Active Noise Cancelling performed practically identical to the PXC550’s, which again are Sennheiser Flagship ANC headphones. Just like the PXC550’s, you don’t get much if any of the Air Cabin Pressure feeling when you turn on ANC, unlike the Bose QC35’s or Sony 1000x. Those with more sensitive ears will value that over the competition. With that being said, I felt indeed, the 4.50’s did block out a decent amount of noise. It does great with ambient air and wind, traffic and cars driving by, but same with the PXC550’s, voices around the coffee shop, the background music in the coffee shop were slightly silenced and the flagships headphones did do better, but if you’re comparing prices apples to apples, the Sennheiser 4.50’s blocked out as much noise as the JBL Everest Elite 700 and the Parrot Zik headphones to name other competitors.
Last but not least, jumping into audio performance. Sennheiser provides very balanced audio characteristics. Accurate and clean is what you’re going to get with these. Bass is neutral and not altered or bass boosted. The mids are equal with other frequencies in not being bright or recessed either. I wished there was a bit more resolution or detail being experienced in the mid-range though, but most average consumers will surely find it enough. The highs does have roll off and plays it quite safe, but because it doesn’t come anywhere close of being tinny and sharp, the 4.50’s are very easy to listen to, there’s no listening fatigue whatsoever. Those who are not big an neutral or natural sound characteristics may find them not as colorful as they would like. It’s simply a matter of preference. I do wish they were a bit louder as I can listen to these at full volume for some songs… and other tracks, I’m around the 80 to 90% volume levels. The soundstage is there, and it’s moderately open. You can hear some audio in different directions, but it did perform more on a mid-tier level. As for sound leaking, at higher volumes, these do slightly leak and is audible in very quiet environments.
Overall, the 4.50’s, at it’s current price point, they’re good. They are cheaper than a lot of the competition out there. There’s no extra bells and whistles like touch controls, ambient on, and sound profiles, and being upfront, JBL Everest Elites 700 or Parrot Ziks to name two that I’m familiar with, for a few dollars more, yes you can get those extra features. But if don’t want to spend extra, the 4.50’s gives you clean and accurate audio, great battery life and equivalent Noise Cancelling as the two recently mentioned competitors. If you’re in this price price range, I’d seriously look into these as a worthy purchase.