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 Active Noise Cancelling headphones that Sennheiser sent over for review. I’m going to call them the 4.50’s in this review for simplicity’s 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 – cheaper than some of the competitors out there as well. Of course, we have to see if these sound good, or if the Active Noise Cancelling will perform as good as the competition.
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 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 up top 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 fit neatly into the provided carrying case. There’s no structural protection, it’s not rigid, which is still fine for most people, but it surely protects 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, it 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 of the headphones, which is great. Last, a Micro-USB port is offered to charge your headphones. Battery life is claimed to be up to 25 hours on the retail box, but that’s with ANC off. With ANC on, Sennheiser is expecting 19 hours worth of use, which is still very good. I also attempted to connect the 450’s to both of my PC’s at home, and maybe this is just me, but 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 – once the USB plug goes in, the headphones turn 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.
COMFORT AND FIT
Moving onto comfort, on day one of testing, I did feel as though they clamped too tightly 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 up top, I do notice a slight weigh down at the crown of the head after wearing these for extended periods of time.
ACTIVE NOISE CANCELLING
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 identically to the PXC550’s, which again are Sennheiser’s 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’s.
Those with more sensitive ears will value that over the competition. With that being said, I felt the 4.50’s did indeed 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, but most average consumers will surely find it enough.
The highs do have roll-off and play it quite safe, but because it doesn’t come anywhere close of being tinny or sharp, the 4.50’s are very easy to listen to – there’s no listening fatigue whatsoever. Those who are not big on 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; on 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 are audible in very quiet environments.
The 4.50’s, at their 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 aware, and sound profiles, and being upfront, JBL Everest Elites 700 or Parrot Zik’s to name two that I’m familiar with – for a few dollars more – yes, you can get those extra features. But if you 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 range, I’d seriously look into these as a worthy purchase.
So I hope this review helped you in some way. Be sure to follow me on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram if haven’t already. As always, I appreciate your support, thanks for everything. I will catch you guys on next one.
[table id=1 hide_columns=”all” show_columns=”a,b,d,g,l” /] Specs from manufacturer. If incorrect, please contact us.