27 February 2017

REVIEW: Sennheiser PXC 550 Wireless Headphones

High tech cans.

We always get a bit giddy when a new pair of Sennheiser headphones arrives, as it has – in the past at least – been a sure sign that we're about to enjoy a high quality bit of kit. What Sennheiser lacks in 'look at me, look at me!' design, it more than makes up for in comfort and innovation, and the PXC 550 Wireless are no exception.

The Sennheiser PXC 550 Wireless Headphones are Bluetooth over-ear headphones with large cushioned cans and adaptive noise cancellation. They can pair with your music device via NFC, feature touch controls on the right-side speaker, and also link to an app to allow you to customise and control them. And they come with a carry case. Yes!

Uniquely there is no power switch on the Sennheiser PXC 550 Wireless Headphones, as twisting the cans from the folded layout automatically turns them on. If you think that means you might accidentally switch them on and drain the battery, they do at least have a usable life of 30 hours before you need to recharge, making them great for long flights.

On that note, the adaptive noise cancellation is petty good, and, working in conjunction with the over-ear cushions, means that most outside noise is blocked. So don't wear them on your bike. Oh, and it you don't want the noise cancellation to work, you can switch it off via a discreet little button.

The touch controls work very well, with a tap pausing or playing the current track, swipes left and right to skip tracks, and swipes up and down to control the volume. It was responsive and was very easy to learn the correct amount of pressure of apply to make it work properly. The controls don't require much movement to function correctly, either; reassuring to those who don't want to look like total idiots slapping their ears in public.

The Sennheiser PXC 550 Wireless Headphones are veeeeery comfortable to wear for prolonged periods, with both the cans and flexible and adjustable headband being well padded. Because the cans can fold flat to fit into the surprisingly slim case, there is a lot of flex and give to the whole headset.

And the sound? Lovely... but not overwhelmingly awesome. As you can imagine from headphones of this price and spec the sound is rich and clear with deep and resonating bass. They didn't quite knock our socks off, though – and we fiddled around with the CapTune app quite a lot. There is an Effect Mode button on the headphones, which cycle through a set of pre-programmed acoustic effects (a bit like the effects in the Android music player) but still there was nothing that blew us away.

We found the the Sennheiser PXC 550 Wireless Headphones were best suited in conjunction with the Netflix or YouTube apps, where you need decent sound with zero latency, but you're not too bothered about oomph. Don't get us wrong, they are exceptional headphones, but we couldn't seem to be able crank up the overall sound reproduction to 'rock-out' levels. So given the choice, these would be our go-to, comfortable, customisable private movie watching headphones. So, once again, perfect for a flight.

As ever, these are a great gadget, with subtle looks mixing with a high quality build. Check 'em out.

Around £249

Available from www.amazon.co.uk

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