Ah, the wireless earbuds…!
The new hearing consumer standard for the everyday user, to the point that there are fewer and fewer cell phones and mobile devices with physical ports for audio output.
Ease of use, comfort, distance flexibility, and concealability have made the wireless format, despite price ranges that many consider exaggerated, become the norm.
When this happens, the competition is another… We are no longer just talking about sound quality in a device that must invest inputs and physical space in its new functions; but another range of characteristics enters.
From programmability, through resistance against fluids, battery life, to topics such as response latencies; there is already much more to evaluate than just audio quality and physical integrity.
Sennheiser brings an innovative and flexible desEsports Extrasaimed at lovers of physical activities
We have in our hands the “Sennheiser Sport True Wireless”.
A slightly different take on what we’ve seen from competitors who focus on selling their own features to the best of their discretion.
What we’re reviewing today is an exemplary wireless earphone with a customizable body that impressed right out of the box.
Flexibility that adds an unmatched quality of life
The main appeal of the Sport True Wireless revolves around desEsports Extrasfeatures such as earphones presented for the convenience of those who exercise while listening to music.
The body of each earphone features a rubber strap with hook-shaped wedges that seek to provide security and support within the human ear.
These rubber straps come in 4 different sizes that are meant to fit various ear sizes, regardless of age or gender.
In addition to this, we have two types of rubber stoppers in slightly different designs; and 3 sizes available for both designs.
This adds up to 12 caps in total coming out of the package.
The difference in desEsports Extrasand materials seeks to contextually adapt two different modalities of audio transduction offered by the Sennheiser, which we will talk about later…
Let’s talk battery life and structural longevity anticipations…
A charge of the Sennheiser Sport True Wireless battery lasts approximately 6-8 hours.
This is prone to show variations that can come or go depending on the volume, configuration that we are using, audio playback codecs, and the relationship that they may or may not have with a mobile device.
However, as expected, the included charging port and case adds about 2 additional charges.
The time it takes for the case to fully charge the headphones ranges from an hour and a half to two hours.
These numbers fall somewhat below what similar copies in the price range can offer in terms of charging.
To this is added the absence of wireless charging and the little touch of leaving the user at the mercy of a USB-C cable of approximately 16 inches.
Regarding protection against dust and fluids, we are backed by an IP54 ingress protection rate.
For the current time and having similar copies with IP65, IP66, IP67 or even IP68; this leaves a lot to be desired. Especially given the context of use under which the headphones are presented in their marketing.
So… What we all want to know… Audio.
After several afternoons listening to music as part of our daily multi-tasking through Sport True Wireless; we came to clear conclusions around the audio quality.
The audio quality, compared to other lower-priced models, definitely stands out and shines with present bass and crisp, well-defined high frequencies.
However, already judging things with more audiophile ears; These are not headphones from which we should expect the pinnacle of audio quality offered by wireless earbuds.
What we noticed after hours of testing across different musical styles was a slight blur and dimension in transduction.
In simpler terms… We benchmarked against other audio translation copies of various price ranges and there is a noticeable lack of contrast between musical instruments; and the colors of the paint look intermingled in a way that is not necessarily pleasant.
To Caesar what is Caesar’s… We reiterate that the audio quality is not bad at all, but those more demanding and picky users will find better results elsewhere.
Digital improvements that, in all sincerity, do not improve much…
One of the things offered to us is the support of the “Sennheiser Smart Control” app.
Which offers firmware updates on our headphones, as well as customization of the side touch controls, equalization and two different types of sonic profiles in which the two previously mentioned eartip designs fall.
The moment we see that the EQ only has 3 bands with a 6 dB tolerance, we start having problems and see that the desEsports Extrasprobably isn’t even looking to satisfy demanding users to begin with.
Which I find questionable given that Sennheiser is one of the old-time mainstays in the pro audio quadrant.
To add to the disappointments, the issue of the two modalities is added. Conscious modality and focused modality.
The difference, in interpretation of what is explained both on the website and in the manuals… Is that the conscious modality simulates open cabin headphones, and allows us to also listen to what is happening in our surroundings in combination with our music; while the focused mode simulates closed cockpit and isolation for a more immersive experience.
However… The reality of the situation is hardly on par with the exhibitions.
The “aware” mode is the most natural and organic loudness mode that we can get from the device. The one that has an extensive range of frequencies and a good balance between them.
With the “focused” mode we have a serious problem… It’s rubbish.
What is supposed to offer us an experience with more dimension, definition, contrast and coloration; does exactly the opposite.
When activating this mode, the differences to notice were:
- Low frequency cut.
- Frequency cut in the highs.
- Substantial volume loss.
- Global slow attack compression that accentuates hits and percussions, but drowns out other long transients.
And the situation doesn’t get particularly better the moment we see that we have no Atmos simulation mode and no “surround” sound.
And for gaming, no joke…
Putting the icing on the cake, the app, after taking about 20 minutes updating the firmware of the headphones on a Samsung Galaxy S22+; it also didn’t improve the outrageous latency levels we encountered in any perceptible way.
In tests of digital musical instruments for mobile devices, as well as video games, the recorded latencies for real-time audio playback were between 300 and 500 ms.
Given such numbers… The idea of offering them as a good option for video games is completely out of the question.
It might seem that we were harsh and blunt with our criticisms of the Sennheiser Sport True Wireless. It’s not the intention at all.
It’s just what comes with the art of being unbiased from a gaming and audiophile perspective.
As what they are… Headphones offered for lovers of physical activities… They are an excellent option that promises to be practical, reliable and durable under proper care.
Like anything else that competitors on the everyday wireless headphone circuit seek to offer, and within their list price range, they fall a bit short.
This review was made possible by a copy courtesy of Sennheiser.