The Sennheiser 4.50 looks like a budget version of the Sennheiser PXC 550. The caps are shaped differently, and the headband is significantly thinner. They have the same polished Sennheiser design and matte color scheme. Testers rated five headphones, including the Sennheiser 4.50. It ranked third in design with a rating of eight out of ten; second in sound, earning eight out of ten; and first in value with an eight out of ten rating.
The 8.0 rating in all categories placed it in second place of the five headphones that were evaluated. Sennheiser achieved par with its competition by combining noise-canceling technology and supreme sound quality. The headphones retain Sennheiser NoiseGuard technology without losing audio quality. The Sennheiser 4.50, with its musical sonic ability and noise-canceling technology that is as effective as its rivals, is a contender.
- 20-hour battery life
- Effective noise-canceling
- Folds into a simple carrying bag
- Great sound
- Highly customizable sound
- Low leakage
- Price is significantly less than the competition
- Sturdy build quality
- Travel-friendly design
- Ear cups lack ventilation
- Headband lacks padding
- Lack of app features
- Not as comfortable as the competition
- Slightly tight on the head
- Tricky to navigate NoiseGuard
Noise-canceling headphones are relatively standard in business and first class aircraft cabins. They appeal most to travelers who have a lot of luggage. Some hefty over-ears headphones can be packed to boot.
Until Sennheiser made the 4.50 that is both flexible and lightweight, options for light travel were limited. Travelers find the lighter the headphones are, the better to use traveling. That concept extended to the travel pouch that is included.
Bulky cases are a menace for those users who like to travel light. The pouch adds only 47 grams to the total weight. Sennheiser travel-minded design and NoiseGuard technology make finding fault with the headphones hard to do. The headphones perform as a headset. They do not fold flat.
Testers wore them on a short flight, a commuter train, and busy city streets. Whether being used in busy offices, commuter trains, or flights, the lightweight headphones are an all-around great value.
The Sennheiser 4.50 is a versatile over-ear set of headphones. They have above-average sound and are customizable. Because they are wireless and a bit tight they provide stability needed for running. The headphones are stable enough to wear when running but are not the perfect set of sports headphones.
Omnidirectional microphones monitor ambient sound that is electronically canceled out by the NoiseGuard noise-canceling technology. Some of the music’s luster is lost in NoiseGuard mode.
Criticizing the effectiveness of NoiseGuard is hard. The headphones may fall a little short of the technology found on Sony and Bose headphones. They are delivered in a better value package. Some headphones have more options or features that can be controlled through an app.
Only a faint audible hiss is heard when the sound is muffled. The narrow, cushioned ear cup blocks out much of the sound if the NoiseGuard is not completely activated. The NoiseGuard provides impressive silence.
For wireless, noise-canceling headphones, the sound quality is quite good. Sennheiser has step-up models that are more open and refined sounding. The 4.50 sounds at least if not better than other wireless, noise-canceling headphones that are priced at $200.
To be noise-canceling headphones a lot of attention has to be paid to the seal around the ears. Sennheiser did an excellent job of sealing the headphones to prevent outside noise from getting in easily. The trade-off is the headphones get a little warm.
The powerful bass has excellent definition. It is smooth, powerful, and deep. It does not hit mega territory, which is likely a positive aspect. The bass, more than anything, contributes to a sound profile that is not particularly natural.
There is a sparkle in the treble, and relatively natural and warm mid-range sounds are. The mid-range is well-tuned. Low-mids are full-bodied and warm without becoming overly boosted or muddy.
Common to the newer headphones, high-mids are a bit cut off but not to the extent the sound is terrible. Things such as guitars and vocals can cut through the mix. Quality high-end sounds contribute to being able to hear guitars and vocals.
A bit of high-end boost would be an improvement, but in general, high-end sounds are well-tuned and crisp. The headphones lack the openness and clarity that would be a wow factor. A little something is missing in the upper treble.
Volume goes high without distortion. The sound signature works well with various types of music. The outside world is successfully tuned out, and music sounds great.
Noise cancellation activation has a slight impact on the headphones sound. Users notice a small high-frequency boost when noise-canceling is deactivated. There is a little less oomph in the bass. The headphones sound great with and without noise-canceling activation. In a perfect situation, the music wouldn’t change regardless of the mode set on the headphones.
An audio cable and 3.5mm stereo jack are also in the box. When a smartphone is wirelessly connected to Bluetooth, balanced, detailed stereo sound is produced.
The user can connect a cord and be wired, which is handy for plugging into a plane’s in-flight entertainment system. There is little difference in sound quality. Turning the Bluetooth off when wired will save some battery.
The narrow design of the ear cups ensures a comfortable feel when the user wears the headphones around the neck. It is a worthwhile feature when waiting in queues at the airport. Well-padded ear cups provide a comfortable fit.
Most people find the feel a bit tight when brand new. Ventilation is the biggest issue testers had with the snug-fitting ear caps. Hot ears are a possibility on a warm plane or train. They are not ideal, but the pros outweigh the cons. The Sennheiser not only looks good but is fairly comfortable. There is adequate ear cup foam.
The foam is high-quality memory foam. If the headband had more foam, comfort would be increased. The headphones are not overly comfortable. Testers wore them for hours without much discomfort.
Some designer corners were cut to achieve a lower price point. It is all plastic except for the cushy memory foam of the earpads. They are covered in synthetic leather.
Synthetic leather is neither as breathable or luxurious as real leather found on other models. A micro USB slot for battery recharge, track change slider, and the volume rocker is on the right ear cap.
Testers hail them as among the best Bluetooth headphones. The 4.50 is a little different than other models in the HD series. The original headphones offered noise cancellation as an added feature. The 4.50 headphones have built-in noise-canceling.
Some features are missing from the Sennheiser 4.50. It has a slider button instead of a volume dial. The headphones lack a call-through button that silences music temporarily which is helpful when doing such things as ordering a beverage from an in-flight attendant.
The Sennheiser is not about first-class cabin frivolities as much as its core features. With that in mind, the activation button for the NoiseGuard could use some work. More padding on the headband would be a plus. Hot ears can be an issue that makes sleeping a problem on warm planes due to the ventilation system.
Ease of Use
The three-second hold required to activate the technology is a bit tricky to perform. The 4.50 is aptX HD certified. It performs remarkably well for the price. The volume rocker doubles as a means of activating and deactivating the noise cancellation circuit. Both buttons are held down simultaneously. The mixture of buttons is slightly confusing. A better implementation would be an improvement.
The noise-canceling headphones are among the most affordable on the market. There are better noise-canceling headphones available buy with a price increase of $150. The additional cost is a high price to pay for noise cancellation. The price is one of the headphones’ best features. Some testers rank them as the best noise-canceling headphones that sell for $200 or less.
* aptX HD technology
* Audio cable
* Bluetooth 4.0
* Carry case
* NoiseGuard noise cancellation
* Sennheiser 4.50 headphones
* Two-year warranty
* USB charging cable
As for design, the Sennheiser 4.5 is a more focused effort, lighter, and more slimmed-down than the expensive and bulky alternative from Sony and Bose. The audio is the same quality, and the noise-canceling comes in at a close second.
Those looking for long-haul travel, commuting, or staying more productive in the office noise-canceling, should consider the Sennheiser 4.50. Sennheiser is a well-respected, much-loved headphone brand.