I usually go for in-ear buds over over ear headphones as I prefer the compactness of them, but there are times when a good over ear headphone is necessary, especially if they have good sound and include Active Noise Cancellation (ANC). The Sennheiser HD 450 range has been around a couple of years not, but these are a new, ‘special edition’ (hence the SE). What’s so special about the new Sennheiser HD450SE, well, Sennheiser has integrated Amazon’s Alexa directly into the headphones (well, there’s a dedicated assistant button and that activated Alexa through your phones Alexa app). While it’s not necessary, it is nice to have. You can press the button and ask Alexa to do anything she normally would for you.
I’ve used the feature to turn on the porch light when I’m nearing home and to add items to my shopping list like I would if I was to ask any of the Echo speakers around my house. At first I didn’t think I’d get much use out of the function, but I’ve used it more than expected, which is a good thing and definitely streamlined some of my interactions with Alexa when out and about.
Design & Build Quality
I like the fact that Sennheiser headphones have always had a nice, clean, distinctive look. Usually you can tell a pair based on the earcup design and the HD 450SE’s are no different. They are a sleek black smooth finish with the gray metal accent on the headband and a couple of Sennheiser logos. It’s nice and sublet and won’t draw any unnecessary attention to them.
In terms of connectivity, they come with Bluetooth 5.0 out of the box as well as a 3.5mm port (and supplied cable) for those who still want to wire in (or use them with the battery is dead – more on batterylife below).
There is a number of microphone ports to allow for calls and noise cancellation, but all the main buttons, ports and functionally are built into the right cup of the headphones. There’a Power / Pairing / ANC button, followed by the 3.5mm jack, a USBc Port for charging, volume rocker, a control toggle (next, back, enter) and the assistant button. It might seem like a lot, but it’s actually really geat to have physical controls. I find some of the headphones that have a touch sensor on the outside of the cup a little unreliable when it comes to controlling the various features.
The HD 450SE’s are built really well. Everything is night an tight with not creak or squeaks to be heard when opening / closing / adjusting them. I can imagine these lasting a long time going by the build quality I’ve experienced.
Thankfully, they also fold up nice and small when not in use and come with a small fabric case to store them and any accessories in. Which is nice, as sometimes this is left out and it’s always good to have somewhere to keep everything together.
I found the sound quality on the Sennheiser HD450SE’s to be great. Sure there’s more expensive, rounded sounding headphones out there, but bang for buck, you’ll be hard pressed to find a pair of headphones with the functionality included here for the price of them (more on the price below).
I’ve listened to music, taken calls on my phone, taken work video calls on my Pixelbook and in every instance, they sounded great. I got a number of compliments from people on how good I sounded when I was speaking to them. That’s a real bonus, as calls on headphones can sound muffled or distorted alot of the time, so having a pair that sounded good on calls, in 2022, is definitely a plus.
Listening to music sounded great. I was mostly connected to my OnePlus 9 when listening to music and kept the default sound profile settings and I don’t think there’s a need to move from them. The bass was nice and deep, but well rounded and I could hear the mid and high detail from any song I was listening to.
Speaking of sound, the ANC included on the HE450SE’s was great. They did a fantastic job at filtering out background noises and keeping those pesky distractions at bay. The Sony 1000MX3’s definitely have better ANC, but they are also about 3 times the price! The only real feature that I think the 450SE’s are missing is outside passthrough. So many in-ear and headphones have this now as part of their package, it’s a shame Sennheiser didn’t include it as part of the the 450SE’s, but it’s a compromise I think most people could live it given how well they performed in all other areas.
They also support AAC and AptXTM, while AptXTM Low Latency keeps audio perfectly in sync with video.
Sennheiser claims up to 30 hours of battery life, and I’m going to be honest, I’ve not had them run out of battery on me. I just pop them into a USBc I have around the house and they are topped up again in no time at all. You won’t be disappointed by the battery life here that’s for sure.
Currently the Sennheiser HD 450SE is on sale, direct from Sennheiser for 99euro. Yes, 99euro. For a pair of wireless active noise canceling Sennheiser Headphones with assistant controls built in. That’s cheaper than main in-ear buds with none of those features. So if you’re in the market for a pair of wireless over-ear headphones, it’s hard to not recommend these given the feature set, sound quality, battery life and features when paired up with that price!
You can find out more here or buy them directly from Sennheiser – https://en-ie.sennheiser.com/hd-450se
REVIEW: Sennheiser HD 450SE
- Design & Build Quality
- Sound Quality
- Battery Life
- Value for Money
The Sennheiser HD 450SE are a nice addition to the Sennheiser Wireless Headphone range. They sound great, have really good ACN and excellent battery life. The only thing they are really missing is passthrough audio, but for 99euro we can forgive them that omission.