“With support for ANC and wireless playback of up to 25 hours, can the Sennheiser HD4.50BTNC replace your current pair of cans?”

I could be preaching to a choir here, but Bluetooth headphones can get irksome to use. Pairing them is not always a walk in the park and if you forget to charge them, you’ll have to live in the fear of your co-workers spoiling the next episode of Game of Thrones. However, with the current trend of smartphone manufacturers disassociating themselves from the good ‘ol headphone jack catching on, it’s about time you got used to Bluetooth headphones. There are a lot of options in the market and you can get a pair of good cans even if you aren’t willing to spend a lot of dough on them. Recently, Sennheiser unveiled the HD 4.4BT and the HD4.50BTNC in India at reasonable price points and having spent some time listening to them, here’s what I think of them.


I would like to point out that both headphones are similar in terms of design, build quality and sound signature with the only difference being that the HD4.50BTNC comes with the company’s Noisegard active noise cancellation technology. For the purpose of this review,  I will be referencing the HD4.50BTNC and everything but the noise cancellation aspect will apply to the HD4.4BT’s as well.


Right off the bat, I can tell you that the headphones have a very Sennheiser-y vibe to them in terms of design. Much like most other headphones from the company, they come wrapped in a shade of black with some hints of grey here and there. Personally, I quite like the matte black finish of the headphones as they blend well in a crowd and don’t draw too much attention to themselves. The headphones come in an over-the-ear configuration and are supported by a plastic headband which has slight padding to it as well. The padding provided on the ear cups is a lot more generous and despite being on-the-ear type headphones, they managed to cover my ears entirely. However, seeing how no headphone is a ‘one size fits all’, your mileage may vary. I was disappointed with the lack of metal used in the construction of the headphones, as the foldable headband feels delicate and considering how most other headphones in this price range are outfitted with metal headbands and ear cups, Sennheiser could find itself in rough waters with the all-plastic HD4.50BTNC.


Much like the Sony XB950B1’s (review), Sennheiser too has opted for physical buttons to control the music playback on the headphones which I absolutely loved. Call me old-fashioned but I’d rather have functional hardware buttons than fiddly touch controls on the ear cups. All the buttons, as well as the I/O, has been mapped on the right ear cup which includes a power on/off toggle, volume rocker, a track slider, a 3.5mm jack as well as a micro-USB port for charging the headphones.


The Sennheiser HD4.50BTNC are fairly compact and thanks to the foldable design, can be shrunk even more. Both the earcups on the headphones can be pushed inwards to reduce the footprint of the pair of cans. Sennheiser also ships a carrying case with the HD4.50BTNC to make carrying them more manageable. However, the same was absent with the HD4.4BT’s.


SENNHEISER HD4.5BTNC Review 10Despite having a pair of the cushiest ear pads in this price segment, the Sennheiser HD4.50BTNC aren’t the most comfortable pair of cans i have used. Don’t get me wrong here, the headphones are great if you want to listen to music for a few minutes. However, the lack of padding on the headband gets noticeable if you plan on using the headphones for hours on end.


Sennheiser headphones usually offer a balanced sound signature across the board and the HD4.50BTNC are no different. The headphones offer good details in the mid to high-frequency range which essentially means that the vocals and the notes from an instrument say, a piano or a guitar are spot on. And although the bass delivery is accurate too, I was still left wanting for a little more oomph. While this might sound confusing to some, many consumers today (including myself) enjoy a slightly elevated bass response which is why, headphones designed to deliver accurate bass fall short to impress some buyers. Therefore, while rock songs such as Queen’s Killer Queen played well on the HD4.50BTNC, bass-heavy soundtracks like James Blake’s Limit To Your Love were a letdown. It could just be a personal preference but despite their accuracy, the Sennheiser HD4.50BTNC sounded plain Jane and not very ‘fun’. Don’t get me wrong here, the headphones are perfectly capable of playing music from different genres but you’ll be less likely to mouth the lyrics, nod your head or tap to the beat in enjoyment. With that said, if you happen to be an audiophile, then you just might appreciate the balanced sound signature which is what the HD4.50BTNC bring to the table. The soundstage was expansive and roomy which ensured that the live, concert-like vibe of songs was captured in full. The headphones handled imaging pretty well too, and I had no problems in distinguishing between the different instruments being played during the chorus of Do I Wanna Know by Arctic Monkeys. 


The sound signature of the headphones can be tweaked with the help of Sennheiser’s CapTune app. For those who missed it, I stated in my Sennheiser PXC 550 review that the CapTune app is one of the most feature-rich companion applications out there, allowing users to play with the EQ and change the sound signature as they deem fit. Unfortunately, the app only works with the music you’ve got on your smartphone and only works with Tidal for music streaming. 

Bluetooth Connectivity and Noise Cancelation 


As I mentioned earlier, Sennheiser’s HD4.50BTNC come with the company’s Noisegard active noise cancellation technology which works well for the most part. The headphones do well to cancel out most of the ambient noise, but if you’re looking for pin drop silence, then you’d be better off with a pair of Bose headphones. Oddly enough, Sennheiser hasn’t provided a dedicated button to turn ANC on or off and instead, buyers have to resort to holding down the volume up and down keys simultaneously to toggle the feature. Moreover, there’s no way to tell if the feature is active since the headphones don’t notify the user when the ANC has been turned on. Considering how ANC is the USP of the HD4.50BTNC and arguably the only thing that separates the headphones from the HD4.4, Sennheiser should have put a little more thought into it. 

The HD4.50BTNC offer a rock solid Bluetooth connection and I didn’t face any track-skipping during the time I tested the headphones. The headphones come with a dual-mic setup which relayed my voice over calls to the listener with utmost clarity. Battery-nuts would be glad to know that the headphones deliver on their 19-hour battery life claim too. 



The Sennheiser HD4.50BTNC retail for Rs 14,990 and for the price, offer a flat response curve, ANC, a solid battery life and great Bluetooth connectivity. However, the headband of the HD4.50BTNC bites, feels delicate as it has been constructed out of plastic and they sound very dull. Therefore, the HD4.50BTNC’s fall short of earning a recommendation from me, especially because there are quite a few headphones in the Rs 15K price range which offer much better build quality and a ‘funner’ sound signature. The HD4.40BT’s offer a much better value for money, considering how they cost Rs 5k less than the HD4.50BTNC and offer similar sound signature and design at the expense of ANC support.

Editor’s rating : 3.5 / 5

Photos by Raj Rout