Sennheiser, like arch-rival Bose, is renowned for its expertise in noise-cancelling headphones and we're big fans of the original PXC 550 Wireless, which we awarded our top accolade of five stars three years ago.
Here we have the successor to that model, the Sennheiser PXC-550 II, unveiled at IFA 2019. The silver trim of the originals has gone, the MkIIs having a more sombre matt finish, but there's some impressive new tech beneath the surface.
Like B&W's PXs and some other rivals, the new PXCs have what Sennheiser calls 'smart pause'. Put simply, this pauses the music when you take the headphones off, and restarts it when you put them back on. Not revolutionary, but very useful.
For added convenience the headphones automatically turn on and connect via Bluetooth when they are unfolded. Neat. And a touchpad on the right earcup allows the user to adjust volume, play, pause or skip tracks, or to accept calls at a single touch.
Other improvements include Bluetooth 5.0, support for aptXTM Low Latency playback to keep audio and video in sync, a new Voice Assistant button for accessing Siri, Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant and an Anti-Wind noise cancellation setting (no sniggering at the back please).
A triple microphone array helps ensure speech clarity when giving voice commands or taking phone calls in noisy environments, says Sennheiser. A dedicated smartphone app allows the wearer to adjust the level of noise cancelling depending on the environment they are in.
Battery life is a claimed 20 hours with Bluetooth and noise cancellation switched on, or up to 30 hours when using a wired connection with ANC on.
A folding design, lightweight materials and compact travel case make the PXC 550-IIs ideal for travellers. They'll be available in October for £299.