Sennheiser seemed to not hate my review of their Ambeo soundbar and GSP670 gaming headset, realised I can’t so no to them because I’m a sucker for trying out new gadgets and sent me a pair of HD 350BT headphones to try out.
The Sennheiser HD 350BT cans sell for $199 at Officeworks/JB Hi-Fi, are designed to go over your ears, have Bluetooth 5.0 (with aptX low latency support) for wire-free goodness, there’s a buttons for controlling stuff, use USB-C for charging, have a smartphone app, there’s a built-in mic and fold up nice and compact. They’re supposed to last around 30 hours of active use and from the few weeks I’ve been using em, that’s not stretching the truth.
First question – do they sound good when listening to music? In my non-audiophile opinion, they’re fine. My primary set of headphones is an old pair of Sennheiser HD-202 wired headphones. They cost me like $50 about a decade ago and they’re still going strong. The HD-202 sound better than the HD350BT, which isn’t what I’d expect for a $200 unit. I’m not sure how to describe it without sounding like a wanker, but the HD350BT lacks the clarity the HD-202 has.
I tried fiddling with the HD 350BT’s equalizer via the Sennheiser Smart Control App (which needs to stop fucking around with fancy graphics and use a normal 10-band EQ goddamnit) but couldn’t get the $199 headphones to sound as pleasing to my ears as the $50 ones.
Second question – are they comfortable and practical? Yes. I liked how soft the HD350BT’s ear pads are and the build quality is nice without being bulky. My head never felt squashed even after wearing them for two or three hours on end.
If I was unfortunate enough to have to commute to work by train on a regular basis, I would also enjoy how well they fold up for shoving in a bag when it’s time to get off the train and mope to my cubicle farm or God forbid, open plan office.
Third question – what are they like for voice control/phone calls? When I used em to talk to my mum on the phone, she could hear me okay, but kept telling me to “talk closer to the phone Anthony, why are you holding it so far away?”, so I stopped using the HD350BT. Here’s a recording taken on my phone using the HD350BT as the mic.
Voice control is cool though. Just press a button on the headphones and it’ll kick off Siri or Google Assistant. The HD350BT’s quick guide (PDF) explains all the buttons and what they do, but you can stop/start music, go back or forward a track, answer/end a phone call and adjust volume.
There you have it, my review of the Sennheiser HD 350BT. My verdict – drop the extra $150 and buy yourself a nice pair of Bose QC35II or Sony WH-1000XM3. Not only do they sound significantly better, but they do noise cancelling too. If you absolutely don’t need noise cancelling but still want a pair of wireless headphones, the Jabra Move headphones are under $100 and sound about the same.