Sennheiser is recognised for producing high-quality noise-cancelling headphones, and the Sennheiser HD 450BT is a less expensive alternative to earlier models such as the Sennheiser Momentum 3 Wireless and class-leaders such as the Sony WH-1000XM3. These fully-foldable wireless headphones are geared directly at the commuting population, with a simple design and built-in noise reduction. But how do they compare to their more expensive rivals? We tested the Sennheiser HD 450BT and believe the firm has a winner with these stylish over-ear headphones.

Sennheiser HD 450BT Wireless

The cost and the availability

The Sennheiser HD 450BT headphones are available for $199 / £159 – around AU$280 – but we're still waiting for official price and availability in Australia. That's less than the finest headphones of 2020, the Sony WH-1000XM3, which costs $349 / £300 / AU$499, and the Sennheiser Momentum 3 Wireless, which costs $339 / £349 / AU$599.


These simple over-ear headphones are available in black or white; we tested the white model, which features stylish silver-gray ear cushions and headband details. They appear to be fairly elegant, albeit not quite as eye-catching as the recently launched Sennheiser Momentum 3 Wireless headphones; for some, the modest design may be a touch underwhelming, but if you appreciate an understated style, these cans will most likely be just up your alley.

The Sennheiser HD 450BT headphones are fully foldable and designed for on-the-go listening. They can be simply stored away in your backpack when not in use. They take up very little space in your backpack thanks to their collapsible form, making them excellent for travel. The new cans' structure seems less luxurious and solid than the Momentum 3 Wireless headphones': the plastic construction may even be regarded as fragile.

The new headphones' build quality isn't as good as the Momentum 3 Wireless headphones', and the plastic design can seem fragile at times. While the cheaper price reflects the lesser-quality construction, it's not unrealistic to anticipate a more elegant finish for the money.

The Sennheiser HD 450BT are quite light and easy to wear over lengthy listening sessions, thanks to their plasticky build. The earcups are well-padded and don't provide the clamping sensation that many on-ear and over-ear headphones cause.

A USB-C charging connector, a 3.5mm socket, controls to control music playing and voice calls, and a dedicated button to summon your voice assistant of choice, whether it's Siri or Google Assistant, can all be found on the bottom of the right earcup.

Connectivity and battery life

The Sennheiser HD 450BTs can match the Sony WH-1000XM3's battery life of 30 hours (with active noise cancelling turned on) and outlast the Bose Noise-Cancelling Headphones 700 by a considerable 10-hour advantage. It also outlasts the more pricey Sennheiser Momentum 3 Wireless, which only lasts 17 hours.

Thanks to Bluetooth 5.0 connectivity, pairing these wireless headphones with our devices was a breeze. Gamers will appreciate that these headphones support aptX Low Latency in addition to codecs like aptX, AAC, and SBC, so there should be no unpleasant latency between what you see on your screen and what you hear via the audio. We didn't have any latency difficulties while watching video on our smartphone, either.

The Sennheiser HD 450BT headphones integrate with the Sennheiser Smart Control app, which allows you to adjust the equalisation settings, which is a nice touch for individuals who prefer to customise the sound of their headphones. Unlike the Sennheiser Momentum 3 Wireless, there is no way to switch between noise-cancelling modes; instead, you must use the specific switch on the right earcup to turn noise cancellation on and off.

The noise cancellation seems to function okay, albeit it seemed to be better at filtering out low, rumbling noises than higher pitched tones. For example, while we were using them outside, they did an excellent job of cancelling out the sound of severe wind blowing through the trees, but we could still hear sirens in the distance (which isn't always a negative thing in terms of safety).

Sound quality is excellent

Sennheiser has a winner with the HD 450BTs' soundstage; detailed and clear without sounding too dry or uninteresting, these headphones deliver a superb balance of high quality sound with warm, enjoyable bottom frequencies.

When we listened to Kendrick Lamar's Alright, we noticed this mix of controlled (but warm) bass and tight, energetic trebles; smooth, discordant vocals formed a complex harmonic backdrop that was sliced through with snappy snares and powerful percussion.

With deep, spongy bass rhythms backing cartoonish chimes and damaged electric guitars with toe-tapping intensity, moving on to King Kunta offered the cans a chance to truly show off those deeper frequencies.

We chose Joanna Newsom's Sprout and the Bean to test the Sennheiser HD 450BTs on something a touch mellower. With rumbling bass notes and dripping treble melodies, the plucked harp demonstrated the entire spectrum of these headphones.

We found that the headphones handled all of the temporal and dramatic variations quite well while listening to this music. The Momentum 3 Wireless has a larger soundstage and higher dynamic range, but the HD 450BTs are clear enough to bring out the hidden elements in your music.

We did note that hectic, mid-frequency-heavy tunes like The National's Sea of Love caused the headphones to struggle a little. We would have loved to hear more of the track's top end, and some of the higher guitar drones were lost in the mix. If we had to select a flaw, we'd like a more open sound from these headphones, since they seem more closed-off than the Momentum 3 Wireless.

The final word

Overall, we enjoy the Sennheiser HD 450BT, especially the way they sound; their well-balanced profile should appeal to both audiophiles and bass hunters. The battery life and connection are excellent, and the noise-cancelling technology is adequate, albeit you may discover that these headphones do not completely filter out extraneous sounds.

The flimsy-feeling design of these headphones is our main gripe; even though they're less expensive than the Momentum 3 Wireless, $199 / £159 is still a lot of money to pay for headphones, and we think it's reasonable to expect a more premium-feeling build. However, they do look excellent on, and if you're looking for a less expensive alternative to the Sony WH-1000XM3, the Sennheiser HD 450BTs are a wonderful choice.