Sennheiser Accentum True Wireless earbuds review: big on features, light on sound

The Sennheiser Accentum True Wireless want put the cat among the midrange big-brand pigeons, but there are more dynamic options for less money readily available.

Jun 10, 2024 - 00:30
 0  27
Sennheiser Accentum True Wireless earbuds review: big on features, light on sound

Sennheiser Accentum True Wireless: Two-minute review

The Sennheiser Accentum True Wireless form part of what appears an increasingly important trend for true wireless in-ear headphone manufacturers to have a range of products that cover a fairly wide spread of prices – that is, at least, where the more established and high-profile manufacturers are concerned. Sennheiser has enjoyed a reasonable amount of success with its midrange(ish) ‘Accentum’ range, so this variant seems a logical move.

Initial impressions are, it’s fair to say, mixed. On the page, the Sennheiser Accentum True Wireless look specified to compete with the best noise-cancelling earbuds in the business (even if the most up-to-the-minute codec they’re compatible with is plain-vanilla aptX). In the hand, they don’t look or feel anything special at all. Once you’re wearing the earbuds, though, you’ll appreciate the carefully ergonomic shape and the long-term comfort provided.

But while there’s plenty to enjoy about the sound the Sennheiser Accentum True Wireless make, performance is just as mixed as the first impressions. The presentation is spacious, confidently organized and tonally balanced, with smoothly realized frequency response, too. A lack of animation and energy undermines this good work, though, and noise-cancellation that doesn’t do all that thorough a job seals the Sennheiser Accentum True Wireless’ fate…    

Gray Sennheiser Accentum True Wireless earbuds on a wooden table

(Image credit: Future / Simon Lucas)

Sennheiser Accentum True Wireless review: Price & release date

  • Released in May 2024
  • List price: $179 / £169 / AU$349

The Sennheiser Accentum True Wireless are on sale now – they officially launched on 21 May 2024. They’re priced at $179 in the United States, £169 in the United Kingdom, and AU$349 in Australia. Which, let’s not pretend otherwise, puts them up against some pretty stiff competition…

Sennheiser Accentum True Wireless review: Specs

Sennheiser Accentum True Wireless review: Features

  • Up to 28 hours of battery life (earbuds plus charging case)
  • 7mm ‘TrueResponse’ dynamic drivers
  • Bluetooth 5.3 with SBC, AAC, aptX and LC3 codec compatibility

As far as wireless connectivity is concerned, the Sennheiser Accentum True Wireless have plenty going on. They use Bluetooth 5.3 as a base, and there’s compatibility with aptX and LC3 codecs as well as the more common SBC and AAC alternatives. Meanwhile, a firmware update is promised that will bring Bluetooth LE and Auracast to the party, too. 

No matter the specifics of how you get your digital audio information on board, though, it’s delivered by a couple of Sennheiser’s TrueResponse dynamic drivers. They’re 7mm each in this application, and they’re good for a frequency response of 5Hz to 21kHz – at least according to the manufacturer.

As long as you don’t get carried away where volume levels are concerned, you should be able to eke as much as eight hours' performance from the earbuds before they need recharging. That’s with noise-cancellation switched off, of course – switch it on and you’re looking at more like six hours. The palm-sized little charging case holds more than two further full charges, which means you’re looking at a best-case scenario of, Sennheiser says, 28 hours before you have to visit any mains power. Recharging is available via the USB-C slot on the case, and the Accentum True Wireless are also compatible with Qi-certified charging pads.

Gray Sennheiser Accentum True Wireless earbuds case on a wooden table

(Image credit: Future / Simon Lucas)

The active noise-cancellation that’s available here is a hybrid system that can be set to ‘off’, ‘on’ or ‘anti-wind’ – there are three ‘transparency’ positions, too (‘low’, ‘mid’ and ‘high’).

Control of the ANC, and plenty more besides, is available in Sennheiser’s exemplary Smart Control app that’s free for iOS and Android. It may not be much to look at, Smart Control, but it’s stable, logical and reliable – which puts it ahead of any number of nominal rivals. Here’s where you can manage your connections (the earbuds can connect to two devices at the same time), create custom EQ settings using a five-band equaliser (with presets for ‘podcast’, which forces the midrange forward, and ‘bass boost’, which does exactly what you’d expect), and rearrange the layout of your touch controls.

Each earbud has a capacitive touch surface, and different numbers and/or lengths of presses can put you in charge of play/pause, skip forwards/backwards, volume up/down, answer/end/reject call, summoning your voice assistant and cycling through your ANC options.

  • Features score: 4.5/5

Sennheiser Accentum True Wireless review: Sound quality

  • Controlled, open sound
  • Nicely even frequency response
  • Rather flat and undemonstrative

In quite a few ways, the Sennheiser Accentum True Wireless are an engaging and enjoyable listen. But there are some areas in which they lag behind the best of their rivals somewhat.

They’re certainly an open, spacious listen – even when playing something as dense and multi-layered as Paul’s Boutique by Beastie Boys. The soundstage they create is large and easy to understand, and there’s just as much attention paid to spaces and silences as to the actual occurrences in the recording. The Accentum True Wireless are properly organised and take charge of recordings – their authority and control is never in question. If you need a complex recording opened up and made easy to comprehend, you won’t go far wrong here.

It’s a similar story where tonality and frequency response are concerned. There’s very little coloration to the tonality of the Accentum True Wireless – they’re basically neutral, and don’t really stick their oar into the sound of a recording all that much. And while claims for a frequency response down to 5Hz are predictably optimistic, there’s no arguing with the depth or substance of the bottom end the Sennheiser are capable of generating. The fairly iron-fisted control of bass sounds means rhythms get decent expression, too.

Gray Sennheiser Accentum True Wireless earbuds on a wooden table

(Image credit: Future / Simon Lucas)

And the good news continues from higher up the frequency range. The midrange takes advantage of the Sennheiser's open nature, allowing voices plenty of space in which to operate, and at the top end there’s a fair amount of substance if not quite as much bite and shine as is ideal. The Accentum True Wireless are even-handed and unified, so no area of the frequency range is underplayed or overstated. Detail levels are reasonably high at every stage, too.

Where these earbuds come up noticeably short, though, is where the demands of both the broad and fine dynamics are concerned. There’s a rather one-level, undemonstrative quality to the way the Sennheiser present recordings that robs them of a lot of animation – so even if you’re listening to something as energetic and upbeat as King of the Jungle by Ezra Collective, there’s a fixed level of intensity at which the recording operates. The Sennheiser are reluctant in the extreme to deviate from this, aren’t all that interested in making an especially big leap from ‘quiet’ to ‘loud’ and, in the crudest terms, drain much of the entertainment from what really ought to be a spirited and upfront listen. This matter-of-fact presentation doesn’t suit the material in the slightest.

The noise-cancellation that’s on offer here is a little less than inspiring, too. On the plus side, there’s no alteration to the actual sound the Accentum True Wireless make when ANC is switched on, but the downside is that the Sennheiser do only a partial job on external sounds. High frequencies, in particular, seem able to evade the noise-cancellation algorithms with ease.

  • Sound quality score: 3.5/5

Gray Sennheiser Accentum True Wireless earbuds on a wooden table

(Image credit: Future / Simon Lucas)

Sennheiser Accentum True Wireless review: Design

  • 5.5g per earbud, 41g charging case
  • Available in three finishes
  • IP54 rating

It’s possible for true wireless earbuds to be perfectly well constructed and flawlessly finished, and yet look and feel not remotely special – and that’s what’s happened here. The Sennheiser Accentum True Wireless are built and finished to the manufacturer's long-established standard, and quite obviously will stand up to all sorts of careless treatment. And yet they don’t look or feel in any way premium. The plastics from which they’re constructed are hard, unyielding and slippery. In all honesty, the Sennheiser present as less expensive than they are. 

That’s not to say they’ve been thoughtlessly designed, you understand. They’re gratifyingly compact, for starters: the charging case is just 29 x 49 x 52mm (HxWxD), and the slender earbuds are just 5.5g each. In combination with a choice of four sizes of silicone ear tip, the design of the earbuds means they fit snugly and comfortably and will stay that way for hours on end.

An IP54 rating means they can safely be used in pretty much any realistic circumstance, and a choice of three finishes (white, black or blue) helps their desirability quotient, too. Just a little, mind you.

  • Design score: 4/5

Gray Sennheiser Accentum True Wireless earbuds on a wooden table

(Image credit: Future / Simon Lucas)

Sennheiser Accentum True Wireless review: Value

  • Thorough specification and stamina for the money
  • Solid (if uninspiring) build quality
  • Against tough rivals, they don't win for sound or ANC

There’s value to be had here in the thoroughness of specification, quality of build and finish, battery life and cachet that comes from owning a product from a brand with a big reputation. 

You’re not exactly short of choice where true wireless in-ear headphones at this sort of money are concerned, though, and when held up against the best of their rivals the Sennheiser Accentum True Wireless don’t represent great value – the sound they make is compromized, the noise-cancellation they offer isn’t amazing, and the look and feel is nothing special either. 

  • Value score: 3.5/5

Should I buy the Sennheiser Accentum True Wireless?

Buy them if...

Don't buy them if...

Sennheiser Accentum True Wireless review: Also consider

How I tested the Sennheiser Accentum True Wireless

  • With iOS and Android devices
  • Using a variety of codec standards
  • With all sorts of music

During a good week or so of constant use, my Sennheiser Accentum True Wireless were connected to a MacBook Pro, an iPhone 14 Pro and a Samsung Galaxy S23 in order to investigate different codecs and sources of music. The music itself was of many different file types and sizes, and many different styles. And I made sure to take the Sennheiser with me while I was out and about, in order to check out comfort and ANC as well as claims for battery life.  

Read more about how we test

  • First reviewed: June 2024