- German firm Sennheiser has introduced the $180 Accentum headphones as a leaner but still-punchy alternative to the competitive $300+ market of over-the-ear headphones.
- The Accentum offers a fold-flat design, comfortable earcups and headband, active noise canceling, and 50 hours of battery life with Hybrid ANC on. It connects via Bluetooth 5.2, supports standard codecs, and charges in three hours or provides 5 hours of playback in 10 minutes.
- Despite some omissions such as the earcup-based touchpad from the Momentum series, the Accentum’s features and price point make it a decent upgrade or gift in the under $200 range, competing with other brands like Sony, Bose, and Beats.
If you’re into quality wireless over-the-ear headphones, then you already know how competitive the $300+ market is. Apple, Bose, and Sony all put their best feet forward. It’s so intense that you may have realized how barren the mid-range zone has been. And even then, the few offerings in the $150 or $200 rungs don’t pop at you as much as the QuietComfort or AirPods Max. In that context, German firm Sennheiser has decided to give its top-notch Momentum series a leaner but still-punchy partner in the form of the all-new Accentum headphones.
The company says it has infused the “most desirable DNA” of the $380 Momentum 4 into the $180 Accentum – a fold-flat design with comfy earcups and headband for all-day listening, active noise canceling with adjustable hear-through, and 50 hours of battery life with Hybrid ANC on vs. the 60 hours boasted on the latest Momentum.
Leaning into the specs, the Accentum connects via Bluetooth 5.2, supports all the standard codecs, including aptX HD (but not the more advanced aptX Adaptive), as well as multipoint connections, and takes three hours to charge from zero to full or 10 minutes to get 5 hours of playback via USB-C. You can also use that same port to stream audio and calls to and from your PC or Mac.
The drivers shrink from 42mm to 37mm, but that should have very little bearing on getting deep and textured sound the way you like it tuned with Sennheiser’s Smart Control app. There are two beamforming microphones for voice pickup on these headphones and four for the ANC. Owners also have the option to go auxiliary via the 3.5mm jack and included 1.2-metre cable. The Accentum should feel lighter on the head at 222 grams, a drop of 71 grams. All of this gets packaged up in a handy carrying case.
There’s no fabric at the top surface of the headband, but all the padding should still be cushy enough. However, the most disappointing omission relates to the controls, as the earcup-based touchpad from the Momentum series does not come across to the Accentum. Still, if you don’t mind navigating around the buttons on the rim of those earcups, these cans could be a decent upgrade or gift that won’t break the bank.
The Accentum is already on pre-order right now, with a black colorway shipping from 4 October. A white-and-sandstone version is due out in November.
Sennheiser has stacked up a pretty good package for the price. Still, the fancy wrapping and bow should really help it stand out against the likes of Sony’s $150 WH-CH720N (although we have to admit that this eccentric Japanese electronics giant does quite well for itself despite an unwillingness to brand its products properly), Bose’s surprisingly-old-and-expensive-but-generically-named Noise Cancelling Headphones 700, or maybe even the seven-year-old Beats Solo3 Wireless at $200. More importantly, though, we’re hoping the Accentum paves the way for a much-needed refresh of the wireless headphones market below $200. It’s well beyond time for more options here.