Being a Blackberry user (I use a Curve 9700), pairing the PX210BT is quite straight forward. It’s a one time pairing operation, and after that the phone will recognize the PX210BT everytime I turn it on. When I tried the PX210BT on my friend’s Iphone, I believe the pairing is even easier, as I didn’t need to enter any passkeys as I do on the Blackberry. The PX210BT will work on the Ipod Touch 3rd Gen (albeit with no track controls), and it will work fully on the 4th Gen Touch. For people using conventional Ipods, Sennheiser sells a dongle that connects to the Ipod conventional dock and sends out the bluetooth signal from there. They also make the dongle available for regular 3.5mm jacks. The PX210BT actually supports the newer apt-X Bluetooth standard, but not having the appropriate gadget, I’m not able to test out the apt-X connectivity. As it is, I don’t really hear any noticeable problems with the Bluetooth Connection, my main problem more to the source quality of the Blackberry. And it’s probably because I’ve been spoiled too much with the Hifiman HM-602, as regular Ipods now sound so flawed to my ears.
When Peter stopped by with his new Iphone 4G, it worked much better as a source than my Blackberry did. Gone is the constrained sound that I hear out of the Blackberry, and the sound was more open out of the Iphone. Not to mention the better Ipod-based UI over the Blackberry, and the more straightforward pairing with the Iphone 4G. Strangely, controlling Forward/Reverse through the PX210BT doesn’t work with the Iphone, the way it did with the Blackberry. But still it was not a big deal to me, since it’s easier to do all your controlling from the Iphone’s UI, including volume control.
The build quality of the PX210BT is really great, better than some other wired models. It’s quite tough, and I’ve seen Tino at Sennheiser twist the headband so hard without breaking it. It’s much sturdier than the typical PX100/200, or even the HD23X models. The fit and ergonomics is also among the best. It’s quite better than the newly released Beyerdynamic T50p in terms of fitting (the two models share a similar diameter pads & housing). The pads rest comfortably on the ears, with good pressure but not as tiring as the HD25-1. I even got a good amount of outside noise isolation from the PX210BT, something that I didn’t really expect.
The PX210BT comes with an audio cable that you can use for listening in a wired mode. A nice accessory just in case your Bluetooth phone ran out of battery and needs to connect to a regular player. It also charges right out of USB. I really can’t think of anything that the PX210BT misses in terms of design.
The other day I showed the PX210BT to a few audiophile friends who were hanging out at a headphone shop. This was a tough crowd to please, and yet they were all hugely surprised of how good the PX210BT sounds. Personally, the PX210BT definitely earns my audiophile certificate. It has one of the best frequency balance among all the portable closed headphones I’ve tried, which results in one of the most fun sounding Sennheiser headphone I’ve tried.
Once you’ve tried a wireless, it’s hard to go back to a wired model. It’s like having to use a corded phone after being used with cellphones. Likewise with the RS180 and the PX210BT (sadly, both aren’t mine and I have to return it). When I had the RS180 around, I only listened to the wired models because of the Zana Deux amp. And now, if someone asked me an opinion for the ultimate portable set up, it’s probably going to be the HM-602 with the PX210BT (with the bluetooth dongle obviously).
Gears used for review:
Headphone: Sennheiser PX210BT
Source: Iphone 4G, Blackberry Curve 9700 Smartphone