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(Pocket-lint) - Large and encapsulating, the new PXC 450 noise cancelling headphones build massively on the previous set we've reviewed from Sennheiser. As if the company had heard everything we had to say, the PXC 450 has a stack of new features and improvements over previous models, but it is enough to beat Bose? We get listening to find out.

Gone is the bulky battery compartment you've got to carry around with you, in is the inclusion of the battery in the right-hand earphone. Running off a single AAA battery rather than a rechargeable as with the Bose, Sennheiser promise 20 hours of playback on one charge alongside the ability to find juice in just about any backwater around the globe.

Sounds a pretty good claim and in our testing so far we agree with Sennhesier's promise. And when the battery runs out, unlike the Bose, the PXC 450s features a switch on the side that allow you to bypass the noise cancelling element so you can still go on using the headphones.

Trying to distance itself from Bose and other noise cancelling headphone manufacturers, the PXC 450s also include something Sennheiser is calling TalkThrough, that lets you hear conversations and announcements, without having to rip the phones off your head, by simply pressing a button.

Found on the side of the right headphone it's simple to use and doesn't simply turn them off, but merely allows you to turn your music down to a preset level you choose, opens a voice channel, while still retaining full noise-reduction operation so you can hear clearly.

We aren't sure entirely how it works, but what we do know is that in our initital play and now further testing, it worked very well.

Of course all this would be useless without a decent sound and we are pleased to report this was good too with a nice rounded performance that wasn't too bassy or tinny.


We were very impressed with the new headphones from Sennheiser in our brief look and now getting a chance to look and listen further in a number of different situations we are happy to report back that the PXC 450s are very good.

In our initial test, it looked like you weren't able to remove the cable if you weren't using the headphones with a music source.

Now having had more time to play it, you can, making this great for getting some peace and quiet on the plane.

Overall it looks like our first look was spot on. The AAA battery support, talk option and ability to run the headphones without noise cancelling make this a great alternative, if not a better recommendation than the Bose Quiet Noise 3.

Writing by Stuart Miles.