Nice, warm audio; great in-line mic
Feel a bit flimsy
Sennheiser is no stranger to audio excellence in headphones, so it’s no surprise that the HD 238i sound pretty sweet. Sennheiser has taken its high-quality HD 238 headphones and added an in-line remote and microphone specifically for iPhone users.
The overall audio quality is impressive. Sounding significantly warmer than the Bose OE2i audio headphones or a good range of sounds across a range of genres, although the bass is a bit loose.
Unfortunately, lower-bitrate music struggles with the Sennheisers, with the mid to high-end sounding slightly tinny with more compressed tracks. It’s not so much a problem when the audio has been ripped at a higher bitrate – 256kbps and higher is fine – but streaming from a service like Spotify definitely seems a bit weaker using these headphones.
The in-line remote and microphone is perfectly positioned and, thanks to Sennheiser’s expertise in microphones, had one of the best performing mics I’ve tested.
But where the Sennheisers struggle, especially in comparison to the other similarly priced models, is build quality. It’s not bad, but it lacks the premium finish you’d expect at this price point. While the earpads are comfortable, leather is used only on the part that sits on your ear, while the rest of the headphone is the standard foam you’d expect to find on a cheaper headphone.
Even the frame feels a little underwhelming. While the earpieces turn for storage, the headphones creak like an old, arthritic man’s joints.
Macworld Australia’s buying advice.
The HD238i are an exceptionally nice sounding pair of headphones, especially good as a handsfree partner to your iPhone. But paying full RRP would be a mistake when there are better pairs for around the same price.