February 10, 2017

There is absolutely no paucity of budget in-ear earphones that can effectively replace your stock earphones. However, the plethora of choices only leads to confusion as to which one is a better pick. 

In order to help you make the right choice, today, we have two very popular budget in-ears—The CX 180 from Sennheiser and the RP-HJE190 from Panasonic. Both these earphones come with their own share of strengths and flaws, but more than anything, they leave you with great value for money. Thus, if you want to replace your stock earphones with a great sounding pair of in-ears, without burning a hole in your pocket, check out this detailed comparison. 

CUTTING THE LONG STORY SHORT

"The Panasonic RP-HJE190 gives you the most bassy sound at a real inexpensive price. It also employs an ErgoFit design, making them apt to be used with your mobile phone.

If you are looking for a clean and entertaining sound signature, from German brand Sennheiser, then the CX 180 should be your pick"

-Raghav Somani

PANASONIC RP-HJE190


Headphone-Zone-Panasonic-HJE-190
ErgoFit, Bass Driven Sound in Metallic Colours

Sennheiser CX 180


Headphone-Zone-Sennheiser-CX-180
Finger-contoured housing design with punchy bass

 


DESIGN: PANASONIC RP-HJE190 VS SENNHEISER CX 180 

Headphone-Zone-Panasonic-RP-HJE190
Headphone-Zone-Sennheiser-CX-180

Panasonic has been one of the most trusted brands not just in India but across the world. With great sound quality, it also brings to the table, headphones in a budget. Not straying too far away from this principle, the Panasonic RP-HJE190 brings powerful audio quality in a small package. 

The RP-HJE190 has been engineered from plastic, but despite that, we found them to be durable enough. The earphone housing has been covered in a metallic sheen of paint, thus giving you an illusion that the earpieces are built from metal. The contrast of the metallic colour paired with the black front chambers gives these in-ears a nice premium look. The earpieces have also been embellished with a silver ring around and we must admit that it looks pretty cool.

A great thing if you are looking to make a style statement, the Panasonic RP-HJE190 is available in unique colour options. The translucent bold colours are likely to appeal to most people. You can choose from bright Gold, Red, Violet or a more subtle White.
PICK FROM AN ARRAY OF COLOURS WITH THE PANASONIC RP-HJE190

The Sennheiser CX 180 are the highest selling earphones in the country. This fact comes as no surprise as these earphones have been specifically designed to suit the palate of the Indian buyer. 

Just like the RP-HJE190, the CX 180 has been built entirely from plastic and feels equally durable. Designed in an unconventional circular design, these in-ears are extremely tiny to hold and look. A thoughtful design quirk from Sennheiser, the ear pieces come with a finger-contoured housing design. This means that the earphones can be easily gripped in between you fingers and quickly placed into your ear canal.

Disappointingly, there is a lack of choice of colours. The earphones come only in a greyish-black colour,  with a glossy finish on the front and a dull finish on the back. 
If colour is your priority you may want to consider the CX 213, which is an upgrade to the CX 180. (Also Read-Sennheiser CX 213: A Worthy Upgrade of CX 180)

Warranty is something that you are concerned with? The Panasonic RP-HJE190 comes with a 6-month warranty, while the Sennheiser CX 180 is backed by a 2-year warranty period. 


USABILITY: PANASONIC RP-HJE190 VS SENNHEISER CX 180

Headphone-Zone-Panasonic-RP-HJE190
Headphone-Zone-Sennheiser-CX-180

The Panasonic RP-HJE190 boasts of an ErgoFit in-ear design. This fit ensures that the ear buds perfectly go inside your ear canal and lend you the most comfortable fit. Panasonic has shaped the ear buds in a 45-degree angle, this is a nice tweak as it allows for better noise isolation and a premium fit. Further aiding your fit, the earphones come packed with 3 additional pairs of ear tips in varied sizes.

The cable definitely does not impress. The cord is extremely thin and does not seem very durable. However, can you expect more from an earphone this frugal?

Unlike the Sennheiser CX 180, the RP-HJE190's ear tips are a little pointy, thus, it gets much deeper into your ears. What you experience is music that is delivered closer into your ear canals.
RP-HJE190'S ERGO-FIT IN-EAR DESIGN VS CX 180'S FINGER-CONTOURED EARPIECES
Designed to be used mostly with your smartphones, the Sennheiser CX 180 earphones are pretty lightweight and comfortable due to the plastic build. Hence, they do feel comfortable, even during long hours of music sessions. The CX 180 comes packed with 3 pairs of earbuds for added comfort and noise isolation. 

Just like the Panasonic RP-HJE190, the CX 180 too employs a cable that is thin and flimsy. However, the cord seems and feels relatively stronger, as compared to that of the former. It also has a tendency of getting tangled, making it a bit of a nuisance.

Both these earphones do not come with a microphone and remote. Thus, you will not be able to answer calls or control your music on the go. We recommend you look at earphones of a higher price value if you are looking for the same.

SOUND: PANASONIC RP-HJE190 VS SENNHEISER CX 180

Headphone-Zone-Panasonic-RP-HJE190
Headphone-Zone-Sennheiser-CX-180

Panasonic's packaging itself reads 'bass heavy' but do these earphones deliver? the answer is 'yes'. When it comes to the sound, the Panasonic RP-HJE190 boasts of the best bass heavy sound signature that you will get in this price range.The bass is thumpy and pounding, making your music sound extremely entertaining and lively. What is even notable is that the details do not go for a toss. The Panasonic RP-HJE190 delivers every frequency to sound articulate and crisp, thus, you will be able to hear every ounce of your music. The instruments are well serrated, while the vocals are nicely separated. 

Where the RP-HJE190 falls short is in more subtle genres of music. The earphones tend to sound blaring on more quieter genres like Jazz and Classical.

The soundstage is below average, you will feel like your sound comes traveling through a narrow path. A big turn off. However, despite these flaws, the Panasonic RP-HJE190 gives you a lot more at this low a price. 

THE PANASONIC RP-HJE190 AND SENNHEISER CX 180 ARE EQUALLY BASS DRIVEN IN-EARS

Indians are 'bass heads' and the Sennheiser CX 180 caters to this very whim. The earphones are evidently inclined towards the lower end and at loud volumes, you can actually feel the beats! 

However, what is disturbing is the overpowering bass that muddies the mids and highs. The highs especially, aren't as bright and lack sparkle with these in-ears. One cannot expect too much from earphones that are priced this low, but Sennheiser being a brand as big as it is, definitely could have done a better job. 

Soundstage is something you ask, the Sennheiser CX 180's play area is definitely much wider. We wouldn't say it is noteworthy, but something that you can live with.

To conclude, the Panasonic RP-HJE190 gives you bass-heavy audio with deep detail and clarity, without muffing the highs and lows. The Sennheiser CX 180 on the other hand, gives you a bass driven sound, but at the cost of messing up the mids and highs.


Summary


Panasonic-RP-HJE190
  • Edgy Sound With Bass 
  • Minimalistic Design and Shape 
  • Weak Cable Design
  • More Color Options than CX 180
  • 6 Months Warranty

Sennheiser CX 180
  • Bass-Heavy with Compromised Mids and Highs
  • Finger-Contoured Housing Design
  • Tangle-Prone Cable Design
  • No Colour 
  • 2-year warranty

 


Conclusion


If you are looking for earphones with a better edgy and punchy sound, then the Panasonic RP-HJE190 should be your pick.

On the other hand, if a more lively sound signature with Sennheiser's 2-year warranty cover is something you seek, then CX 180 should be the one for you.

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