The Momentum True Wireless aren’t perfect, but they’re sonically the best pair of wireless earbuds
- Best-in-class sound
- Connectivity can be problematic
- Finicky touch controls
Sennheiser, might have started life in 1945 building voltmeters and microphones but we’ve come a long way since the days of valves and capacitors. The company’s latest product, the Momentum True Wireless, represent the German manufacturer’s first attempt at producing a pair of “true wireless” earbuds. Like the AirPods, these in-ears cut the cord not only between your ears and your smartphone, but also between the earbuds themselves.
Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless review: What you need to know
The earphones come with a charging case that tops up the headphones’ battery while they’re not in use but that’s where the similarities between these Sennheisers and Apple’s AirPods ends. The Momentum True Wireless are superior for sound quality, they’re more elegantly designed and more comfortable, too. As you’ll find if you read the rest of this review, however, they’re not without their flaws.
Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless review: Price and competition
The biggest issue is price. At £279, these are the most expensive set of true wireless earbuds I’ve ever come across. They’re more expensive than the feature-packed Bragi Dash Pro, which have a heart-rate monitor and fitness-tracking features built in. They’re almost double the price of the incredible-sounding RHA TrueConnect (£150) and they’re far more expensive than the Samsung Gear IconX (2018) at £129 and Mobvoi TicPods Free at £120.
Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless review: Comfort, connectivity and design
Design is ingrained within the company’s ethos and the Momentum True Wireless carry on the manufacturer’s philosophy. It starts with the grey fabric charging case. This simply oozes quality. It’s stylish, pocketable and functional all at once.
As with most such earphones, the Momentum True’s case houses a battery, allowing it to double as a mobile power bank for the headphones. Pop the earphones into the case’s magnetised recesses, flip down the lid and the battery in the case tops up the smaller cells in the earphones so they’re fully charged when you’re ready to listen again.
The case charges via USB Type-C and supplies an additional two full charges of the headphones when full. When added to the four-hour battery life of the buds themselves, this tots up to 12 hours of total playback time. Alas, there’s no fast-charging here: the case takes 1hr 30mins to charge from empty.
Moving onto the earbuds’ design, there’s a ribbed silver pattern on the exterior of each one that serves a purpose higher than mere aesthetics. They’re touch surfaces, granting control over media and volume, and granting access to your smartphone’s virtual assistant. You can also answer or decline incoming calls this way using these touchpads.
However, I generally find touch-sensitive controls rather finicky, and the Momentum True Wireless do nothing to change that opinion. Put simply, they’re overly sensitive – you might accidentally trigger a command by wearing a beanie. By comparison, the RHA TrueConnect use physical buttons that are much easier to grasp.
The Momentum True Wireless are pretty chunky, too, with a large housing that sticks out quite a distance from your ears once you’ve plugged them in. That’s not to say they’re uncomfortable. In fact, they’re flawless in this department and I’d go as far as to say they’re the most comfortable wireless earbuds I’ve tried. The size means they’re not best suited to listening to podcasts in bed, though.
The two noise-cancelling mics on the earbuds provide stellar call quality; don’t expect them to be better than your smartphone, but in comparison to its rivals, they’re among the best.
For wireless connectivity, the German manufacturer opts for Bluetooth 5 with support for SBC, AAC, aptX and aptX Low Latency codecs. As a result, range isn’t an issue and neither is wireless transmission quality. It’s certainly better than RHA’s TrueConnect, which are limited to SBC and AAC. The Sennheiser’s broad codec support means potentially better sound quality, as long as your source supports the advanced tech, of course.
While quality and range are great, however, I do have a few concerns over the stability of the Bluetooth connection: the earbuds would sometimes, bewilderingly, unpair themselves from my smartphone altogether. No other wireless earbuds I’ve reviewed wanted to escape my phone’s Bluetooth list like this. Connectivity between left and right earbuds can be troublesome, too. True wireless headphones typically work with one earpiece as the master device (in this case, the right one) and the other as the slave. In this case, if there’s a distance of 10cm or more between them, the left earpiece won’t pick up.
The “Smart Pause” function – used to automatically pause music when one earbud is removed from the ear – doesn’t work perfectly, either. The feature works by identifying the distance between the two earbuds. Once you remove one from your ear, the other automatically pauses. The flaw is that if you place them down next to each other on your desk, they’ll resume playback. I found this to be the case even when the earbuds were placed in their case for charging – they’d remain paired to my phone and continue playing back music, instead of automatically switching off and charging.
At least the accompanying “Sennheiser Smart Control” app is decent. This allows you to tweak the earbuds’ settings, adjust the EQ and toggle the “Transparent Hearing” mode on and off. This uses the microphones to mix audio from the outside world and music together, so you can still hear oncoming traffic or public address announcements. I didn’t find it as effective as Samsung’s implementation on the Gear IconX (2018), though.
Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless review: Sound quality
Sennheiser has a long history and a well-earned reputation for producing headphones that sound great, so it’s not surprising to find that the Momentum True Wireless are no slouch in this department. In fact, they’re the best-sounding true wireless earbuds I’ve come across to date. Just when I thought RHA’s TrueConnect Wireless were the best in town (and still are for the price), along came the Sennheiser True Wireless to show how it’s really done.
The Momentum True Wireless sound open, airy and spacious – use any descriptive word you can think of – they’re incredible. Even when compared to wired in-ear monitors, these wireless earbuds are impressive. Instrument separation is sublime and tonality is perfect, too. I wish more earphones had this level of width and depth and, no, I’m not comparing them to the ludicrous Sennheiser IE80, I’m being realistic here. Put into perspective, the brass and synths in Snoop Dogg – Signs sound alive, prominent and aren’t subdued by the artists’ voice.
Bass tones, both in terms of presence and quality are tuned to perfection. There’s ample sub-bass rumble and tight, pronounced mid-bass that doesn’t dominate the mids. They’re far superior to the comparatively thin-sounding Mobvoi TicPods Free.
As for the vocals, they’re not as veiled as they are on the Samsung Gear IconX (2018) nor the RHA TrueConnect. The female vocals in Black Coast – TRNDSTTR (Lucian Remix) are more forward-sounding and pronounced than on rival earbuds. The highs also extend nicely, don’t sound rolled off and aren’t sibilant.
Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless review: Verdict
The Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless are the epitome of how wireless earbuds should sound. They’re exciting, keep you engaged and don’t sound congested or muddy in any way.
But they’re not without their issues. With disappointingly patchy wireless connectivity, finicky touch controls and a high price, it’s hard to give them a glowing review.
So what do you do if you want earbuds that don’t break the bank and still sound spectacularly good? The nearest challengers are the RHA TrueConnect. They may not sound as great as the Momentums but they do work a lot better.