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Lifewire / Jason Schneider
Excellent sound quality
Full-featured Bluetooth codecs
Unique battery case design
Extremely limited battery life
Uninspired earbud design
The Sennheiser Momentum are possibly the best-sounding true wireless earbuds on the market, but they have plenty of other limitations.
The Sennheiser Momentum true wireless earbuds (not to be confused with the regular Bluetooth earbuds of the same name) offer audiophiles something to latch onto for true wireless sound quality. With a rich, full sound response and a nice, premium form factor, they’re possibly the most straight-forward offering out there in the premium true wireless space. But they don’t offer are any bells and whistles—no noise-canceling technology, no automatic pairing, and not even the sleekest design. But if sound quality is your number one priority, they’re a solid bet.
As a category, the design of true wireless earbuds gets probably more consideration than it should. To me, how an earbud fits and how it sounds are the two most obviously important features. If it looks plain and boring or bulky and dated, this shouldn’t be that big of an issue. But this category of products has become a bit of a status indicator, meaning if you don’t sport AirPods on the subway than you’re not with the times.
The Sennheiser Momentum earbuds don’t look bad, per se—the mostly matte black housing is a pleasing amoeba-style shape that culminates in a flat circular touchpad surface on the house. It’s this half-inch circular surface that makes it look a little tacky, as Sennheiser has decided to emblazon the outside with a ridged, shiny coating and their logo in black. To me, this isn’t in keeping with the rest of the market’s minimal, soft-touch look (see Sony’s WF-1000XM3 line or even Bose’s rubbery exterior).
The case, on the other hand, is a different story. It’s basically just a rounded rectangular pill-box-shaped battery case, but it is covered in a heathered gray, cloth-style material. There’s something about that fabric-style texture that makes a statement in the tech world (see Google’s phone cases and Pixel Buds). It’s Sennheiser making a statement in a field of matte plastic cases, and though the shininess of the earbuds didn’t quite work for me, the case most certainly does.
The Sennheiser Momentum earbuds are, again, pretty basic on the fit front. The eartips (which come in three different sizes) are your garden-variety, round silicone tips, meaning they rely almost entirely on a tight fit inside the ear canal for security. While normally, I don’t love how this feels in the ear, Sennheiser has done something pretty clever with the build of the enclosure.
Because it’s a larger structure that comes off at an angle, it actually tends to sit in and rest against your outer ear in a way that stabilizes itself slightly without filling the spaces. I would typically prefer an additional rubber wing to hold the earbuds in, but I didn’t have much issue keeping the Momentum buds in my ears, which was a pleasant surprise. With that said, even when switching the eartips, I found the fit to be just a little too tight—a choice most likely made to have the sound isolation as clean as possible. Plus, at only about 7 grams each, the earbuds are a good bit lighter than expected with their larger size.
Much like the design, the earbuds’ durability sits right in the middle of the road. The whole enclosure is made of a really basic-feeling plastic, without any soft-touch texture or anything. This isn’t the biggest deal as, after you take them out of the case, you’ll put them into your ears and won’t notice anyway. The earbuds do offer IPX4 waterproofing, which is a near necessity in my book, as they’ll likely be along for your gym trips and will also be protected from some light rain.
The case is basically just a rounded rectangular pill-box-shaped battery case, but it is covered in a heathered gray, cloth-style material. There’s something about that fabric-style texture that makes a statement in the tech world.
The build quality of the case, on the other hand, is really solid. Both the closing clasp and the earbud slots use really strong magnets, giving you confidence when shutting the case and when dropping the earbuds into their resting place. I’ve already mentioned that the outer fabric feels great and unique, but it is likely going to be prone to wear, tear, and dirt.
One final note is the hinge on the case itself, while perfectly functional, gave me a weird creaking vibration when I opened it. This is possibly a defect for my specific unit, and in the grand scheme is not a huge issue. But if you’re someone who likes to open and close your case with a satisfying smoothness and snappiness, that isn't quite available here.
From a brand like Sennheiser, it isn’t much of a surprise to find that sound quality is near-perfect for the Momentum true wireless buds. I’ve owned about a dozen different earbuds from Sennheiser, ranging from full-on studio monitors to their cheapest earbuds, and I’m almost never disappointed in how music sounds.
One spec Sennheiser lists is the harmonic distortion, which measures at less than 0.08 percent on the Momentum earbuds, and is about the same as you’ll get on the Sennheiser HD 600 studio earbuds. Harmonic distortion, at its simplest form, is how accurate a source sound is portrayed through a speaker or a pair of earbuds. If a sound’s harmonic makeup (what causes the timbre of a specific noise) is altered greatly by the speaker, your ear will notice it. If the harmonic distortion is low, it means that the quality of the sound spectrum being transmitted isn’t as affected. It’s nice to see Sennheiser focused on creating speaker drivers that do well on this front.
The other point of value here is the set of Bluetooth codecs available. Most earbuds, even of a higher price point, will skimp on this point and choose to only include SBC or at best AAC. These formats are fine for most listeners, but if you want to transmit high-fidelity audio, these codecs will compress it to the point that it basically offers the same resolution as a source mp3.
On the Momentum earbuds, you’ll find Qualcomm’s aptX and aptX low latency, both of which give you higher resolution compression and seamless transfer speed. This allows for better sound quality and better sync with videos and games.
Arguably the worst feature here is the battery life. According to the product description, the earbuds only provide 4 hours on a single charge, and you can only squeeze out an extra 8 hours with the battery case. These numbers alone are abysmal when you compare them to even the budget options out there—many of which offer up to 24 hours of available charge.
I experienced real-world battery life closer to 5–6 hours on a charge, but was only able to double that with the case. More than a few times I found myself taking out the earbuds only to find they were dead. This is very disappointing for the price point, and considering heavy battery cases are the norm, I would have liked to have seen a better offering on tap here.
At the risk of sounding like a broken record, I’m also giving middling marks to the connectivity of the Momentum earbuds. First, the good: There’s Bluetooth 5.0 on-board, offering solid range and stability. And compared to many of the other true wireless earbuds out there that are prone to skips and starts, the connection holds true.
However, setting up that connection is just not as seamless as consumers have grown to expect from AirPod competitors. The earbuds didn’t start in pairing mode, so I had to manually activate it to pair them the first time. Worse, when the earbuds died from running out of batteries, my phone forgot the earbuds and had to relearn them in the Bluetooth menu.
Finally, even though I used the earbuds perfectly well without the app, once I did download it, my phone was forced to forget the earbuds again. These issues are all easy to overcome, but they aren’t in keeping with a premium price point.
If the harmonic distortion is low, it means that the quality of the sound spectrum being transmitted isn’t as affected. It’s nice to see Sennheiser focused on creating speaker drivers that do well on this front.
While the Sennheiser Momentum earbuds themselves are pretty simple on the feature front (just some simple tap gestures to control music and your voice assistant) that feature set opens up a little bit when you download the Sennheiser Smart Control app. The two key additions are a basic EQ to boost different parts of the spectrum to your taste and the option to toggle “transparent” sound.This latter feature is common on earbuds of this class as it uses onboard microphones to amplify sounds around you, offering increased awareness of oncoming traffic, family members in your house, etc. The EQ itself is a little confusing as it requires you to drag one touchpoint around a spectral graph, rather than toggling different parts of the spectrum individually. Once you get the hang of it, it’s reasonably intuitive, but it’s not the best means of EQ adjustment that I’ve seen.
The app also allows for some other basic customization, toggling smart pause and automating call answering on and off, for example. Again, not the most features I’ve seen, but nice to have.
As one of the best sets of true wireless earbuds that I’ve heard, it’s hard for me to say this, but the Sennheiser Momentum true wireless earbuds are too expensive. They aren’t the most premium earbuds out there, they don’t look the best, and they don’t even feel the best. Their battery life certainly isn’t the best, and even the Bluetooth setup could be improved. Does the fact that they do have the best sound quality make up for all that? That’s an answer that can really only be offered by each individual buyer, but at right around $230 (when much of the rest of the market sits at about $200), I can’t help but think they are roughly $30 too expensive.
As two leaders in the consumer sound space, Sennheiser and M&D are natural competitors. The MW07 Plus (see on Amazon) are a good deal more expensive, and as such, they offer much better battery life, a better fit, and even a few more features to the package. However, on sound quality alone, I’d be hard-pressed to say one is better than the other. And at almost $100 more, the M&D really need to sound better to solidify them as the best earbuds in the space.
Classic Sennheiser audio quality with some shortcomings.
The sound quality that Sennheiser is bringing to the table here is carrying a lot of weight over the other shortcomings. Most of the features aren’t bad, but they also aren’t the best. A tight, average fit and an uninspired design don’t make them feel super-premium. But excellent Bluetooth codecs and the impressive sound quality do make me hesitant to say I dislike these earbuds. If you’re an audiophile first and foremost, you should definitely consider the Momentum True Wireless earbuds, but if you want an all-around product, look elsewhere.