For ages wireless headphones had wires; they were "wireless" only because the headphone wires didn't connect to the 'phone. So I'm happy to see truly wireless earbuds finally arrive, and based on the number of Apple AirPod users I see on the NYC subway, the no-wires trend is booming! Sennheiser may be a little late to the technology, but as soon as I auditioned the Momentum True Wireless earphone, I knew it was a real contender. It sells for $300 in the US, £270 in the UK, and AU$500 in Australia.
Disclaimer: CNET may get a share of revenue from the sale of products featured on this page.See the Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless on Amazon
On the shiny new Q Train on the New York City subway, the Sennheiser sounded just right, bass cut through the train's rumble quite nicely, and treble detail was spot on. It's not a noise-canceling headphone, but thanks to the Sennheiser's above average eartip seal most of the noise was kept at bay.
The Momentum True Wireless ear pieces are large, but I found them comfy over hours-long sessions. They also had large, easy-to-read "L" and "R" markings, so you'll never mix up the left and right channels. The earpieces' touch interface to control volume, answer phone calls or access your voice assistant were fairly intuitive, and the handsome gray cloth-covered charging/storage case's design was faultless. The Sennheiser boasts Bluetooth 5.0 wireless tech, but there's zero information about the headphone's drivers.
Sennheiser's free Smart Control App's equalizer makes it easy to tweak the bass/treble balance to taste. Earphone playtime is rated at 4 hours between in-case battery charges, and the case is good for a total of three earphone charges. The case charges via USB-C, but don't worry, the cable is included. Which reminds me, since the earphones aren't tethered to each other with a cable, I imagine some owners will lose one or both 'buds.
I'm a wired headphone kind of guy, so I wondered, how does the Momentum True Wireless sound compare with a decent wired headphone? To find out I popped on a set of 1More Quad Driver wired headphones ($199). Right away the Quad Driver was a much clearer-sounding headphone on Michael Kiwanuka's brilliant Love & Hate album. The Quad Driver's livelier dynamics let the music open up more, but its deep bass was no match for the Momentum True Wireless' far more ample low end. The Sennheiser's a warmer and richer-toned headphone, but the Quad Driver wins on overall clarity; it has a more audiophile/neutral sound. As I continued listening at home I felt the Momentum's treble was a little coarse, so yes, it still sounds like a Bluetooth headphone after all. Outdoors and in the subway, the external noise masked most of the Sennheiser's treble harshness.
I found a lot to like about the Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless, but better sound per dollar can be found on wired headphones.
David Carnoy'soffers another take on the headphone.See the 1More Quad Driver on Amazon