If you're looking for the best sounding totally wireless earphones, look no further than the Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless.
There are only a few truly wireless earphones worth buying right now and Sennheiser's Momentum True Wireless are one of them. At $300 (£279, AU$499), they're more expensive than Apple AirPods, Jabra's Elite 65t and Elite Active 65t and Bose SoundSport Free. But they sounds superior to those models with better bass and cleaner, more detailed sound. They also feature very good performance for making calls and offer a generally comfortable fit, though they're bigger than the Jabras and stick out of your ears a little more.
While the earphones have no physical buttons on them, they're equipped with a touch control scheme that works pretty well once you figure out exactly what it is. It's a good idea to run through the "help" tutorial in the companion Sennheiser Smart Control app for iOS and Android. It shows you the various taps -- or taps and holds -- for controlling track and volume, answering and ending calls and accessing your phone's voice assistant. Like other touch controls, these can be a little finicky, with some hit-and-miss taps, but they grew on me over time.
Other settings, including an EQ option that lets you tweak the sound profile, as well as a transparency mode that lets ambient sound in and slightly amplifies it, can be accessed from the app. Additionally, there's an auto pause feature that pauses your music when you pull one of the buds out of your ear.
Battery life is rated at 4 hours between in-case charges. That's a little less than what you get with competing models from Apple and Jabra that are rated at 5 hours. Like them, this Sennheiser comes with a charging case that has a built-in battery for charging on the go that delivers two additional charging cycles. While the case isn't as small as its Airpod and Jabra equivalents, it looks good and the buds adhere to their charging slots magnetically. I appreciated that the case charges via USB-C and that the earphones are equipped with the latest Bluetooth 5.0 technology.
New York City, with all its conflicting wireless signals, can be notoriously difficult on totally wireless earphones. In my two weeks of testing these in the city, I experienced only minimal dropouts and a few pairing snafus. I thought wireless performance was generally quite good -- right there with the AirPods and Jabras. However, at the end of the day, what sets these earphones apart from the competition is their sound quality.
Like other noise-isolating in-ear headphones, it's crucial to get a tight seal to maximize bass performance. I used the largest silicone tips to get a good seal and even though the earphones are somewhat large, they fit my ears pretty securely (the Jabra Elite 65t fit slightly more comfortably and securely).
Sennheiser isn't marketing these as sports earphones, but with an IPX4 rating they are splashproof and should be sweatproof (sweat contains salt so it's different than fresh water). I did use them at the gym for light workouts and some people may be able to run with them without having them fall out of their ears. I can't tell you how well they'll hold up over time if you do sweat on them a lot, but they should be able to put up with some moisture without a problem.
The tonal balance is good with the default sound profile, and you'll immediately notice these have a more open, rich sound, with tighter, meatier bass than both the Jabras and AirPods. They also sound better than the Bose SoundSport Free, which delivers a good helping of bass but it's not as defined as the Sennheiser's bass.
This is the kind of sound you expect from a premium headphone, and this is the first true wireless headphone I've tested that I didn't feel like I was sacrificing a bit of sound quality in exchange for totally cutting the cord. The Jabras also sound good, but they're not at this level.
Aside from the sound, the Jabras are equal in all other respects -- and they have slightly better battery life and a smaller battery case. The more Jabra Elite 65t has been discounted in recent months during flash sales to $120, which is obviously a good deal less than what this Sennheiser costs. But if you want a true wireless headphone that sounds like a premium headphone, this is as good as it gets right now. We'll see what Jabra, Sony and maybe Apple come up with in 2019.