Sennheiser Momentum On-Ear review:

Sennheiser's Momentum On-Ear headphones mix style and quality

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CNET Editors' Rating

The Good Sophisticated, sleek style; Great sound quality; Portable design; Removable cable.

The Bad Quite pricey; A little uncomfortable to wear for long periods; Doesn't block out much ambient noise.

The Bottom Line The Sennheiser Momentum On-Ear headphones take the excellent full-size Momentums and compress them into a more compact form. They provide superb sound with a portable design that will be right at home in the fanciest of airport lounges.

8.8 Overall

Beats by Dre headphones might be visible on at least one head on a bus at any one time, but that doesn't mean they're your only option for stylish sound on the move.

The Sennheiser Momentum On-Ear headphones are essentially a slightly smaller version of the existing Momentums. The smaller earcups make them more suitable for commuters and Euro-hoppers among you, while the sophisticated stylings won't get you thrown out of fancy cocktail bars.

At £170 they're not exactly cheap, so do they have the sound quality to go with the sleek design?

The Momentum On-Ear headphones are available now from John Lewis.

Should I buy the Sennheiser Momentum On-Ear headphones?

With the stainless steel headband and attractive colours, the Momentum On-Ears provide a much more sophisticated aesthetic than their plastic-clad, bass-heavy Beats by Dre rivals. They're small, lightweight and comfortable too. If you're looking for a pair of headphones to suit your business-class lifestyle, the Momentums are a good choice.

Sound quality is excellent too. They deal well with most genres of music, but with a slight emphasis on bass, they'll appeal most to rock and pop music fans. If ultimate clarity for folk, acoustic or classical music is your chief concern, look towards open-back headphones like the Sennheiser HD-700s.

For on-the-go sophistication, the Momentums are excellent and, while far from a casual purchase, won't force you to remortgage your house. Alternatively, check out the Philips Fidelio M1. They have a similar sound characteristic, a more industrial style and cost roughly the same.

Design and features

The Momentum On-Ears are instantly recognisable as being part of Sennheiser's Momentum range. They look almost identical to the regular Momentums, only with slightly smaller ear cups.

The earcups are padded with something Sennheiser calls 'Alcantara' which apparently is used by luxury yacht upholsterers. If you're not familiar with luxury yachts, just imagine it's suede and you're pretty much spot on.

The headband is a brushed stainless steel affair, again with the Alcantara covering across the top. The ear cups slide up and down the band easily. It's a smoother motion and allows for finer adjustment than headphones that use a ratcheted adjusting mechanism. I was easily able to adjust them to my own sizeable noggin, and they can be adjusted to fit comfortably over much smaller heads too.

Sennheiser Momentum On-Ear cup
The On-Ears have smaller cups than Sennheiser's previous models.

The mixture of Alcantara, stainless steel and the sturdy plastic ear cups looks undeniably classy. My review model came in a mixture of brown and cream, but navy blue, pistachio green and pink models are also available. They all look incredibly sleek and stylish -- a much more sophisticated look than Dr Dre's brash, plasticky Beats.

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