While the Beats line will get you street cred hanging around the skatepark, the Momentums will earn you an approving nod in the first-class lounge of your transatlantic flight.
While the soft padding feels nice for a short time, they're not all-day headphones. I found the on-ear design to press into my head more than the over-ear design of the standard Momentums. After a couple of hours, I needed to remove them to let my ears breather. The larger models might be more comfortable for longer periods, but the smaller design of these makes them a better choice for out and about use.
The rubber cable feels a little on the flimsy side, but it resisted tangling slightly better than others I've used. It's also replaceable, so if you do rip it to shreds, you can easily pop in a fresh one. You'll find a three-button remote with a microphone built-in too, letting you control your music and make calls.
No matter how delicious a set of headphones look when they're perched on your barnet, if you're shelling out £170, you're entitled to expect good sound from them. The on-ear Momentums don't disappoint.
They give a very satisfying all-round sound with a bit of a lean towards the bassier end. Kickdrums and synth bass riffs sound clear and punchy, without muddying the rest of the mix. Lower mid tones are good too, but they don't have quite the same warmth afforded by the larger drivers in the full-size Momentums.
The on-ear Momentums dealt well with the roaring synth lines in Zomboy's track Hoedown. The kickdrum was powerful and punchy, although the warmth from the purring bass line wasn't quite as intense as it is on some larger over-ear headphones. For warmer, purring bass, look towards the Denon AH-D600s or the s for something more portable.
Higher end tones are handled admirably too. The folksy guitars and vocals on Newton Faulkner's Dream Catch Me were clear and well produced. They didn't quite have the same high end sparkle you'd expect to find on pricier headphones though. If you want the brightest and most open tone, check out Sennheiser's open-backed HD 700 cans.
If you do intend to use the Momentums out and about, bear in mind that they offer no active noise cancellation. While the soft padding goes some way to isolating outside noise, I found I had to crank my music up very high to compete against the din of the London Underground.
With their stylish, sophisticated design, lightweight construction and good sound quality, the Sennheiser Momentum On-Ear headphones will definitely suit those of you looking for good on-ear headphones without the brash schoolboy aesthetics of Beats.