Despite the rather lengthy name, Sennheiser’s “Momentum True Wireless” earbuds are the talk of the town among headphone fans! For this reason alone, I was really looking forward to the third generation of in-ear Bluetooth headphones. After a few weeks of wearing them, I’ll tell you where the advantages and disadvantages of the $249.95 headphones lie.
- Very good sound quality
- Effective ANC
- High wearing comfort
- High quality workmanship
- Very nice companion app
- No multipoint pairing
- Strong wind noise in transparency mode
- Tends to fall out
- Aesthetics of the USB-C port found wanting
- Some features only available with a Sennheiser account
Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 3 in a nutshell
In terms of sound quality and ANC effectiveness, the Momentum True Wireless 3 is close to perfection! Music from different genres is a lot of fun to listen to, courtesy of the efficient equalizer. Wear comfort is also very good due to the different attachments for its earplugs and “ear fins”, and the ease of use is also top-notch thanks to many smart features. I also have to praise the battery life, which will last you an entire working day.
Unfortunately, the Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 3 lacks the ability to connect to multiple devices at once. Multipoint should definitely be possible at an MSRP of just under $250. The strong wind noise in transparency mode and the account requirement for many functions are also unattractive in view of the price. But these are minor issues, the Momentum TW 3 are real top headphones!
Design & comfort: Extremely durable
The Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 3 will remain in your ear via silicone plugs and a replaceable “fin”. That is good since the earbuds are by no means lightweight as it tips the scales at 6 grams apiece. Another new feature compared to the predecessor is the more modern design, including the fabric-covered charging cradle. It weighs 77.3 grams with the earbuds inserted according to NextPit scales. The charging tray measures 7 x 4.5 x 3.5 centimeters.
What I liked:
- More modern and sporty design.
- Replaceable “fin” provides better grip.
- Overall very high quality.
What I disliked:
If you found the predecessor, the True Wireless Momentum 2 to be rather stuffy, you might like the newer earbuds better. That’s because Sennheiser has somewhat loosened the German engineering bit by a margin and opted for a sportier design. Here, the charging cradle is clad in a fabric cover that fits snugly and has a high-quality feel. The best new design feature, however, is the “fin” that clips into your ear.
These come in three sizes and once you have tried them out, you’ll never want to use headphones without a retention fin ever again. This is because the earpiece ends up much tighter and the earbuds will have less movement when you indulge in high impact exercises or activities like jogging. Sennheiser relies on silicone for the attachments and includes a total of four different sizes in the box. However, it is still a shame that there is no foam variant like in the Sony WF-1000XM4 and the B&O Beoplay EX.
While I have to praise the wearing comfort of the Momentum TW 3, there are three points of criticism in the general design. First, the earbuds only come with IPX4 certification and thus are protected against water splashes. That is sufficient in the rain or during sweaty sports, but not in the shower or while swimming.
Secondly, I didn’t like the feel of the earbuds. In my years spent wearing different in-ear Bluetooth earbuds, I have rarely encountered a model that dropped out as often as this one from Sennheiser. The earbuds have little grip, and removing them from the charging cradle is complicated enough that I regularly lose my grip. It is also aesthetically unacceptable that the USB-C port is not at the back, but in front. This is nitpicking on a high level!
App & convenience functions
Sennheiser directs you to the “Smart Control” app via QR code when you unpack the Momentum True Wireless 3. This allows you to adjust the sound, ANC, and controls, as well as some switches for comfort functions.
What I liked:
- Pretty and easy-to-understand app.
- Effective equalizer.
- Voice announcements can be turned off.
What I disliked:
- Some functions available only with an account.
To utilize the full functionality of the Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 3, you should download the Smart Control app. I recommend this because it is a really nice and easy-to-use application – and of course because firmware updates are also sent to your earbuds this way.
In the app, you can control basic functions such as the sound settings via equalizer and ANC, as well as activate special functions such as Sound Zones or the Sound Check. Unfortunately, you have to create a Sennheiser account for these. Although this is free of charge, it will require data such as a unique e-mail address and will be linked to your first and last name.
By sound zones, Sennheiser means location-based areas where the earbuds will automatically make certain changes to suit the environment. For example, I could have the ANC activated automatically in the office, while I prefer to be in transparency mode at home. A handy feature, but only useful with permanent location access enabled.
I did not like Sennheiser’s Sound Check as much in the review. Here, you can adjust equalizer settings based on sound samples, but you only have a total of nine adjustments to choose from – three each in the areas of lows, mids and highs. This is a bit thin, but might help those who are new to the scene. I liked the conventional 3-band equalizer in the app much better here.
What is very welcome in the Sennheiser app is how you can disable the voice announcements and also the beeps. Although Sennheiser offers a language menu, you can only select English. The manufacturer might probably add more profiles in the future. Another positive point, which is really cool in everyday use: You can extend or shorten the timer for the automatic shutdown. Talk about practical!
Sound: Belongs to the best
Technically, the drivers of the Momentum True Wireless 3 cover a particularly high frequency range from 5 hertz to 21,000 kilohertz. The audio professionals rely on 7 millimeter drivers with TrueResponse technology that reach a maximum volume of 107 decibels. The overall distortion is less than 0.08 percent. In short:
The sound is outstanding!
What I liked:
- Technically impressive…
- … sonically as well.
- Support for AptX and AptX Adaptive.
What I disliked:
- No multipoint pairing.
Sennheiser has not changed anything in terms of sound design of its Momentum True Wireless 3. That’s a good thing, because in the test of the Momentum TW 2, the earbuds were able to completely wrap Antoine around their finger. Moreover, the new earbuds are a whole $50 cheaper than their predecessors. So it’s impressive that Sennheiser can maintain such a high level despite new features and a new design.
Like its predecessors, the high frequency range of 5 hertz to 21,000 kilohertz makes itself felt in particularly rich bass and brilliant highs. Bass fireworks like OG Keemo’s “Man Bites Dog” blast your auditory canals clear like the speaker cleaning feature on your Xiaomi smartphone. At the same time, the earbuds also create playful tunes where the fine separation of instruments is important. True all-round sound that you can adjust to your own listening habits via the equalizers.
For the right input, Sennheiser has also integrated Bluetooth codecs AptX and AptX Adaptive. If you use an iPhone, you can count on the usual sound quality via AAC. Do read my Bluetooth codec guide on why that is not necessarily worse.
So, sound-wise, the Momentum TW 3 can keep up with the upper echelon of true-wireless earbuds. Unfortunately, Sennheiser does not support multipoint pairing, which would be technically possible with Bluetooth 5.2. Thus, you cannot connect multiple Bluetooth devices at the same time and seamlessly switch back and forth. This is curious, since you can switch between different BT devices in the Sennheiser app. This means that the earbuds have to remain connected to your phone in order for you to switch back again. It is all the more annoying that true multipoint is not supported.
ANC: Hybrid and adaptive
Sennheiser integrates adaptive hybrid ANC into its Momentum TW 3. A short detour: with hybrid ANC, earbuds use both microphones on the outside and inside to suppress noise. This allows them to respond better to sounds and makes the suppression quality more effective. In addition, thanks to the addition of the adjective “adaptive”, the ANC adapts to the environment to work even more efficiently.
What I liked:
- Very powerful ANC.
- Transparency mode is infinitely adjustable.
What I disliked:
- Strong wind noise in transparency mode.
Even though the description of the ANC on the Momentum TW 3 is complicated, the feature is just the opposite. That’s because you can filter out ambient noise efficiently and quickly with just one press of a button in the app or by pressing the left earbud. Sennheiser’s technology is very good and on par with the industry-leading Sony WF-1000XM4. I couldn’t for the life of me hear the noise of a notebook fan in the office after activating it.
Sennheiser also integrated a mode to suppress wind noise during ANC. However, when testing this out with my head in front of a fan on level 3, I could not notice any difference to conventional ANC. Wind noise was simply not perceptible in both modes.
Transparency mode, however, was different, as it was barely usable on the bike. The wind noise was so strong that I could not reliably perceive my surroundings – this is somewhat normal, but should still be mentioned in a review. In order to improve this, you can mix the transparency mode with the ANC, but you will of course lose the volume of your surroundings. If you are looking for headphones for cycling, I recommend the Sony LinkBuds, which transmit noise to your ears via an open design.
Battery: One working day is possible
No big surprises await you in terms of battery life with the True Wireless 3 – Sennheiser has adopted the features of the predecessors. This means seven hours of music playback after removing the battery from the charger and 28 hours of playback in combination with the additional battery. Wireless charging is not on board, but Quick-Charging is.
What I liked:
- Music and ANC available throughout the workday.
- Quick-charging on board.
What I disliked:
- No wireless charging support.
- Loud “battery empty” announcement.
I was able to confirm the manufacturer’s specifications during the review period. It is praiseworthy that Sennheiser’s earbuds warn you rather early when they are about to run out of juice. However, the empty battery is not announced too often. The fact that the volume does not adjust to your music playback is annoying and can be frightening in many quiet situations.
It is also very practical that you can get an hour of music playback in just ten minutes thanks to Quick-Charging. That is really practical for jogging or commuting to work, but no longer a great feature in 2022.
The Momentum True Wireless 3 are a sensible upgrade in the Sennheiser lineup. They modernize the lineup and are visually appealing in-ear Bluetooth headphones at the same time. Sound-wise, they are on par with their predecessors, and the feature set is also solid. The adaptive hybrid ANC is one of the best that I could try out so far.
In short, the Momentum TW 3 resemble a teenager going through puberty: very little gets through to him, but he can be all the louder for it.
I can highly recommend the Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 3 to new customers. This is especially so since they are now a whole $50 cheaper than their predecessor. Flaws like the missing multipoint pairing, strong wind noise in transparency mode, and the unavailability of certain features unless you have an account are even less important in the big picture.
If you already use the predecessor to this model, an upgrade does not make much sense. Although you get a slightly better grip thanks to an additional retaining fin, a nicer design, and better ANC, all of that might not be worth buying a new pair. Sennheiser modernizes its flagship ANC earbuds, but does not revolutionize them. True to the motto: “Never wear a system that entertains you while running” … or what was that again?