Sennheiser’s new Momentum True Wireless 3s are the company’s latest flagship earbuds. With a more refined style, improved active noise cancellation, new features, and first-class sound quality, Sennheiser has made a worthy competitor to the Apple AirPods Pro and Sony’s WF-1000XM4 and Bose’s QuietComfort earbuds.
Perhaps the most welcome thing about Sennheiser’s latest buds is that they’re less expensive than the previous model: Momentum True Wireless 2s It launched at $299, but the company is launching it at $249.95. That’s still a premium price, but Sennheiser is now on par with Apple’s AirPod Pros and comes cheaper than both Sony and Bose flagships. With tech products becoming increasingly priced each year, it’s good to see one of them going in the opposite direction of change – and adding new features to boot.
Wireless charging is the most important upgrade. It was hard to accept the lack of this feature in the Momentum True Wireless 2s. For the price, wireless charging should be subject to the table. I’m not sure how it took three attempts by Sennheiser to realize this.
Another improvement is what comes in the box: Sennheiser gives you four sizes of ear tips—the fourth is a little too small—but with the new model, the company also includes three optional wing fins that wrap around each earbud and fit into your ears for added stability. The medium comes pre-installed, but it’s easy to remove or replace with a smaller or larger wing if you need to keep the earbuds stable and locked in place while working out or running. Even without the mounting fins, the MTW3s held my ears comfortably and didn’t come off easily.
The earbuds are smaller than their predecessors, with a square-shaped exterior design that comes in black, gray or white. My black review unit feels more subtle in the ear than the MTW2s, which sport a shiny silver Sennheiser logo. But they still stand out beyond something like Samsung’s Galaxy Buds Pro, so these aren’t the most discreet buds. The charging case has also shrunk down a bit thanks to Sennheiser making better use of space, and the USB-C charging port has been moved to the front. This may sound strange at first, but it’s something other companies like Jabra have also started with, and you may find it more convenient depending on where you ship your MTW3s.
Sennheiser has improved noise canceling power, although you don’t actually have any direct control over how much ANC is applied with MTW3s. The company uses adaptive ANC to automatically increase and decrease noise cancellation based on your current environment. Other earbud makers have also experimented with this adaptive approach, though most make it optional rather than the default full-time. I didn’t find myself missing manual tuning while testing these earbuds, but you might prefer more control. ANC isn’t on the same level as Sony or Bose, but it does the trick to help silence nearby distractors. And you always have the ability to activate Transparency mode with a tap on the left earbud, though Sennheiser still doesn’t match the same natural sound that Sony, Bose and Apple achieved.
When Sennheiser announced her latest earbuds, she didn’t mention any major changes to their sound. They still use 7mm drivers similar to what was inside the MTW2s, and I would put the overall sound quality in the same ballpark as these and Sennheiser’s CX Plus – although it’s a bit better and could turn up a bit louder. This is a good place, because these are still great. Sennheiser supports AAC, SBC, AptX and AptX Adaptive Bluetooth codecs, the latter of which helps eliminate any perceived audio lag when watching videos or playing mobile games on Android. It was nice to see Sony’s LDAC added to the equation, but that’s the kind of omission I can live with, given the low price. AptX Adaptive also supports more Hi-Res audio than AAC and SBC allow.
Throw on old favorites like Buena Vista Social ClubSennheisers deliver a spacious, clean and highly detailed sound, with piano, classical guitars, and vocals all layered wonderfully without a hint of mud. The same was true when I switched between The National, Molly Tuttle, or Bon Iver “Second Nature” track from do not search. These earbuds bring out the little touches of the song with a very pleasing clarity. Sennheiser’s Smart Control app for iPhone and Android lets you adjust EQ with bass boost and audio streaming modes separate from any changes you make to the bass, mid, and treble sliders. (The audio streaming option improves speech intelligibility.) There’s the standard, consumer-friendly tuning curve here, but I’d say Sennheisers are more balanced than Sony 1000XM4s. Not everyone will like it: I end up enabling the bass boost more often, while Sony’s delivers powerful, vibrant sound out of the box.
The mobile app also recently added the option to set up ‘Audio Zones’ and automatically change the level of noise cancellation and EQ customizations based on where you are – whether it’s home, the office, the gym or other places you frequent. This worked as expected in my tests, but it requires you to grant privileges to track the location of the Sennheiser app on your phone. Additionally, using Sound Zones (or the Sound Check feature that customizes the EQ) requires a Sennheiser account setup. I’m not a fan of getting people to sign up for an account just to use the earpiece features.
Some owners of previous Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless models have reported a persistent audible white noise effect while listening in the headphones. Even in a completely silent room, I did not notice such discomfort from the third-generation pair. Battery life remains unchanged in seven hours of continuous listening, and the earbuds (along with the case) are IPX4 water-resistant, making them suitable for a routine workout.
Voice call performance appears to be superior to MTW2s, and I haven’t had any major complaints about call quality or difficulty to understand. However, these versions are still powerless for modern standoffs like Sony’s LinkBuds. Either earbud can be used alone during other charges in the case, and turns off automatically when one or both earbuds are removed.
MTW3 hardware wasn’t completely immune to minor bugs in my time reviewing it: I noticed occasional (albeit rare) signal leaks, and the status/instant voice at times said “unconnected” and then “connected” shortly after removing them out of the way and it fell into my ear. At launch, Sennheiser’s new flagship earbuds don’t support multipoint Bluetooth technology, so you can only connect to one device at a time. The company claimed that it plans to add multiple points in a future firmware update, but as the old saying goes, you should only buy a product based on what it can do now and not for what might come later.
If your Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 3s Act You have several points, I would consider it a home run and recommend the upgrade to fans of the company’s previous buds. But despite this, Sennheiser has done a good job of increasing its value while lowering the sticker price. Noise canceling is better, you can now wirelessly charge, and the sound is still great. Even if the battery life is the same and call quality is good, the overall package is more convincing than Sennheiser’s previous premium efforts. they don’t completely Eliminate the Sony 1000XM4s as my favorite earphones; I’ll take the best noise canceling, foam ear tips, and a warmer audio coil for Sony headphones. But maybe that’s what I’m used to now. Sennheiser is out there with the best sound quality — and $50 less than last time.
Photo by Chris Welch/The Verge
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