Sennheiser Momentum Sport review
Image: supplied.

Sennheiser Momentum Sport review: move to the beat

8.5

Tracking your heart rate and body temperature while you exercise, the Sennheiser Momentum Sport earbuds are for music-loving fitness fans who like to travel light.

These days, there’s no shortage of health and fitness accessories for people who want to keep a closer eye on their performance. You can strap a range of sensors to your body, each with a dedicated task, or you can opt for more convenient compromises such as smart gadgets that roll a range of sensors into one device.

That makes sense, considering you likely wear your smartwatch and keep your smartphone close at hand while exercising. But if you’re going to carry one more piece of tech, it’s most likely earbuds for music and maybe making hands-free calls.

Considering they’re already in your ears, it makes sense to put those earbuds to work. That’s where the Sennheiser Momentum Sport earbuds come in, with in-ear heart rate and body temperature sensors for keeping track of your vitals while you exercise. 

All of this can be valuable data, assuming you know what to do with it. A heart rate monitor lets you optimise your workout intensity, track your fitness levels and estimate your calorie burn. Similarly, a body temperature monitor also helps you optimise your exertion and help avoid heat stress. At the same time, you’ve got the benefit of active noise cancellation while listening to your workout playlist.

Sennheiser Momentum Sport review

Sennheiser Momentum Sport first impressions

The Sennheiser Momentum Sport earbuds come in a surprisingly large and drab-looking charge case, whereas you’d expect a bit more style from a sporty accessory.

Open the case and you find two large buds, without the stems that you find on some earbuds like Apple’s AirPods. While they look bulky, these Sennheisers rest in your ears quite comfortably. They sit firmly enough to stay put while running, but can fall out if you jump up and down on the spot, so perhaps avoid jumping jacks at the gym.

To help get a perfect fit, Sennheiser supplies a choice of three ear tips. To get the best in terms of sound quality and noise cancelling, it’s worth experimenting with them to get a tight seal.

There is also a choice of four optional outer rings. They have a tiny fin sticking out which slides into the grooves of your ear to help keep them in place, although the fins seem a bit flimsy to be effective.

While using the outer rings is optional, thankfully the large case allows room for them, to ensure they don’t get in the way while charging.

The case supports Qi wireless charging and also features a USB-C charge port, protected by a rubber cover that helps the case gain an IPx4 durability rating. Meanwhile, the earbuds themselves are IPx5 so they shouldn’t be bothered by rain or sweat.

Fully charged, the earbuds offer up to 5.5 hours of music playtime, increasing to up to 24 hours overall thanks to the charging case.

Sennheiser Momentum Sport specifications

Ear couplingEar canal
SpeakerDynamic, 10mm diameter
Microphone3 mics per earbud, beamforming for noise reduction
ConnectivityBluetooth 5.2 compliant, class 1, 16mW (max), RF Range 40m – line of sight
Supported ProfilesA2DP, AVRCP, HFP
Supported codecsSBC, AAC, aptX, aptX adaptive
Active Noise CancellationHybrid Adaptive ANC
BatteryBuilt-in Lithium-Ion rechargeable batteries; Left/right earbud: 72 (MC1254) / 75 mAh(CL1254); Charging case: 850-950 mAh
Charge timeApprox. 1.5 hrs for fully charged; 10 min charging = 45 mins music playtime 
Weather resistanceEarbuds: IPx5; Charging case: IPx4
Dimensions23.3 x 20.9 x 26.1 mm (earbuds)
67.7 x 64.8 x 30.0 mm (charging case)
Weight91.0 gm (both earbuds and charging case)
6.4 gm (single earbud, N fin and M tip)
78.4 gm (charging case)
ColoursPolar Black, Burned Olive and Metallic Graphite
Price$529 RRP
WarrantyTwo years
Official websiteSennheiser Australia

Health features

If you’re into health and fitness, the Sennheiser Momentum Sport earbud’s standout features are the photoplethysmography (PPG) heart rate sensor and a body temperature sensor, both of which can output data to a range of fitness ecosystems.

According to Sennheiser, in-ear temperature readings are more accurate than wrist-skin measurements and these earbuds can monitor body temperature within +/- 0.3 degrees Celsius accuracy. Meanwhile, the heart rate detection ranges from 30 to 220 bpm.

When wearing the earbuds, you can monitor your real-time heart rate and temperature readouts in the Sennheiser Smart Control App. If you want to track them during a workout, Sennheiser recommends the Polar Flow app, and the earbuds can take advantage of some of Polar’s advanced features. 

Starting an exercise like walking in Polar Flow prominently displays your heart rate stats below the map, while swiping left a few times brings up your temperature data. After you’re done, the Polar Flow app graphs your results and also displays your route on a map, so you can scroll through to see your vitals at various points.

Alternatively, you can share the earbuds’ health data with other ecosystems like Apple Watch/Health, Garmin Watch/Connect, Strava, Peloton and more.

Pairing the earbuds with your smartphone via Bluetooth seems pretty straightforward using the Sennheiser app, but I ran into trouble using an iPhone. Sometimes the Sennheiser app would fail to display the sensor readouts and, even when the sensors did work, they would often freeze in the middle of recording an exercise in Polar Flow.

A call to Sennheiser tech support revealed that the earbuds should connect to your smartphone as two separate Bluetooth devices – Momentum-Sport for streaming music and Sensor-Momentum-Sport for monitoring. For some reason, my iPhone could only see the former. 

Re-pairing the earbuds and restarting Bluetooth on the iPhone fixed the problem, and with dual Bluetooth connections, the sensors became more reliable, although a little temperamental. They finally became visible as Apple Health accessories.

These connectivity issues are quite rare, according to Sennheiser, but worth keeping in mind if you run into trouble with these earbuds.

Audio features

With a $529 price tag, you’re obviously entitled to expect premium audio quality. Keep in mind, these aren’t Sennheiser’s top-shelf earbuds – that title currently belongs to the $499 Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 4.

The fact the Momentum Sport earbuds feature larger 10 mm drivers seems a great advantage, compared to the True Wireless 4’s 7 mm drivers. But it’s worth noting the True Wireless 4 has a range of added benefits over the Momentum Sport including more advanced “TrueResponse” dynamic drivers, a wider speaker frequency range and support for more Bluetooth profiles and codecs.

Other than this, the Momentum Sport’s audio feature are pretty much identical to Sennheiser’s other earbuds. This includes multipoint Bluetooth support so you can easily switch between two devices.

You’ve got the advantage of “adaptive” noise cancellation, which automatically dials up and down according to the current environment. There’s also transparency mode, which disables noise cancellation so you can listen to music but still hear the outside world – which sometimes can be an important safety precaution when exercising outdoors.

When it comes to controls, you can single, double or triple-tap one or both earbuds to access a wide range of features, including your phone’s smart assistant. Thankfully the functions associated with each tapping pattern is customisable, plus you can adjust the sensitivity or disable tap controls completely if they don’t suit you.

The Sennheiser Momentum Sport earbuds are also very customisable when it comes to sound quality. Along with Bass Boost and podcast voice optimisation, there is a five-band graphic equaliser, with a range of presets and the ability to create your own.

Rather than manually switching between presets during the day, the Sennheiser app lets you create up to 20 “sound zones” with your preferred noise cancellation and equaliser settings based on different locations. It takes advantage of GPS to automatically switch between presets as you move between home, the office and the gym.

Quality

With the Bluetooth connection issue sorted, the Sennheiser Momentum Sport’s heart rate reading stayed roughly in step with the Apple Watch Series 9.

During quick bursts of activity, sometimes the reading on one would lag behind the other and vice versa, but they’d soon get back in sync. That said, at the end of a session they often disagreed on my maximum heart rate during the session.

Of course, you need a way to analyse this data. The Polar Flow app’s map is particularly useful if you want to see an action reply of exactly how your heart rate and body temperature responded to something like interval sprints and other bursts of exertion.

As for audio quality, the active noise cancellation is excellent. Sennheiser also continues to deliver the goods when it comes to music playback, with spacious, clean and detailed sound.

That said, those with an ear for quality might find them a little lacking compared to other Sennheiser earbuds when it comes to a rich low-end (having tested the Momentum True Wireless 3 but not the latest True Wireless 4).

Typically, Sennheiser earbuds strike a great middle ground between the trademark neutral sound you expect from Apple earbuds and the warm and bass-heavy tones you get from Sony earbuds. Yet with the Momentum Sport, the low-end is a fraction flat, meaning you lose some of the rich, sweetness in juicy bass lines.

Who is the Sennheiser Momentum Sport for?

The Sennheiser Momentum Sport put music-loving fitness fans in a tricky situation, as they’re Sennheiser’s most expensive earbuds but not its best-sounding earbuds.

If you’ve got $500-ish to spend on Sennheiser earbuds and music quality is your absolute highest priority, you’d have to lean towards the Momentum True Wireless 4.

It’s only worth spending the extra $30 on the Momentum Sport if you’re convinced that you’d make the most of both the heart rate and temperature sensors. Of course, this requires a genuine need to track these figures, as well as the knowledge of how to make use of them – a combination that few people would actually have.

Sennheiser Momentum Sport
Tracking your vitals while you move to the beat, the Sennheiser Momentum Sport earbuds are for well-heeled fitness fans.
Features
9
Value for money
8
Performance
8.5
Ease of use
8.5
Design
8.5
Positives
Built-it heart rate and temperature sensors
Very good sound quality
Wireless charging carry case
Negatives
Expensive
Sound quality falls short of Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 4
8.5