With rich sound quality and impressive noise cancellation, the Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 3 earbuds are up there with the best.
When noise-cancelling earbuds took off a few years ago, I didn’t see the point. To me, noise cancellation was all about protecting your sanity on a long-haul light – which involved wearing a pair of bulky noise-cancelling headphones from the likes of Sennheiser or Sony. Even before you turn them on, the nature of their bulky over-the-ear design offers a certain amount of passive noise cancellation by muffling the roar of the engines.
Of course, a pair of tiny earbuds can never compare when you reach cruising altitude on an A380, but you’d be wrong to dismiss noise-cancelling earbuds as a novelty. Having previously tested the likes of Apple’s AirPods Pro and Sony’s WF-1000XM3, it’s clear they’re still have a lot to offer in everyday situations, from riding the train to working in a noisy environment.
Noise-cancelling earbuds naturally offer less of a cone of silence than over-the-ear headphones, but that’s often for the best when you need to retain a sense of situational awareness, such as walking down the street.
Once you press play on your music, it helps drown out a lot of the other noise. One benefit of noise cancellation is that you don’t need to turn up your music as loud to drown out the noise of the world, which is better for your hearing and means you’re more likely to hear those important sounds.
Enter the Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 3 earbuds, from one of the best names in the business when it comes to both sound quality and noise cancellation.
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Having carried around a pair of Apple AirPods Pro for a few years, they naturally have a strong impact on my first impressions of the Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 3.
The first thing that struck me about the Sennheiser was the bulk of the carry case, which has a built-in battery for recharging the earbuds when not in use. The clamshell design is about the size of a ring box – almost twice as thick as Apple’s charge case, making it a lot less pocket friendly.
You might assume that extra bulk offers considerable extra battery storage, but the Sennheiser case extends the earbud’s life to 28 hours – only four more hours than the AirPods Pro. The case charges via USB-C or Qi wireless charging, with a USB-C cable in the box but no AC adaptor.
Open the case and you’re met with a stout design similar to most other non-Apple earbuds. A choice of four ear tips and three “ear fins” helps you get a great fit and improve stability. To me they still don’t feel quite as secure in my ears as the AirPods Pro, which wedge firmly into the bottom of your ear.
That said, the Sennheisers didn’t budge when I went for a run, so it’s just a matter of getting used to the different feel in your ears. After testing, I decided to drop down to a smaller sized ear tip, to help get a better seal. I still think the AirPods Pro are a little more comfortable to wear for extended periods.
The Sennheiser earbuds are easy to set up via Bluetooth, after which you can download the Sennheiser app to access a range of advanced settings. This includes adjusting the equaliser, but it’s hard to judge the sound quality of earbuds if you can customise them to your taste, so I initially stuck with the defaults.
Unfortunately, you can only connect the earbuds via Bluetooth to one device at a time, but Sennheiser says multipoint Bluetooth support is coming in a future firmware update.
Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 3 Specs
TrueResponse dynamic, 7 mm
3 mics per earbud, beamforming for noise reduction
SBC, AAC, aptX, aptX adaptive
A2DP, AVRCP, HFP
Hybrid Adaptive ANC
IPX4 splash proof
USB-C, Qi wireless
Charging case weight
USB-C Charge time
approx. 1.5 hrs for full charge, after 10 min charging 1 hrs music playtime
Noise cancellation is one of the key selling points of the Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 3. Unlike the AirPods Pro, the Sennheisers offer “adaptive” noise cancellation, which automatically dials up and down according to the current environment. What’s surprising is that there’s no option to disable the adaptive feature – making it a little difficult to compare apples with apples.
Of course, sometimes you need to hear what’s going on around you. Thankfully, you’ve also got transparency mode, turning off noise cancellation so you can hear noises from the outside word. You can set this to automatically kick in when you pause the music or tap an earbud.
There’s also the option to automatically pause your music when you remove one earbud from your ear, as well as automatically answer a call when you remove an earbud from the carry case.
To make life easier, you can access a wide range of features by tapping the left or right earbud several times. This includes accessing Siri or Google Assistant on your smartphone. Even better, you can dive into the settings in the Sennheiser app to customise these touch sensitive features, or disable them completely.
The Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 3 earbuds are also very customisable when it comes to sound quality. There is a three-band graphic equaliser, with a range of presets and the ability to create your own. You can also use the app’s “Sound Check” feature to help you create personalised presets.
Rather than constantly manually switching presets, the Sennheiser app lets you create “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.
Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 3 quality
As you would expect, Sennheiser doesn’t disappoint when it comes to sound quality. The earbuds deliver spacious, clean and detailed sound. It is much more rich and full-bodied than the trademark neutral sound from Apple earbuds, but not as warm and bass heavy as the typical Sony sound.
The stronger bass is also thanks to the Sennheisers reaching a little deeper into your ear canal and offering a tighter seal if you select the right-sized ear tips. Even then, the bass sounds impressive in a quiet environment but can get a little lost when you’re outside – you might opt to take it up a notch in the settings.
Getting a great seal also makes a big difference to the effectiveness of the noise cancellation. Initially I was underwhelmed by the Sennheiser’s noise cancellation compared to the Apple AirPods Pro, but dropping an ear tip size made a big difference and saw the Sennheisers come out ahead. That said, the inability to disable the “adaptive” nature of Sennheiser’s noise cancellation makes it harder to make comparisons.
With three mics per earbud, and beamforming for noise reduction, the Sennheiser earbuds also deliver great voice quality when you’re talking to someone on the phone.
The competition is tough in the high-end active noise cancellation space, but the Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 3 earbuds can certainly hold their own. The sound quality is excellent and the noise cancellation is impressive for earbuds. The lack of multipoint Bluetooth might be a sticking point if you tend to jump between devices.
The ability to work with Siri and Google Assistant is a bonus, even if you need to tap your earbud to get their attention. If working with a smart assistant is your primary concern then you should also check out the Apple AirPods Pro and Google Pixel Buds, depending on your smartphone of choice.
Would I buy it?
Maybe, if I was sure I didn’t need the advanced features of the Apple AirPods Pro and Google Pixel Buds.
Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 3 earbuds
With great sound, solid noise cancellation and plenty of advanced features, the Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 3 earbuds have a lot to offer.