Sennheiser’s new Momentum True Wireless 3s are the company’s latest flagship earbuds. With more refined style, improved active noise cancellation, new features and top-notch sound quality, Sennheiser has become a serious competitor to Apple AirPods Pro, Sony’s WF-1000XM4 and Bose’s QuietComfort Earbuds.
Perhaps the most popular thing about the newest Sennheiser headphones is that they’re cheaper than previous models: The Momentum True Wireless 2s are $299, but the company sells them for $249.95. That’s still a premium, but Sennheiser is now on par with Apple’s AirPod Pros and cheaper than flagships from Sony and Bose. With the price of tech gadgets rising every year, it’s nice to see someone make a change in the opposite direction — and add new features to boot.
- Improved ANC
- Smaller, sleeker design
- Now with wireless charging
- no more points (yet)
- Occasional errors
- Transparency mode lags the competition
Wireless charging is the most important upgrade. It’s hard to accept that the Momentum True Wireless 2s lack this feature. For the price, wireless charging should be the bet. I’m not sure how Sennheiser realized this after three tries.
Another improvement is what’s in the box: Sennheiser gives you four sizes of earbuds — the fourth is super-tiny — but with the new model, the company also includes three optional fins that wrap around each earbud And tucked into your ears for added stability. The mid-size comes pre-installed, but if you need to keep the earbuds more stable and in place during workouts or runs, you can easily remove or replace them with smaller or larger wings. Even without the stabilizer fins, the MTW3 fit comfortably in my ears and didn’t come loose easily.
The earbuds have an improved design.
Sennheiser’s latest earbuds include optional stabilizer fins.
The earbuds are smaller than their predecessors, have a more boxy, outgoing design, and are available in black, grey, or white. Compared to the MTW2 with its shiny silver Sennheiser logo, my black review unit looked more subtle to the ears. But they still stand out more than Samsung’s Galaxy Buds Pro, so these aren’t the most discreet buds. Since Sennheiser makes better use of the space, the charging case has shrunk a bit, and the USB-C charging port has been moved to the front. This may seem odd at first, but other companies like Jabra have started doing this too, and depending on where you’re charging the MTW3, you may find it more convenient.
The USB-C port is now on the front of the charging case.
Sennheiser increases the intensity of noise reduction, although you can’t actually directly control how much ANC the MTW3 applies. The company uses adaptive ANC to automatically increase and decrease noise cancellation based on your current environment. Other earbud makers have tried this adaptive approach, though most make it optional rather than the full-time default. While testing these earbuds, I didn’t find myself lacking in manual adjustments, but you might prefer more control. ANC isn’t at the same level as a Sony or Bose, but it does help cancel out nearby distractions. And you can always activate Transparency Mode with a tap on the left earbud, though Sennheiser’s implementation still doesn’t match the natural sound that Sony, Bose, and Apple all achieve.
The more compact Momentum True Wireless 3s may be better suited for those with smaller ears.
When Sennheiser announced its latest over-ear headphones, it didn’t mention major changes to its sound. They still use 7mm drivers similar to those inside the MTW2, and I’d put the overall audio quality in the same range as Sennheiser’s CX Plus – although they’re slightly better and can be louder. That’s a good place because these still sound great. Sennheiser supports AAC, SBC, AptX and AptX Adaptive Bluetooth codecs, the latter of which helps eliminate any perceptible audio lag when watching videos or playing mobile games on Android. It would be nice to see Sony’s LDAC added to the equation, but considering the lower price, it’s the kind of omission I can live with. AptX Adaptive also supports higher resolution audio than AAC and SBC allow.
tossing an old favorite Buena Vista Social Club, the Sennheisers deliver a very spacious, clean and detailed sound, with piano, classical guitar and vocals all nicely layered without a hint of muddiness.The same is true when I switch between The National, Molly Tuttle, or Bon Iver’s “Second Nature” tracks don’t look up. These earbuds bring out the nuances of songs with very pleasing clarity. Sennheiser’s Smart Control app for iPhone and Android lets you adjust the EQ with Bass Boost and Podcast modes, which are separate from any changes you make to the Bass, Mid and Treble sliders. (The podcast option improves speech intelligibility.) A standard consumer-friendly tuning curve is available here, but I’d say the Sennheisers are more balanced than the Sony 1000XM4s. Not everyone likes this: I end up enabling bass boost quite often, and the Sony delivers powerful, vibrant sound out of the box.
The case finally supports wireless charging.
The mobile app also recently added the option to set a “sound zone” and automatically change the level of noise cancellation and EQ customization based on your location, whether it’s at home, in the office, in the gym, or anywhere else you frequent. This worked as expected in my testing, but it does require you to grant the Sennheiser app location tracking permission on your phone. Additionally, using Sound Zones (or the Sound Check feature of a personalized EQ) requires you to set up a Sennheiser account. I don’t like having people sign up for an account just to use the earbuds feature.
Some owners of Sennheiser’s previous Momentum True Wireless models reported hearing a persistent white noise effect when listening to the buds. Even in a completely quiet room, I didn’t notice this annoyance with the third-gen pair. Battery life remains the same after 7 hours of continuous listening, and the earbuds (along with their case) are IPX4 water-resistant for everyday exercise.
Voice call performance seems to be better than the MTW2, and I didn’t receive any major complaints about call quality or incomprehension. However, these still fall short compared to recent standouts like Sony’s LinkBuds. Either earbud can be used on its own, while the others charge in the charging case, and those earbuds also automatically pause whenever you remove one or both.
The MTW3 is available in black, grey or white.
Their sound is detailed, spacious and balanced.
They weren’t completely immune to minor bugs when I looked at the MTW3s: I noticed occasional (albeit rare) loss of signal, and status/prompt sounds would sometimes show “disconnected” at the same time soon after I removed them ‘ and ‘Connect’ out of the case and shoved them into my ears. At launch, the new Sennheiser flagship earbuds don’t support multipoint Bluetooth, so you can only connect to one device at a time. The company claims it plans to add more points in future firmware updates, but as the old adage goes, you should only buy a product based on what it can do now, not what might happen later.
If Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 3s did With multiple points, I would consider them home runs and recommend an upgrade for fans of the company’s past buds. But even so, Sennheiser has done a great job of increasing the value while lowering the sticker price. The noise cancellation is better, you can now charge wirelessly, and they still sound great. Call quality is decent, even with the same battery life, but the overall package is more attractive than Sennheiser’s high-end offerings in the past.they do not quite Replacing the Sony 1000XM4s with my favorite earbuds; I’ll go with the Sony headphones’ better noise-cancelling, foam earbuds, and warmer sound profile. But maybe that’s what I’m used to now. Sennheiser is right there, with the best audio quality — and it’s $50 cheaper than last time.
Chris Welch/The Verge Photography