- The Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 3 is the third TWS in the Momentum True Wireless series from Sennheiser and has just been released in India.
- The series has won rave reviews for its audio quality as well as its very distinct design, complete with a fabric covered case.
- The latest in the Momentum True Wireless series come with a different design and promise the trademark Sennheiser sound, as well as features like ANC and transparency mode.
- At Rs 21,999, the Momentum True Wireless 3 are priced lower than their predecessors, the Momentum True Wireless 2, but can they take on the likes of the Sony WF-1000 XM4 and the AirPods Pro.
They might be super cool and very convenient to use, but truly wireless earphones (TWS) come with their own set of compromises. And one of the prominent of these is audio quality. More often than not, when you get a TWS, you end up getting sound quality that is generally well below what you would get from wired or even conventional Bluetooth earphones (where buds are connected to each other by a single wire) for the same price. Unfortunately, there are barely a handful of exceptions to this rule. The most prominent of them is the Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless series of TWS. The Momentum True Wireless and the Momentum True Wireless 2 made many of us realize that TWS could deliver very high-quality audio. The Momentum True Wireless 3 are the latest in the Momentum TWS series, and they look to follow those very illustrious audio footsteps.
Familiar fabric, different buds – going for a design makeover
The Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 3 come with a very different design from their predecessors. The famous fabric-covered rectangular case is still very much there, with just the logo on top of it. While the case looks as distinct and attractive as ever, it remains a little large when compared to the AirPods and even Sennheiser’s own CX Plus True Wireless, especially in terms of thickness. In fact, the case is too thick to easily fit into a trouser pocket, although it will slip into a jacket or coat pocket more easily. Sennheiser has also rather interestingly placed the USB Type-C charging port right in front of the case from where it is opened, which is unusual and, in our opinion, not very pleasing aesthetically.
It is when you flip open the case that you realize how different these new TWS are from their predecessors. The shiny chrome tops of the buds have been replaced by grey metal, and the buds themselves have moved from being round to slightly more square-shaped with the logo etched into them. They are a little on the large side but have no stems and will not stick out from your ears like some do. You get the option of different sized tips in the box, as well as wings to keep the buds firmly in your ears. We did not need to use the wings (which are actually rather subtle) as the medium-sized tips fit our ears very snugly, but having the wings around is a great option. The buds are IPX4 splash resistant (the case is not!), making them gym-friendly. We loved the design of the buds, which felt way more premium than its predecessors, and at slightly over 5 grams each, the buds are comfortable enough to wear for long periods of time. We would put them right on top of the pile in terms of design. We just wish the case had been slimmer.
The best earphones without wires. Period.
Accompanying that premium design is some staggeringly good audio quality. The Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 3 delivered the best sound we have heard from buds without wires. In terms of sheer audio quality, we would rate them well above the AirPods Pro, the Sony WF-1000 XM4 or the Bose Soundsport Free Wireless. In fact, they even sound better than their own predecessors, which were seen as the benchmark for TWS audio quality. There might be the odd high-end audiophile-level TWS that has a more ‘pure’ or ‘raw’ sound than these, but if you are looking for clear, pleasant-sounding audio, the Momentum True Wireless 3 are comfortably ahead of everyone else. The 7mm “TrueResponse Transducers” deliver a fantastic audio experience, and although they seem to be the same as seen on the Momentum True Wireless 2, their performance here seemed superior.
The first thing that will strike you about the sound on the Momentum True Wireless 3 is just how spacious it is. It is as if you are sitting in a room with instruments all around you. Of course, design and hardware restrict a TWS from having the sort of soundstage larger headphones can, but in the TWS category, this is as good as it gets. Instrument separation is very good, and if you are the kind of person who likes jazz, classical music, folk, country and rock, then these are the TWS for you.
This seems to be a good place to point out that these are not TWS for bassheads – actually, none of Sennheiser’s TWS offerings are. While the CX series has a slight bass accent, Sennheiser’s Momentum series has always aimed to deliver a balanced sound. So while the bass is present, it is not as prominent as what you would get from a mainstream TWS. The beats and drums will be clear and audible, but they will not dominate the sound. Vocals which are Sennheiser’s forte, stand out, clear and proud, while treble is well-handled. You will hear the clash of cymbals, the sweep of violins and the ringing of bells and other high pitched sounds very clearly, but without them ever being irritatingly sharp.
There is an equalizer on the app that lets you tweak frequencies, but we never really felt the need to, although some of our beat loving friends did turn up the bass (it still was not overwhelming!). The app also lets you personalize your EQ settings and automatically apply different settings when in different places (Sound Zones). These are handy enough smarts for those who are really finicky about audio settings, and they really work too.
All said and done, in terms of sheer audio quality, the Momentum True Wireless 3 set a new benchmark for TWS. You can use them for anything from shows to music to games, and the chances are that you will just love the sound. Volume levels are awe-inspiring, and you will never really need to max them out. Even if you do, there is zero distortion. This is a high-class audio masterclass. In terms of codecs, these support SBC, AAC, aptX and aptX adaptive, which should suffice for most users.
Heavenly sound with mortal controls
It is a recurring theme with Sennheiser’s wireless earwear that while the sound quality is fantastic, other features are slightly less so. That is the case with the Momentum True Wireless 3 as well. Connecting them involves putting both buds in your ears and pressing them both for a few seconds to start the pairing process and then finishing it on your phone, where the buds will show up in Bluetooth under Settings. We would recommend using the Sennheiser Smart Control app, as it lets you do far more. It is a connecting process that works well enough but is not as convenient as the “press the button on the case” method on most TWS.
The controls are also a little on the complicated side. The top of the buds are a touch surface, and commands are basically a series of taps; in many cases, each earbud has separate commands allotted to it (you can alter some of these using the app). So, for instance, tapping the left earbud three times activates noise cancellation, but doing the same on the right brings up the voice assistant.
While Sennheiser has done very well in terms of putting almost all controls on the buds themselves (a long press on either controls volume – the left brings it down, the right sends it up), remembering them takes a while, and the process can lead to some problems. For instance, tapping the left earbud once activates transparency mode, while tapping the right one plays or pauses a track, and we kept forgetting which was which. Things get particularly troublesome during calls, where a single touch on either bud can either answer or end a call – there were times when we got a call, tapped the buds once to accept it, and then accidentally disconnected the call when we tried to adjust the fit of one of the bud. Unfortunately, call handling controls cannot be customized. As a result, we initially found ourselves handling most functions from our phones before we got the hang of the controls on the buds, and we still find ourselves relying more on the phone. That tells you something.
Smart enough ANC
The Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 3 come with adaptive noise canceling (ANC) as well as a transparency mode. The former drowns out external sounds, and the latter makes it louder, enabling you to hear what is going on around you. And they both work very well. The ANC on the Momentum True Wireless 3 is definitely better than what we had seen on the Momentum True Wireless 2, and while it is not as good as the AirPods Pro or the Sony 1000 XM4 TWS, it is handy enough to be used in a cafe or in the Metro, as it kills a fair degree of ambient sound.
Transparency mode has a slight element of hiss around it (unusual) but lets you hear sounds around you without taking off the buds – we would not advise using it when music is playing, though, as the audio quality seems to dip (you can customize this through the app).
Decent call quality and battery life
The buds are handy enough for calling without being in the class of the Jabra Elite or the AirPods. People we spoke to using the buds were able to hear us clearly enough, although a few complained of our voices seeming to come from a distance. Ambient sounds also seemed to creep in sometimes, especially in noisy traffic areas, but we would say that the Momentum True Wireless 3 handle calls well by and large. Although the buds did not initially come with multipoint connectivity, Sennheiser has recently brought this feature to them via a software update. This also seems to indicate that more tweaks and features may be on the way, making these a very handy long-term investment.
The battery life of the buds is also good rather than exceptional. You get about seven hours (five and a half to six if you keep volumes close to the top) on the buds, and the case adds another 21 hours. All in all, you should be able to see off most of the week on a single charge. The case itself takes about an hour and a half to charge over a wired connection. There is support for wireless charging as well, but that is a little sluggish.
Want great audio without wires? Get these!
The Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 3 start at Rs 21,999, which is actually below the launch price of the Momentum True Wireless 2, which had hit the market at Rs 24,999. That said, Rs 21,999 is still a premium price tag in the TWS world and above the prices of the , AirPods Pro and the Sony WF-1000 XM4, both of which are available for under Rs 20,000 at many retailers. But with that premium price tag comes unmatched sound quality and a very premium design as well. In fact, we would say that the biggest challenge in terms of audio quality to the Momentum True Wireless 3 would perhaps be the Momentum True Wireless 2, which currently are available at a slightly higher price, and in our opinion, are a (very) small step behind the new ones in terms of audio quality, and have inferior ANC.
As we said earlier, the Momentum True Wireless 3 are for those who value good sound above everything else. You might get better ANC, simpler controls, and better battery life on other TWS, and some of them might even come with lower price tags, but you are unlikely to get the same sound quality. With the Sennheiser True Wireless 3, the TWS segment has got its audio boss. Want great audio without any wires? These are what your ears need.
- Best sound in TWS category
- Premium design
- Good ANC
- Lower price than predecessors
- Multipoint connectivity added through update
- Controls remain a challenge
- Still expensive
- Competition has better call quality and battery life
|Value for Money||
At Rs 21,999, the Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 3 are priced lower than their predecessors, the Momentum True Wireless 2, but can they take on the likes of the Sony WF-1000 XM4 and the AirPods Pro.