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Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 3 review: Sennheiser’s best buds yet

Andy White
24 May 2022
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
220
inc VAT

The Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 3 are a big improvement on their predecessors and excellent earbuds in their own right

Pros 
Great sound
Improved design
Cheaper than their predecessors
Cons 
Fit can be fiddly
Pick up a lot of wind noise
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Few earbuds launch with the same level of hype as Sennheiser’s Momentum True Wireless 3. The German manufacturer is highly regarded by the audiophile community and rightly so – it produces some of the best over-ear headphones around and previous iterations of the Momentum True Wireless were rather impressive.

Since the release of the Momentum True Wireless 2 in 2020, Sennheiser’s consumer division has been acquired by Sonova, a global provider of hearing aids. But it’s business as usual for the esteemed audio manufacturer, with Sonova agreeing a long-term licensing deal to use the Sennheiser brand name going forward.

The company continues to deliver, however, with the Momentum True Wireless 3 proving the most well-rounded entry into the series to date and providing real competition for the class-leading Sony WF-1000XM4 and the most effective noise-cancelling buds on the market, the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds.

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Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 3 review: What you need to know

In essence, the Momentum True Wireless 3 are a very similar proposition to their predecessors. They deliver Sennheiser’s “high-end sound tuning” via 7mm TrueResponse transducers, offer noise-cancellation technology to reduce the impact of external sound on your listening experience and incorporate a handful of other useful features.

Sennheiser has made some notable improvements to its already successful formula, however. Noise cancellation is of the adaptive variety, meaning it adjusts on the fly depending on how much external sound is in your environment, rather than employing the same level of cancellation at all times.

The charging case can now be topped up via a Qi wireless charging pad in addition to USB-C, there’s high-resolution streaming courtesy of the aptX Adaptive Bluetooth codec, and the earbuds themselves have had a design makeover. There are also a couple of new features – Sound Zones and Sound Check – both of which require you to sign up for a free Sennheiser account.

Such upgrades typically result in a price hike but not so for the Momentum True Wireless 3, which actually cost significantly less at launch than the two previous entries in the series.

Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 3 review: Price and competition

The Momentum True Wireless 3 have a list price of £220, which is £60 cheaper than the Momentum True Wireless 2 when they first appeared in the summer of 2020. Since then, Sennheiser, like many manufacturers, has focused on releasing more affordable earbuds, including the CX, CX 400BT and CX Plus.

That’s not to say the Momentum True Wireless 3 are short of rivals in the premium section of the market. The £180 to £250 price bracket is extremely competitive and features products from some of the audio industry’s biggest players. The Sony WF-1000XM4 – our favourite true wireless earbuds – are available for £219, while the flagship offering from UK manufacturer Bowers & Wilkins, the PI7, launched at £350 but can now be picked up for £229.

The Apple AirPods Pro remain hugely popular with the iOS crowd and the latest iteration will set you back £189, while Apple subsidiary, Beats, has its own take on premium earbuds the Fit Pro, which cost £199. The Android equivalent, the Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro, offer an experience optimised for Galaxy smartphones and have an RRP of £219 but are regularly found a lot cheaper than that.

The long list of competitors doesn’t end there. Bose’s QuietComfort Earbuds are our top pick if you’re after the most effective active noise cancellation, while the NuraTrue analyse your hearing and create a personalised EQ based on the results. Both options are available for similar money to the third-gen Momentums.

You can read more about the above options in our roundup of the best true wireless earbuds, while those looking for something more affordable will be better served by our list of the best cheap wireless earbuds, all of which can be picked up for under £100.

Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 3 review: Design and features

Sennheiser has overhauled the design of the Momentum True Wireless earbuds and, on balance, the third iteration is better for it. They don’t look as expensive as their predecessors, which is understandable given they cost a fair bit less, but they are ergonomically superior.

The previously circular touch surfaces are now rectangular with rounded edges and the earbud housings are more lightweight, with the design resembling that of entries in Sennheiser’s CX range of buds. There are three colourways available: black, white and graphite. I was sent the latter and the graphite casing created a pleasing point of difference with the black rubber earfins that wrap around the centre of the buds.

Those fins are a new inclusion to help increase in-ear stability and you get three different-sized pairs in the box, along with four pairs of eartips. Using a combination of the large eartips and medium earfins I achieved a secure fit, but getting there often proved a fiddly process. I found myself spending more time than I’d like adjusting the buds to ensure their tips created that all important in-ear seal.

Once in place, however, the Momentum True Wireless 3 remained there and weren’t dislodged or shifted during exercise. An IPX4 rating for water resistance means they’re fine for gym use and they held up perfectly well during a rainy run around Romford.

The charging case isn’t afforded the same level of protection against the elements but is one of the classier around. Like the second-gen model, it’s covered in fabric and this helps distinguish it from its competitors, while ensuring it doesn’t become marked by fingerprints.

Battery life remains the same as the second-gen model. You get up to seven hours in-ear, with the case providing three full charges to take the total listening time up to 28 hours. That’s a very respectable figure and, with fast and wireless charging both supported, you’re unlikely to ever find yourself with an empty battery for too long.

The Momentum True Wireless 3 are compatible with Sennheiser’s redesigned Smart Control app, which is easy to navigate and provides quick access to customisation options. You can toggle Smart Pause (wear detection) and phone call auto-accept, choose whether you want the buds to power down after a certain period of inactivity and tweak the touch controls.

Functions can be assigned to four touch control actions – single tap, double-tap, triple-tap and hold – on both the left and right earbuds. You don’t get free rein when it comes to assigning functions to those actions, however. Volume controls can only ever be executed by holding your finger on the buds, for instance, but the controls do a pretty good job covering the key bases.

READ NEXT: Our favourite Bluetooth headphones

Customisation options extend to the app’s “My Device” homepage, too, with an option that allows you to remove the widgets of certain features. Doing so won’t prevent them functioning, so this is simply a way of minimising visual clutter and enabling quick access to your most-used features.

Heading up the list of features is adaptive noise cancellation, which alters the level of noise cancellation based on your surroundings. There’s also an anti-wind mode and a transparency mode that can be adjusted using a sliding scale. You can also choose whether you want audio to keep playing when transparency mode is engaged or have it pause whatever you’re listening to.

Sennheiser has taken a leaf out of competitor Sony’s book by incorporating a feature called “Sound Zones”, which sees the earbuds apply certain audio settings when you move between registered locations. You can create up to 20 different zones of up to 1km in radius and set noise cancelling and EQ presets to be applied when you enter and exit them.

Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 3 review: Sound quality

We’ve come to expect great sound from flagship Sennheiser headphones – the manufacturer rarely misses the mark with its high-end tuning – and that’s a proud record the Momentum True Wireless 3 continue.

Despite the soundstage being marginally narrower than its predecessor’s, sonic delivery is engaging and energetic. The bass response stands out as particularly impressive: there’s real richness to low-end frequencies without the overall presentation sounding too warm.

The bassline that punctuates “Caught Out There” by Kelis possessed considerable punch but didn’t feel overblown or encroach on the mid-range. The vocal components of the track include speech, shouting and melodic singing, and the Momentum True Wireless 3 handled the transition between those divergent aspects exceptionally well. Each was communicated with impressive clarity and the venom in the vocalist’s voice was wonderfully articulated in the more hostile sections of the song.

Sanso’s funky “Do What You Wanna Do” again demonstrated the Momentum’s ability to deliver a crisp bassline in a clean and uncompromising fashion, while also highlighting the amount of detail they’re able to provide. Percussive elements that would be lost by less accomplished buds were easy to single out in the mix, and the silky smooth vocals had me longing for a beach break in the Balearics.

The Momentum True Wireless 3 are rhythmically astute, too. Their sense of timing in “The Dealer” by Nilüfer Yanya proved impeccable, with instruments and vocals knitting together neatly and maintaining cohesion despite regular shifts in tempo.

All of the above observations were made using the default EQ, but you have a few customisation options at your fingertips should you require them. There are six EQ presets to choose from: rock, pop, dance, hip hop, classical and movie, along with a three-band EQ (bass, mid and treble) that enables you to create and save your own presets.

There’s also the Sound Check feature. This requires you to play some of your own music and select your favourite of three versions of it. That process is repeated three times before the buds create a preset and display it on the three-band graphic equaliser. It’s a user-friendly way of creating EQs for people that find the graphic EQ approach daunting. It’s another feature you have to have a Sennheiser account for, though.

READ NEXT: The best bone-conduction headphones

Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 3 review: Noise cancellation

The noise-cancelling capability of the Momentum True Wireless 3 echo those of their predecessors: it’s pretty good but not their strongest suit. Having said that, improvement has been made. I found them able to cut out an impressive amount of low-end rumble when on a train or walking down a busy high street, and they had a reasonable impact on people chatting and platform announcements, too.

The adaptive element of the noise cancellation is pretty subtle and when you’re not actively looking at the pulsating graphic in the Smart Control app you probably won’t notice it working away in the background. Not that you really need to – I felt it provided appropriate noise cancellation in most places.

One weakness of the Momentum True Wireless 3’s noise cancellation is that they’re prone to picking up a lot of wind noise. There is a specific anti-wind setting to combat this and it works well. However, other noisy aspects of my environment weren’t quite as well attenuated as a result.

Sadly, the anti-wind mode doesn't get a touch control shortcut of its own. It falls under the umbrella of “noise cancellation”, which is engaged by a triple-tap on the left earbud. This defaults to either the adaptive noise cancellation or anti-wind mode, depending on which you’ve selected within the app. This means you can’t switch between the two modes without getting your phone out, which is a shame as both are useful in different circumstances.

You can use Sennheiser’s Sound Zones feature to get around this to an extent. The technology is a neat, Sony-inspired idea and works as intended, switching noise cancellation profiles when you pass in or out of a zone you’ve added. It’s a bit of an awkward kludge, however, and I’d prefer being able to assign the anti-wind mode to a shortcut.

The Momentum True Wireless 3’s Transparency mode is excellent, effectively filtering in external sound to increase your awareness of your surroundings. The sound pumped in sounds natural and clear, and the adjustable slider means you can tailor how much you want making its way to your ears. Allowing you to choose whether you want your music paused or to continue playing when you activate transparency is another welcome inclusion.

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Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 3 review: Verdict

In a day and age where we find ourselves paying more and getting less in almost every area of our lives, it’s good to see Sennheiser reducing the cost of entry for its flagship true wireless headphones. It’s a shrewd move on the company’s part and that more appealing price point, combined with fantastic sound quality, effective noise cancellation and an improved design, make the Momentum True Wireless 3 an appealing option in a crowded market.

You’re still better off with the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds if you want the best noise cancelling, while the Sony WF-1000XM4 are slightly smarter and have the sonic edge. But the Momentum True Wireless 3 push both pairs very close and fully deserve a five-star rating.

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