Going wireless is in vogue in 2019. With many smartphones skipping the good old headphone jack and now even the 3.5mm headphone jack adapter, it has become a necessity for many. Then there is the fact that truly wireless earbuds that you can shove in your ears like pieces of cotton look cool, futuristic and fashionable. Do you see that all the cool kids nowadays have the Apple AirPods dangling from their ears? Whatever may be your reason to hunt for a good pair of wireless earbuds, the market has a lot of option across various price points. What you still may not get is a pair of quality wireless earbuds that are affordable and yet are versatile enough to make music come alive.
Sennheiser has a solution for you and it’s asking a hefty price for that — Rs 24,990 to be precise. It’s called the Sennheiser True Wireless Momentum earbuds — let’s call it TW Momentum — and it promises typical Sennheiser levels of extremely balanced audio performance without the hassles of cables. Sounds interesting!
Sennheiser knows fashion well
Ever since the trend of truly wireless earbuds rose, I have never found one pair that’s aesthetically pleasing — no matter how much you spend. All of them almost make the user look like Frankenstein with two massive buds bulging out of the ears with weird branding and LEDs. Thankfully, Sennheiser has tried to do something about this.
The TW Momentum feels meticulously designed by someone who knows that wearable tech needs to go in sync with the persona of the user. Hence, the earbuds are rightly shaped and fit well within the earlobes — you don’t look like Frankenstein anymore. Each earbud is made of plastic and has brushed chrome panel with the Sennheiser logo facing outwards. This also happens to be a touch-sensitive control panel. The LED indicators are inside so no awkward stares from people around. Both the earbuds have individual microphones.
However, while the earbuds look fashionable, they are big. This has both positive and negative points. The buds fit snugly in your ears but start becoming uncomfortable after a while. I could use them only for 30 minutes at a stretch before taking them out and giving my ears some breathing space.
While the earbuds look appealing, it is the charging case that I found flaunting even more than the earbuds. It’s a reasonably big case draped in a coarse fabric that doesn’t pick up smudges but is prone to gather dust. There’s a USB-C port outside along with a button to indicate the power status through an LED indicator. Sadly, it can only tell you whether, it is full, more than 50 per cent or less than 50 per cent through confusing blinks. Therefore, there’s no way to figure out when to plug a charger.
The earbuds are kept into their slots magnetically and they switch off automatically when docked. When you undock the earbuds, they immediately hook up to your phone or tablet via Bluetooth.
These sound heavenly
It may appear that I am exaggerating but this is the truth. The TW Momentum is one of the best sounding wireless earbuds I have ever used.
Each of the earbuds uses a 7mm driver unit, both of which are tuned cleverly by Sennheiser. On top of that, they support Qualcomm apxtXHD, which means that there is virtually no loss in audio transmission.
Keeping the nerdy stuff aside, the TW Momentum delivers a sublime audio performance. The mids are rich while the highs are clear and distortion free. For example, in the Mission Impossible: Fallout theme, you can easily make out all the other instruments in between the drums. In Ed Sheeran’s Perfect, the voices feel fulfilling while the guitar tones and the drums never lose details in the background. Bass is also taken care of very well but the lows sound muddy at times.
Of course, if you prefer your customised equaliser effects, you can get the Smart Control app. Once paired, you can play around with the equaliser to tune the audio to your liking. Whatever setting you may prefer, know that the overall audio clarity will be exceptional.
In terms of noise isolation, the TW Momentum does a fairly good job although I was expecting active noise cancellation for a pair of earphones that cost Rs 24,990. You get a feature called Transparent hearing that, when enabled, will use the microphones to pass on the ambient sounds to your ears — good for when you are jogging to keep you alert of your surroundings.
The earbuds will also automatically pause your music if you pull out one of the earbuds from your ear. However, if you pull out both, the sensor doesn’t detect that it’s taken out and if keeps on playing the music. You can always switch this off and rely on the touch panels.
Speaking of the touch panels, they are quite sensitive and require a light tap for commands. You can tap once to play or pause, long tap of either bud to adjust volume (this takes some time to learn), double tap to skip to next track and triple tap to go back to the previous track. If you tap and hold on the right earbud, you can invoke the voice assistant on your smartphone. The gestures are quite confusing and it requires time to get used to it.
Truly wireless earbuds usually suffer when it comes to taking calls and the TW Momentum isn’t different though. I was able to hear the person on the other side most of the times. However, my voice wasn’t easily audible while I was walking along the road or taking the metro to work. Despite dual microphones, I had to rush to quieter surroundings to make calls most of the time.
Decent battery life
Yes, this is one aspect where the TW Momentum struggles to impress. The earbuds each can live for up to four hours at a stretch with constant music streaming. The case, however, can only deliver two full charges. In the real world, I had it charged up on Monday morning and by Wednesday night, the charging case was completely drained. The earbuds don’t switch off automatically when the case is drained out hence many times, I found the earbuds completely dead as well. I have seen better battery life from cheaper earbuds and the TW Momentum isn’t on par with most of them in terms of battery life.
Should you buy Sennheiser True Wireless Momentum?
Wireless headphone buyers are looking for a good combination of convenience as well as audio performance. This is a tricky combination that many brands have been trying to achieve since a few years. Sennheiser, as always, lays stress on really good audio performance and if that’s what you prefer the most, the Sennheiser True Wireless Momentum earbuds are completely worth its price of Rs 24,990. Once your ears are used to this, it will be tough to make a switch to anything cheaper or inferior.
However, if you reading this review piece, you clearly give emphasis to wireless convenience and the TW Momentum is quite good at it — just not great. The earbuds aren’t comfortable for long sessions and battery life is average at its best.
That said, as someone who likes to fill up parts of the day with music, I am willing to compromise a little with the niggles for that amazing sublime audio performance. If that’s what you also care for, go ahead and buy it. You won’t be disappointed.