Sennheiser’s Momentum True Wireless 3 are its best true wireless buds yet, delivering a confident and rich sound, improved design and feature set, at a price that’s competitive with its nearest rivals. While they’re not quite the best for sound or noise cancellation, if you want a fun, engaging sound with some dynamic bass, Sennheiser’s latest are a great bet. Overall, they thoroughly entertain.
- Rich, expressive sound
- Improved design
- Very good noise cancelling/transparency modes
- Excellent wireless connection
- Cheaper than previous model
- Bose QuietComfort Earbuds are better for noise cancellation
- Sony’s XM4s are better for sound
- Some app features locked behind account registration
- Adaptive Noise CancellationTailors the strength of the buds’ suppressive skills in real-time
- TrueReponse transducerAims to produce stereo sound with deep bass, natural mids and detailed highs
- Sound personalisationOffers users the chance to enhance their own personal hearing experience by guiding them through a listening test
A lot can change in two years. The last time Sennheiser launched a set of Momentum True Wireless earbuds, the world had entered a lockdown, with Sennheiser itself experiencing an adjustment in the intervening period, as the consumer division was bought by Sonova in 2021.
But despite those seismic changes, Sennheiser’s identity has remained the same – and with the Momentum True Wireless 3, the brand is ringing the changes and pulling out the stops for its most advanced pair of wireless earbuds yet.
We rated the Momentum TW2 model five stars in 2020, but that was before Bose’s QuietComfort Earbuds and Sony’s WF-1000XM4 entered the fray. The market has intensified, with quality on an upward trajectory. How well has Sennheiser adapted?
- Small, lightweight design
- IPX4 protection
- Wing-tip accessories
The Momentum True Wireless 3 mark a complete overhaul over the previous model. It’s a different look, a better fit and a more accessible outlook.
They’re smaller, more svelte and slender than the Momentum TW2, which were bigger and placed more of an emphasis on noise isolation. They look like they’ve taken some inspiration from Sennheiser’s affordable CX True Wireless series in terms of shape, but they’re not quite as chunky. I’m impressed by how dainty they are.
The redesign has resulted in a lighter offering; although I don’t have the exact figures to hand, I feel their low weight has made them more comfortable to wear. They slot in with almost nonchalant ease, with a slight twist-and-lock to keep them in place.
I do find the fit loosens slightly with a bit of movement, but not a great deal. The Momentum TW3 ship with four ear-tip sizes (L, M, S, XS), plus detachable silicone fins that are fixed around the buds’ midriff with the option of adding a wing-tip, too.
I took the Sennheisers on a couple of runs, and while they didn’t fall out, dodging some low-hanging branches did loosen the fit and seal. I’d actually forgotten there was a wing-tip variant, and I imagine it would have provided a more secure fit for jogging and general exercise had I taken it. Rated at IPX4, they offer enough protection to combat sweat and wet weather.
The charging case has also been revised; it’s smaller now, but still holds the same level of charge. The USB-C charging port and battery indicator are on the front – a change that makes so much sense, you wonder why Sennheiser hadn’t done it before. It’s easier to keep track of the battery; open the case and the indicator changes colour (green, amber, red) to reveal its current levels.
The grey wraparound fabric of the previous model stays, and it offers a touch of classiness and tactility that you don’t always get, even at these prices. The buds come in three colours: black, white and graphite (this review sample).
Touch controls have been implemented very well here. I didn’t have to tap with force to get a response, and the use of taps and holds makes for very simple operation. Overall, the Sennheisers are a pleasure to wear and a pleasure to use.
- ANC battery life better than before
- Strong noise cancellation
- Super wireless connection
The noise cancellation has been bumped up to adaptive, which means the Momentum True Wireless 3 can automatically adjust the strength of noise cancellation in real time. The performance is very good, helped by the design, although they’re not quite at the level of the best.
The Bose QC Earbuds remain the best noise-cancelling true wireless buds; but the performance between the Sennheiser and Sony is a little closer, in some respects. The Momentum TW3 deal with persistent droning sounds better – the sound of the fridge unit in a café at a train station is smothered better, as are the fridge/freezer cooling units at a local supermarket.
When dealing with voices, the Sennheiser and Sony are again on similar terms. However, the Sony suppresses voices a smidgen better, and those buds are also better on train journeys, the WF-1000XM4 batting away more environmental noise. The Sony’s noise isolating fit also subdues high-frequency tones better, such as those of a tube door closing or the sound at a traffic crossing.
Nevertheless, the Sennheisers still offer an impressive performance where ANC is concerned. Big crowds are calmed impressively, the general hubbub of a city – cars, people walking and talking, is hushed. You only have to take the earbuds out to realise just how noisy it is, and therefore how much noise the Momentum TW3 clear out.
An issue is that the Momentum TW3 aren’t as good at dealing with wind. On runs and in blustery conditions, I noticed the sound would stir up to slightly noisy levels – but there is a solution. The Sennheiser Smart Control app has an Anti-Wind setting that modulates the noise-cancelling wave to deal with wind. It’s very effective, reducing all that turbulence to nothing.
I think the Transparency mode here is fantastic. The effect is of superb clarity and detail, as if you weren’t wearing the buds at all. There’s none of the artificiality or hiccups from the microphones that’s sometimes present on cheaper models; everything was parsed through to my ears in a natural way. Sennheiser describes the Transparency mode as adjustable, but this adjustability isn’t in the sense of letting in more or fewer sounds – it’s whether music is paused when the Transparency mode is activated.
The aptX Adaptive connection has been excellent, too – much better than Sennheiser’s cheaper attempts or Lypertek’s PurePlay Z5 ANC. Wherever I’ve been, the connection has rarely showed signs of abating, whether I’m walking through the concourse at London Victoria, Waterloo and London Bridge stations, or finding my way through crowded areas such as Piccadilly Circus, Leicester Square or Soho. If you have a compatible Android smartphone, the tether between it and the buds is strong.
Sennheiser says that battery with ANC is improved over the previous model, and I’d agree with that assessment. On the Momentum TW2, ANC would sap battery life, but that’s less the case here. The quote of seven hours per bud and 28 in total is the same as before, and using them for two hours, they dropped to 70%. If my calculations are right, that’s around 6hrs 40mins with ANC on. That’s less than Sony but better than the Jabra Elite 85t, Bose, Apple AirPods Pro and Bowers & Wilkins Pi7.
The Smart Control app has been redesigned from the ground up and, on the whole, it’s a success – although not without a few missteps. First, firmware updates are shorter: 20 minutes rather than an excruciating 37 minutes. Aesthetically, the layout is more logical, perhaps taking some inspiration from Jabra’s MySound+ app with the feature that allows the user to customise what sections are shown.
There’s the usual info on the headphones’ vitals in the settings, EQ adjustments with a selection of presets from Sennheiser, and the ability to create your own through the three-band EQ option. There are areas for ANC and Transparency modes, customisation of touch controls, plus a Discover area that shows news from the Sennheiser mothership.
There’s also the Sound Check and Sound Zones features. These are new – the former relates to tailoring the audio to your hearing ability, while the latter mimics Sony’s Headphone app in registering your location and bringing up specific sound modes for that zone (like when you’re at the gym, for example).
The issue is that these features are locked behind account registration. Now, I don’t mind signing up for an account, but I believe it should be because the app experience is good enough to make you want to sign up – you shouldn’t have to just to get access. Sennheiser’s response to that is these features are locked behind an account so they can be saved to a individual’s account and transferred across devices. Sennheiser has told me that the synchronisation aspect of this feature is coming soon.
Other features include Smart Pause, Sennheiser’s wear tech that automatically pauses and restarts music when they’re taken out and put back in (it’s effective). There’s currently no multi-point pairing for connecting to two devices, but that’s said to be coming in an update down the line. Fast-charging (10 minutes for an hour) and wireless charging are onboard.
There are three microphones in each earbud and call quality is good, although perhaps a shade behind the best. It picked up my voice well, but the person on the other end did mention it sounded slightly suppressed. It didn’t pick up too much noise from the background either, so the performance can be considered as satisfactory.
- Expressive bass performance
- Appealing mid-range and treble performance
- 7mm TrueResponse transducer
Sennheiser’s approach to sound with the Momentum True Wireless 3 was for a rich and accessible performance, and on that basis, I think they’ve absolutely hit the proverbial nail on the head. This sound is what Master & Dynamic buds were aiming for, but didn’t reach with anywhere near as much satisfaction.
Compared to the older model, they’re more dynamic and livelier; the TW2 sound flatter, in comparison. Where the older model has a leg up is that they describe the soundstage in wider terms.
The soundstage for the new Sennheisers is smaller and more tight knit, but instruments are perhaps even clearer in their description and the energy the TW3 supplies them. The opening bars of Metallica’s Enter Sandman draw you in and keep you involved for the remainder of the five-minute runtime. Tonally, the True Wireless 3’s warmth brings out a richness in instruments and vocals that makes the older version staid and more static. Timing is better, too – rhythmically, the Sennheisers can communicate shifts in, ahem, momentum better.
Vocals are brought forward and closer to the listener – smooth, but natural and expressive in how they’re conveyed. The mid-range exhibits more dynamism and vibrancy – the guitars in Papa Roach’s Last Resort display much better definition and naturalness, where they seem a little cold through the Momentum TW2.
The bass is so much more emphatically described on the new model, too. Usually, a “rich-sounding” pair of headphones is more “accessible”, and accessibility tends to mean heaps more bass. That’s what the Sennheisers do, but they don’t go overboard; the bass depth and extension adds plenty of vibrancy and dynamic range to music. Listening to soul music, rap, hip-hop and R&B, there’s more low-frequency extension than can be felt on the Sony WF-1000XM4.
The top-end of the frequency range is both sweet sounding and distinctively bright. Compared to the older model, there’s more shine, more insight and clarity – the notes in Garden Shadows (Piano) from Alex Ebert’s A Most Violent Year display fine tonal variation, loud and quiet notes emphasised with confidence, the piano keys expressed with no small amount of weight and feeling, too.
However, the Sony are more delicate and nuanced, and I don’t think the Sennheiser can beat them when viewed in that context – but that’s not what the Momentum True Wireless 3 are aiming for, truly. These are vibrant and expressive entertainers, free-flowing buds with a silky-smooth delivery. If fun is what you want from your music, then sign right up to Sennheiser’s latest and greatest Momentum True Wireless 3 earbuds.
Should you buy it?
For their rich, appealing sound The Momentum TW3 don’t quite have the subtlety of fidelity of Sony’s premium buds, but they arguably have more fun with their impact bass, nicely warm mid-range and sweet highs.
If you want the best noise cancelling Both Bose and Sony offering better noise-cancelling experiences than the Sennheiser, but the Momentum TW3 aren’t far behind. They’re a confident performer where noise cancelling is concerned.
The Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 3 aren’t the best noise-cancelling earbuds – that would be Bose. They’re not the best-sounding earbuds, either – that would be Sony. However, they are one of the most fun and accessible-sounding premium buds on the market.
The design is improved, the new app is better, and sound is beyond that of the older model. In pretty much every area the Sennheiser Momentum TW3 are an improvement over their predecessor, offering sharp competition to the likes of Bose and Sony. They also launch at a cheaper price than the older models, lopping nearly £60 off. You get more for less – and who can argue against that kind of value?
How we test
We test every headphones we review thoroughly over an extended period of time. We use industry standard tests to compare features properly. We’ll always tell you what we find. We never, ever, accept money to review a product.
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Tested for 10 days
Tested with real world use
Tested with a range of music
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All Sennheiser will say on this feature is that it will come in a future firmware update.
The case doesn’t have an IP rating, so you won’t want to take it out in wet weather conditions or have it near water.
ANC is activated with phone calls but it switches automatically to a special setting for calls to avoid occlusion effects (loudness) and make the voice more audible and more natural.