The Sennheiser Momentum 3 Earbuds Sound Incredible With One Slight Flaw

The Sennheiser Momentum 3 Earbuds Sound Incredible With One Slight Flaw
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Announced earlier this year, just shy of two years since the previous version launched, the Momentum 3 is the latest iteration of Sennheiser’s True Wireless earbud series. Sennheiser has built a solid reputation when it comes to headphones, which includes a pretty spotless record with this particular line of wireless earbuds. We here at Gizmodo loved the original Momentum earbuds and thought their sequel was even better.

So how does the third iteration of the Sennheiser Momentum earbuds stack up? Did they meet our expectations or has Sennheiser set that bar too high? Are they the Return of the Jedi or The Godfather III of Sennheiser’s earbuds?

Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 3 Earbuds

Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 3 Earbuds

What is it?

Sennheiser's latest true wireless earbuds.




Incredibly light, comfortable fit, sound fantastic with solid bass.

No Like

Battery life could be bigger, adaptive noise cancellation is inconsistent, need to set up a Sennheiser account to access app features.

How do the Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 3 work?

Image: Gizmodo Australia

In terms of basic functions, the Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 3 have a lot of the bells and whistles you’d expect with a pair of earbuds. To get the most out of the earbuds’ features, you’ll need to download the Smart Sensor companion app where you can adjust and customise various features. It’s a pretty simple app, and easy to navigate and use.

The Momentum 3 also comes with multiple silicon tips, so you can customise your fit. The earbuds also come with rubber fins that can be added to the outside of them, if you want them to be a bit more secure. I opted to add on the fins and was really happy with how nicely snug they sat in my earholes. The earbuds are lightweight and comfortable. I never had that phantom feeling that they were constantly on the edge of falling out, and I didn’t suffer from the dreaded earache after prolonged wear.

The earbuds use touch-sensitive controls and can be separately customised in the companion app. These controls can be a bit sensitive at times – when I first started using them, I found myself accidentally pausing my music or deactivating noise-cancellation while adjusting them in my ears. But after using them non-stop for a week, I got comfortable with putting them on without incident. The buds also offer in-ear detection, so they’ll instantly pause your music when you pull them out.

In terms of battery, the Momentum 3 has the same capacity as the previous generation. According to Sennheiser, each earbud has about seven hours worth of charge (with adaptive noise cancellation off), and an additional 21 hours in the charging case. You can also score yourself an hour of playtime off the back of a 10-minute charge, which is good news if you habitually forget to charge your earbuds before heading out.

When running the earbuds non-stop with ANC on, I found that the battery life only lasted a bit over five hours, which is a bit average. However, despite that battery life, I didn’t find myself recharging these earbuds as frequently as I’d expected, with the charging case doing a good job of supplementing that playtime.

The earbuds pair via Bluetooth 5.2, with one of the fastest connections I’ve ever experienced. There have been multiple times where I’ve pulled the buds out of their case and only managed to catch the tail end of the “Connected!” audio prompt as I stuck them in my ears. A recent firmware update has also added multipoint connection (why this wasn’t offered from day one is an odd choice).

The charging case comes covered with a textured, cloth material that gives it a bit more grip, compared to the usual smooth plastic cases that other earbuds come with. It’s a nice aesthetic touch and the tactile sensation of fiddling with the case is oddly satisfying.

How do the Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 3 sound?

Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 3 earbuds
Image: Chris Neill/Gizmodo Australia

The overall sound quality of the Momentum 3 definitely lives up to the high standard set by Sennheiser. While listening to a range of different genres, I was blown away by how good everything sounded. The playback quality is incredibly crisp and balanced. Even when pushed to higher volumes there was very little distortion.

There’s a fantastic richness and very clear depth to the individual tracks of anything I was listening to. I always go out of my way to listen to DJ Shadow’s album Endtroducing when testing headphones, and the Momentum 3 earbuds do a great job of maintaining the separate details of the album’s multi-layered collage of samples.

I find that a lot of earbuds usually struggle when boosting their bass and that usually comes as a side effect of shrinking the size of the earbuds and their drivers. It’s always the first thing that I test when playing around with the earbud’s equalizer, and the Sennheiser Momentum 3 doesn’t disappoint. The bass on these earbuds is immaculate and punchy.

The companion app also offers a feature called Sound Check, which helps you create personalised EQ presets. It works by offering you a series of prompts while you’re listening to music, asking you to pick which sounds the best. Once you completed it’ll give you a custom EQ setting that you can save to your library. I was pretty impressed with the few presets I made and how they noticeably added to my listening experience – especially a more bass-focused preset that I use for my hip-hop playlist.

The only real issue I had with Sound Check is that it forces you to sign up for a Sennheiser account to save your preset library. I get why it wanted me to do this – so I can share the presets across my different devices – but I already have enough damn subscriptions!

What’s the deal with adaptive noise cancellation?

Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 3 earbuds
Size comparison between the Jabra Elite 7 Pro and Bose QuietComfort (Image: Chris Neill/Gizmodo Australia)

One of the major differences between the Sennheiser Momentum 3 and its previous generation is that its active noise cancellation is adaptive. By using the earbuds’ built-in microphones, the Momentum 3 will automatically adjust the ANC levels depending on how loud your surroundings are.

This is a cool feature, but Sennheiser doesn’t give you the option to manually adjust the ANC, which seems like an odd limitation. Instead, you’re locked into whatever level the earbuds decide, and unfortunately, my experience with this adaptive noise-cancelling feature occasionally left me feeling a bit cold.

While the ambient sound was definitely decreased by the ANC, it felt lacking at times – as though it couldn’t fully adapt to the environments I was in. To test out the ANC, I walked down a few busy streets and it felt as though the ANC sometimes struggled to fully respond to my surroundings. When it was good it was good, don’t get me wrong. But compared to other noise-cancelling earbuds I’ve used, its inconsistency left me wanting more.

The microphones that register the noise levels in your surrounding environment also frequently pick up the wind. So if you happen to be wearing them and catch a breeze, it sounds like someone is blowing into your ears. The Momentum 3 does have an anti-wind function, which works quite well. The only catch is that you need to manually access it through your phone as you can’t set it to be one of the touch shortcuts. It’s an annoying limitation – why give us the ability to control so much through the touch controls but leave out that one specific skill?

On the flip side, the Momentum 3 does a fantastic job of letting sound in when you want it to. Its Transparency Mode is quite good – I had no problem listening to other people speaking to me with this hear-through function and everyone sounded quite natural.

Should you buy the Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 3 earbuds?

The sound quality of the Momentum 3 is absolutely fantastic, while the earbuds are lightweight and comfortable. The combination of the ear tips and fins really go a long way when it comes to finding a good fit. The battery life is a bit on the average side of things, the charging case keeps its playback time a float well.

However, not giving you the option to manually adjust the levels of noise cancellation seems like an oversight. The adaptive noise cancellation isn’t terrible and it’ll certainly get the job done. But due to its inconsistency, I wasn’t particularly impressed by it either – especially when compared to Sennheiser’s previous standards.

At $399.95 a pop, the Momentum 3 sits around the same price mark as the flagship wireless earbuds of other major audio brands, like Bose’s QuietComfort II ($429.95) and Apple’s second-generation AirPods Pro ($399), and a tad more expensive than last year’s Sony WF-1000XM4 (now price dropped to $340). That $400 price tag is a pretty steep one for some, so is the Momentum 3 worth the investment?

Issues with the ANC aside, if you’re someone who considers yourself a bit of an audiophile or you’re just after a pair of wireless earbuds that sound fantastic, you could do a lot worse than these. A great pair of headphones lives and dies on its sound quality, and the Sennheiser Momentum 3’s strengths more than makeup for its weaknesses.

Where to buy the Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 3

eBay ($399) | Amazon Australia ($399) | The Good Guys ($399)

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At Gizmodo, we independently select and write about stuff we love and think you'll like too. We have affiliate and advertising partnerships, which means we may collect a share of sales or other compensation from the links on this page. BTW – prices are accurate and items in stock at the time of posting.