REVIEW: Sennheiser MOMENTUM TW Earbuds – Incredible Sound, Touchy Controls
With wireless earbuds being offered from every major audio brand, Sennheiser has released their new Momentum True Wireless earphones (A$499), which claim to set “new standards in true wireless audio”.
These true wireless earphones are the latest addition to the German audio giant’s iconic Momentum range.
These Bluetooth earbuds claim to set a new standard in wireless audio due to their unique design and 7mm dynamic audio drivers.
Plus, in addition to their awesome sound, the Momentum TW offer direct access to Apple’s Siri or Google Assistant.
Personally, I find the earbuds to look sleek and modern. Sound is incredible, but the hefty price tag is brought into question when you consider the dwindling battery life and fiddly “intuitive controls”, which may be too smart for their own good.
Sennheiser describes the TW as “one part listening instrument, one part ready-to-wear accessory” and they are that in spades.
They have a sleek black housing with polished metallic touchpads with the Sennheiser logo and gold-plated charging pins and snapin magnets, marrying function with fashion.
The earphones feature zero buttons or switches, everything is controlled by touch, which users basically have to figure out for themselves through trial an error as there is little to no audio feedback.
However, they pair to devices quickly and easily, rarely dropping out of connection even on phone calls.
They are automatically on pairing mode when removed from the packaging, otherwise, you need to hold both left and right touchpads until the inner LED lights flash red and blue and select the Momentum TW on your phone’s Bluetooth pairing menu.
The Momentum TW come with a compact fabric-wrapped charging case that offers additional power on the move, increasing the four hours up to 12.
The charging case also doubles as storage, but if you do store the TW in there, the battery will eventually drain.
Meanwhile, the earphones’ Transparent Hearing feature makes it possible to take in sounds to increase situational awareness, like traffic or engage in conversations without removing the earbuds.
Sennheiser says these earphones are splash-resistant, which I didn’t test too much (wouldn’t want to with $500 earphones).
They are available in four different ear tip sizes which are comfortable to wear for long periods thanks to their ergonomic design, lugging in comfortably to the ear canal and offering good noise-isolation.
They are meatier in size but don’t stick out as much as other Bluetooth earbuds and as they are so lightweight, you’d almost forget you were wearing them.
The quality of audio produced by these earphones is phenomenal, offering deep rich bass that drives emotion in Hozier’s latest EP, and clear speech in podcasts and clear lip-synced audio in streaming video.
The controls on the Momentum TW are unique to them. On the face of it they are smart, but as many headphones I use have controls on one side over the other, it was odd to use my left hand to pause and play audio (one tap) or reduce volume (hold down), or fast forward to the next track (double tap); and then my right hand to access a voice assistant (one tap) or increase volume (hold down), or answer calls (one tap).
A nifty trick is its automatic pause function, which from a design standpoint seems like a good idea in theory but it practise is cumbersome at times.
If you remove an earphone from one ear and hold it down by your side so the earphones are not on the same level the audio will pause and when you return it — either straight into your ear or simply on the same level as the other earphone — the audio will resume. Very smart.
This is ideal for ordering coffee or talking to a sales assistant or listening to an announcement on your commute.
However, if you remove both earphones and leave them down — for instance holding both in your hands — the playback resumes.
Annoying if you are watching Netflix or listening to a podcast and have to find where you were, and in addition drains the battery life.
I did find that if I removed the left earphone and set it down and pressed play on my device the audio would resume in the right earphone alone.
These smart controls and quality audio come with the cost of battery life.
The Sennheiser Momentum TW earbuds offer four hours of playback per charge, with another eight contained on the charger case.
This totals twelve hours of playback total, bringing them below not only Apple’s AirPods but most other true wireless options out there.
Additionally, they don’t have an off button, turning off when in the charging case or if no audio is played after a while, and once in the charging case which drains the battery. Not ideal if you have forgotten to charge your charging case and have half of your commute still to go.
The microphone is excellent, even outdoors, picking up my speech and providing clarity on the receiving end.
This is Sennheiser’s first foray into the world of true wireless earphones, and the parts it gets right are phenomenal, however, there are elements which somewhat disappoint.
They truly offer an incredible audio experience but the functionality does not match the excellent sound.
If you have the budget for these earbuds, I would recommend them for the audio quality alone. However, if you don’t there are other premium offerings on the market, that may not provide the same audio clarity but do the job well.