Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 4 review: Stellar sound, forward-looking features


Companies don’t need to make huge updates to their wireless earbuds across generations. Sometimes, making a great set more reliable and adding features that extend their lifespan are upgrades enough. That’s what Sennheiser has done for the Momentum True Wireless 4 ($300). The company’s fourth-generation earbuds retain the excellent sound quality I’ve come to expect from Sennheiser along with rebuilt Bluetooth tech, higher-resolution sound, support for Bluetooth LE Audio and a tool for battery longevity. But, not everyone will reap all of the benefits I encountered during my Momentum True Wireless 4 review.

Momentum True Wireless 4: Design

The Momentum True Wireless 4 is identical in appearance to the Momentum True Wireless 3, with the only difference being a new copper/black color option alongside the existing silver/black and silver/white versions. Also, you’ll now get a fourth, extra-small, set of ear tips and the company still includes three sizes of stabilizer arcs to help you get an ideal fit. Sennheiser’s Smart Control app has a fit test too, so you’ve got help there. The company has also upgraded the dust and moisture protection here with an IP54 rating, so they now withstand fine debris in addition to water spray.

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Sennheiser

Sennheiser’s latest flagship earbuds retain the excellent sound quality the company is known for, and add some quality-of-life updates that are improvements over the previous model.

Pros

  • Excellent sound quality
  • Support for higher-resolution audio on Android
  • Good battery life
  • Customization options
Cons

  • $50 more than previous model
  • No design refresh
  • No spatial audio

$300 at Amazon

There are, however, some important changes inside the Momentum True Wireless 4. That includes an update to Qualcomm’s S5 Sound Gen 2 platform with Snapdragon Sound. Part of the Bluetooth overhaul I mentioned is a redesigned antenna, which makes this fourth-gen set of wireless earbuds more reliable. Users had reported issues with dropouts and the companion app failing to recognize the Momentum True Wireless 3, so Sennheiser is clearly addressing those issues here.

Software and features

Like with recent Sennheiser audio gear, the company’s Sound Control app is where you access all of the settings and customization options for the Momentum True Wireless 4. The main interface gives you quick access to battery percentages, Bluetooth connections, personalized sound, ANC settings, transparency level, reconfiguring touch controls, fit test and Sound Zones. That last feature allows you to automate changes to audio settings like ANC and transparency on your location. You can set up to 20 of these “zones” for places like home, work and the gym. Of course, you have to give the app permission to monitor your whereabouts to use this.

Sennheiser has taken steps to future-proof these flagship earbuds – ensuring they last for the next few years, at least. First, they support Bluetooth 5.4, which is ready for LE Audio and Auracast. Those items aren’t available on the Momentum True Wireless 4 just yet, but Sennheiser is planning an update this spring that will deliver features like broadcast audio, audio sharing and assisted listening.

If you have a recent premium Android phone, the inclusion of Snapdragon Sound will come in handy for increased audio quality. The Qualcomm processor in those devices can muster what Sennheiser calls “flawless” lossless audio when streaming from a compatible music service. There are two settings here: high resolution at 24-bit/96kHz via aptX Adaptive and lossless at 16-bit/44.1kHz with aptX Lossless.

The final quality-of-life update concerns the battery. In order to maintain better performance over time, Sennheiser added a battery protection mode that stops the buds from charging past 80 percent. This is important since earbud batteries are almost never replaceable and preventing them from overcharging will extend its lifespan. It’s nice to see the company making a product last longer, which will also have environmental impacts.

Momentum True Wireless 4: Sound quality

White/silver Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 4 earbuds laying on a wooden table with the case open behind them.

Photo by Billy Steele/Engadget

Sennheiser has a longstanding reputation for great sound quality and the Momentum True Wireless 4 continues that tradition. I couldn’t detect a huge difference between the Momentum True Wireless 4 and its predecessor, though, despite the company saying this year’s model has “evolved tuning” that includes things like “smoother treble response, extensive bass and effortless midrange.” And that’s just fine because the Momentum True Wireless 3 already sounded amazing.

There’s still great detail and clarity here, combined with a warm, inviting sound profile that’s enjoyable for hours on end. Even though the bass is boomy and punchy when a song like Incendiary’s “Lie of Liberty” demands it, the low-end tone never overpowers. And you can easily hear the texture of the distorted guitars, clanging hits on the ride cymbal and other subtleties on that bombastic hardcore track. Shift over to something more mellow like Charles Wesley Godwin’s Apple Music Sessions and the level of detail envelopes you even more. Those songs are also available in Dolby Atmos, so they really allow the Momentum True Wireless 4 to shine.

If the stock tuning doesn’t suit you, you can adjust a 5-band EQ and save any custom presets. The app also offers Sound Personalization, which tunes the audio to your listening preference via a quick test. The Momentum True Wireless 4 sounded great out of the box and I left the tuning untouched except for a bit of due diligence.

Android users can take advantage of the increased audio quality I mentioned earlier. There is a noticeable difference in the sound, especially in the finer details, but whether it’s “better” depends on your preferences. Of course, that higher-resolution playback will impact battery life and you’ll need a specific streaming plan (like Tidal’s Hi-Fi or Hi-Fi Plus options) or locally stored files to use what Snapdragon Sound offers in the first place.

iPhone owners shouldn’t feel left out as Apple’s AAC streaming also sounds great on the Momentum True Wireless 4. It’s aided by the fact that Apple Music’s audio quality is superior to other services, especially if the tunes are available in Dolby Atmos.

ANC performance

White/silver Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 4 earbud sitting in its case with the lid open, one earbud sitting on a wooden table on its side.

Photo by Billy Steele/Engadget

Like its predecessor, the Momentum True Wireless 4 has an adaptive ANC setup that automatically adjusts to changes in your environment for a more “immersive listening experience.” Sennheiser didn’t point out any differences in its noise-canceling setup on this new model and I didn’t notice any discernible improvement or decline. The ANC works just fine in most settings, but like most earbuds and headphones, it struggles with sounds like human voices. I also found that it’s not as robust as the best buds from Bose and Sony with some sources of constant noise, like white noise machines and noisy fans.

Call quality

Sennheiser uses six microphones to handle calls on the Momentum True Wireless 4. Overall quality is good, but not pristine, as long as you’re in a quiet spot. Constant noise like a raucous fan comes across as a nondescript hum, but it’s still noticeable. Transparency mode helps a bit during calls, if only to let you be aware of your surroundings. It has a natural sound compared to other earbuds, but doesn’t pipe in your voice, so the end result isn’t as good as Apple’s AirPods Pro.

Momentum True Wireless 4: Battery life

The Momentum True Wireless 4’s battery is rated to last seven hours with ANC on, but you can extend that 30 minutes by disabling it. During my tests, which consisted of mostly ANC listening at around 70-percent volume with a few calls using transparency mode, I easily hit the seven-hour mark. Factor in the case, which supports wireless charging, and you can expect up to 30 hours of playback on the go. There’s also a wireless quick-charge feature with the battery protection mode that gives you an hour of use in just eight minutes.

The competition

The leader of the pack is still Sony’s WF-1000XM5. While the Momentum True Wireless 4 has the edge in terms of sound quality, Sony’s earbuds offer better noise-canceling and a host of handy features. Tools like Speak-to-Chat automatic pausing and DSEE Extreme audio upscaling cannot be overlooked. Sony also provides the ability to automatically change sound settings based on your location like Sennheiser does, so you don’t have to sacrifice that feature. The WF-1000XM5 debuted last July, which means you can find them on sale often. They’re currently going for $278, $22 less than the Momentum True Wireless 4.

Wrap-up

No new design? No problem. Sennheiser has made enough upgrades to the Momentum True Wireless 4 to make it a compelling entry in a growing line of stellar-sounding earbuds. Sound quality is great as always, and that’s the biggest selling point for me. Combine that with the higher-resolution audio on Android, forward-facing features and solid battery life, and this model checks a lot of boxes for a flagship set of buds. Sure, ANC could be better and some folks will yearn for spatial audio, but just because the Momentum True Wireless 4 is superb in some areas doesn’t mean it’s perfect.



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