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Listen up, audiophiles: Apple, Bose and Sony aren’t the only game in Ear Town. It’s time to give serious consideration to Sennheiser, which has crafted a superb set of wireless Bluetooth earbuds. If you prize style, sound quality, and battery life, and don’t mind paying a premium to get them, this could be your next splurge. There’s really only one thing missing, and it might be a dealbreaker for some. Here’s my Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 4 review.

Read more: I tested the best open-ear headphones for 2024, and I’m genuinely surprised

Sennheiser Consumer Audio

Ear detection: Yes | Spatial audio: No | Multipoint connectivity: Yes | Case charging: USB-C or wireless | Max battery life: 7.5 hours on a charge | Water-resistance: IP54 | Ear tips included: 4 sizes

VERDICT: With better battery life than AirPods Pro and newer Bluetooth tech than the latest from Bose and Sony, Sennheiser’s great-sounding earbuds are definitely worth a look.

Pros

  • Outstanding sound
  • Very good noise-canceling, especially against wind
  • Above-average ANC battery life
  • Water- and dust-resistant
  • Supports Bluetooth 5.4
Cons

  • Pricey
  • No spatial audio
  • Charging case bulkier than most
  • App is confusing and buggy in places
  • Minimal printed instruction

$300 at Amazon

Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 4 design

The Momentums are “bullet-style” earbuds, closer in design to Sony’s WF-1000XM5 than to the Apple AirPods Pro and Bose QuietComfort Ultra, which have “stems.” I tend to prefer the latter because they’re a little easier to grip, and therefore also easier to wiggle into your ears.

To help you achieve an optimal fit, Sennheiser provides four sets of ear tips and two sets of rubber “fins.” I’m lucky in that most earbuds fit my ears right out of the box, using the stock medium size. The Momentums were no different, but as with all such products, be prepared to experiment with different sizes to get a proper (and comfortable) noise-isolating seal.

To that end, the Sennheiser app offers a “fit test” to make sure you’ve made the right choices, but I found this a bug-riddled exercise. Some parts didn’t make sense, and at one point I found myself “trapped” in a test loop with no way out except to force-close the app. The good news is that after wearing the earbuds for hours at a time, I experienced no discomfort to speak of. That’s not always the case.

Sennheiser offers three color choices — black copper, black graphite and white silver — all very stylish with their respective metallic accents. Indeed, I think these may be the best-looking earbuds in the premium space; they’re snazzier than anything in the Apple, Bose or Sony lineups.

A close-up of the cloth-covered Momentum True Wireless 4 charging case.

It’s a little thing, but Sennheiser’s cloth-covered case is a stylish and refreshing alternative to the slippery, hard-plastic cases that house most other earbuds. It’s also a little bulkier, though. (Rick Broida/Yahoo News)

That’s especially true of the cloth-covered charging case. Although it’s a bit bulkier than most, and therefore harder to slip comfortably into a pocket, it looks amazing — way better than typical hard-plastic cases. You can recharge it using USB-C or a Qi wireless charging pad. Sennheiser promises up to one hour of listening time after just eight minutes of charging, nice if you’re headed to the airport and realize you’ve got dead ‘buds.

Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 4 features

Speaking of batteries, the Momentums can run for up to 7.5 hours on a charge (according to Sennheiser). That’s with ANC toggled off; when it’s on, you should still get up to 7 hours, again according to Sennheiser. That’s unusual: While many other earbuds boast similar ANC-off numbers, battery life usually drops by a few hours with ANC turned on.

If you don’t typically listen for that long, you can toggle on Battery Protection Mode, which promises to prolong the batteries’ overall lifespan by limiting the maximum charge level to 80%. It also slows down the charging process. Many modern phones employ this trick as well; it’s nice to have the option here. (If you’re hopping on a long flight and want maximum listening time, just toggle BPM off and let the earbuds charge to 100%.)

Worth noting: All these battery estimates are based on enabling ECO mode, which is done in the app. That disables the aptX codec — and also requires “restarting” the earbuds by placing them back in their case — and results in a small but noticeable reduction in audio quality. (Among other things, aptX helps to compensate for the compression and decompression of sound when it travels from your phone to your earbuds. Without it, music tends to sound a little flatter.)

A close-up of one True Wireless 4 earbud.

The True Wireless 4 earbuds come in three colors, all with attractive metallic accents. They’re also water- and dust-resistant, with above-average battery life. (Rick Broida/Yahoo News)

The earbuds have an IP54 rating against water and dust, meaning they can handle splashes and sweat (though not underwater dunks). They’re also among the first I’ve seen to incorporate Bluetooth 5.4, the latest version of the short-range wireless technology. That brings support for Auracast and LE Audio, which let you share your audio with others or connect to sources in public areas (think: bars, airports, gyms). However, these features aren’t here yet; they’re due in a firmware update coming later this year.

Hopefully that update also resolves a known multipoint bug that prevented me from connecting the Momentums to my Windows 11 PC. (A Sennheiser representative indicated a fix would be deployed “very soon.”) Indeed, when I accessed the connection-management screen in the Sennheiser app, my iPhone was listed, but I couldn’t pair with my desktop.

That app proved to be a seriously mixed bag. For example, there’s a superb setup screen for configuring touch controls, which can be set for one, two or three taps, plus tap-and-hold, with different functions for the left and right earbuds. I like having the option to fully disable the single-tap function, because it’s too easy to accidentally tap once when you’re inserting or removing an earbud or just scratching your ear.

I’m less enamored with Sennheiser’s noise-cancellation choices, which consist solely of “adaptive” and “anti-wind”. In my tests the latter worked extremely well, making for one of the best outdoor-listening experiences I’ve had, but why doesn’t adaptive mode also combat wind? And what does anti-wind mode sacrifice in the rest of the noise-cancellation spectrum? It’s all a bit confusing; other earbuds offer more ANC options (usually in addition to adaptive) and clearer descriptions of each.

Three screenshots from the Sennheiser companion app.

The Sennheiser companion app for the True Wireless 4 is simple and straightforward in some areas, but confusing and even a little buggy in others. (Rick Broida/Yahoo News)

Even more confusing: transparency mode, which allows outside sound to pass through. It’s a staple in noise-cancelling earbuds, but the app left me utterly lost. There’s no “on/off” switch — rather, you toggle “transparency level,” which you then adjust using a slider. Meanwhile, you’re instructed to “insert both earbuds to switch Transparency Mode on.” Um, what?

Then you get to Sound Zones, a clever tool for automatically applying noise-control and equalizer settings depending on where you go. The idea is that you might want different levels at home, the gym, the office and so on; this saves you having to manually adjust them every time you enter and leave a place. Zones are easy to set up, but take note they require location-tracking permission on your phone.

To Sennheiser’s credit, you can customize the app to show as many or few of these settings as you want. You can also disable things like ear detection (here referred to as Smart Pause), automatic power off, voice prompts and so on.

Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 4 sound quality

Sennheiser makes pro-grade audio products, so it’s no surprise the True Wireless 4 earbuds produce a rich, full, beautifully balanced sound. However, my standard caveat applies: This is a highly subjective area, and I’m no audiophile. What sounds great to my ears may sound less so to others, and what sounds great to others may be less pleasing to me. But I appreciated the refinement and detail I could detect in songs from my Spotify playlists.

As for noise-canceling, the Momentum mostly excels at it. As noted above, it’s great at blocking wind (assuming you choose that mode), and when I parked myself next to loud air-conditioning unit, the Momentum’s adaptive ANC reduced the noise to a barely noticeable hum.

While there’s little fine-tuning available there, the app provides numerous equalizer presets (rock, classical, movie, etc.) you can toggle to better suit the source audio, along with a bass-boost option and a preset that’s just for podcasts. You can also adjust five different frequency bands to your liking and save them as a custom preset.

Another option: Sound Personalization runs you through a series of tests to help you get, well, a personalized sound. But I found this confusing, especially the questions about choosing a volume that’s “comfortable to listen to for hours” and setting levels for strings and drums. Maybe audiophiles will understand all this better than I did, but in the end I worried I’d made bad choices and went back to using the standard equalizer.

My only real complaint in the audio department is the lack of spatial audio. This is the one area where Sennheiser comes up short; the aforementioned products from Apple, Bose and Sony all offer spatial audio, which makes it sound as though music and movies have a focal point, one that stays in place even when you turn your head. It’s not essential, but it’s really cool and should be included in $300 earbuds.

Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 4: Should you buy it?

If not for the lack of spatial audio, I’d give the True Wireless 4 a stronger recommendation. As it stands, it’s a great-sounding headphone that’s easy on the eyes and packed with great features, including robust battery life, solid noise-cancelling (especially against wind) and soon-to-come Bluetooth 5.4 amenities.

Certain areas of the app need work, however, as does multipoint connectivity. And you’ll definitely pay a premium for what the Momentum has to offer. But audiophiles know that’s part of the drill, and I can say without reservation audiophiles will be pleased by these ‘buds.

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