Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 4 vs AirPods Pro 2: which earbuds are the best for you?

Apple AirPods Pro 2 and Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 4 on TR's teal versus background
(Image credit: Sennheiser / Apple)

If you're looking to treat yourself to a shiny new set of premium earbuds, the big question you're probably asking yourself is: are Apple's AirPods Pro 2 still king? After all, they launched back in September 2022 and although you now get a USB-C charging case (a September 2023 minor update), a fantastic new flagship contender arrived in late February 2024 to challenge them – namely, the excellent Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 4

However you look at it, the battle of best earbuds isn't getting any easier for Apple's ice-white buds. How do they measure up against Sennheiser's much newer progeny – and most importantly, which should you buy? It's all here; just keep reading. 

Sennheiser's fourth-generation true wireless earbuds are easily some of the best wireless earbuds in the business, thanks to their excellent sound (with higher-resolution codecs to boot), plethora of features, good call quality and solid battery life – you even get an IP54 dust- and water resistance. 

But Apple's AirPods Pro 2nd Gen have been incredibly popular since their launch, delivering greatly improved sound quality and noise cancellation over the original version, plus a smart Adaptive Transparency mode and head-tracked spatial audio if you're using an iOS device. 

So how do the two compare across the board? Buckle in – let's get going.

Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 4 vs AirPods Pro 2: Price and release date

The Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 4 were released on February 29, 2024. They are priced $299.95 / £259.95 / AU$479.95 – and owing to their recent release, don't expect offers for a little while. 

The AirPods Pro 2nd Gen were released on September 23, 2022, originally. The newer version (with a USB-C charging case) was launched on September 22, 2023, and the AirPods Pro 2's official price is $249 / £229 / AU$399.

The keen-eyed will spot that Sennheiser has knowingly priced the Momentum True Wireless 4 higher than Apple's class-leading earbuds, by a significant $50 / £30 / AU$80. Has it paid off? Let's see.

Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 4 vs AirPods Pro 2: Features

The Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 4 run on Bluetooth 5.3 and in addition to SBC and AAC (the more 'vanilla' codecs) you get aptX, aptX Adaptive, and Lossless codecs. Stamina? Of course: 7.5 hours of playtime per earbud, or 30 hours in total. Multipoint pairing means they can be connected to two devices at once, for instant and seamless switching. They'll charge using USB-C wired charging (an eight-minute jolt will give you an hour of playtime) or via Qi wireless charging.

There are six mics in total and an interesting new feature that Sennheiser calls “AI improved voice pickup and call virtualization”. While on a call, your own voice should come through loud and clear (even on a blustery day), although it's not particularly tweakable: during testing we wanted to be able to control what the call sounded like at our end, as ANC is set to maximum. Although it's effective, it can also be a little off-putting as we couldn’t hear traffic around us. 

There’s also a nice Battery Protection Mode option within the Smart Control app. It's aimed at prolonging battery life by slowing charging and never charging to 100% – which, if you read our feature on Apple's replaceable battery explorations, you'll know can quickly affect your earbuds' lifespan. 

Sennheiser Smart Control isn't the most exciting app, but it’s functional and includes a five-band EQ and sound personalization option, a Fit Test to get the right seal, and customizable Touch Controls. There’s also a Smart Pause option that pauses music when it detects an earbud has been removed, but you can also turn it off in the app. 

There's active noise cancellation which we found to be… OK. It works, although the ANC here won't be dethroning the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds 2 any time soon. Also, it's worth noting that there's no way to turn all noise cancellation and transparency options off completely, (merely to a low transparency level) and although we didn't mind it, you might. 

sennheiser momentum true wireless 4 buds in person's hand

(Image credit: Future)

Now, the AirPods Pro 2: they operate over the only slightly older Bluetooth 5.3, but sadly there's no support for higher-res audio streaming (no LDAC or aptX codecs here), which is a little frustrating, particularly since Apple Music's offering includes higher-resolution streams. They support Qi charging, Apple's MagSafe wireless charging, or even the Apple Watch Magnetic Charger – and USB-C for wired charging. Here, you'll get six hours of battery life from the buds and a further 24 hours from the case. So, less in each charge than the Sennheisers – and less stamina overall.

You get seamless pairing with Apple devices and an Adaptive Transparency mode that's smarter about what noises it'll let through. They also have a personalized spatial audio option which involves scanning your ears using an iPhone's 3D face recognition sensor, to improve their Dolby Atmos head-tracked spatial audio. Even without setting that up, you can choose between 'Fixed' or 'Head Tracked' from an iOS device – and they're excellent. None of that with the Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 4. As you'd probably expect, Apple's spatial wizardry here can also 'upscale' stereo to spatial audio. 

There are plenty of customization options for AirPods Pro 2, but it's important to note that they are mostly hidden deep in your iPhone's widgets and settings, leaving Android owners out of luck. It probably goes without saying that Sennheiser offers a much more device-agnostic set of earbuds. That said, the AirPods Pro 2's noise cancellation and ambient aware profiles (you can select between 'Noise Cancellation', 'Adaptive', 'Off', or 'Transparency') are some of the best in the business.

The Find My support with AirPods Pro 2 is very impressive; you can locate each earbud and the case separately. The case has a special chip that means your iPhone can literally point you toward a lost earpiece (provided you're close enough), and it can make a noise to warn you if your AirPods aren't in it.

Apple supports seamless switching between Apple devices with the AirPods Pro – but since it only works with Apple devices, it's not true multipoint pairing. Obviously, the Sennheiser option can do it between a Samsung tablet and a Sony phone, say, or practically any other dual-device combination you can think of.

Apple AirPods Pro 2 in open case

(Image credit: Future / Lance Ulanoff)

Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 4 vs AirPods Pro 2: Audio performance

How do the Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 4 earbuds sound? Outstanding. In our detailed review, we said: "The Sennheiser Momentum TW4’s sound quality is superb. A balanced and neutral profile means no aspect of the sound is overwhelming, and no instrument goes missing." High praise. That said, dyed-in-the-wool bass fans who want to feel the low end in their back teeth may miss an extra ounce of thump or clout here. For us, the expansive, integrated sound profile here is easy to recommend. This will come as no surprise to anyone who read our glowing Sennheiser Momentum 4 Wireless review – yep, Sennheiser can do great things with its wireless over-ears and its earbuds. 

But AirPods Pro 2 can do wonders for your sound on the go, too. In our review, we said: "The sound quality is so good that we just found ourselves wanting to put them on to drift off into a beautiful sonic world." We also praised their "strong ability to reproduce bass" but noted that "it makes it even more maddening that Lossless audio isn't supported" – and remember, in the Sennheiser product, it is. 

Both sets of earbuds offer active noise cancellation, and the AirPods Pro 2 win that race. We called the level of noise-nixing "mind-blowing" in our review, and even in 2024 it ranks up there with some of the best active noise cancellation you can buy. How do the Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 4 compare? In our review, we said: "ANC is effective, but can be beaten" which pretty much explains it. It's good, for sure (and it doesn't color or muddy the sound), but it's one step down from the bubble-of-silence very best (aka, the AirPods Pro 2 and of course the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II.)

The Sennheiser Momentum 4 True Wireless at CES 2024

(Image credit: Future)

Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 4 vs AirPods Pro 2: Design & fit

Sennheiser’s earbuds aren’t especially compact (have bijou auricles? We've got a best earbuds for small ears guide for you, friend), and are far from the lightest for true wireless earbuds we've tested. They weigh 1g more per bud than AirPods Pro 2 (and remember, there are no stems), and while the older, 2021-issue Sony WF-1000XM4 weigh 7.3g per bud (which is 1g more than the Sennheiser earpiece), in 2024 it's on the larger side. 

To aid with getting the correct fit, a Fit Test within the Sennheiser Smart Control app uses different music clips at various volume levels to establish optimum fit, which is helpful. It's not a unique feature to Sennheiser – many rivals have it, including AirPods (so long as your source device is an iPhone or iPad) – but it is well worth using. 

The AirPods Pro 2 are almost certainly more suited to smaller ears, or anyone who prefers a lighter bud for comfort that doesn't sit too far in the ear. They come with four sizes of in-ear tips, and while the "toothbrush head" design isn't loved by all, these stems do follow the contour of your cheek. This means their center of gravity is closer to your head, helping to keep them secure. Apple's case is also smaller (and quite a bit shallower), meaning they're less bulky to slip in a pocket.

We liked the Sennheiser Momentum 4 True Wireless' on-ear touch controls, with the left earbud controlling transparency and ANC and the right controlling playback. These controls can be tweaked within the app though, so if you use one function more than others, you can make it a one-tap job. You can turn the touch controls off altogether too, if you wish. AirPods Pro 2 include touch controls on the stems: you can squeeze to play/pause/skip tracks, or to switch noise cancellation modes. This works with gloves on, which is useful. To change volume, you swipe up and down – it doesn't work with gloves on, but works fine overall.

Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 4 vs AirPods Pro 2: Verdict

We've rated Apple's AirPods up among the best wireless earbuds for most people for a long time, owing to their all-round quality, excellent noise-cancellation, and ground-breaking spatial audio. If you're all-in on Apple, the AirPods Pro 2 are almost certainly the better buy for you, since you can make the most of their features across all your devices, and you get better noise cancellation – although for sound quality alone, we still say the Sennheiser option edges it (just). 

The Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 4 haven't made it into our best noise cancelling earbuds guide because, well, although they're splendid for sound, other options cancel extraneous noise that bit better – and they're priced pretty hot and heavy when you consider that there's no special spatial audio side-sauce on the menu. That said, the battery life is competitive – and for sound quality using an Android device, they remain a very tempting proposition. 

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Becky Scarrott
Audio Editor

Becky became Audio Editor at TechRadar in 2024, but joined the team in 2022 as Senior Staff Writer, focusing on all things hi-fi. Before this, she spent three years at What Hi-Fi? testing and reviewing everything from wallet-friendly wireless earbuds to huge high-end sound systems. Prior to gaining her MA in Journalism in 2018, Becky freelanced as an arts critic alongside a 22-year career as a professional dancer and aerialist – any love of dance starts with a love of music. Becky has previously contributed to Stuff, FourFourTwo and The Stage. When not writing, she can still be found throwing shapes in a dance studio, these days with varying degrees of success.