If you’re looking to buy a pair of true wireless earbuds, the choices are truly endless these days – and they’re getting better all the time.
A feature that we’re seeing more frequently in true wireless earbuds is active noise cancellation, which utilizes inbuilt microphones to analyze environmental noise and create 'anti-noise' frequencies that are mixed in with your music playback – in other words, it stops the sound of your noisy neighbors from ruining your tunes.
The AirPods Pro and the Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 2 are two models that feature this technology – but which noise-cancelling true wireless earbuds are best for you?
We’ve put both models to the test, and compared our findings, to make your decision easier – although if you’d like to shop around, be sure to check out our round up of the best true wireless earbuds of 2020, too.
Price and availability
The Apple AirPods Pro cost $249 / £249 / AU$399 – this is significantly more expensive than the 2019 AirPods, which cost $159 / £159 / AU$249 with the standard charging case, and $199 / £199 / AU$319 with the Wireless Charging Case.
Admittedly, the AirPods Pro do come with a host of features that their predecessors lack, including noise cancellation, active EQ, and superior audio quality.
The Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 2 buds are even pricier than the AirPods Pro, coming in at $299 / £279 / AU$499.95. For comparison, our favorite true wireless earbuds, the Sony WF-1000XM3, cost $230 / £220 / AU$400.
So, neither of these true wireless earbuds are cheap, but if you’re looking to save a bit of money the AirPods Pro are the more affordable of the two models. Prices do fluctuate too, and although both of these Bluetooth earbuds are fairly early in their life cycle, very modest discounts do occasionally pop up. Check out the best prices we’ve found below:
For the AirPods Pro, Apple has taken the distinctive all-white design of its original AirPods and streamlined it, resulting in a more sophisticated-looking version of its popular true wireless earbuds.
The stems are still there, but they don’t protrude out of your ear so much as on the 2016 and 2019 AirPods, and they’ve now been furnished with capacitive force sensors. This means that there’s a small ridge on each of the buds that you can squeeze to activate noise-cancelling / Transparency mode, or to skip and pause tracks.
The Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 2 couldn’t look more different to the AirPods Pro, with a round shape, no stems, and shiny metallic housings.
They look very slick and stylish, though the silver and black finish may not appeal to those who prefer the minimalist approach Apple has employed with the AirPods Pro (and all of its products).
If you like a little bling in your ears, you’ll find that even the inside of these buds looks good, with gold-plated charging pins, and LEDs that indicate their pairing status.
It’s a similar story when we look at the charging cases for the rival models: while the AirPods Pro charging case echoes the look of the buds themselves with a sleek, white, pillbox-style design, Sennheiser has opted for a more luxurious woven finish.
Unlike the AirPods Pro charging case, you won’t be able to charge the Sennheiser buds wirelessly with a Qi-certified charging mat.
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The AirPods Pros offer just over 24 hours of listening time in total, with 4.5 hours of juice in the buds themselves and a further 20 hours in the case – although that’s with noise-cancelling and Transparency mode off. If you have these features switched on, you’ll get four-and-a-half hours from your earbuds, or three-and-a-half hours if you use the AirPods Pro for phone calls.
You get more battery life from the Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless Earbuds 2, with seven hours in the buds and a further 21 hours from the charging case. So, when it comes to longevity, the Sennheiser buds are the way to go.
Noise cancellation and audio quality
Both sets of earbuds offer very good levels of noise cancellation, and as both come with silicone eartips in a number of different sizes, they block out sound physically as well as through their noise-cancelling smarts.
Neither of these true wireless earbuds will shut out all environmental sound, but they come pretty close, particularly if you have your music playing.
When it comes to pure audio quality and sonic accuracy, it’s the Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 2 buds that come out on top. 7mm dynamic drivers provide thumping, tightly controlled bass, lush mids, and detailed trebles, while a wide soundstage makes your music sound super-natural and true to the original source.
That’s not to say that the AirPods Pro don’t sound good – they’re the best-sounding Apple earbuds to date, with a powerful, lively presentation that lends itself to pop, hip-hop, and rock. Vocals and bass are elevated above the mix, making them ideal for use during workouts, when you want your music to propel you through that last set of reps.
The AirPods Pro aren’t quite as accurate-sounding as the Sennheisers though, but both pairs of earbuds have plenty to offer in the audio department.
The AirPods Pro and the Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 2 are both great pairs of true wireless earbuds, offering good noise cancellation, great sound, and sleek designs.
When it comes to price, the AirPods Pro are the clear winner, costing $50 / £30 / AU$100 less than the Sennheiser buds, and if you have an iPhone, you may find it easier to stay within the Apple ecosystem when you choose your next pair of earphones: the AirPods Pro are optimized for use with Apple products, with the ability to summon Siri with your voice alone.
Consider yourself an audiophile? You’ll probably prefer the Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 2, which sound more precise and sport a wider soundstage – as well as a longer on-board battery to boot.
Otherwise, it all comes down to taste – do you love the distinctive look of the AirPods, or would you prefer to stand out from the crowd with the Sennheiser’s shiny metal housings?
Either way, both companies have created premium buds that come with all the mod-cons you’d expect from true wireless earbuds in 2020.