Hands on: Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless review

Sennheiser cuts the cord

What is a hands on review?
TODO alt text

Our Early Verdict

Sennheiser's first 'true wireless' earbuds ditch the neck cable for boxy earbuds that are light, comfortable, and capable of improbably premium sound. There are cheaper options out there, but Sennheiser's offering may emerge as the best argument yet for cutting the cord.

For

  • Ergonomic design
  • Incredible in-ear audio
  • Magnetic carry case is hugely convenient

Against

  • So costly for something so small

Sennheiser makes great-sounding headphones. Though conventional wisdom has long put a cap on what can be achieved with headphones' more compact, in-ear counterparts – or over a wireless Bluetooth connection – the Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless look to continue the company's audio heritage within those physical constraints.

At £259/$299 (about AU$400) for the pair, they're far from cheap, but our first impression of the earbuds at this year's IFA 2018 may just justify the asking price.

Design

Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless in case

The Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless are the company's smallest offering yet, doing away with the neck-cable on the Momentum Free and packing in a brand new 7mm driver to boot.

They carry the classic silver detailing of other Momentum earphones, with a pleasing pattern of magnetic gold points that connect each earbud into the accompanying carry case, securing them in place with a satisfying click. One of the main concerns with 'true wireless' earphones is how easy they can be to misplace – which is especially worrying for ones at such a firmly three-figure sum – but the smart design of the hard case does a lot to put us at ease.

The earbuds are lightweight and simple to place in your ear, with a smart box-shaped design that fits comfortably without feeling obtrusive (though we haven't yet had the chance to see how they fare in longer listening sessions).

The touch controls feel hugely intuitive, using a simple tap on the left earbud to pause/play, or a double tap to skip a track. Holding a finger on the right or left earbud turns the volume up and down respectively. It works wonderfully well, circumvent ing the fiddly nature of  cable-line controls or having to constantly get out your phone.

At launch you should also be able to use the right earbud's two built-in mics to chat to your phone's smart assistant – Siri, Alexa, and the like – and navigate your music library completely hands-free.

Performance

Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless in ear

We've tested out a limited number of tracks, but the range of the True Wireless' drivers could prove a match for plenty of the over-ear competition.

The usual high-standard sound profile of Sennheiser's Momentum range is here, with the boost from its new 7mm driver resulting in a controlled, capable. 

Each earbud should have a four-hour battery life, though the carry case comes with its own backup battery with twice that capacity, sporting a USB-C ports on the side for linking up to laptop or plug socket. The case simply charges the buds when they're connected, meaning you should be able to get a respectable 12-hour charge when you're on the go.

Our early verdict

Sennheiser's Momentum True Wireless seem to deliver what they promise: high-end audio that goes above and beyond the expectation of wireless earbuds. There are far cheaper options out there, but for sheer audio performance and the thoughtful design choices we've seen, we could see these earbuds making quite a splash in an increasingly cordless market.

  • IFA 2018 is Europe's biggest tech show. The TechRadar team is in Berlin to bring you all the breaking news and hands-on first impressions of new phones, watches and other tech as they're announced. 

What is a hands on review?

'Hands on reviews' are a journalist's first impressions of a piece of kit based on spending some time with it. It may be just a few moments, or a few hours. The important thing is we have been able to play with it ourselves and can give you some sense of what it's like to use, even if it's only an embryonic view. For more information, see TechRadar's Reviews Guarantee.