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Sennheiser MOMENTUM True Wireless 3 Review: Good Sound, Poor Noise Cancellation

Rating: 6/10 ?
  • 1 - Absolute Hot Garbage
  • 2 - Sorta Lukewarm Garbage
  • 3 - Strongly Flawed Design
  • 4 - Some Pros, Lots Of Cons
  • 5 - Acceptably Imperfect
  • 6 - Good Enough to Buy On Sale
  • 7 - Great, But Not Best-In-Class
  • 8 - Fantastic, with Some Footnotes
  • 9 - Shut Up And Take My Money
  • 10 - Absolute Design Nirvana
Price: $200
Girl touching ear with Sennheiser MOMENTUM Wireless 3 earbuds
Bill Loguidice / Review Geek

Earbud manufacturers typically try to compete with their larger competitors by delivering unique features or a lower price point. Sennheiser, on the other hand, has taken a more head-on approach against its main competition with the MOMENTUM True Wireless 3. The results are decidedly mixed.

Mega companies like Apple, Google, and Samsung produce excellent and relatively reasonably-priced options in the form of the AirPods Pro, Pixel Buds Pro, and Galaxy Buds Pro, respectively. Despite charging as much as $50 more than any of the big three, Sennheiser hopes to overcome the greater brand recognition of its primary competitors by focusing instead on its “Sennheiser signature sound,” use of Qualcomm’s high-resolution aptX Adaptive audio codec, and fully adjustable equalizer presets.

Unfortunately for Sennheiser, there are a few key areas where the MOMENTUM True Wireless 3 earbuds fail to compare.

Here's What We Like

  • Good sound quality
  • Qi wireless charging case
  • Solid battery life
  • Strong Bluetooth signal
  • IPX4 splash resistance

And What We Don't

  • High price
  • Noise cancellation is mediocre
  • Touch controls are overly sensitive
  • No automatic ear detection

Review Geek's expert reviewers go hands-on with each product we review. We put every piece of hardware through hours of testing in the real world and run them through benchmarks in our lab. We never accept payment to endorse or review a product and never aggregate other people’s reviews. Read more >>

Fit: Lots of Options, if Not the Most Comfortable

Lot of Sennheiser MOMENTUM Wireless 3 ear adapters and fins held in hands
Bill Loguidice / Review Geek

  • Earbuds Weight (each): 6g (0.21oz)
  • Charging Case Weight: 66g (2.33oz)
  • Earbuds Water Resistance: IPX4 (resistant to splashes)

Opening the box, you’re greeted by the pair of earbuds, a charging case and short USB-C cable, a quick guide and safety guide, four ear adapters (rubber tips), and three ear fin (rubber outer band) sets. By default, the medium (M) ear adapters are installed with the medium (M) ear fins.

For my smaller ears, I was more comfortable with the extra small (XS) ear adapters and small (S) ear fins. Installing the ear adapters and fins was intuitive, with clear markings and quick and easy swapping.

Despite the options, I never did find the perfect fit for my ears, especially compared to the comfort I enjoy with my usual AirPods Pro. Inserting the MOMENTUM True Wireless 3 earbuds was a bit tricky as well. I needed to place each earbud at a slight forward angle in the ear canal and then give it a slight backward twist. It’s a motion I got used to, but something that I never truly felt I perfected, especially because of the sensitivity of the touch controls on the flat sides (more on those touch controls later).

In any case, it’s important to note that because of how deep these go into your ears and the suction the rubber ear adapters create, you’ll want to be careful about ear wax. If you have any, these will capture just about every bit of it on the rubber ear adapters.

Charging and Storage: A Bit Bulky

MOMENTUM Wireless 3 earbud case open
Bill Loguidice / Review Geek

  • Earbuds battery life: 7 hours
  • Charging case operating time: Up to 28 hours

As with any device of this type, it’s important to fully charge before use. The charging case is a bit bulky in comparison to something like the case that comes with the AirPods Pro, with roughly twice the vertical height, but does support both USB-C charging and Qi-compatible wireless charging from the bottom of the case.

Of course, unlike some of its more well-known competition, you’re unlikely to find any cool cases, wraps, or other accessories for the included charging case, but it does have a nicely-textured charcoal-colored exterior that helps it feel like a premium product.

Apple AirPods Pro case on left, Sennheiser MOMENTUM Wireless 3 case on the right
Bill Loguidice / Review GeekThe Sennheiser MOMENTUM True Wireless 3 case is larger and bulkier than that of the Apple AirPods Pro.

The indicator light next to the USB-C port on the front of the case flashes yellow while charging. It changes to solid green once fully charged, which takes about 1 hour and 30 minutes, with every 10 minutes of charging time netting you roughly 1 hour of music playback.

The charging case can store about 21 hours of charging time, while the earbuds themselves can last about 7 hours between charges. Although these battery life numbers are not best-in-class, they’re certainly competitive. Of course, those numbers can vary wildly depending on usage and average volume levels.

Setup: It’s All About That App

  • Bluetooth version: Bluetooth 5.2 compliant, class 1, 10 mW (max)
  • Bluetooth profiles: A2DP, AVRCP, HFP
  • Bluetooth audio codec: SBC, AAC, aptX, aptX adaptive

To pair with your Bluetooth-enabled device, you simply place the earbuds in your ear and then touch and hold each side for three seconds. A cheery, female voice helps guide you by saying “pairing” and “connected.” Pairing in this manner allows these Bluetooth 5.2-compliant earbuds to connect with just about any device, but it’s recommended that you connect them to a newer iOS, iPadOS, or Android device so you can use Sennheiser’s Smart Control app (available for iPhone and Android) for customization.

When I first paired the MOMENTUM True Wireless 3 earbuds to my iPhone 12 Pro Max, I was prompted with an “App Not Installed” message. Following the prompt, I installed the app. Once connected, I was directed to update to the latest firmware, which took a lengthy 21 minutes to complete.

Using the app, you can modify how the touch controls respond with each earbud, complete a sound check to tune the sound to your preferred audio profile, and set your equalizer presets, including Bass Boost or Podcast setting—the latter of which enhances speech clarity, primarily with spoken content.

Noise Cancellation: Real Limitations

A big feature you’re paying for with the MOMENTUM True Wireless 3 earbuds is their noise cancellation capabilities. Unfortunately, its noise cancellation performance is middling at best.

We tested the noise cancellation capabilities in a variety of settings, but the most demanding was when we took them to our gym. As many do, this gym likes to blast music from speakers spread throughout the facility, which certainly ups the noise levels in addition to the general chatter and clank of the weights and machinery. Using a decibel meter app, we measured peak volume levels of 88db, which is loud enough that your ears can only safely tolerate such levels for a maximum of four hours before you’re in danger of hearing loss.

With the earbuds’ Hybrid Adaptive ANC (Active Noise Cancellation), the gym music was still clearly heard, but reduced to more of a background noise. It definitely helped a little, but did not do enough to compete with the external bass, which passed right through the noise cancellation.

In fact, when we turned off the noise cancellation entirely, we noted little difference from the passive noise cancellation provided by the earbuds going deep into the ear canal. If you’re looking for better noise cancellation than something like the AirPods Pro offer, the Sennheiser MOMENTUM True Wireless 3’s can’t provide it.

For whatever reason, the MOMENTUM True Wireless 3 earbuds did perform well when we used them at the gym’s hydro massage bed, which loudly shoots heated jets of water against the waterproof surface you lay down on. There were really no other instances where the noise cancellation worked particularly well. In fact, there’s a “wind” setting in the app that seemed to make the noise cancellation worse when in windy conditions rather than better.

Sound: It’s Made For Music

  • Frequency response (speaker): 5 Hz to 21 kHz
  • Transducer principle: Dynamic, closed-back
  • Transducer size: 7 mm, TrueResponse
  • Sound pressure level (SPL): 107 dB SPL (1 kHz / 1 mW)
  • Total harmonic distortion (THD): <0.08% (1 kHz / 94 dB SPL)
  • Frequency response (microphone): 100 Hz to 10 kHz
  • Microphone principle: MEMS
  • Microphone pick-up pattern: 3 mics per earbud, beamforming for noise reduction

The default sound profile is excellent with great clarity and separation. The bass is not overpowering, which is nice. When used with the app, you really can customize the sound profile to your preferences, including cranking up the bass.

Podcasts sounded good with the defaults, but they sounded even better with the Podcast setting in the app. Unfortunately, there’s no way to assign a tap to turn this feature on or off, so you’ll always need to use the app to switch between podcast optimization and music optimization.

Calls were noted as clear with good voice pickup, but those we spoke to did say they could hear a lot of the background noise in our environment. It’s hoped that, like with the mediocre noise cancellation performance, voice call quality can be further optimized with future firmware updates. But, as it stands, it’s merely passable.

Touch Controls: Too Sensitive

Closeup of girl with Sennheiser earbuds in
Bill Loguidice / Review Geek

While it’s great that the touch controls are so configurable using the app, the sensitivity of the response is frustrating. Even with a simple in-ear adjustment of an earbud, it’s all but impossible not to inadvertently tap the side and cause something to happen that you didn’t want. Even going anywhere near your ear, it’s too easy to accidentally brush against, and activate, the touch response of the earbuds.

Just as frustrating: there’s no automatic ear detection. This means when you remove the earbuds from your ear, your device is still connected to it until you manually disconnect or place the earbuds back in their case. Especially at this price point, it really needs a feature like automatic ear detection as an option to be competitive with something like the Beats Fit Pro.

Are the MOMENTUM True Wireless 3 Earbuds Worth It?

At a staggering $249.95, it’s reasonable to at least expect feature parity with the major competition like AirPods Pro, Pixel Buds Pro, and Galaxy Buds Pro. Unfortunately, the MOMENTUM True Wireless 3 earbuds fall short of this competition in several key areas like noise cancellation and usability. Even in an area where it should shine, like music playback, it’s not noticeably better sounding.

In fact, the MOMENTUM True Wireless 3 earbuds have trouble competing against some of Sennheiser’s other, lower-cost products. For instance, the main differentiator between the True Wireless 3 and True Wireless 2, besides $50, is that the True Wireless 2 doesn’t feature a wireless charging case. Whether that justifies the extra cost is up to you.

If you drop down in price by $120, you can get the CX Plus True Wireless that loses the high-end sound tuning. If you can live without the transparency mode and active noise cancellation, you can get the CX True Wireless for just $79.95. Again, based on how well these work on the MOMENTUM True Wireless 3 earbuds, losing any of these features, particularly for the significant reduction in cost, is probably worth the trade-off.

Here’s the bottom line: if you want an alternative to the major premium earbuds, the Sennheiser MOMENTUM True Wireless 3 earbuds are hard to recommend.

Rating: 6/10
Price: $200

Here’s What We Like

  • Good sound quality
  • Qi wireless charging case
  • Solid battery life
  • Strong Bluetooth signal
  • IPX4 splash resistance

And What We Don't

  • High price
  • Noise cancellation is mediocre
  • Touch controls are overly sensitive
  • No automatic ear detection

Bill Loguidice Bill Loguidice
Bill Loguidice has more than 25 years of experience writing for a variety of major publications including How-To Geek, Review Geek, Physician's Weekly, TechRadar, PC Gamer, and Ars Technica. He has written over a dozen technology books for major publishers including Wiley, Pearson Education, Taylor & Francis Group, and Elsevier. Read Full Bio »