Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 4 vs Bose QuietComfort Ultra Earbuds: which are better?

Sennheiser's new true wireless earbuds are the latest entry in a long line of excellent Bluetooth in-ears from the German brand. The Momentum True Wireless 4 earned five stars during testing, thanks to a great combination of awesome sound quality, improved noise cancelling and a stacked feature set.

But Bose has considerable experience in this area too, and has a serious contender on its hands with the QuietComfort Ultra Earbuds. Noise cancelling might be their main sell, but they have plenty to offer, and we had no hesitation in awarding them a five-star rating too.

If you're wondering which pair will serve you better, allow us to help.

Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 4 vs Bose QuietComfort Ultra Earbuds: price

Bose QuietComfort Ultra Earbuds vs Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 4

(Image credit: Future)

The Bose buds launched in September 2023 for £300 / $299 / AU$450 while the Momentum True Wireless 4 broke cover in January 2024 for £260 / $300 / AU$500. Discounts on the Momentum are virtually impossible because, at the time of writing, the Sennheisers are so new. Historically, though, prices do drop a little over time but you could be looking at a few months down the line. By contrast, we've already seen some money taken off the Bose, so it's one to keep an eye on moving forward.

** Winner: Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 4 **

Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 4 vs Bose QuietComfort Ultra Earbuds: design

Bose QuietComfort Ultra Earbuds on a purple background

(Image credit: What Hi-Fi?)

If you've seen the Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 3, you'll know what to expect from the fourth-generation pair – they're virtually identical. The eartips are now washable and have a plastic guard to keep out debris, and the buds come in three new finishes, but otherwise, it's business as usual. Which is no bad thing.

The Bose too take inspiration from a previous pair – the Award-winning QuietComfort Earbuds II. But again, there are a couple of changes. The earbuds have a new metallic effect on the exterior plastic, and the stability bands now attach with a small notch to make them more secure. Small changes, but improvements nonetheless.

** Winner: Bose QuietComfort Ultra Earbuds **

Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 4 vs Bose QuietComfort Ultra Earbuds: features

Noise-cancelling earbuds: Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 4

(Image credit: What Hi-Fi?)

The Momentum True Wireless 4 support wireless audio up to 24-bit/48kHz thanks to Qualcomm's S5 Sound Gen 2 processor and Snapdragon Sound Technology. The drivers are similar to those used in Sennheiser's Sennheiser’s IE 600 and IE 900 wired in-ear headphones, while dynamic-load switching allows whichever earbud is closest to the audio source to stay connected, providing more consistent sound quality.

Latency is very low, at 20ms (via an optional Bluetooth dongle), which makes them suitable for gaming, and they boast Bluetooth 5.4aptX Lossless and LE AudioAuracast – which lets you receive audio simultaneously through separate channels or stream to two pairs of compatible earbuds from one device – will arrive via a future firmware update.

In terms of battery life, they outdo the Bose for both the buds (seven hours versus six) and for total runtime including the charging case (30 hours versus 24). Intelligent charging is new – this slows down the charging speed the closer it gets to 100 per cent, to go easier on the battery and preserve its lifespan. (This feature is common to smartphones, but this is the first time we've seen it on a pair of earbuds.) 

Sennheiser's Smart Control app gives you plenty of options to play with, like an equaliser, test tracks to customise the sound to your hearing and Sound Zones where the buds will apply certain settings when you enter certain areas. It also lets you play around with the functions of the buds' touch controls.

The big innovation for the QuietComfort Ultra Earbuds is spatial audio, courtesy of Bose Immersive Audio. Still mode is for when you're stationary, and Motion for when you're moving. However, this does reduce battery life from six hours to four and we didn't find the modes wholly convincing. There's also aptX Adaptive support but no Bluetooth multipoint, which is a shame, and wireless charging is only available with an extra cover for the case, which costs £50 / $49 / AU$80 extra.

** Winner: Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 4 **

Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 4 vs Bose QuietComfort Ultra Earbuds: noise cancelling

In-ear headphones: Bose QuietComfort Ultra Earbuds

(Image credit: What Hi-Fi?)

Bose invented active noise cancellation (ANC) with its pilots' headsets, so it's not surprising that it's the leading light in consumer earbuds. The QC Ultra Earbuds render even the noisiest environments to mere background murmur, letting you focus on the music. 

They don't just throw a duvet over any noise in your environment, though. It's a lot more sophisticated than that. Bose's CustomTune calibration tech surveys your surroundings every time you use them, and adjusts the sound accordingly. Or you can preset different levels of ANC and cycle between them.

Worried about being run over? Aware mode lets in some ambient noise so you're not completely isolated from your surroundings, and without impinging too much on your music. It's a delicate balance to strike, but Bose does it brilliantly.

Sennheiser has boosted its own ANC efforts for the Momentum True Wireless 4. And while impressive, it doesn't quite match up to Bose's tech. The MTW4 let in more background noise, especially towards the upper end of the frequency range, while the Bose dampen a wider range of rumblings. Sennheiser's adaptive noise cancelling mode is very effective, with the Anti Wind setting doing its job well.

The Sennheisers' call quality isn't quite as clear as the Bose, but the MTW4 do a better job of blocking external sounds from interfering with calls. Call quality should improve with a future firmware update which Sennheiser claims will see AI boosting your voice.

** Winner: Bose QuietComfort Ultra Earbuds **

Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 4 vs Bose QuietComfort Ultra Earbuds: sound quality

Noise-cancelling earbuds: Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 4

(Image credit: What Hi-Fi?)

The Sennheisers don't require any running in, so you know exactly what you're getting from your first listen. It's a rich, mature presentation with a smooth treble and plenty of weight to the lower registers. It's well organised too, thanks to the MTW4's great timing, making for an enjoyable and engaging listen.

The QuietComfort Ultra Earbuds have the same richness and fullness as their predecessors, the QuietComfort Earbuds II, but they're a bit punchier and clearer and have a greater sonic impact. Their presentation has plenty of spaciousness, and a definite sense of dynamism, with real weight to the low end. They have plenty of musicality too, and are born entertainers.

Comparing the two, the Bose sound a little clearer and a little punchier, especially in the midrange, but the Sennheisers promote a more even overall balance. They're slightly different characters but both pairs are equally entertaining if for slightly different reasons.

** Winner: Draw **

Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 4 vs Bose QuietComfort Ultra Earbuds: verdict

We rate both the Sennheiser and Bose at five stars so it probably shouldn't come as a surprise that it's proving difficult to pick a winner.

They're both musical performers even if their sonic balance is quite different. You might prefer the clarity and drive of the Bose or favour the Sennheiser's fuller, richer sound. Both are excellent in their own right.

Throw noise-cancelling into the mix and the Bose start to edge ahead – they're more accomplished and manage to block out more of the outside world. 

You could argue the Bose are marginally more comfortable to wear too, but that's only in our experience and we know that fit comes down to personal preference.

Both pairs offer some useful features with the Sennheisers boasting slightly longer battery life plus tech designed to make the batteries last longer. They're also slightly cheaper even though we're starting to see discounts appear for the Bose. Pick either pair and we know they'll serve you extremely well.


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Joe Svetlik

Joe has been writing about tech for 17 years, first on staff at T3 magazine, then in a freelance capacity for Stuff, The Sunday Times Travel Magazine, Men's Health, GQ, The Mirror, Trusted Reviews, TechRadar and many more (including What Hi-Fi?). His specialities include all things mobile, headphones and speakers that he can't justifying spending money on.

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