Sennheiser Momentum Sport review

Sports feature innovation doesn’t lack momentum, but sound unfortunately does Tested at £279 / $329.95 / AU$529.95

Sennheiser Momentum Sport in-ear headphones in front of charging case, leaning against sports shoe
(Image: © What Hi-Fi?)

What Hi-Fi? Verdict

Sennheiser is at the forefront of cutting-edge sport headphone technology here, but it’s taken some backwards steps where it matters – the sound


  • +

    Clearer and more detailed than most rivals

  • +

    Secure, wingtip-inclusive earbud design

  • +

    Sensor tech will appeal to some


  • -

    Lack dynamism

  • -

    Tonally ‘grey’

  • -

    Some design missteps

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“Go pick me out a winner, Bobby,” says baseball prodigy Roy (Robert Redford) to his batboy in the pivotal moment of The Natural. He is handed the boy’s own crafted bat, the ‘Savoy Special’, with which he hits the game-winning home run. A winner indeed!

Sennheiser’s new Momentum Sport seem special enough to be picked from a lineup as the ‘Savoy Special’ of sport earbuds, with heart-rate and body temperature tracking, high-quality Bluetooth codec support, adaptive noise cancellation, and membership in a ‘Momentum’ family that has birthed as many winners as Team USA’s track and field team. So are they a home run or a strikeout? We’ve run around all of their bases to find out.


Sennheiser Momentum Sport in-ear headphones showing earbuds, case and accessories

(Image credit: What Hi-Fi?)

We become instantly intrigued by the Momentum Sport the moment we prize them from their familiarly well-packaged box. Why? The charging case. Just a glance at, and a graze of, its square-ish pebble-like form is enough to see that Sennheiser has strived for quality and appeal here – just as it has with its flagship Momentum True Wireless 4’s material-covered case. The lovely, rubberised, magnetic lid flaps open and closed with the quiet inclination of a soft-close kitchen drawer, as opposed to the typical hard-plastic case lid which snaps shut like a ’70s cupboard door at the faintest of pushes. If only this magnetic lid clasp was practical! Throw the case in the bag with your other sundries and it’s all too easy for the case to prize open and, if you’re doubly unlucky, an earbud falls out. If you’ve broken a mirror recently, you may even be triply unlucky and that earbud may run out of battery.

Speaking of earbud battery, we would make sure both earbuds are pressed firmly onto the case’s charging contact points when returned after use, too. We found on occasion that they didn’t fall into position with enough backward force themselves – something which seemed to be caused by the fitted wingtip getting in the way.

Sennheiser Momentum Sport tech specs

Sennheiser Momentum Sport in-ear headphones

(Image credit: Sennheiser)

Bluetooth 5.2

Codecs SBC, AAC, AptX Adaptive

Battery life 24 hours (5.5 hour earbud)

App? Yes (Sennheiser Smart Control)

Finishes x 3

Weight 6.4g per earbud

The Momentum Sport’s default form is wingtip-less, but three sizes of wingtips are helpfully supplied in the box to offer a more secure fit. To swap one in, you need to remove the non-wingtip rubber band from the trough in the middle of the housing – a little fiddly – and replace it with your chosen wingtip size. We only point this out as Sennheiser said it had witnessed other reviewers placing the wingtip band over the top of the default one.

It took us a little while to initially slide the band around so that the wingtip was in the proper position so as to tuck under our ear cartilage, but even during our first run wearing them, when we hadn’t quite nailed that geometry and the tip flicked out, the buds remained secure. All of which is to say that if you don’t like wingtips, you’ll likely be OK without them – and won’t have to remember to check the buds are pressed into the case firmly enough.

That aside, the earbuds are an ideal shape to insert and twist into place, and a ‘Fit Test’ in Sennheiser’s companion app (more on that later) can help you detect whether you have a good fit and seal, which is key to getting not only an immovable fit but also decent weight to the sound. Further good news is that they survived the sweat test of one What Hi-Fi? reviewer who gets particularly sweaty ears during runs.

Sennheiser has accommodated such soggy ears (intentionally or not) with an IP55-rated water-resistant ‘acoustic design’, meaning that the earbuds’ internals should survive ‘water projected by a nozzle’ and be protected against dust. Sweaty ears, come at them! Dig into the specs and you’ll see that the outer earbud housings are IPX5-rated (they can survive a "low pressure water stream") while the case is ‘only’ IPX4-rated (it can handle "splashing water"). That makes them fit for all-weather duty – just not the underwater tunnel-inclusive World’s Toughest Mudder, or a high-pressure water gun fight with the niece and nephew.


Sennheiser Momentum Sport in-ear headphones in open case on grey fabric background

(Image credit: What Hi-Fi?)

But high-performance training on dry land isn’t out of the question, not least as the Momentum Sport’s flagship – and fairly unique – features lie in two sport sensors – one delivers heart rate in real time, the other, core body temperature. They may well be handy for those who want that level of insight into their training and performance. After all, heart rate monitoring is a window into fitness level predictions, peak performance and general health, and can play a key role in mixing up training intensity. Temperature tracking, meanwhile, can help you avoid fatigue-inducing heat stress and regulate your optimal temperature, or it can assist with heat training. 

Credit to Sennheiser, there are surprisingly few wearable devices out there that can track body temperature, but this presumably costly integration does feel a little redundant. Firstly, we have serious doubts over how many Momentum Sport owners would truly benefit from such a niche physiological tracking feature. Secondly, device compatibility is poor: Sennheiser has partnered with Polar for full integration with the Polar Flow fitness tracker app, though only a couple of Polar sports watches can read it. And thirdly, nothing within the Sennheiser and Polar integration offers advice on how to act on such data.

The HR tracking data can be more widely read by a whole host of connected smart and fitness watches, but wouldn’t many fitness fiends already have that available from those watches, which would likely offer greater overall insights due to them presumably being used for longer periods? We found the earbuds’ HR data highly accurate against that provided by our Garmin watches (Forerunner 245 and Fenix 7 Solar), but ultimately it only doubled up on functionality we already had.

While you can see this data in a flash in the Sennheiser Smart Control app (the very same that complements other wireless headphones and earbuds in Sennheiser’s range), we found the app more useful for more typical headphone functionality. For example, you can customise the on-bud touch controls, associating twice and thrice taps with, say, play/pause, track skip and ANC mode switch functions. It’s a pity there isn’t a single-tap gesture available for ease, due to a press-and-hold action increasing and decreasing volume, but at least the controls are satisfyingly responsive.

Elsewhere are options to activate smart pause, auto power off and auto-accept call, and choose between ‘standard’ or ‘high resolution’ listening depending on whether you want to prioritise maximum Bluetooth codec transmission with compatible source devices (aptX Adaptive) or battery life and stability instead.

Features we’re familiar with from other Sennheiser earbuds include customisable EQ presets (Sound Check) and the option to create EQ and ANC to automatically kick in (or out) when you enter or leave a specified area (Sound Zones).

All this clever technology understandably takes its toll on battery life, though the Sport Momentum offer an acceptable claimed 5.5 hours from the earbuds, and 24 hours overall with the charging case. We found they lasted about a fortnight of being dipped into once every two or three days, including around 10 hours of relatively high-volume listening.


Sennheiser Momentum Sport in-ear headphones with ear-tips on grey fabric background

(Image credit: What Hi-Fi?)

Volume, for that matter, isn’t an area where the Sport Momentum struggle, so how does their sound fare elsewhere? While the earbuds are actually slightly pricier than Sennheiser’s flagship (non-sporty) Momentum True Wireless 4, things like sensors, wingtips and extra weather resistance account for a lot of the cost and design focus, meaning we shouldn’t reasonably expect as much attention to be put on performance.

We aren’t therefore surprised to hear a more detailed and sophisticated presentation from the Momentum True Wireless 4 (and the previous True Wireless 3, at that). What’s more surprising is the absence of richness and solidity – sonic aspects that have long characterised the Momentum range. In their place is a more neutral, albeit somewhat grey, tonality that lacks natural warmth and texture. 

This is a delivery that prioritises clarity, space and refinement, with a leading edge to the upper frequencies that promotes a sense of lively forwardness. We warm up to Four Tet’s downtempo Three Drums and the Momentums have the attention to detail to distinguish the dominant cymbal notes so that the mix isn’t just a shower of shimmering. Alongside the natural drums, they still share the soundstage’s spotlight when a restless motif of synths rain over the top of them. It’s a considered delivery and more polished than most sports headphones we’ve come across.

We up the tempo to GUNSHIP’s Run Like Hell, whose onslaught of breakneck synths gives you little choice but to follow its title’s instructions, and there’s a sophistication to how every element of the dense cyberpunk mix is laid out clearly and precisely. You’re more likely to trip over a fallen branch than the Sennheisers would a busy soundstage.

But, going back to that tonality, there’s an unignorable scarcity of lusciousness to the synths and vocals, while bass – as welcomely tight and solid as it is – lacks the weight to really pump adrenaline. For all the coherency their lucidity and openness offers, the delivery feels held back, like a leashed border collie. Limited dynamic expression and vague timing ultimately make for a rhythmically uninspiring presentation. We have to say, it’s an odd balance for Sennheiser to have settled on for its latest sport headphones – not least those bearing the ‘Momentum’ name.


Sennheiser Momentum Sport in-ear headphones charging case on grey fabric background

(Image credit: What Hi-Fi?)

We can’t imagine that many people who spend this kind of money on sport earbuds will also spend that again on an everyday pair, and if that’s the case, the bottom line is that such a significant outlay should be rewarded with better sound quality, whether fitness-friendly features constitute some of that or not.

The sport sensors are the main USP here, and credit to Sennheiser for pushing the limits of what tiny earpieces can do in this space. But unfortunately the sacrifices made elsewhere to get them aren’t minor. Sennheiser’s Momentum range has produced more winners than we would care to count over the years, but we’re afraid to say the Momentum Sport won’t go down in history as one of them.


  • Sound 3
  • Features 4
  • Build 4


Also consider the Beats Fit Pro

Best sports and workout headphones: top earbuds for keeping active

Not fussed about sporty buds? Read our Sennheiser True Wireless Momentum 4 review

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What Hi-Fi?, founded in 1976, is the world's leading independent guide to buying and owning hi-fi and home entertainment products. Our comprehensive tests help you buy the very best for your money, with our advice sections giving you step-by-step information on how to get even more from your music and movies. Everything is tested by our dedicated team of in-house reviewers in our custom-built test rooms in London, Reading and Bath. Our coveted five-star rating and Awards are recognised all over the world as the ultimate seal of approval, so you can buy with absolute confidence.

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