When it comes to deciphering some product model numbers, even Benedict Cumberbatch and his trusty Enigma machine would struggle.
But the Sennheiser Momentum In-Ear Wireless don’t confuse with complexities. Even if you’re not familiar with the company’s Momentum range of style-oriented headphones, you’re left in no doubt as to this particular model’s modus operandi.
The company has taken its Award-winning Momentum in-ear headphones, blessed them with Bluetooth connectivity and tweaked the aesthetic. The result is a five-star rating and a hearty recommendation.
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Wireless in-ear headphone design tends to fall into three categories. First, there are proper wireless models like the Apple AirPods, where there’s no sign of a single cable.
The wireless dream, if you will. Next there are wireless in-ears with a cable that hangs behind your head connecting the left and right earpieces.
The latest trend we’re seeing is where the cable morphs into a more solid neckband that sits at the base of your neck on top of your shoulders. That's the way Sennheiser has gone here.
One of the benefits of this design is greater stability, especially if you need to remove one or both earbuds. You can leave them dangling without fear of losing them.
It also gives you somewhere to store the necessary battery and Bluetooth receiver. Normally they’re squeezed into the actual earpieces, which can make them quite bulky.
This allows the buds for the Momentum Wireless In-Ears to appear identical to the wired version.
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Each bud is attached to the neckband by a short length of cable. They’re not retractable, which isn’t the end of the world, but scope to reel them in would come in handy, especially for storage.
The main section of the neckband is covered in soft sheepskin nappa leather, so any contact with your skin is actually quite pleasant. It feels comfortable and it’s lightweight (53g), but you can’t ignore it completely.
This is because all the controls are built into a section at the end of the left arm of the neckband. There’s a separate button for powering them up and a trio of buttons, just like the typical in-line set-up with wired headphones.
They work in a similar fashion, but with a few subtle differences. To skip forward or back a track, instead of double or triple-tapping the centre button, you press and hold the top or bottom buttons respectively.
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Individual taps on these buttons raise and lower the volume. The middle button is used to answer calls and control music playback.
The neckband can even vibrate gently to alert you to incoming calls – useful if the earbuds aren’t in. A flap at the end of the controls hides a micro USB charging port. Battery life is an impressive 10 hours, and a fast charge only takes around an hour and a half.
The Sennheisers also support USB audio, so you can connect them directly to your laptop and listen to music - although the process is quite cumbersome.
We’d definitely recommend using the supplied carry-case for storage, just to keep buds protected. It’s a little bulky because of the headband, but it’s relatively low profile means you can slot it into a rucksack or laptop bag.
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The Sennheiser Momentum In-Ear Wireless are cut from the same cloth as the Award-winning wired in-ears, so you’d expect the sound quality to be up to scratch. And on the whole, it is.
Like any headphones, wireless pairs still require a decent period of running in - and these are no different. Out of the box the Sennheisers sound brittle, but given a couple of days they start to loosen up and find their feet. And it’s obvious Sennheiser hasn’t strayed too far from the sonic character of the wired version.
The sense of space and openness is there from the off. It’s something that few rival Bluetooth in-ears can match, including the Bose SoundSport Wireless, and helps heavily compressed recordings shine just as much as good ones.
Across the board, the sound is packed with detail. It’s dynamically strong too, with the Sennheisers scaling highs and lows with ease. It’s an inviting presentation, with the expressive and far-reaching midrange a particular highlight.
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Play The Amazons' In My Mind and the guitar riff oozes attitude and swagger, cutting a deep groove for the listener to sink into. This level of insight means you're aware the vocal is coming from just a couple of millimetres away from the mic.
Drums sound powerful and purposeful - each hit has plenty of force behind it. The high-hat doesn’t sound bright or hard, just crystalline and explicit.
The only real criticism you can lay at their feet is that bass sounds a bit overegged. Spin Drakes’s Can’t Have Everything and the staccato bassline hits a bit too obviously. There’s sufficient extension there, and they plummet to impressive depths, but the Sennheisers overemphasise the point when they really don’t need to.
It’s not excessive enough to consider deducting a star – and besides, in a noisy environment an extra nudge at certain frequencies can sometimes be beneficial to your perception of the sound.
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The Sennheiser Momentum In-Ear Wireless are more of a commuting companion than gym buddy. If you’re looking for the latter, then we’d point you in the direction of the similarly-priced Bose SoundSport Wireless.
If you can embrace the neckband design, though, the Sennheisers deserve serious consideration. Impressive sound quality and the convenience of Bluetooth make them an attractive package, and put them among the very best this class has to offer.
See all our Sennheiser reviews