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I tested Sennheiser's new flagship earbuds and my favorite songs never sounded better

Sennheiser's latest Momentum True Wireless 4 deliver studio-level sound in a sleek and comfortable package.
Written by Sabrina Ortiz, Editor
Sennheiser MOMENTUM True Wireless 4
Sabrina Ortiz/ZDNET

ZDNET's key takeaways

  • Sennheiser's latest flagship earbuds, the Momentum True Wireless 4 are now available to purchase for $299.95.  
  • The Momentum True Wireless 4 earbuds offer exceptional sound quality packed into small and portable buds.
  • The ANC is weak, and there are better alternatives on the market at this price point.  

When I find songs or albums I love, I listen to them on repeat until I'm absolutely sick of them. I love being fully immersed in a song, hearing every small detail, and getting lost in the lyrics. So when Sennheiser announced a new pair of flagship earbuds at CES, I was excited to see how well they appeal to the music lover in me.

Also: I tested Sennheiser's new mid-range headphones and they're so close to perfect

Sennheiser is known for embedding its high-quality sound into its consumer headphones and earbuds and the new Momentum True Wireless 4, which I'll refer to as the Momentum 4 earbuds, are the latest addition to Sennheiser's Momentum namesake. There are plenty of premium true wireless earbuds out there, so follow along with me as I see if these earbuds are worth the hefty $300 price tag.

View at Sennheiser-hearing

Sennheiser emphasizes its sound technology, and as someone who prefers lyrics over instrumentals, I was surprised by how much I enjoyed the listening experience. The Momentum 4 earbuds allowed me to hear various elements of a song more clearly than I've ever experienced.

When I listened to Karol G's Gucci Los Paños, every element of the song had a crystal-clear presence in the mix, from rich midrange sounds like guitar strums, piano chords, and background synths, as well as a warm and well-balanced bassline. The result is a full-bodied listening experience regardless of genre, thanks to the Momentum 4 earbuds' 7mm dynamic drivers.

Like most earbuds in this price range, the Momentum 4 earbuds are equipped with active noise canceling (ANC) technology. The Momentum 4s use hybrid adaptive ANC, so the microphones listen for external noise, while internal components employ ANC depending on how noisy your environment is. 

However, I found this noise-canceling tech to be the earbuds' Achilles heel. When I sat in the office during peak hours, I was hoping the earbuds would decrease the noise around me so I could focus on my work. Yet, I could still hear my colleagues speaking around me, and even with ANC enabled, I could hear exactly what they were saying.

In even louder environments, like New York City's busy streets and subway stations, the earbuds' noise-canceling capabilities disappointed me by merely muffling the ambient noise. When compared to other earbuds in a similar price range, like Apple's AirPods Pro 2, the ANC in the Momentum 4 earbuds' paled in comparison. 

However, Sennheiser's weaker ANC ultimately didn't surprise me. ZDNET has tested many of Sennheiser's over-ear headphones and earbuds and a common factor remains: You'll get remarkable sound quality in exchange for underwhelming ANC.

Also: The best noise-canceling earbuds: Expert tested and reviewed

The disappointing ANC was almost entirely offset to me by one of the earbud's biggest wins, though: its strong Bluetooth multipoint connectivity, allowing me to connect the earbuds to two devices simultaneously.

As a working professional, I value toggling between my laptop and smartphone seamlessly. However, when testing other earbuds that market Bluetooth multipoint, I'm often frustrated by their finicky connectivity. The Momentum 4 buds are an exception, as switching between my laptop and my phone didn't require me to tinker with the Bluetooth settings. 

On the topic of connectivity, the earbuds sport the latest version of Bluetooth (5.4) and are powered by Qualcomm's S5 Sound Gen 2 chipset which allows for Auracast, LE Audio, and low-latency gaming support. Even though Auracast will likely be the next big thing in Bluetooth audio, allowing users to connect to sounds in public places such as a bar TV, it won't be available on the Momentum 4 earbuds until a firmware update later this year, as well as LE Audio capabilities. 

Sennheiser claims the Momentum 4 earbuds can offer about 30 hours of playtime, which is an upgrade from the Momentum 3 earbuds, which offered 28 hours. In my testing, the earbuds stuck with me for several days without needing to be charged, even after all-day use in the office and on my daily commute. 

Sennheiser MOMENTUM True Wireless 4
Sabrina Ortiz/ZDNET

Additionally, after wearing the earbuds all day, the earbuds were comfortable and secure in my ear. The buds have a stemless design that requires a gentle twist to secure them in place. The ergonomic design, four ear tip sizes, and three rubber fin sizes guarantee a comfortable, secure, tight fit in your ear that also helps to combat sound leakage.

The touch controls are on the outside of the earbuds, and their actions are fully customizable in the Sennheiser Smart Control app. The earbuds' large, flat surface area allows for responsive touch controls activated by a series of short taps and long presses.

Also: You're overpaying for noise-canceling earbuds, and this $60 pair proves it

Sennheiser upgraded the Momentum 4 earbuds' IP rating, as they sport an IP54 rating, making them more dustproof than their predecessor. The Momentum 4 buds' IP rating also makes them splashproof, so you can count on these earbuds to accompany you from the office straight to a sweaty workout.

The case has fabric on the outside, giving it a premium, elevated feel, and it fits comfortably in the palm of your hand, making it suitable for on-the-go pocketing. The Momentum 4 earbuds are available in the colors black graphite, copper graphite, and white silver and feature sharp-looking metallic accents to them that add to its elevated design.

ZDNET's buying advice

If you're looking for high-quality sound from a portable pair of earbuds, the Momentum True Wireless 4 offer exceptional audio in an elevated design.

However, for $300, I'd expect more from the Momentum 4 earbuds' noise-canceling properties. If you want earbuds with stronger ANC, you'll need to look elsewhere, but keep in mind that you may be compromising sound quality. If you want strong ANC at a similar price, consider the Bose QuietComfort Ultra earbuds. If those are too expensive, consider the JLab JBuds ANC 3 or the Apple AirPods Pro 2.

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