Sennheiser MOMENTUM True Wireless 4 review


The MOMENTUM True Wireless 4 are Sennheiser’s newest flagship true wireless earbuds. These feature all the bells and whistles, including adaptive noise cancellation, Bluetooth 5.4 with aptX Lossless, LE Audio, Auracast, Sennheiser’s unique Sound Personalization feature, and wireless charging. At $300, they cost a pretty penny. But are they worth it? Let’s find out.

Sennheiser MOMENTUM True Wireless 4 review

Design and comfort

The MOMENTUM True Wireless 4 have essentially the same design as their predecessors, just in a different shade of color. The charging case is fabric-lined as before, with the silly USB port on the front that always confuses since every other pair of earbuds has it on the back of the case.

However, that isn’t the least of its worries and is something you can get used to. What I couldn’t get used to are the dimensions of the case as the chunky shape simply isn’t very pocketable. The choice of lining the exterior of something that is always handled or in your pockets with fabric is also questionable and the gray lining of our silver model had already started to stain in my couple of weeks of use.

Sennheiser MOMENTUM True Wireless 4 review

Aside from that, the case is built very well with a very sturdy lid design that has none of the play you find on other models and closes with a satisfying snap. The fabric lining, as impractical as it may be, also has a premium texture that is pleasing to the touch.

Moving on to the earbuds themselves, they have generous proportions that stick out a bit from your ears. There is a sizable portion on the back that is touch-sensitive but once again there are downsides to this design. The touch area is too large so it’s nearly impossible to put the earbuds on or off and not trigger one of the gestures.

The MOMENTUM True Wireless 4 earbuds have a considerable insertion depth. They sit fairly deep in your ear canal, which may not be comfortable for a lot of people. There is also considerable suction going in and out and more often than not, pulling the earbuds out causes the ear tips to turn inside out as they detach from your ear canal.

Due to this, comfort wasn’t a strong suit for these earbuds. The thing is, I was able to wear them for long periods but inserting them and taking them out always caused a dull pain that I quickly grew tired of.

Sennheiser MOMENTUM True Wireless 4 review

Another issue is with the touch gestures, which require you to tap on the outer surface. Considering how deep the earbuds sit in your ear canal, each tap feels like an assault on your eardrums and is always uncomfortable.

Overall, I was disappointed in the design of the MOMENTUM True Wireless 4. It feels like not a lot of thought went into the human element of designing something meant to be used by humans. A case that is difficult to carry in your pockets, opens the wrong way and gets visibly dirty as you use it. Earbuds that are uncomfortable to get in and out of your ears, have sensors that go off unintentionally and hurt when used intentionally. This is not how you design wearable devices and everyone involved needs an intervention.

Software

The MOMENTUM True Wireless 4 work with Sennheiser’s Smart Control app available on Android and iOS. Through the app you can adjust the sound, ANC, touch gestures, and upgrade the firmware.

For sound customization, the MOMENTUM True Wireless 4 offer Sennheiser’s Sound Personalization feature. This is an interesting feature that plays test tones with different instruments and lets you prioritize one over the other. In the end, it creates a sound profile based on the sounds you like to hear the most. For people who don’t understand equalizers, this is an easy and effective way to adjust the sound to their liking.


Audio settings
Audio settings
Audio settings

Audio settings

However, if you do understand and prefer equalizers, then you can just jump into the five-band EQ that’s also available along with several presets as well as separate Bass Boost and Podcast modes. Thankfully, there isn’t a change in the overall sound amplitude when enabling the EQ as seen on some other products.

You can also adjust the ANC through the app. “Adjust” here basically means enabling or disabling the ANC as the MOMENTUM True Wireless 4 have adaptive ANC, which automatically adjusts its levels based on the ambient sound. There is also an Anti-Wind mode, which reduces the level of ANC but completely gets rid of the buffeting sound in windy environments.

You can also enable or disable the transparency mode here and you do get adjustable levels for it. You can also have it turned on during voice calls (or essentially any time the microphone is on) with an adjustable level. Enabling transparency mode can also optionally pause your music and then resume when it’s disabled.

Unlike most other ANC earbuds these days, the MOMENTUM True Wireless 4 do not enable transparency mode in one ear when you remove the other earbud. This has proven to be a useful and thoughtful feature and something Sennheiser should be implementing as it’s not exactly rocket science.


Other settings
Other settings
Other settings

Other settings

Next, we come to the touch gestures. The app offers a lot of options to customize gestures and you can also disable them entirely. I chose to disable the single tap gestures because it was far too easy to trigger them simply while inserting and removing the earbuds. You can also disable touch gestures entirely if you like.

The app has a few other features, including letting you choose the codec (aptX, aptX adaptive, or aptX Lossless), smart pause, auto power off, and more. One nice feature is Battery Protection Mode, which reduces charging speed for the earbuds when inside the case and avoids charging to 100%, which ultimately reduces wear and tear on the batteries and extends their life.

Speaking of the Sennheiser app itself, it is starting to reach Sony Headphones Connect levels of bloatedness. The app is slow to launch and takes a while to load all its features. It also constantly closes in the background on some devices even if you pin it to memory and initiates every time you launch it.

More annoyingly, the aforementioned Sound Personalization feature is locked behind a mandatory Sennheiser account. This was discussed in our previous Sennheiser review and just feels like a cheap tactic to gather user data as there is no technical reason to make an account to use the feature. Do better, Sennheiser.

Performance

Audio quality

The MOMENTUM True Wireless 4 feature single 7mm dynamic drivers. They support a variety of codecs over Bluetooth 5.4, including SBC, AAC, LC3, aptX, aptX Adaptive, and finally, aptX Lossless. Regarding that last one, while it would have been the ideal candidate to test audio quality and connectivity performance, I simply did not have access to any device that supported this codec. At present, it’s only available on a handful of devices from an even smaller pool of brands. Until that situation changes, you’d be doing what I did, which is to use aptX Adaptive.

The MOMENTUM True Wireless 4 have a warm and dark tonality. The tuning prioritizes a more laidback, relaxed sound over an energetic, detailed one.

The bass is noticeably forward with more mid and upper bass energy. It’s not especially strong or deep and goes more for a mellow thump over an aggressive slam and rumble. The Weeknd’s ‘Gasoline’ bassline had a tepid attack instead of an in-your-face punch. There’s enough energy here to keep you engaged without fatiguing you over time.

Sennheiser MOMENTUM True Wireless 4 review

The mid-range isn’t much to write home about. The lower mids carry over some of the warmth from the low end and can feel a bit heavy and bloated on some male vocals. At the same time, the upper mids are lacking in energy, which carries over into the lower treble ranges. The violin in Ludovico Einaudi’s ‘Experience’ feels lifeless and the breathy vocals of Toaka in Suzume’s title track lack the airiness that you expect.

Sennheiser’s tuning seems more in line with more popular genres of pop, hip-hop, and electronic music. The MOMENTUM True Wireless 4 can carry these genres quite well, belting out a balanced, enjoyable sound that leans into their typical tuning. But the moment you turn to classical or instrumental music, the sound feels congested and heavy and makes you reach for the EQ. Fortunately, it’s not hard to tune the sound to your liking through the app.

Microphone

The MOMENTUM True Wireless 4 had surprisingly poor microphone performance. Voices sounded muffled and quiet to a surprising degree and this was despite resetting them multiple times and testing the microphone on each earbud individually. Callers had a hard time understanding anything that was spoken and I often just had to resort to shouting to be heard.

On the plus side, there was decent isolation of background noise but with your own voice being so muffled, that is hardly a consolation.

Noise cancellation

The MOMENTUM True Wireless 4 have very good noise isolation performance. The earbuds block a fair bit of noise passively considering how deep they sit in your ear canal. Once the ANC kicks in, you get near total silence in most conditions.

The ANC on these earbuds is dynamic so they are constantly adjusting to your surroundings. When you first put them on, they take a few seconds to calibrate so initially the ANC might not seem all that impressive but after a while it gets to where it needs to be.

Sennheiser MOMENTUM True Wireless 4 review

The transparency mode also works well and it’s good that it offers you a fully adjustable level of control over how much sound you want in. It’s just a shame it doesn’t trigger in the other ear when you pull out one earbud.

One minor and somewhat odd issue with ANC is that if the earbuds restart for whatever reason, the ANC does not kick in automatically. For example, if you switch the codecs through the app, the earbuds need to restart. Once restarted, the ANC does not activate on its own and you need to remove the earbuds and put them back in for the ANC to work.

Latency

The MOMENTUM True Wireless 4 have passable latency performance. By default, it’s not good and you wouldn’t be able to play games. You need to go into the app and switch to the low latency mode. This causes the earbuds to restart (and trigger the aforementioned ANC issue).

Once in this mode, some apps had good latency performance but others did not. It wasn’t clear why this was situational and depending on what games you are playing, you may or may not get good latency performance. Either way, the latency performance seems a bit of an afterthought with these earbuds and Sennheiser doesn’t even claim a latency number in its marketing.

Connectivity

The MOMENTUM True Wireless 4 has good connectivity performance. In my testing, there were no audio dropouts or random disconnections and everything worked well. I couldn’t test the aptX Lossless mode, which could have potentially presented issues due to its high bandwidth requirement but alas, there weren’t any compatible devices to test with. Hell, many Android devices don’t even support aptX Adaptive and that has been around for ages.

Sennheiser MOMENTUM True Wireless 4 review

With aptX Adaptive, the Sennheiser app claims to work at 24-bit/96kHz. However, on all devices I checked, the earbuds would work at 24-bit/48kHz by default when using aptX Adaptive. 96kHz could be enabled through developer settings but resets back to 48kHz when the earbuds are restarted.

The earbuds support multipoint connectivity and you can manage all paired and active devices through the app.

Battery Life

Sennheiser claims 7 hours of audio playback with ANC enabled. However, this is with AAC and we tend to test with the best codec available so I did all my testing with the best codec I could use, which was aptX Adaptive in 24-bit/48kHz mode.

In this mode, the MOMENTUM True Wireless 4 played for 6 hours and 47 minutes continuously on a full charge, which is pretty close to the claimed AAC figure. I also tested after a quick ten-minute charge and the earbuds played for just over one hour continuously.

At around 7 hours, the battery life for music is very good and should be adequate for most users.

Conclusion

The MOMENTUM True Wireless 4 are Sennheiser’s flagship pair of true wireless earbuds and that title carries with it some expectations. The earbuds impress with their noise-cancellation performance, which is their strongest suit. The audio tuning may not be suitable for all music but works well for popular genres so most people should be happy with it. Not to mention the Sennheiser app makes it easy to customize it to your liking. Well, at least after you make a mandatory account and sign in. The battery life is also very good as is the general build quality.

Sennheiser MOMENTUM True Wireless 4 review

Unfortunately, Sennheiser dropped the ball a bit with the microphone performance, which was strangely bad on our unit. The latency performance was also nothing to write home about.

However, most of the shortcomings relate to the design, with both the case and the earbuds having some glaring issues. Hopefully, they get resolved in the next generation model as some of them genuinely get in the way of using the product. If they manage that then it will be something worth looking forward to.



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