Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 3 review: More for less

Close up of Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 3.

Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 3 review: More for less

MSRP $249.00

“The Momentum True Wireless 3 offer signature Sennheiser sound, but are more comfortable and more affordable than the last generation.”

Pros

  • Superb sound
  • Comfy, secure fit
  • Wireless charging
  • Wear sensors
  • Customizable controls
  • IPX4 water resistance

Cons

  • No Bluetooth multipoint
  • No side-tone/transparency for calls
  • ANC isn’t very effective
  • Mediocre call quality

How do you top one of the best-performing set of wireless earbuds we’ve ever tested? If you’re Sennheiser, you keep what works and you make small but valuable improvements to the parts that needed them. Oh, and you drop the price too.

That’s the approach Sennheiser has taken with its $249 Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 3 — the third generation of its flagship wireless earbuds — and it seems to have paid off handsomely.

How good are these earbuds, and how do they stack up to the competition? Let’s check ’em out.

What’s changed?

Here’s a quick overview of what Sennheiser has changed from the Momentum True Wireless 2:

  • Smaller, lighter, sleeker design
  • Wireless charging
  • Hybrid ANC with anti-wind
  • Bluetooth 5.2
  • aptX Adaptive
  • New features in the Smart Control app
  • Lower price

Design

Simon Cohen / Digital Trends

The elegant, woven fabric-wrapped charging case Sennheiser used for the second-gen Momentum makes a return for the Momentum True Wireless 3. (We’ll call them the MTW3 from here on.) But this time the case is a little smaller and more pocketable. It still charges via USB-C, but Sennheiser has added two improvements: The charging port is now on the front of the case, making it easier to plug in and to see the indicator light, and the case now supports wireless charging.

But the big differences can be found on the earbuds themselves. They’re now considerably smaller and lighter, and feature a much sleeker, curved/square shape — all of which address one of the few criticisms we had of the Momentum 2, which were pretty bulky.

The MTW3 were a perfect fit, right out of the box.

There’s also a new silicone earfin that wraps around the body of the earbuds. With three sizes to choose from, they help anchor the MTW3 in your ear by adding an additional point of contact.

In addition to the white and black colors that Sennheiser has typically provided, the MTW3 introduce a new graphite color, which you can see in these photos of our review unit. With its polished surfaces, it adds a sophisticated and stylish look befitting a set of premium earbuds.

Sennheiser has maintained the IPX4 rating from previous generations, and while that doesn’t offer as much protection from water as the IP57 rating on Jabra’s Elite 7 Pro, it’s still more than enough for the occasional sweaty workout or run in the rain.

Comfort, controls, and connectivity

Simon Cohen / Digital Trends

As much as I like the way Sennheiser wireless earbuds sound, I’ve never been a huge fan of the way they fit. Their large size and hard plastic contours tended to become uncomfortable over time. That’s no longer a problem with the MTW3, which are now as comfortable to wear as the top contenders in this category like the Sony WF-1000XM4, Jabra Elite 7 Pro, and Technics EAH-AZ60. And thanks to their new earfins, once you seat them in your ears, they barely budge at all.

I should also mention that my fit problems with previous Sennheiser earbuds meant that I needed to abandon the included silicone eartips and use a set of third-party foam tips to get a good, comfortable seal, which is absolutely key to getting the best sound quality. The MTW3, by comparison, were a perfect fit right out of the box, using the default medium eartips, but Sennheiser includes three other sizes should you need them.

Simon Cohen / Digital Trends

The touch controls, like those on Sennheiser’s other earbuds, are excellent. They’re responsive without being overly sensitive, and they give you an audible tone as feedback that you’ve tapped correctly. I still prefer physical buttons as a rule, but the MTW3 are at the top of the heap when it comes to touch, and their smaller size makes them even easier to use.

You get access to almost every possible command, including play/pause, call answer/end, track skip forward/back, volume up/down, active noise cancellation (ANC) on/off, transparency on/off, and voice assistant access. The only thing that’s missing is the ability to mute the microphones during a call. Better yet, Sennheiser’s excellent Smart Control mobile app lets you customize which earbuds and which gestures are used for each function, in case you don’t like the default arrangements. Thanks to the onboard wear sensors, you can also pause your music automatically when you remove an earbud (or you can disable this feature within the Smart Control app). It’s incredibly responsive, pausing and resuming music almost instantly.

The MTW3 are equipped with Bluetooth 5.2 and support a wealth of codecs including SBC, AAC, aptX Adaptive, and Snapdragon Sound. Under the right conditions, and with a compatible smartphone, you’ll be able to enjoy up to 24-bit/96kHz lossy audio quality, which is about as good as it gets these days when it comes to wireless earbuds.

What’s unusual is that these earbuds are considered Class 1 Bluetooth devices, which means they enjoy extended wireless range (up to 98 feet) when compared to those in Class 2 (up to 33 feet) — which is pretty much all wireless earbuds except those made by Apple and its Beats subsidiary.

The new anti-wind ANC setting works really well.

Unfortunately, I found that the stability of that connection was less than perfect. I experienced several very short dropouts between the earbuds while walking around my neighborhood. They happened in quick succession, and usually went away within a few minutes, suggesting that they were the result of some localized interference, not a problem with the earbuds themselves. Still, it’s worth mentioning, and I’m hopeful that Sennheiser can remedy this with a firmware update as there’s really no excuse for intermittent connectivity with the newest generation of Bluetooth technology.

Like most new wireless earbuds, you can use each MTW3 bud independently for both calls and music.

Sound quality

Simon Cohen / Digital Trends

Sennheiser has taken an if-it-ain’t-broke-don’t-fix-it approach to the MTW3: They use the same 7mm TrueResponse dynamic drivers as their predecessors, and the smaller shape of the earbuds hasn’t negatively affected the sound in any way — these earbuds sound amazing.

Listening with aptX Adaptive delivers yet another level of detail.

All of the qualities that earned the second-gen Momentums such high praise are still here, including a rich and natural acoustic signature with ultra-clear high frequencies, impressively detailed midranges, and bass that is both authoritative yet balanced.

And that’s a description of what it’s like to listen when using an iPhone or an aptX-enabled Android device. But if you want to experience how the MTW3 can actually sound better than the MTW2, despite sharing the same driver technology, you need to connect them to an aptX Adaptive smartphone like the Xiaomi 12 Pro, which is also equipped with Qualcomm’s Snapdragon Sound.

In a busy gym or while commuting, you won’t hear any difference. But find a quiet location and then stream top-quality lossless audio from Tidal, Amazon Music, or Apple Music, and you will be treated to even more detail. The best way I can describe it is by saying it adds smoothness. Like changing to a higher thread count set of sheets, you don’t really want to go back once you’ve heard it.

I found the factory tuning to be perfect for almost every genre, but the Smart Control app gives you a variety of EQ presets to choose from and you can create your own using the three frequency sliders. Sennheiser has also introduced a feature called Sound Check, which attempts to find your perfect EQ setting by getting yo

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