Battery could still be better
Not as rugged as we'd like
Sennheiser is nothing if not predictable: the brand always bets on sound, and more often than not, that bet pays off. That said, true wireless earbuds have evolved considerably since Sennheiser unleashed the original Momentum True Wireless, as have our expectations.
To account for this, Sennheiser added multiple upgrades to the Momentum 2, including desirable features like noise cancellation, and a much-needed battery boost. Whether or not the new earbuds do enough in areas like fit, durability, and other features to make them worthy of their $299.99 price may depend on how you use them (and your budget). But once you hear the Momentum 2, many of those attributes may take a backseat. They’re that good.
About the Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 2
The Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 2 debuted in April 2020, around two years after the original Momentum True Wireless. Like Apple’s AirPods, and a growing crowd of competitors, their “true wireless” design means there’s no neckband or any other wires attached.
The earbuds' multiple upgrades over their predecessors, including aforementioned features like longer battery (both in the earbuds and their charging case), noise cancellation, as well as handy improvements such as more responsive touch controls. While far from the smallest around, the earbuds have also slimmed down a bit from their 2018 iteration.
Here’s a breakdown of the Momentum True Wireless 2’s major specs:
- Price: $299.99
- Battery life: up to 7 hours per charge, up to 28 hours with the charging case
- Rapid charging: 60 minutes of playback on 10 minutes charge
- Colors: Black, White, Grey
- Speakers: 7mm drivers
- Calling: single microphone with noise cancellation on each side
- Connectivity: Bluetooth 5.1
- Codecs: AAC, aptX
- Water resistance: IPX4
- Ear tips: small, medium, and large
- Weight: 70 grams with charging case, 6 grams per bud
What we like
Maybe it’s bad form to start with my favorite attribute, but I suppose the cat is already out of the bag here. Moreover, while Sony’s WF-1000XM3, Master and Dynamic’s MW07 Plus, and other favorites offer similarly commendable balance and clarity, there’s something special going on with these earbuds that’s worth crowing about.
As with other Sennheiser headphones (including the original Momentum True Wireless), there’s a warm, smokey glow to the sound signature that makes the Momentum 2 extremely inviting, while still revealing a deceptively deep well of detail and instrumental definition. This nimbler touch makes snappier instruments like percussion a shade smoother, and careening high notes from strings and horns sweeter and more lyrical.
That’s not to say the Momentum True Wireless 2 don’t reveal the brighter glint at the attack of cymbal clips or rim shots—those are still present, they just appear to arrive with less effort and more accessibility. And the earbuds seem to actively enjoy digging into the buzzy crunch of shredding guitars, dirty saxophones, and luminous ‘80s synthesizers; the white-hot gleam of Van Halen’s “Jump” is, according to my notes, a god-damned delight.
Across the spectrum, be it balance, depth, timbre, or dynamic expression, these earbuds excel at delivering the full picture of everything from hip-hop to blue grass. Their penchant for detail reveals more to learn about your favorite tunes. In Coldplay’s “Don’t Panic,” for instance, I heard a second “done for” in the echo of Chris Martin’s vocals for the first time.
Several of our favorite true wireless earbuds make your music more listenable. The Momentum True Wireless 2 make you want to listen more.
People are often willing to overlook a lot for great sound, especially earlier on in the evolution of true wireless earbuds. One of the big issues with the original Momentum True Wireless was their touch controls, which had to be tapped just right. The controls are now much easier to use, and yet their placement on the tactile plates at the earbuds’ exteriors means they’re not prone to accidental taps.
As someone who wears gloves a fair bit to combat winter weather and yard debris in equal measure, I still prefer tangible controls like those on Jabra’s Elite and Elite Active 75t. But as touch controls go, these are about as good as it gets.
I did take issue with the layout of the controls at first. I rarely needs (or want) to ask a robot person for help, so I’m not a fan of the default single-tap voice assistant on the right earbud, which is traditionally reserved for play/pause. In addition, for some reason turning on Transparent Hearing (AKA transparency mode) auto-pauses sound. You shouldn’t have to live with that. And luckily, you don’t.
The app makes it easy to customize
While functionality of Sennheiser’s Smart Control app has been somewhat hit and miss in the past, it’s really stepped it up here, and the best part for me is total customization of controls. Using the app, I was able to easily organize them exactly as I like them—on either bud—as well as turning off the Transparent Hearing auto-pause.
The app also lets you keep track of battery life (though it can be a little glitchy there), turn on and off your own voice during calls, and more. It also provides an EQ, although it’s so esoteric that at least two former audio engineers in my circle have given it up for useless. Luckily, the sound is so good, you shouldn't need it.
Noise cancellation and other handy features
As we’ve touched on, the headphones offer active noise cancellation (ANC). It’s of the milder variety here—you won’t hear the sound sucked out of the room like Sony’s WF-1000XM3, but it does kill lower drone noises, similar to what’s offered on the rival MW07 Plus. Coupled with solid passive noise isolation, it’s relatively effective.
I also appreciate the Transparent Hearing inclusion, though I wish the level was adjustable as it’s not as loud as I’d like and sometimes seems to distort a tad, possibly due to the use of only one microphone per side.
Another addition to mention is onboard volume control—without the need to trade out another function. Sure, high-end earbuds should automatically include it, but not all do (cough, Apple).
It may seem like a given in the modern wireless age, but Bluetooth connection is still an issue with a lot of true wireless earbuds. The Momentum True Wireless 2 are better than most. I had only one blip with the phone in my back pocket over a week of testing, and was also able to walk freely around the house without my phone. For true wireless earbuds, that’s a win.
What we don’t like
Battery life could still be better
The improvement in battery life is commendable, and with a previous max of just four hours, necessary. That said, the battery drained quicker than expected, lasting around 5+ hours with transparency mode and/or noise cancellation engaged. The buds also seem to go dead before the clock strikes zero, shutting down around the 10 percent mark on the app’s battery indicator.
While these earbuds still do better than Apple’s AirPods Pro, they also cost $50 more. Master and Dynamic’s MW07 Plus, on the other hand, last several more hours with noise cancellation, and up to 10 hours per charge total, at the same price. It’s not a serious concern, but it is worth mentioning. Never having to even think about battery life is a luxury I appreciate at this price.
Still a little bulky
While the Momentum True Wireless 2 have slimmed down, they still stick out a fair bit from your ears, even when nestled in snuggly. I love the look of the fabric-covered case, but compared to the latest true wireless packages it also feels bulbous in 2020, stretching your pocket much more than cases from Apple, Master & Dynamic, Jabra, and others.
It was also a bit of a struggle to get the Momentum to fit right while still being snug. I found turning them just enough, as instructed, did the job without creating undue wear on my ears, but they’re still not as comfy as the rubbery eartips and fins of the MW07, and for smaller ears, their hard plastic shells may be a tight squeeze.
Not as rugged or versatile as we’d like for the price
IPX4 is perfectly respectable water resistance, allowing you to get out into the elements without worry. That said, at this price, it would be nice if Sennheiser raised the protection, maybe adding some dust resistance. True wireless earbuds are tailor-made for activities like yard work and exercise, so the more protection they offer, the better.
In addition, while it's technically possible to use only the right bud on its own, the earbuds don't seem to be set up for it. Using sidetone while I was on phone calls tenced to distort the signal, for instance, and even with both earbuds, call quality is fine, but nothing special. In general, the earbuds just feel more delicate and not quite as versatile as cheaper, more utility-based options like Jabra's Elite and Elite Active 75t.
Should you buy them?
If you adore great sound, and you’ve got the money, yes
We’ve mentioned plenty of other great headphones to consider in this review. Those include Apple’s AirPods Pro and Sony’s WF-1000XM3, both of which offer clear sound and stellar noise cancellation for less, as well as Master and Dynamic’s MW07 Plus, which cost the same, but offer a slightly more rugged design and battery life for days.
Still, if fantastic sound quality is your jam, the Momentum 2 trump them all. Sennheiser’s latest true wireless earbuds are once again the top choice for those who are looking for sound first. And with modern features and better battery life, they offer plenty of other reasons to take the ride now, too.
Meet the tester
Managing Editor - Electronics@ryanwaniata
Hailing originally from Montana, Ryan parlayed his time working as a musician and audio engineer to a career in digital media in 2013. Since then he's had extensive experience as a writer and editor, including everything from op-eds and features to reviews on TVs, audio gear, smart home devices, and more.See all of Ryan Waniata's reviews
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