There’s some tight competition in the premium TWS earbuds space. The Apple AirPods Pro has been sitting there as a favourite pick for years, and that has led the big audio brands to refresh and improve their flagship offerings. After the Sony WF-1000XM4, we expected Sennheiser to bring an answer from the Momentum True Wireless range as an answer. And sure enough, it did arrive in the form of the Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 3. And this time, Sennheiser brings some major changes to appeal to music lovers while keeping in mind the modern requirements.
In India, the Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 3 will set you back by Rs. 24,990 although you can get it at an introductory price of Rs. 21,990. This brings it closer to the Sony WF-1000XM4 TWS earbuds but still ends up being a tad more expensive. I have always had a thing for Sennheiser’s audio tuning and hence, with the Momentum TWS 3, it was obvious to wonder what does the best of Sennheiser have to offer! I wore them for two weeks to find out.
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Ever since the first generation model, Sennheiser has diversified its flagship TWS offering with a distinct case design — one which gets carried over to the third generation but only refined and improved. In a new shade of black this time, the Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 3 looks stealthy and lean, both for the case and the earbuds. The case retains the fabric finish that not only imparts quality but resists dust and drama easily! The USB-C charging port now sits on the front alongside an LED indicator. The build quality of the case is sturdy and I assume this will stand the test of time better than the plastic boxes its rivals have. Oh, the case now supports Qi standard wireless charging!
Even the lid opens with a satisfactory resistance, and shuts with a thud! The earbuds sit inside and are easy to take out. These earbuds get a new minimalist shape wherein the chrome touch plate is now gone and in its place lies a plain black surface. It goes a major way to make it discrete but I miss the old model’s signature chrome plate.
The earbuds have a slimmer profile this time and now have fins to hold them in place. Despite the reduction in the dimensions, the Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 3 earbuds are still among the bulkier ones of the lot. In fact, I had to twist them inside the ear carefully to keep them lodged in. And after 15-20 minutes of use, the shape is such that it hurts the insides of the ear. Maybe it could be different for you but the Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 3 are not the most comfortable TWS earbuds around.
Unlike the first generation model that had me swept off with its fine balance and some solid bass performance, the Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 3 goes for a more neutral sound signature. By default, the earbuds are tuned to keep the mids in check while making the highs clear and energetic.The lows aren’t as separated as I had liked. However, the instruments' rendition are crystal clear, with none of the layers overlapping each other.
Having a balanced audio signature makes listening to the Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 3 a purely joyous experience. In fact, in the default equaliser state, I had it on my ears for up to three hours daily, going through my playlists and without creating any pressure. For bass lovers, Sennheiser allows you to enhance the low end via the Smart Control app. The enhanced bass is decent but it does not pack the punch you’d expect from a pair of high-end TWS earbuds. And, this bass isn’t comfy for more than a few minutes.
In short, the audio signature is such that it may not appeal to a wider audience. The Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 3 is catering to a very niche crowd who like their music played in the most balanced tuning.
Helping with the audio is the noise cancellation system. The passive isolation system is decent although I was expecting better isolation from the silicon eartips. The adaptive noise cancellation system offers two modes of ANC — Anti-wind and a full-on mode. The full-on mode cancels out all the minor distractions from the surroundings, and only lets the high-pitched ambient sound. The Anti-wind mode does cut down on the wind noise a bit but it lets in some other noises. Again, not the best ANC system on TWS earbuds but it does its job well. The transparency mode lets in more ambient sound but the overall quality of the audio feels processed rather than natural.
While taking calls, the microphone performed great for a stem-less design. My callers were able to hear my voice clearly, even in a busy marketplace.
Since these are your usual high-end earbuds, you get some smart features to play with. Other than your usual ability to summon the voice assistant on your smartphone, the earbuds also come with something called Sound Check. For this, you have to register an account with Sennheiser and you will be guided to get the best output via altering the equaliser settings. Then there is the Sound Zone feature that also needs a Sennheiser account — this one lets you save your audio presets based on your location. Hence, you can have a separate audio setup for home, and another one for the office, and another one for the market. With WFH in place, I was unable to test the effectiveness of this feature.
The touch controls have worked well and are easy to live with. However, the sensitivity is too high and I accidentally paused music, or disconnected a call while adjusting the earbuds in my ear. Frustratingly, I was unable to change the touch gestures for the call, which made taking calls on the Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 3 not a pleasant experience.
Other than that, there was another issue I observed with connectivity. My pair of the Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 3 were struggling to keep hold of the connectivity with my phone as soon as I went into another room. I changed handsets and the issue was persistent. Hence, you need to keep your phone on yourself all the time for uninterrupted connectivity.
The earbuds are rated to go on up to seven hours and with the case, the figure goes up to 28 hours. My usage includes wearing these earbuds 3-4 hours on average per day, exposing them to calls and music alike, with ANC mostly off. All I know is that I had to charge the case after 5-6 days. Charging from the “blinking red lights” to full takes over two hours but an hour of stamina can be obtained in 10 minutes with the Fast Charging feature. With wireless charging onboard, I was also able to drop it on the wireless charging pad for an overnight refill.
Sennheiser has always catered to the enthusiast crowd with its offerings and with the Momentum True Wireless 3 earbuds, it takes a step further in that direction. The audio tuning is catering to a niche audience that prefers finely balanced audio instead of forcibly induced bass and bloated low end. Pristine is what I would like to use to describe the audio output — this kind of balance makes the Sony WF-1000XM4 seem too mainstream.
The focus on this audio balance does compromise some other areas, one of which is the ANC system — it is good but lacks the adaptive features offered by some rivals. The transparency mode seems too artificial and could do with some tuning to make it seem natural. The connectivity issues could be concerning for some users as well. The battery life is decent though and along with fast charging, it makes it easy to live with. I was also impressed with the microphone performance considering its form factor.
On the whole, the Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 3 earbuds are an aural bliss if you care for precision fine-tuned audio. We recommend it for those seeking a highly balanced audio profile on their daily TWS earbuds.
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