Can anyone beat the Apple AirPods? In terms of design, sound and ease of use, few other brands have managed to compete. But enter Sennheiser, the Godfather of audio, and you’ve got yourself a bloodbath. There are already a ton of reviews about the AirPods and the Momentum True Wireless. This comparison review is for those who are familiar with at least one of these models but are scared of commitment. The Momentum True Wireless is 140 bucks more expensive than the triumphant AirPods. What makes them so much pricier, and are they worth the investment over the tried and true AirPods? Let’s find out in this Apple AirPods vs Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless Review.
It’s incredibly easy and fast to pop the AirPods in your ears. You don’t have to wiggle them or push them in deeply to get the right fit. Once they’re in, they’re in. And they’re surprisingly secure. But Sennheiser offers what the AirPods cannot: sound isolation. The silicone tips (which come in different sizes) seal snugly in your ears and block out all the outside crap that’s cramping your style. So much so, that Sennheiser has added a “transparent hearing” mode, which lets in ambient sound when the situation requires it.
One factor that makes a big difference in sound quality between these two models is that the Momentum True Wireless are Bluetooth 5 compatible, while the AirPods are still stuck in Bluetooth 4 world. This will probably change with the next release of the AirPods, but for now, Sennheiser enjoys that edge.
The Momentum True Wireless allows you to listen for 4 hours at a time before having to charge them. But with the charging case, you’ll get a total of 12 hours of usage. The AirPods offer 5 hour of listening at a time, and a total of 24 hours with the carrying case.
Pairing is super easy with both of these models. After you pair them for the first time, they’ll connect as soon as you take them out of the charging case. And I ran into no pairing kinks with either earphones.
I was expecting the AirPods to have better call clarity because of the stems that extend from the buds. But the Momentum True Wireless sounded just as clear.
The AirPods don’t offer any functionality other than activating calls and good ol’ Siri. Everything else has to be controlled from your phone. But what I love about the AirPods is the simplicity of the design. When you put them in, they turn on. When you take them out, the music stops. That being said, true freedom means not having to touch your phone. And that’s where Sennheiser delivers. Single buttons on the left and right allow you to play/pause, skip, control volume, activate calls and voice assistant, and switch to “transparent hearing” (which, again, lets in sound from the outside). I was skeptical about these functions before trying them because many other true wireless earphones I’ve tested use touch technology which tends to be too sensitive, causing you to unwittingly activate functions. But the Momentum True Wireless uses real buttons, which remain very simple to use.
Overall Impressions: the tight and poppy AirPods vs the full-bodied and detailed Momentum True Wireless
Both sets of buds have generous bass impact. And pop music sounds great on both earphones. But the Momentum True Wireless has just a bit more oomph and subbiness. So, if you listen to any hip-hop, you’ll probably lean towards the Momentum True Wireless. It also has a thicker and warmer low end, which means rock songs have a rich and meaty quality. And this was missing from the AirPods. Listening to acoustic double bass, the Momentum True Wireless also presented a more natural feel. So, if you listen to a lot of jazz, you’ll probably prefer the more realistic sound of the Momentum True Wireless.
The first noticeable differences is the amount of body in the sound. The Momentum True Wireless brings out more of the warm low-mids, giving the listener the full spectrum of sound in this range. In comparison, the AirPods sound relatively thin in their delivery; the upper mids are favored, bringing vocals more forward in the mix. And if you tend to listen at loud volumes (which is dangerous, kids), you might experience some harshness on the AirPods when listening to big choruses with strong vocals.
Now, let’s move onto clarity. Listening to acoustic guitars, both earphones displayed clean and well separated notes. But what set these two buds apart was the level of detail. The Momentum True Wireless showed more nuance and resolve than the comparatively heavy-handed AirPods. And listening to cello solos, the Momentum True Wireless conveyed more texture and timbre compared to the compressed, though smooth feel of the AirPods.
Listening to strings in this range, the difference was again quite apparent. The Momentum True Wireless far outshines the AirPods in terms of detail. Subtleties in the movement of the violin bow, for example, were more apparent on the Momentum True Wireless, while the AirPods seemed to miss these beautiful complexities. So, again, if you listen to many acoustic instruments, and you really care about a more accurate representation of your music, you’ll definitely prefer the Momentum True Wireless.
The AirPods have a really nice soundstage for a wireless earphone. In fact, the stage almost feels wider than the Momentum True Wireless. But the difference is that the Momentum True Wireless is a little more multidimensional in its presentation of instruments. You’ll hear more height and perhaps more depth with respect to instrument placement.
Both brands execute true wireless technology with finesse and style. And if you need something very simple, elegant and reliable, it’s hard to beat the AirPods for the price. But if you appreciate truly fantastic sound and you live in a noisy environment, you won’t get any better than the Momentum True Wireless.
- Get the Momentum True Wireless from Audio46 today.