While the Momentum 3 Wireless headphones weren’t bad, they had some relatively glaring issues. The design was dated, favouring physical controls instead of touch inputs; the battery life could have been better, they were difficult to store, the ANC wasn’t the best, and they weren’t as comfortable as others.
Sennheiser has remedied these issues with its Momentum 4 Wireless headphones. They’re better in every way. They produce clear, crisp audio, have ANC that competes with the best over-ear wireless headphones NZ, are comfortable, have accurate, easy-to-use touch inputs and now have the best battery life in the market.
It’s always good when a tech company removes what people didn’t like about their product and introduces something better. This is precisely what Sennheiser has done here. The Momentum 4 Wireless headphones are excellent, competing with Sony and Bose as some of the best over-ear headphones you can buy.
- 60-hour battery life (ANC on)
- Great sounding audio
- Sleek design
- Very good ANC
- Touch controls cannot be customised
- ANC “pinch” touch controls get annoying
The Sennheiser Momentum 4 Wireless headphones – from now on, I’ll refer to them as the Momentum 4’s – cost $639. This is a fair price. Sony’s WH-1000XM5 headphones cost $600, Bose’s Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 cost $500, and Apple’s AirPods Max cost $919.
The Momentum 4’s have gone through a complete redesign. Gone is the unique, metallic look of their predecessors – the Momentum 3’s – replaced with a design that’s a bit less interesting. They don’t look bad, but they lack originality, now looking like most of the other premium over-ear headphones.
But although they lack imagination and freshness, they’re significantly more functional. These are comfortable headphones; they’re light and sturdy, easy to use, and I didn’t have trouble wearing them for hours.
The touch controls are located on the right earcup. A single tap seamlessly toggles between play and pause, you can swipe left and right to skip track, up and down to adjust volume levels, and you can also ‘pinch’ gestures to control the active noise cancellation (ANC). It’s a huge step up from the Momentum 3’s, which relied on physical buttons and is more in line with what you’d expect from a premium pair of headphones.
I wasn’t a fan of the pinch for ANC input. This isn’t a turn-on/turn-off command; it flicks through different levels of transparency. This meant if I wanted to turn transparency mode on and listen to my surroundings, I had to pinch the headphones five or six times, and then once I was done, I would have to do it all over again to get to the level of ANC I wanted. In the end, I just did it in the app. Frustratingly, touch controls cannot be customised either.
I was also disappointed that there has been no improvement in the headphones’ audio cues to let you know what the input is doing. With the Sony WH-1000XM5 headphones, distinct tones play when turning ANC on/off, making it easier to know what mode you’re in. That is not the case here. It’s all the same tone.
The earcups aren’t anchored in the middle, so this means they can be rotated. They lie flat when storing them or wearing them around your neck.
Coming in two colours, Black and White, the Momentum 4’s are relatively bland. Our review set boasted the White colour scheme, and it’s the better of the two. The two-tone cream/beige look is sleek and stands out more than the Black arrangement.
The Momentum 4’s boast excellent sound quality. They produce a wide soundstage, enabling detailed, crisp and clean audio.
There isn’t a genre of music that they can’t handle. Rock tracks like Party Hard by Andrew W.K. sound gritty and loud, and hip-hop, like Pop the Trunk by Yelawolf, sounds punchy and bassy. The subs didn’t muddy the mix, and the Momentum 4s could generate bass that made the song bounce without distorting other sounds.
Similarly, less intense tracks like Sunny Monday by Booker T.& the MGs are clear and concise. You can pick out small details in the audio easily. The broad soundstage sounds massive. It’s excellent.
In the app, there’s an equaliser which allows you to get the audio sounding precisely as you’d like. You can create a Sennheiser account to utilise Sound Check, which will play audio prompts and allow you to select which sounds better. It’s an intuitive way of creating a custom preset without having to obsess over equaliser ranges and frequency sliders. There are some presets available as well.
The Momentum 4s also support multiple codecs like SBC, AAC, aptX and aptX Adaptive.
The ANC here is very good. While we didn’t find it as effective as the Sony WH-1000XM5’s, you’ll barely be able to tell the difference.
The Momentum 4’s will easily cancel out the sound of traffic on your commute, Airplane engine noise, and even someone talking next to you. The only times they struggled slightly was with low rumblings of a bus or train going past, but other than that, there were very few instances where we felt the ANC wasn’t up to the task.
All the features you’d expect from a premium set of headphones are also here. Transparency mode uses microphones on the earcups to pick up the outside world and play it into your ears. Sound Zones allow you to create zones that will automatically alter the sound preferences when you enter each area; for example, you could have a zone at the gym, at your office, at your house, it saves having to go into the equaliser whenever you change location. Sidetone allows you to hear your voice while on a phone call, making it feel more natural, and On-Head detection will pause the music if you take the headphones off and play it when you put them on. It all works well.
The Sennheiser Smart Control app is straightforward and easy to use. Everything you need is here, like an equaliser, firmware update alerts, ANC/transparency controls and more.
The battery capabilities here are market-leading. The Momentum 4’s last 60 hours at normal volume levels with ANC on. I listened to music closer to the 75% volume level and managed roughly 56 hours on a single charge. That’s massive, and it’s very impressive. To put that into perspective, the Sony WH-1000XM5, which tops our best over-ear wireless headphones NZ list, boasts 30 hours with ANC on, and Apple’s AirPods Max last only 20 hours.
You can quick charge the Momentum 4’s as well, getting four hours of playtime in five minutes of charging.
The Sennheiser Momentum 4 Wireless headphones have addressed their predecessors’ shortcomings and have become a significant player in the over-ear headphone market.
They offer clear and crisp audio, exceptional ANC, excellent comfort, and a brilliant 60-hour battery life, making them a compelling choice.
The design, though less unique than the Momentum 3 headphones, is functional, with intuitive touch controls. However, the pinch gesture for ANC adjustment could be more user-friendly. The audio quality is versatile and can handle various music genres effectively. The ANC is highly effective, and the headphones offer a range of useful features.
Overall, the Sennheiser Momentum 4 Wireless headphones are a top-tier choice for those seeking a premium wireless audio experience.