Sennheiser Momentum 4 Wireless review: Reversing the trend
Sennheiser launched its latest Momentum 4 Wireless comes armed with 60 hours of battery life, a sleeker design, and multipoint Bluetooth support. The over-ear headphones even undercut the top models in price. I have summarized just how good the new headphones are in a review after spending a few days with it.
- Excellent sound quality
- Ultra-long battery life (60 hours)
- Effective ANC
- Multipoint Bluetooth connectivity
- High wearing comfort
- Most parts are made from plastic
- Controls are a bit complicated
- No 3D audio support
- 2.5mm instead of 3.5mm cable
The Sennheiser Momentum 4 in a nutshell
With the new Momentum 4, Sennheiser has aligned itself a bit more to current trends and released an excellent pair of headphones in the process. Slapped with a sticker price of $349.95, the new Momentum offers very good sound quality, effective and adaptive ANC, and an ultra-long battery life of 60 hours. There is no lack of features and multipoint Bluetooth connectivity is also included.
However, the Momentum 4 lacks the value we've come to expect from its predecessors. Metal elements have been replaced by plastic, and the design has been adapted to suit current trends. Other annoying factors are the unusual 2.5 mm jack, strong wind noise in transparency mode, and a less than optimal sound quality of the microphones.
Thus, the Momentum 4 Wireless is a very good pair of Bluetooth headphones, but they do not quite fit Sennheiser's classy image. The fact that the manufacturer is shifting production to China might also upset the brand's fans and is the cause of some of my criticisms. That's simply too bad!
Design & comfort: Simpler with more plastic
The Momentum 4 Wireless resemble its predecessor only very slightly. This is because Sennheiser bade farewell to the two-column metal earpieces and replaced them with plastic. While the headband is covered in a chic fabric, the ear cups are made of artificial leather. Weighing in at 293 grams, the headphones come with a carrying case.
What I liked:
- High wearing comfort
- Simpler design than its predecessor
- Very quick reactions to input
What I disliked:
- A lot of plastic for the price
- Operation is not well explained
NextPit reader Tim already complained about the new design in the comments section under the previous design leak for the Momentum 4 Wireless - and I have to half agree with him. Personally, I liked the sleeker look, which is more in line with the other currently available models at online stores. On the other hand, the Momentum 4 lacks character and, much worse, quality.
That's because the Momentum 4 is made entirely of plastic, which is a shame at a price of over $350. The thing that bothers me the most would be the headband, since headphones are known to experience the most amount of stress where this part is concerned. Adjusting the size seemed to be a relatively smooth and stable experience, but I am still worried about the wisdom of using plastic in the long run. Metal would therefore be a far more appropriate option.
One reason for this could be hidden in the specifications sheet that Sennheiser sent us. There, it states that the Momentum 4 is "Designed in Germany, Made in China". This is a very curious thing to say, as Sennheiser stated on its website that its products would be produced at three locations: in the U.S., Germany and Romania. Apparently, the manufacturer has moved the production of its new headphones to China. I have already asked Sennheiser for a statement on this matter and am still waiting for a reply.
Still, the wearing comfort is very high. The new fabric element on the headband not only reminds me of the charging case on the Momentum True Wireless 3 I reviewed the other day, it also feels nice. The headphones fit perfectly on my ears and are not uncomfortable even after several hours of wear.
However, I felt quite confused when it came to operating it, which worked via the right earpiece on the Momentum 4. There is a brief introduction through a sticker that depicted volume, forward and backward as well as start/stop controls. However, I had to find out for myself that I can also deactivate the noise transparency mode via a double-tap gesture and that the battery level can be announced by a press-and-hold gesture. I still do not know how to control voice assistants, as such a feature was promised in the specifications sheet.
App & convenience functions
You can control many features of the Sennheiser Momentum 4 Wireless via the Smart Control app. Your smartphone remains connected via Bluetooth even when you are using other devices. The comfort features include smart wearer recognition, a mode that lets your own voice through, sound zones, equalizers, a sound check to create your own equalizers, and others.
What I liked:
- Pretty companion app that serves as a control center
- Multipoint Bluetooth with up to two devices
- Sensible comfort functions
What I disliked:
- No 3D audio or other "wow factor" features
- Equalizer still does not function in the pre-production model
Sennheiser's Smart Control app is one of the nicest companion apps I know. With the Momentum 4 Wireless, it once again becomes the control center with which you can even control its connection to other devices. Your smartphone will always remain connected via the low-energy Bluetooth profile, so you can control functions even when using other devices. The equalization settings are supposed to be transferred in the process.
Unfortunately, adjusting the equalizers had no effect on our review unit. However, it is a pre-production model and I guess the problems will be solved by the time the headset is officially launched. The Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 3 did not have such issues. Here, both the equalizers and creating custom sound profiles via selecting settings that sound better to you worked flawlessly.
What the Smart Control app does very well is in managing Bluetooth devices. This is because Multipoint Bluetooth actually only works with two devices - but you can easily switch between additional devices via the app. This works well, and anything that keeps me away from annoying Bluetooth menus in the operating system is a positive point in my books!
As comfort features go, Sennheiser places an intelligent wear detection in front. Compared to other headphones, this is primarily much more responsive and reacts almost instantaneously when you remove the Momentum 4 from your ears. In addition to the automatic pause function, the headphones automatically turn off after 15 minutes of inactivity. This is a function that you can deactivate via the app.
Also entering familiar territory with other Sennheiser headphones are the Sound Zones, which allow you to automate settings based on location. For example: I want to respond to my colleagues' questions in the office and the Momentum 4 Wireless automatically activates the transparency mode on site. This is a practical feature, but one that requires you to permanently share your location.
However, when trying out the Momentum 4 Wireless, I found it lacking a certain wow effect overall, which can be found in the AirPods Max or the WH-1000XM5 from Sony. Both models offer 3D audio that works via head tracking. Such comparable features are not yet available from Sennheiser.
Sound & ANC: It's getting close to Sennheiser territory!
The Sennheiser Momentum 4 features 42mm dynamic drivers that cover an impressive frequency range of 6 hertz to 22 kilohertz. SBC, AAC, aptX, and aptX adaptive are supported codecs, which are then transmitted via Bluetooth 5.2. Adaptive ANC is also on board, which you can mix with the transparency mode manually if desired.
What I liked:
- Very high sound quality
- Very good ANC
- Solid Bluetooth codec support
What I disliked:
- 2.5mm jack
- Strong wind noise in transparency mode
Even when reading the technical specifications aloud, Sennheiser's Momentum 4 sounds good. The high-frequency range should open up a wide sound spectrum, which you can adjust to your preferences using the intuitive sound profiles. Even though the equalizer function did not work yet in the review, it sounded convincing during the initial listening tests.
The Momentum 4 sounds clean and punchy across all frequencies. That means you can perceive clear trebles that are not drowned out by muddy bass. At the same time, the bass penetrates enough to discover that undiscovered organ in your cerebellum that releases happy hormones at low frequencies. The Momentum 4 sounds fantastic and can be played using high-quality audio material.
For this, you use the Bluetooth codecs aptX and aptX Adaptive under Android, which are supported by most smartphones. Apple users have to trust that AAC is sufficient or to take the wired listening route. Unfortunately, Sennheiser takes its cue from Bose here and installed a 2.5mm jack on the headphones. The matching cable, which ends at 3.5mm on the other end, is included. However, the use of this rather rare connection is still annoying. This is especially so as the cables are usually extremely thin and do not really look robust.
The ANC of the Momentum 4 is on par with the Sony WH-1000XM4 in my opinion. Ambient noise is filtered out evenly, so there are no dropouts when sudden sounds like car horns or clapping occur. The noise-canceling is adaptive, which means that it actively adjusts to your ambient noise.
If this is too much for you, you can mix it with a transparency mode. This is instantaneous enough to give the impression that you don't have headphones on. Only wind noises affect the transparency mode, because they are transmitted to your ears as a scratching sound.
Your voice is also forwarded when you activate the sidetone mode. What sounds strange is ingenious in practice. Because talking on the phone with ANC headphones is unnatural and exhausting without such a feature. Without actively wanting it, you will otherwise talk louder as you try to fight against the ANC. If you want exactly that, you can regulate the strength of the voice passthrough again.
The integrated microphones are well suited for making calls. During a conversation on the open road, the other party could hear me very clearly. However, the headphones had to admit defeat to the microphones in my MacBook Air in the audio test. Listen for yourself!
Battery: More is hardly possible
The Momentum 4 Wireless lasts for a whopping 60 hours with active music playback enabled. The manufacturer specified this as "in combination with an iPhone" and "at medium volume". In addition, there is Quick-Charging support and wired connectivity, where the headphones can be used even with an empty battery.
What I liked:
- Everything about it!
What I disliked:
In the Quick Charging section, I'll summarize my opinion of the Momentum 4 Wireless' battery for you: 60 hours of battery life is realistic after spending a few days reviewing it, and that's really long lasting. If you listen to music for eight hours every workday, you'll still have 20 hours of battery life left for the weekend.
Thanks to Quick-Charging, you can recharge the battery for up to six hours' of battery life within ten minutes. Alternatively, you can also use the headphones when it runs out of juice. More is simply not possible!
After reviewing the Momentum 4 Wireless, I am truly torn. The headphones offer excellent sound quality, great ANC, and great battery life. This is a clear recommendation for anyone looking for reliable and high-quality headphones. It surely deserves a place as a candidate in my list of the best Bluetooth headphones.
However, the fourth generation of the Momentum wireless series also represents a turning point. That's because Sennheiser is lowering the price a bit, but forgoing high-quality materials on essential components of the headphones. Not that other manufacturers haven't followed this trend - but they're not Sennheiser. A company that won its customer base with high-quality products should value these features, because customers do just that.
How durable the Momentum 4 Wireless are cannot be judged within a short period of time spent with it. However, with China as the production country and the liberal use of plastic, this combination leaves a bland aftertaste. After all, what sounds like Sennheiser feels more like many generic Chi-Fi headphones without branding than ever before. And that's a shame if you value just that little bit of luxury ...
... if not, the Momentum 4 Wireless is awesome - I give it 4.5 stars! 😌