I do like buying headphones and it’s something I don’t mind spending a bit of money on. I listen to a lot of music and a lot of podcasts and I value the isolation and immersiveness that a good set of headphones or earbuds can give. I also value the freedom that being wire-free offers. I use wireless headphones far more than wired because they're neater, tidier and often more comfortable.
Last year I bought some Sennheiser MOMENTUM Free on a trip to the US. They were fantastic. I’m no deep audiophile but I thought they sounded wonderful. They're small and lightweight and comfortable too. Unfortunately they went through the washing machine and now they’re in the bin. So I decided to replace them with their new true-wireless (no neck-cord) sibling, the Sennheiser MOMENTUM True Wireless. They were quite expensive and a bit of an extravagant purchase, but I felt like treating myself.
Over the last couple of months I’ve had a few little issues with them that I’d brushed off at the time, but this morning when I came to jot a few of them down in a tweet, I realised there were too many for Twitter. This needed a proper Pros and Cons list.
- Comfortable - they’re light and sit nicely in the ear.
- Secure - they don’t fall out, even during physical activity.
- Great sounding - with the active noise cancellation, they really do separate you from the outside world, but not in that way that makes you feel a bit weird and dizzy. Music sounds fantastic through them.
- The case is a bit bulky. Not really comfortable in the pocket.
- The earbuds themselves are quite large, but they are comfortable and light and if that bulk is because they house whatever fantastic equipment is making them sound great, I’ll let it slide.
- They were very expensive, especially when you consider the list below.
- Connection’s not great. I’m quite tall, but with the phone in my left front pocket, I lose connection when I turn my head to the right. I must have a dense collar bone.
- Touch controls mean you can’t put them in or out without either invoking Siri or hitting play.
- Double tapping touch controls taps the thing into your inner ear. If you have the digital dexterity to get two swift taps in the right place to carry out your intended action, it hurts your ear.
- You can listen with only one ear in, but only if it’s the right ear. Otherwise there’s no way of turning them on.
- If you do choose to listen with only one ear (the right one), you have no means of controlling playback from the headphones. Playback controls are enacted by taps on the left ear.
- Volume control is handled by long presses on either ear. Right ear for volume up, left for volume down. And if you’re only listening with one ear…
- I don’t know how to turn them off. Most of the time they auto connect and turn on when you remove them from the case and put them in your ears. Occasionally, for some reason, they don’t. On those occasions, they can be turned on with a long press on the right ear. How to switch them off though? No idea. Another long press will turn the volume to max. A long press on the other ear turns the volume down.
- Removing one ear (sometimes) pauses playback. It was only after about a month of use that I realised that works on proximity between the earbuds. If the earbuds are more than a head’s width apart, music will pause. Sometimes.
- If you remove both headphones at once and return them to their charging case without having separated them by more than the width of a large head, playback may not stop. On those occasions, connection and playback will continue inside the charging case - something you only become aware of the next time you take them out and both the earbuds and charging case are dead. So, placing the earbuds in their charging case will occasionally have the exact opposite effect to your intention. It will actively discharge all the things. This happened to me today and I had to walk to work in silence. SILENCE! I ended up just singing to myself.
I spent a lot of money on these things. I treated myself and I don’t feel bad about it. I read some reviews first and they were mixed, but I’d had good experiences with Sennheiser products before and took a gamble.
However, every single time I use these headphones, at least one of the cons listed above annoys me. It does not make for a great experience. In fact, I’d say that the great audio is massively outweighed by the absolutely horrible UX. My gamble did not pay off and now I’m either stuck using these and not being happy with them, or I’m going to have to start the search again and buy something that brings me joy.
Basically, I wouldn’t recommend buying the Sennheiser MOMENTUM True Wireless.