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Sennheiser's New Wireless Earbuds Up the Ante with Active Noise Cancellation

Sennheiser’s Momentum 2 wireless earbuds offer active noise cancellation and promise lengthier battery life.
Sennheiser’s Momentum 2 wireless earbuds offer active noise cancellation and promise lengthier battery life.
Photo: Caitlin McGarry (Gizmodo

Sennheiser’s Momentum True Wireless earbuds delivered one of the best audio experiences around when they debuted. But that was 2018. The competition to offer a premium audio experience in a pint-sized, long-lasting package has increased exponentially since in the year and a half since, with even Apple leveling up with active noise cancellation and sweat resistance in its newest AirPods Pro. Now Sennheiser is back with the Momentum True Wireless 2, which iterates on the original Momentum earbuds with lengthier battery life, slightly smaller size, and active noise cancellation in addition to the passive noise isolation we loved in the original Momentum earbuds.

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On paper, the Momentum 2 earbuds sound, well, perfect. Sennheiser packed in 7mm dynamic drivers; Bluetooth 5.1 and Qualcomm’s aptXTM for the best in connectivity and sound quality; and active noise cancellation with a transparency mode that can be activated either in the Sennheiser Smart Control app for iOS or Android or by pressing your earbud—and that’s all in a package that’s 2mm smaller than the previous generation. Sennheiser also increased the on-board battery life from four hours to seven, for a total of 28 hours when the buds juice up in their charging case.

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Sennheiser shaved 2mm off the second-gen Momentum earbuds, but they’re still bulkier than the competition.
Sennheiser shaved 2mm off the second-gen Momentum earbuds, but they’re still bulkier than the competition.
Photo: Caitlin McGarry (Gizmodo

I tested out the newest Momentums for a day, and they do sound amazing. I didn’t even fuss with the in-app equalizer, because the earbuds’ highs, lows, and mids are warm, clear, and well-balanced on their own. I couldn’t hear much of a difference between active noise cancellation toggled on and off when jamming to Fleetwood Mac with my TV blasting or when I ducked outside for a walk on a busy Los Angeles street, but we’ll have to test that more extensively. The Transparent Hearing setting works like a charm; I could easily hear the sound of passing cars.

The new Momentums are still a bit bulky for my liking, despite Sennheiser shaving a couple of millimeters off each bud. They fully stick out of my ears, which feels strange after wearing Jabra’s low-profile Elite 75ts. I had wished the Momentum 2 earbuds were sweat-resistant instead of the same IPX4 rating the originals offered, but after wearing them for a few hours, there’s no way I could take these things running. Size aside, they were comfortable to wear for the few hours of music and 20-minute phone call I squeezed in while testing. Sennheiser includes four tips to customize the fit, which should make the earbuds more appealing to more people.

Sennheiser promises 28 hours on a charge (7 hours in the bud itself and 3 additional charges in the case).
Sennheiser promises 28 hours on a charge (7 hours in the bud itself and 3 additional charges in the case).
Photo: Caitlin McGarry (Gizmodo
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Like the original Momentum earbuds, the new version offers touchpad controls that you can customize in the app, as well as Google Assistant and Siri integration (depending on whether you use Android or iOS). I found that the touch controls were a little sensitive in my testing—I kept accidentally triggering Siri simply by inserting the earbud, which was irritating.

The second-gen Momentum earbuds seem more like an iterative upgrade for audio purists than a grab for AirPods owners, which is fine. But for 299 euro (or what we expect will be $299 when the earbuds go on sale in the U.S. next month), Sennheiser’s earbuds have to be nearly perfect to be worth the splurge when there are so many other options to choose from. Stay tuned for a full review after we put the Momentum 2 through its paces.

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Consumer tech editor, Gizmodo.

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DISCUSSION

Tebow Kneeled First

Sadly I think my days of shit-talking the truly wireless fad might be over. You do have to admit that the first couple waves were crap, but now there are several offerings in the premium and budget space that do a pretty good job. I still don't like them much, but in paper at least these look pretty legit.