Review: Sennheiser's True Wireless 3 earbuds deliver top quality, function and design

Sennheiser's Momentum True Wireless 3 earbuds
Can the German company's latest outperform Apple's AirPod Pros? Photo credit: Newshub

Sennheiser is known for delivering quality audio products and its previous True Wireless earbuds were very impressive.

However, it's been 18 months since they were last updated, during which time several competitors have been released and Apple's AirPod Pros have generally been my default choice.

Could the new Momentum True Wireless 3 earbuds deliver the quality and comfort to finally convince me to ditch my trusty AirPods?

I've been using Sennheiser's Momentum True Wireless 3 (TW3) earbuds for over a week now and here are my thoughts.

The good

When I first put the earbuds in my ears and cranked up my music I was a little disappointed in the sound quality. That's what happens when you don't follow the instructions and ensure they're fitted like they're supposed to - oops!

Once I had the best sized earbuds tips on and got them sitting properly in my ears, I understood exactly why the TW brand is considered so impressive.

The company's True Response transducer is based on dynamic 7mm drivers, which give a default sound that will please anyone who likes deep bass.

One of the indicators of quality is being able to pick out distinct instruments in tracks, and using a favourite album I haven't listened to in a while I was delighted to hear sounds I'd never heard before.

Kirsty MacColl's Titanic Days is a classic album, offering a diversity of styles and instruments. As I lay with my eyes shut, allowing the sounds to wash over me with these earbuds, I picked out oboe, cello and violin parts for the very first time.

It was actually very moving.

Sennheiser's Momentum True Wireless 3 earbuds
Photo credit: Supplied / Sennheiser

Being able to enjoy the experience is made easier by just how comfortable the earbuds are to wear. I had them on for up to three hours at a time and never felt the slightest discomfort.

During those hours, I went through a playlist of songs that covers just about every genre I enjoy; from the classic sounds of Max Richter, through to the heavy metal of Dave Grohl's new side project Dream Widow.

Aside from a little finessing using the in-app equaliser to adjust some of the levels slightly, I was able to just sit back, relax and enjoy the fidelity, quality and true sounds.

The app itself is comprehensive and one of the better earbud companions I've used.

There's a new sound personalisation feature for the TW3s that uses a listening test to personalise the sound based on an individual's hearing, which I definitely recommend trying out.

There are six different equaliser presets for various music types along with the ability to create and save your own.

And there's a Connections function that easily allows you to switch between devices with just a couple of taps. It's so much easier than going into the devices themselves to control Bluetooth connections.

You can also turn the Adaptive Noise Cancellation (ANC) on or off, or choose the 'anti wind' option, which comes in very useful in gusty Helensville to ensure my listening wasn't spoiled on windier days.

The ANC itself is pretty good, increasing and decreasing depending on the background noise.

It's not the very best noise cancelling I've experienced - I could still make out a slight drone of the air conditioning at work - but out in the streets I found it dulled the traffic sounds well enough to ensure I didn't miss a word of what I was listening to.

Sennheiser's Momentum True Wireless 3 earbuds
Photo credit: Newshub

One of the other functions I really like, but haven't fully explored yet, is the definition of sound zones.

By setting a location and radius, sound zones can change the noise control and equaliser as you enter or depart.

I got it working beautifully at home, setting ANC on when I left but turning it off when I got home so I could hear my partner talking without taking them out. I can also envisage setting up zones for the gym and work to get the sound just right for those environments.

Talking of gyms, the earbuds are IPX4 certified and, with a tight and comfortable fit, are perfectly suited for those who like to get their sweat on by pounding the treadmill.

I tried them running outside on uneven ground and never noticed any ingress of sweat and they never felt anything but completely secure.

Battery life is about what I've come to expect from these types of products, with Sennheiser saying you can get seven hours out of the earbuds themselves and a further 28 hours of charge in the case.

For me the battery life was never a concern. Three hours tends to be as long as I'll ever use a wireless pair before putting them back in their case, at which point they're juiced up.

As to the case itself, it's compact and covered in a fabric that sets it apart from others on the market.

I loved the finish and it fitted just fine in my pockets when the earbuds were in use.

Overall, it's an extremely impressive package of function, design and quality.

Sennheiser's Momentum True Wireless 3 earbuds
Photo credit: Supplied / Sennheiser

The bad

Aside from the time I spent to ensure these were fitted to perfection, there really wasn't much wrong with Sennheiser's new earbuds.

The biggest issue for me - and this holds true for a few other brands I've tried too - was the sensitivity of touch controls on the earbuds themselves.

As I headed off to Eden Park on Sunday to watch the Wellington Phoenix I got caught in an Auckland downpour. I pulled up the hood on my jacket and the earbuds went crazy.

Every time my right ear or left ear hit my hood, a touch was registered, stopping and starting audio, with constant beeping in my ears.

Suddenly I was very glad for the ability to disable the touch controls completely.

Sennheiser's Momentum True Wireless 3 earbuds
Photo credit: Newshub

It's great being able to do that - as is being able to define exactly what a single, double, triple or hold does on each earbud - but there is still something unsatisfying about not knowing if your intentions are going to be registered accurately or not.

I know when I've got these in for a morning run, I'm going to turn off the touch controls again, dare I skip a chapter in my audiobook by mistake. 

The verdict

Sennheiser has recently shown it continues to deliver high performance from its wired headphones and has now also done so with its latest earbuds.

It should be no surprise given the brand is consistently considered one of the best on the market in Aotearoa.

While the next iteration of its top of the range ANC earbuds don't exactly scream innovation, it's really hard to find fault with the little tweaks designed to improve the overall performance.

Sennheiser's Momentum True Wireless 3 earbuds
Photo credit: Newshub

Interestingly, the TW2 Anniversary Edition reviewed by Newshub back in 2020 started at over $500.

The price point is more competitive this time around, with the TW3s starting at $424.95, which is slightly under what you'd pay for AirPods Pro from Apple's website.

That kind of head-to-head is to be welcomed by consumers, and the performance you get for that price should be exceptional, whichever brand you choose.

If you're someone who likes more control over your sounds - and I've discovered I am - then the TW3 earbuds and associated app really offer everything you need, beating Apple's product in this regard.

Alas, my AirPods Pros seem as though they're about to be shelved.

If you're looking for a high-quality set of ANC wireless earbuds at a reasonable price then the TW3 earbuds could be the perfect choice.

They can be pre-ordered from today and will be available for purchase from 10 May, 2022.

Newshub was supplied with a set of Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 3 earbuds for this review.