Price: $349 / £299 / AU$549 (as tested)
Colors: Black, white
Battery life (rated): Up to 60 hours with ANC enabled
Connectivity: Bluetooth 5.2 (codecs: SBC, AAC, aptX Adaptive)
Water resistance: Not specified
Size: 7 x 7.67 x 1.82 inches
Weight: 10.3 ounces
Sennheiser's Momentum 4 Wireless headphones make a welcome new arrival to the top of the company's wireless over-ear headphone lineup. While we loved the classic styling of its predecessor, as a flagship model the Momentum 3 Wireless had subpar battery life for such a popular design along with some performance issues that prevented it from being a contender for the best noise cancelling headphones.
Thankfully, Sennheiser has addressed the performance issues highlighted in our Momentum 3 Wireless review, and the restyled Momentum 4 sets the battery life standard for wireless headphone makers everywhere to aim for.
Read our full review of Sennheiser's Momentum 4 Wireless to find out what's new and how this next-gen model performs.
Sennheiser Momentum 4 Wireless review: Price and availability
- Now priced at $379, but can be found discounted
- Available in black or white
Update: The Sennheiser Momentum 4 Wireless over-ear ANC headphones have increased from their original launch price ($349 / £299 / AU$549) to $379 / £309 / AU$579.
As with the Momentum 3 Wireless, the M4W is available in black or white finishes and comes supplied with a hard case with soft fabric cover, USB-C charging cable, 2.5mm-to-3.5mm audio cable, and an airplane adapter.
As Sennheiser's flagship wireless headphone model, the next-gen Momentum 4 Wireless is not without some strong competition. The $350 price tag is pitched less than I anticipated, which is a reassuring sign in these financially challenging times, and undercuts close rivals like the Sony WH-1000XM5 and Bowers & Wilkins Px7 S2 ANC headphones, which both have an MSRP of around $399. This does the Sennheiser no harm at all, and is already scoring highly in terms of overall value.
Sennheiser Momentum 4 Wireless review: Design and comfort
- Anonymous styling
- Slightly bulky design
For the Momentum 4 Wireless, Sennheiser decided to completely revamp its over-ear headphone design, replacing the eye-catching classic design of the Momentum 3 Wireless with a more mainstream look and feel. Gone are the leather and stainless steel headband that integrated as a slider for adjusting the earcups, and the vintage cool that made the over-ear Momentum 3 Wireless so instantly recognizable and appealing.
Instead, the redesigned M4W have a more anonymous look, but this is intentional as Sennheiser hopes that the less eye-catching design will help give the model a wider appeal — personally, though, I prefer the retro styling of the older model.
The new version looks a lot like the Sony WH-1000XM4, which could easily be the aim, but the M4W has less of a luxury feel than the Sony — it looks bulkier and has a greater clamping force on the head.
The M4W's headband is covered in fabric, while the padded underside (wrapped in what feels like a non-breathable rubberised material) is contoured with a central indent to aid weight distribution and improve long term comfort while it rests on top of your head. It was comfortable enough on my head, but I did notice some sweat spots on the underside of the headband if I hung the headset around the back of my neck following my brisk walks to the station on my morning commutes.
New headphone designs often major on being a little lighter, but the Sennheisers are actually a fraction heavier than the Sony WH-1000XM5, and about the same size and weight as their predecessor — weighing in at 10.3 ounces and measuring 7 x 7.67 x 1.82 inches. Nevertheless, comfort levels are pretty respectable thanks to the plush ear cushions, although my ears did tend to get hot after an hour or so or use, which could be uncomfortable for some during longer listening sessions.
The retractable arms sported by the new design work well. Getting the right fit with the earcups in the best position for my ears and the right comfort levels was easy. The new swivel hinge arrangement enables the earcups to sit perfectly on the ear as well as fold flat for stowing away in the supplied carry case.
Sennheiser Momentum 4 Wireless review: Controls
- Responsive touch controls
- On-ear detection
Sennheiser has ditched the physical push buttons that adorned the earcups of the Momentum 3 Wireless, and the M4W implements reliable touch controls instead. Functionality is confined to the right earcup where the interface handles Play/Pause and Next/Previous track playback controls, Volume Up/Down, Answer/End/Reject Call, and ANC. A single physical button on the side of the right earcup facilitates Power Off and Pairing.
A pinch zoom action with your fingertips on the touch pad adjusts the level of transparency without needing to go into the Sennheiser Control app. This was very useful, and allowed me to control the level of ambient noise on my train commutes without having to unlock my phone.
The touch controls are all reliably responsive and become intuitive to use after a very short amount of time. It's just a shame that the touch controls can't be switched to the left earcup, though, to accommodate those of us who are lefthanded. On-ear detection worked well, and connected automatically to my playback device. Although, I did find the sensors were a little too sensitive at times, and the headphones would auto connect and auto resume playback even when I was simply picking up the headphones to transport them around the house.
Sennheiser Momentum 4 Wireless review: Sound quality
- Dynamic and engaging sound
- Useful sound optimization controls and tools
The Momentum 4 Wireless are another fine example of the company’s commitment to elite-sounding headphones. As with the preceding M3W, it uses a 42mm (around 1.7 inches) dynamic driver in each earcup to deliver Sennheiser's signature sound, with strong bass levels and balanced mids and highs.
There are multiple EQ presets to choose from, plus an option to create your own using a three-band equalizer. There's also the facility to create Sound Zones that automatically adjust the earbuds to a preset sound output relative to a particular location using your phone's personal tracking features. There's also a new personalization mode that guides you through alternative sound options to hep you choose the sound output that's right for you.
Sennheiser's sonic signature is geared towards a balanced sound across the entire frequency range, but that doesn't mean that it can't deliver big bass beats when it needs to. The pounding bass line of Big Data's "Dangerous" or Dua Lipa's "New Rules" streamed via Tidal shows how the Sennheisers are just as happy with big energetic tracks, as they are with more melodic and mellow-sounding tunes by the likes of Gregory Porter.
The sound of Gregory Porter's velvety vocal on "Mona Lisa" is delivered with just the right amount of richness and expression. There's oodles of dynamic energy on board too to get your head nodding and toes tapping along with the bass line of both the Dua Lipa and Big Data tracks. Vocals sound entirely believable and are right at the fore of the soundstage.
Treble details are perhaps slightly curtailed for my liking, but I found turning up the high frequencies a couple of notches on the three-band EQ lifted the sense of detail and presence, and added more space around the performers to my ears.
Sennheiser Momentum 4 Wireless review: Active noise cancelling
- Good sense of passive isolation
- Effective ANC performance
- Top-notch wind noise reduction
The level of natural noise isolation from the over-ear design of the Momentum 4 is good to begin with, thanks to the way the cushioned earcups enveloped my ears. Simply wearing the headphone with nothing connected reduced the overall level of background noise quite significantly even before ANC was activated, but some low frequency sounds manage to get through.
Sennheiser says that there's 1 outer mic on each earcup and 2 mics inside the earcups that analyze the level of background noise getting through. The Momentum 4 Wireless uses adaptive technology to automatically adjust the level of noise cancelling to your surroundings. It didn't affect the overall sound quality or frequency balance, and I was totally unaware of the technology having any impact on my listening except to keep me utterly absorbed in whatever music I was listening to.
You can set the level of transparency mode to enable you to hear external sounds while you're out and about without removing your headphones, which aids safer levels of awareness while listening as well as help to ensure I didn't miss any platform announcements and changes while waiting at the station.
With Wind Noise Reduction set to Auto, there was no disruption or intrusion to my listening on windy train station platform. Wind Noise Reduction can also be disabled or set to Max.
Overall, the ANC performance is very effective, but not quite up to the superior ANC standards achieved by top models like the Bose 700 and Sony WH-1000XM5.
Sennheiser Momentum 4 Wireless review: Control app and special features
- Firmware updates are slow
- Unreliable Smart Control app connectivity
On downloading Sennheiser's Smart Control app to my iOS mobile, a notice appeared indicating that the headphones required the latest firmware. It took around 21 minutes to download and update, which felt frustratingly slow given that I was eager to start listening. Also, there wasn't much of a sense that the download was progressing, which didn't feel particularly reassuring.
Once installed with the latest firmware, the Bluetooth wireless connection was restored but the app maintained that I wasn't connected so I carried out a factory reset and downloaded the firmware once again. On the second attempt, the app was just as indecisive and would regularly say that the Smart Control app was disconnected from the Momentum 4 headphones, despite that fact that I was playing music wirelessly from my phone via a music streaming app. This idiosyncratic behaviour didn't warm me to the Sennheiser app, and I was often unable to access the app’s useful controls.
Sennheiser Momentum 4 Wireless review: Battery life
- Claimed 60 hour battery life with ANC
- Impressively fast 2-hour recharge time
The headline feature of the Momentum 4 Wireless is the 60 hour battery life, which Sennheiser claims is achievable even with ANC fully enabled. This is exceptionally high for a headphone of its type, and by comparison outperforms the Sony WH-1000XM5 by some 30 hours. In fact, the Sennheiser Momentum 4 Wireless has the longest battery life of any pair of noise-cancelling headphones we've ever encountered.
This is a considerable step up on playback time over Sennheiser's predecessor, too — that promised 17 hours, but gave less when ANC was enabled. How the company has managed to increase battery life so dramatically isn't discussed, but the possibility of only ever needed to charge these headphones every couple of weeks at most (or once a month if you listen for just two hours a day) will make them very desirable for commuters and business travelers.
Even when you do need to recharge it's pretty rapid, taking just 2 hours from empty to fully charged, while a 5 minute charge claims to give up to 4 hours of playback time.
Given that I received this review pair of headphones less than a week ago, I haven't yet been able to do enough listening to fully deplete the battery and check out the claims. So far, the headphones have been used for a couple of hours a day, and the battery indictor is still showing that it has 70 percent capacity remaining. I'll keep tracking its capacity over the next few weeks and update this review once I have an accurate picture of the battery life capacity. Keep this page bookmarked to see my findings following our real world testing.
Sennheiser Momentum 4 Wireless review: Call quality and connectivity
- Effective call quality
- Useful Sidetone adjustment
Calls on the Momentum 4 were satisfactory for the short call periods I tried them out for. Sennheiser uses two beamforming mics to reduce noise on each earcup, and the volume level was satisfactory during the conversations I tried, from both ends of the line. The Sidetone adjustment turned out to be a useful additional facility, enabling me to tweak the level of voice feedback to my ears so that I didn't raise my voice and speak too loudly while the headphones were clamped either side of my head.
These are one of the few models of headphones to use Bluetooth version 5.2 and codec support runs to SBC, AAC and aptX Adaptive, but there's no aptX Lossless or LDAC support for hi-res audio content. Although the Bluetooth range isn't claimed, the Sennheiser remained stable without any dropouts as I moved around the house.
Sennheiser Momentum 4 Wireless review: Verdict
While the Sennheiser Momentum 3 Wireless moved things on but wasn't a game-changer, these next-gen Momentum 4 Wireless headphones up the stakes considerably. The new design isn't going to make the M4W stand out from the crowd, but the 60-hour battery life majorly ups the standards for the sector and is the one to beat. Add in the easy-going Sennheiser sound and effective noise cancelling, and the Momentum 4 looks like the most practical wireless headphones we've seen, perfectly built for a life on the road rather than tethered to a mains socket regularly needing battery top ups.
Only the slightly buggy connectivity with the Smart Control app lets these headphones down, which often doesn't feel nearly as smart as the name suggests. With all the extra functionality it brings once you do get connected to the app, it would be churlish to give the Momentum 4 Wireless anything less than an Editor's Choice endorsement at the price.