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Hands-on review: Sennheiser, Apple & Beats wireless earbuds put to the test

18 Nov 2019
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Earbuds have become a necessity for those who have embraced the true wireless lifestyle, but which ones are the best? I looked at the Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless, Apple AirPods Pro and Powerbeats Pro to try and determine which of the three is the best.

Design

The three options have drastically different designs, so it is hard to compare them. The Sennheiser Momentum True wireless has a big round black circle that closes your ear off. The Apple AirPods Pro have the famous in-ear bud with the Apple stem. The Powerbeats Pro take a completely different approach, with an over the ear hook.

The cases for all three are also drastically different. The Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless has the nicest looking case of all three. It has a grey mesh finish that makes it look and feel luxurious. The AirPods Pro have a small and compact case. It is the only case that can fit in your pocket. The Powerbeats Pro case is my least favourite box, as it is too bulky.

Features

Active Noise cancellation, Transparency mode, ear fit, and processing chips are important features that make or break consumers’ choice.

In this category, the Powerbeats Pro takes a back seat and the Sennheiser Momentum and the AirPods Pro shine more.

Both the Sennheiser Momentum and the Airpods Pro have active noise cancellation and have a transparency mode. They both do a great job with the noise cancellation, however, the transparency mode on the Airpods Pro is a bit more natural.

 On the Sennheiser Momentum, transparency mode made me feel like I had super hearing.

All three types of earbuds come with different size tips to make sure that they fit all ear sizes. It is hard to choose which one is best, as it all depends on personal preference.

The rest of the features that separate the three earbuds are only relevant if you are using them with Apple products. The AirPods Pro and Powerbeats Pro are powered by the H1 chip that is produced by Apple. This gives them an edge over the Sennheiser Momentum as this chip allows for fast switching between Apple devices.

This was one of my only complaints with the Sennheiser Momentum, as once it is connected to one device, it is hard to connect it to another one. I had to make the earbuds forget my phone so that I could connect to my iPad.

Sound quality

Sound quality is the most important feature in an earbud. No matter how pretty an earbud is and how many features it has, if it doesn’t sound good then what is the point? All three earbuds actually sound good; however, they sound different.

The Sennheiser Momentum has a good overall sound. It has the best bass out of the three. It is not too strong or too weak and it doesn’t overpower the low notes. The Sennheiser Momentum also has a phone application with an equalizer, which allows users to play around with the sound and tailor it to their preference.

The Apple AirPods Pro have the best overall balance of the three. They have good highs, lows and mids, and they sound very well rounded. They do not try to focus on the bass or on the highs. They just produce the sound the way it was intended.

The Powerbeats Pro are also well rounded, but they have the strongest bass of all three. That is not something I personally prefer, but some people will enjoy it.

Battery

This is the only category where the Powerbeats Pro shine the most. On a single charge, the Powerbeats Pro last 9 hours of listening time. That is higher than any other earbud on the market. The case also provides an additional 15 hours of charge time.

The AirPods Pro come second in this category with 4.5 to 5 hours of listening time and an additional 19 hours with the case.

Sennheiser Momentum True wireless is not far behind with also 4 to 5 hours of listening time, but an additional 12 hours with the charging case.

Verdict

All three of these earbuds have their strong points that might convince you they are the one. If a cool case, good bass, and an equalizer app seem important, then Sennheiser Momentum True wireless are the ones for you.

If good all-around sound, easy connectivity to multiple devices and Siri reading your messages is what you are after, the AirPods Pro are the way to go.

If you are someone who travels a lot and doesn’t have access to charging points on a regular basis, or if you know you will forget to charge your earbuds most days, then the Powerbeats Pro are it.