Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 3 vs. Sony WF-1000XM4: Which noise-cancelling earbuds are better?

The Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 3 earbuds are the company’s latest entry in its critically acclaimed true wireless series. It takes the Momentum True Wireless 2’s sound quality and enhances it with innovative audio customization tools, while also introducing adaptive noise cancellation for a more natural active noise cancellation (ANC) experience. Sennheiser even created an all-new design, which was awarded a 2022 Red Dot Design Award.

Nearly one year on the market and the Sony WF-1000XM4 remain the best wireless earbuds overall. Longer battery life, refined sound, stronger ANC, and unlimited features make it a favorable option. Sony’s commitment to upgrading these buds via software updates extends their shelf life — and then there’s the sexy redesign with optimal fit.

These are two of the most coveted models available, but only one can claim the true wireless crown. Which is it? Our in-depth comparison will answer that question.

Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 3 vs. Sony WF-1000XM4 specs

Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 3Sony WF-1000XM4 Price$249 $279 Wireless chargingYesYesProcessorNot statedSony V1Battery life (rated)6.5 hours (ANC on); 7 hours (ANC off); 28 hours (charging case)8 hours (ANC on), 12 hours (ANC off), 24 hours (with charging case), 36 hours (with charging case and ANC off) IPX ratingIPX4IPX4 Size and weight (buds)Not stated, 0.2 ounces1 x 0.8 x 0.8 inches; 0.2 ouncesSize and weight (charging case)2.7 x 1.7 x 1.3 inches, 2.34 ounces2.4 x 1.5 x 1.1 inches, 2.0 ounces Special features: Adaptive noise cancellation, aptX Adaptive, transparency mode, customizable EQ, Sound Check, Sound Zones, Anti-Wind ModeActive noise cancellation, transparency mode, Speak-to-Chat, customizable EQ, 360 Reality Audio, DSEE Extreme upscaling, LDAC, Bluetooth 5.2, tri-digital assistant support (Alexa, Google Assistant, and Siri), quick charging

Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 3 vs. Sony WF-1000XM4 price

Despite being the newer release, the Momentum True Wireless 3 carries a lower MSRP: $249. In fact, it launched at $50 less than its predecessors. Meanwhile, the WF-1000XM4 is the more expensive option at $279, though we have seen it on sale for as low as $248.

When considering brand reputation and functionality, both models live up to their value.

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Winner: Tie

Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 3 vs. Sony WF-1000XM4 design

(Image credit: Alex Bracetti/Future)

Sony went back to the drawing board when designing the WF-1000XM4, and we couldn’t be more grateful for the decision. These buds have an ultra-modern appearance highlighted by an oval shape with a protruding touch panel and a gold ANC mic housing on the front. They are solidly built, come with IPX4 sweat-and-water resistance, and rest firmly on the ears for decent comfort and fit.

Sennheiser gave the Momentum True Wireless 3 its own major facelift. Out goes the oval design for a more square-shaped one that covers and molds to the entire ear, providing an ergonomic fit for all-day comfort. The all-aluminum front with polished matte finish and debossed Sennheiser insignia are chic details. These buds also come IPX4 rated.

(Image credit: Laptop Mag)

What gives the Momentum True Wireless 3 the aesthetic edge? The charging case. Sennheiser’s signature woven fabric case looks and feels premium. In addition, the magnets are strong, keeping the lid shut tight and the buds docked in their charging slots. It even comes IPX4-certified.

Sony gave the WF-1000XM4 charging case a handsome redesign. It is essentially a smaller and lighter version of the WF-SP800N charging case, but with a longer LED on the front and gold logo on top. The smooth matte texture is a nice touch. As striking as it looks, you’ll receive more attention when pulling out the Momentum True Wireless 3’s case.

Winner: Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 3

Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 3 vs. Sony WF-1000XM4 controls

(Image credit: Alex Bracetti/Future)

Expect highly responsive controls from the Momentum True Wireless 3 and WF-1000XM4. Touch accuracy is spot on, registering every tap input and responding quickly to commands. Motion detection works well to enable auto-pause when removing one bud from your ears. Control customization can be done through the Sennheiser Smart Control or Sony Headphones Connect app.

(Image credit: Regan Coule/Future)

Sennheiser and Sony’s mic arrays are intelligible and snatch every syllable to execute voice commands correctly. The WF-1000XM4 does come with Google Assistant and Alexa integration, meaning you can fire up the AI bots by saying their respective wake-word phrase. Sony also made their other smart controls available: Quick Attention turns the volume down to 10% when you talk, and Speak-to-Chat uses mics and advanced signal processing to recognize your voice and automatically pause music.

Winner: Draw

Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 3 vs. Sony WF-1000XM4 active noise cancellation

Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 3 vs. Sony WF-1000XM4 (Image credit: Regan Coule/Future)

A three-mic array, smarter algorithm, and cool features like Anti-Wind Mode allow the Momentum True Wireless 3 to neutralize ambient sound at a high level adaptively. Noises across the frequency spectrum are tamed, specifically high-frequency sounds, which are barely audible. Any noises that seep into the soundscape aren’t distracting enough to pull you away from whatever is playing. The Transparency Mode is effective for letting in sounds and voices more clearly. We’re also fans of the Anti-Wind Mode which reduces the whisking effects produced in gusty conditions.

(Image credit: Regan Coule/Future)

Sony’s ANC technology is equally great and tames low-, mid-, and high-frequency sounds with ease. Engine rumble, iPhone ringers and obnoxiously loud co-workers are given the silent treatment. Blaring noises like crying babies and sirens may sneak in, but they’ll sound like background effects on music tracks. Ambient Noise Control is the differentiator in the category. Sony’s Transparency mode is exceptional, granting 20 levels of adjustable ambient noise to hear your environments with precision. Setting it at the max level allowed us to eavesdrop on conversations from 20 feet away and increased our awareness of oncoming traffic during nightly walks.

Winner: Sony WF-1000XM4

Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 3 vs. Sony WF-1000XM4 audio

(Image credit: Regan Coule/Future)

Sony has mastered sound in true wireless form. The WF-1000XM4 is exemplary. Having the new V1 chip under the hood helps reduce distortion and increase sound quality. The soundstage is wide and detailed, creating rich mids, compelling highs, and booming lows in the process. Bass has been brought down a smidge compared to past releases, but it remains tight and impactful.

Access to 360 Reality Audio allows for 360-degree sound, and though it only works with compatible hi-res music services (e.g., Tidal, Deezer), the results are convincing. Sony’s Digital Sound Enhancement Engine (DSEE) technology is stellar at upscaling lo-fi recordings and LDAC codec support ensures high-quality streaming over Bluetooth. Lastly, you get a customizable EQ with multiple well-engineered presets that cater to different music genres.

(Image credit: Alex Bracetti/Future)

The Momentum True Wireless 3 can’t compete with all of that, but it is a superb alternative for anyone who wants crisp, detailed sound. Sennheiser’s sound profile delivers full depth and great imaging. You’ll hear the subtle nuances in complex recordings. There is an EQ to create your own sound profile or select from six decently engineered presets. However, the best option for sound personalization is Sound Check, a new feature that tailors audio to your hearing via a listening test. Sound Zones is another feature you can play with to optimize an EQ setting (or noise cancellation) by adjusting audio to your location, and it works well. You’ll also get hi-res audio with minimal latency, thanks to aptX Adaptive.

Winner: Sony WF-1000XM4

Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 3 vs. Sony WF-1000XM4 app and special features

(Image credit: Regan Coule/Future)

There is plenty of extended functionality to be enjoyed on both models, but the WF-1000XM4 has too much under its belt. We already ran down most of its premium features. These include 360 Reality Audio, ANC, ambient listening adjustment, control customization, DSEE Extreme, Equalizer, LDAC, Quick Attention, and Speak-to-Chat. All of these can be activated through the Sony Headphones Connect app, along with several other perks like the Optimal Earbuds Tips test for determining the best set of tips for your ears.

The Momentum True Wireless 3 has its own set of serviceable features. Sennheiser’s Smart Control app is where you can access adaptive noise cancellation, control customization, Equalizer, Sound Check, Transparency Mode and Anti-Wind Mode — all of which were already discussed in detail.

(Image credit: Alex Bracetti/Future)

Neither app has a Find My Buds mode. However, the WF-1000XM4 is compatible with Google’s Find My Device app.

Bluetooth 5.2 operates fast and smoothly on these models. The range is higher on the Momentum True Wireless 3 (80 feet versus 40 feet), but the WF-1000XM4 comes with one-tap Google Fast Pair to expedite the pairing process on Android devices.

Winner: Sony WF-1000XM4

Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 3 vs. Sony WF-1000XM4 battery life

(Image credit: Regan Coule/Future)

The WF-1000XM4 isn’t just the longer-lasting pair of wireless earbuds. They’re also the fastest charging. Sony rates battery life at 8 hours with ANC on and 12 hours with ANC off. These playtimes drop by about 1 to 2 hours when factoring in high volume, special features, and LDAC. Either way, you’re given enough listening time per charge. We achieved 4 days of moderate listening before tossing the buds into the wireless charging case, which holds between 24 to 36 hours. And you won’t have to wait long to power up the buds since a 5-minute quick charge generates one hour of use.

(Image credit: Alex Bracetti/Future)

Sennheiser has battery life on the Momentum True Wireless 3 listed at 6.5 hours with ANC on and 7 hours with ANC off. Our testing proved those numbers to be accurate. This is sufficient for 3 to 4 days of use, and the wireless charging case holds an additional 28 hours when fully charged. Unfortunately, Sennheiser’s quick charging technology isn’t as strong as Sony’s: a 10-minute quick charge equals one hour of listening time.

Winner: Sony WF-1000XM4

Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 3 vs. Sony WF-1000XM4 call quality

Neither is a top-tier calling headset. If we’re choosing one to make voice or video calls in a pinch, it would be the Momentum True Wireless 3. The mics pick up vocals loudly and clearly, though you’ll only get this level of performance when in completely silent settings. Incidental sounds and wind can create serious background interference during mobile chats.

(Image credit: Alex Bracetti/Future)

(Image credit: Regan Coule/Future)

The WF-1000XM4 performs worse, producing muffle and pulling in lots of ambient sound, no matter the environment. Wind resistance has been improved from the previous version, but not by much.

Winner: Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 3

Overall winner: Sony WF-1000XM4

Sony’s commitment to delivering elite ANC and hi-fi, customizable sound is what makes the WF-1000XM4 the model to beat in the true wireless category. Anything you play on these buds will sound awesome, and noise cancellation is only second to the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds. The plethora of special features grants users so many ways to personalize the buds. Longer playtimes, smarter controls, and a sleek design complete this true wireless classic.

Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 3Sony WF-1000XM4 Value (5) 44Design (15)1412Controls (10)99Active noise cancellation (20)1819Audio (15)1415 App and special features (15) 1113Battery life (10) 89Call quality (10)65Total score (100)8486

Sennheiser put their all into making the Momentum True Wireless 3 nothing short of excellent. Mission accomplished. You’re getting audiophile-grade sound and some of the strongest noise cancellation out there. The redesign is also worthy of its Red Dot award. 

In the end, it all comes down to which model offers better performance in key areas: ANC, battery life, special features, and sound. That model is the WF-1000XM4.

Today’s best Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 3 and Sony WF-1000XM4 Wireless Earbuds deals


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