(Pocket-lint) - We always love it when tech makers manage to one-up themselves by not just improving a product but also cutting its price, and Sennheiser has done just that with the Momentum 4 Wireless headphones.
This new version of its flagship headphones might not look as unique as before, but there are more changes than just its appearance to run through.
We've been tapping into all our favourite playlists, so read on to find out how we rate these Sennheiser cans.
While they might not be the most distinctive pair of headphones around anymore, we think most people will be more likely to enjoy the Momentum 4 than their predecessor.
For one thing, the huge jump in battery life to a whopping 60 hours makes for a big improvement, and the slight reduction in price also makes them more competitive.
The core attraction is still Sennheiser's excellent, balanced sound, and with solid ANC rounding out the package they're an extremely creditable set of high-end wireless headphones.
Sennheiser Momentum 4 Wireless
- More modern design
- Nice and comfortable
- Great balanced sound
- Very impressive battery life
- Less unique design
- Touch controls a little hair-trigger
A whole new look
- Redesigned without folding arms
- Fabric-finish headband
- Swivelling earcups to fold flat
The Momentum 3 had a look that was something pretty unique in the headphone market, with exposed metal and wiring making it an industrial standout compared to more muted options from the likes of Sony and Bose.
That's out of the window now, though - Sennheiser has gone back to square one and redesigned everything for the Momentum 4.
We asked why and the answer was simple - it believes more people want lowkey headphones than out-there options.
We can get behind that, too. In practice, wearing the black Momentum 4 we've got is simply a lot less self-conscious compared to the Momentum 3. Now you get a matte-all-over finish that's accented by a nice fabric on top of the headband which is basically the most unique design touch.
The changes mean that you can't fold the headphones up anymore, instead swivelling the earcups flat to fit them into the included carry case a bit like newer efforts from Apple and Sony. This is something that's clearly becoming more standard even if it's a slight hassle.
The headband is nice and soft-touch, and cushioned in a way we appreciate, while the earcups are similarly pillowy, without much of a pinch factor.
This makes longer listening sessions pretty comfortable from our testing.
The branding overall is in fact really restrained, so there isn't much to shout about the fact that you've got a fundamentally pretty fancy pair of headphones on - again, we like this shift, but some people may feel that it robs the Momentum 4 of some identity.
There's a sole button for powering on and entering pairing mode, while some LED indicators give you an idea of battery life and, beyond that, you just get a USB-C port for charging, along with a somewhat rare 2.5mm port for wired connections (with a cable included).
We're big fans of the redesign, in summary, with its subtle looks and anonymity serving a good purpose in the form of comfort and enhanced features that we'll delve into further down.
There's plenty of flex and cushion built into the Momentum 4 to make them a great fit for most people.
- 42mm drivers
- Active noise cancelling
- SBC, AAC, and aptX Adaptive codec support
Slipping the Momentum 4 on, the reassuring news is that Sennheiser's trademark rich balance is here, making for really impressive audio performance across genres.
Dipping into older tracks from The Jackson 5 or The Beach Boys and you get clarity that many headphones can't match, while punchier modern tunes from the likes of Daft Punk and Justice are able to crank the bass up nicely.
The default tuning is really balanced, making for great all-around listening, but some people may want to crank the bass up a little bit (which is easily accomplished thanks to a dedicated Bass Boost mode), according to taste.
You can easily amp things up if you have a phone that supports the likes of aptX Adaptive for less latency than ever, and higher sample rate tracks do indeed come through with better clarity and precision, although most people will still find that their standard Spotify tunes sound great.
It's a bit of an all-rounder, then, and that applies to the active noise cancelling (ANC) on board, which is solid if not outstanding. As usual, it's great for travelling on planes or trains, drowning out the background drones that can be so headache-inducing.
We still prefer the likes of Sony's WH-1000XM5 if ANC is your top priority, which has a more enveloping sense of isolation when its ANC is on, but Sennheiser is now in a large chasing pack that really isn't too far behind.
- 60-hour battery life
- Sennheiser Smart Control app for EQ
- Touch controls
Where the Momentum 4 makes up some real ground is on the features side, with one huge headline in the form of a 60-hour battery life that accounts for using ANC.
Most comparable high-end headphones manage around 30 at the most, so this is a really excellent showing and means that you can basically use the headphones throughout an entire work week without needing to worry about their charge levels.
Quick charging also means that a 10-minute power-up can get you six hours of listening, another great little touch that means you don't have to think about the battery all the time.
The headphones power on and off automatically if you don't use them for a short while but then pick them up, which is handy, and we found their on-head detection to be pretty solid for pausing music if we slipped them off to talk to someone.
One earcup houses a range of touch controls that some people will also welcome - tapping to play and pause works well, while you can also slide up and down to control volume, or left and right to answer or reject phone calls, for example.
At the moment you can't change these controls, but they've worked reliably enough for us to not need to.
That sort of customisation happens in the Smart Control app, which lets you also fiddle with your EQ settings to get sound profiles that are just right for your tastes, something that's always worth its weight in gold for audiophiles.
We're big fans of the trick Sennheiser has pulled with the Momentum 4, bumping up its features but cutting down the price - albeit to a still pricey level. They're fabulous headphones for those who want excellent, balanced sound with solid ANC and battery life that they can rely on all week.