Sony's had another year to survey the market and has launched its successor to the WH-1000XM3s with the WH-1000XM4s, which were already competing against Sennheiser for the best noise canceling headphones. This could be a battle of the headphones with bad names, but how well do these new cans stand up against the Momentum Wireless 3s?
Sony WH-1000XM4 vs. Sennheiser Momentum Wireless 3 The battle is closer than you may think
There has been a lot of fanfare around the release of the WH-1000XM4 headphones since their predecessor was so strong. However, if you're in the market for some new over-the-ear cans, there are a lot of great options. That includes the Sennheiser Momentum Wireless 3 headphones, which launched late in 2019.
To be clear, this is not the first foray into Bluetooth wireless headphones that Sennheiser has made, although it's the most iterative of the series. Sennheiser's primary focus has been on the sound quality of its headphones, but that means other features have lagged behind. Sony has always checked off more boxes than Sennheiser, and that remains true with the WH-1000XM4.
However, let's dig in to what they both have in common. They both of these headphones have active noise cancelation, quick charge capabilities, a foldable design, NFC, and an ambient sound mode.
|Sony WH-1000XM4||Sennheiser Momentum Wireless 3|
|Weight||8.95 oz||10.72 oz|
|Active Noise Cancelation||✅||✅|
|Battery Life||30 hours (ANC on), 38 hours (ANC off)||17 hours|
|Quick Charge||10 minutes provides 5 hours of playback||10 minutes provides 1.5 hours of playback|
|Audio Codecs||SBC, AAC, LDAC||SBC, AAC, aptX, aptX Low Latency|
|Ambient Sound Mode||✅||✅|
|Multi Device Connection||✅||❌|
Both Sennheiser and Sony have released accompanying apps for your mobile devices, giving users more control over things like the noise cancelation, EQ levels, and more. The awesome thing about both of these apps is that they will make sure you are properly wearing the headphones to ensure maximum comfort along with getting the best noise cancelation possible.
The Momentum Wireless 3s did beat Sony to the market by offering a built-in wear detection sensor. However, this is one of the new features on the WH-1000XM4s, making it so you can just take off one of the ear-cups and pause whatever you're listening to.
With either the WH-1000XM4s or Momentum Wireless 3s, you won't have to worry about much when it comes to being dated. NFC is onboard with each option, making the pairing process extremely easy — just tap your the back of your phone and get paired up. There's also USB-C for charging on both, which should just be the standard at this point.
Sony WH-1000XM4 vs. Sennheiser Momentum Wireless 3 Lighter with new features, or better overall sound quality?
Sony has already arguably been holding the crown for being the best headphones with active noise cancelation (ANC). So it would only make sense for the Sony WH-1000XM4s to see this improved, as Sony focused more on higher frequencies. But Sony also attempted to improve the general audio quality of its Bluetooth cans with slight improvements to the audio processor. Pairing up with the DSEE Extreme engine, Sony aims to provide better audio quality for audio that tends to get digitally compressed too much.
Audio quality is where the Momentum Wireless 3 excel, even almost a year later after its release. Sennheiser has always been one of the industry leaders for hi-fi headphones, and with the company's latest Bluetooth offering, it seems that it has almost caught up to its wired brethren. While it's true that Sony included support for the LDAC audio codec, this is something that Sennheiser already had. But the biggest benefit in audio fidelity are the included aptX, aptX HD, and aptX Low Latency codecs. Sure, these are proprietary codecs, but if you just want the best of the best, Sennheiser takes the cake here.
Sennheiser packs all the right audio codecs to provide a superior listening experience.
One facet that gives Sony another nod is the price. The WH-1000XM4s retail for $350, while the Momentum Wireless 3 retail for $400. This is not a lot of money when you're looking for some headphones that will be used practically every day, but the truth of the matter is that it's enough of a difference to make you take a step back and think again before making a final decision.
Battery life when it comes to the Sony WH-1000XM4 vs. Sennheiser Momentum Wireless 3 is pretty much a no-contest. Sony's offering provides up to 30 hours with ANC enabled or 38 hours hours without ANC. Sennheiser, on the other hand, comes in at just 17 hours, which is rather dismal.
Another big benefit of the WH-1000XM4s vs Momentum Wireless 3 is the multi-device connection support from Sony. Users will finally be able to pair the WH-1000XM4s to two devices at the same time, and have the audio switch seamlessly between the two. If you're listening to music on your computer during the day, and a phone call comes through, the WH-1000XM4s automatically switch to your phone and then switch back after the call has been completed. This is a game-changer and should be a feature for every major Bluetooth headphone released in the future.
The weight difference alone could make the WH-1000XM4s the best pick.
Finally, and this is potentially the most important aspect outside of noise cancelation and extra features, is weight. The WH-1000XM4s are much lighter than the Momentum Wireless 3s. On paper, it may not seem like a big deal that Sony's headphones are almost 2 ounces lighter, but after wearing headphones that weigh almost 11 ounces and then switching, you may forget the WH-1000XM4s are even there. This has to do with the primarily-plastic build from Sony, while the Sennheiser has a more industrial design. Nonetheless, if you're working from home or just wear your headphones for long periods of time, this is definitely something you'll notice.
At the end of the day, it comes down to the feature-set and noise cancelation prowess of Sony's WH-1000XM4s or the superior audio quality and codec support from Sennheiser. Sony has just done too much with the WH-1000XM4s , even for a seemingly-iterative update to make this a clear win versus Sennheiser.
Feature-packed and familiar
The best headphones get better
The Sony WH-1000XM4s pack quite a punch in all the areas that should matter to you. From the best noise cancelation to a lighter design and more features, these are the headphones for almost everyone.
Come for the audio quality
Sennheiser Momentum Wireless 3
Outside of audio quality, these fall short in too many areas
Sennheiser Momentum Wireless 3 headphones are quite solid in many areas, and really good with audio quality, but fall short in terms of features. If you prioritize audio quality above all else, these are the best options.
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