Hold on a moment

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The MOMENTUM 3 Wireless headphones from Sennheiser are the latest consumer offering from the audio manufacturer. My feelings towards them are mixed. If we were in a relationship on Facebook, I’d mark is as ‘It’s complicated’.

While initially you go: “oh sick, more noise cancelling headphones!” The more you use them, you realise there are a couple of flaws, but I’ll get to that later.

Audio quality is great and exactly as you’d expect from a Sennheiser product, I have no qualms there.

The headphones recommend you download the Sennheiser Smart Control app, which I did, to control the equaliser: bass, treble and all that jazz.

I would describe the feature as half-full bottle of snake oil. Yes, it definitely changed the sound of the music and that’s where the ‘half-full’/optimistic part comes from. But at the end of the day it didn’t change it considerably and it’s still a bottle of snake oil: it didn’t add enough to my experience to keep it on and I just went back to the preset setting.

For comparison, my 2001 Toyota Camry called Cameron has a wider range of lows than these headphones offered. That’s either a criticism to the MOMENTUM 3’s or a compliment to Cameron, read it how you want.

Side note: the app looks really pretty and the equaliser has a neat little design.

Connecting with Bluetooth or with the supplied AUX cord reminds me of the Swedish national flag – it’s a big plus. Its ability to go into stand-by mode when you put them down/around your neck is awesome and while I’ve only tested them at work, when I put them on in the morning, it picks up right where I left it the previous night. It solves the first-world problem of having to pick a song in the morning.

The biggest issue with the feature is that I’m a bit of a restless guy; I move around a lot when sitting at a desk and stretch my neck. Every single time I move my neck to the side enough to tilt the headphones, the Smart Pause feature the music as it thinks I’ve taken them off.

This sucks! Like big time sucks. I’m not the only one to experience this problem as reading other reviews, people have the same issue.

I was able to change this in the Smart Control app and no longer have the issue, but to do this I had to sacrifice the automatic pause feature.

The battery life is extremely long and the box says it lasts for 17 hours on a full charge. I haven’t timed it or tested with or without active noise cancelling (ANC) but I’ve only had to charge it once or twice in a couple of weeks and that’s never been an issue.

Speaking of ANC, the three modes are on, off and transparent. In reality it’s one mode of noise cancellation, one where they do their best impression of just run-of-the-mill over-ear headphones and one eavesdropping mode (transparent).

Imagine if you’re in Skyfall, one of the most recent James Bond films (the one where Adele sings), and you’re Q, meeting James in London’s National Gallery but you’re trying to keep a low profile. Having a transparent hearing mode would be perfect. Unfortunately all I can hear is what people are having for lunch.

I digress. While the automatic pausing when moving my head really hurts its value, the headphones are clearly high-quality, I’ve enjoyed wearing them and maybe someone who doesn’t move their head much or have as amazing a car stereo as I do will enjoy them more.

My final verdict is 8 out of 10. It loses a few points for the annoying head move/Smart Pause crap but it makes up for it with its great audio quality.

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Sean Carroll

Since joining ManSpace magazine and thanks to the 'In the Drink' section, I've progressed from a strictly Carlton Draught/ VB drinker to a Carlton Draught/ VB drinker that occasionally tries some super weird fruity things. I think we can call that progress.

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