Skip to main content

Digital Trends may earn a commission when you buy through links on our site. Why trust us?

Sennheiser Momentum 4 Wireless vs. Sony WH-1000XM5

When we received the Sennheiser Momentum 4 Wireless, it seemed clear they took direct aim at Sony’s WH-1000XM5 and, by extension, the Sony WH-1000XM4. In fact, in our full Sennheiser Momentum 4 Wireless review, it was impossible not to draw a few comparisons between two of the best wireless ANC headphones you can buy right now.

Still, a direct comparison just had to be made. So below, you’ll find the two headphones ranked against each other in what we consider to be the most important categories of consideration when shopping for a new set of headphones. In the end, we hope you’ll know which is better for your needs.

Comfort

Momentum 4 Wireless

Though they don’t have an especially plush amount of padding on the underside of the headband, the Momentum 4 Wireless manage to feel extremely comfortable for long periods of wear. Between well-cushioned earpads, well-measured clamping force, and generally light overall weight, the Momentum 4 Wireless should curry favor with frequent fliers and anyone else who wears their headphones for extended periods.

Sony XM 5

The XM5 are the lightest yet in Sony’s vaunted XM series headphones and are generally considered sufficiently comfortable for heavy users, though perhaps not as luxuriously appointed as the Bose ANC 700. However, we have noticed that after several hours of use, we begin to experience a sore spot at the top of our heads.

Winner: Sennheiser Momentum 4 Wireless. Though both offer typical levels of comfort for the product category, we consider the Momentum 4 to be just slightly more comfortable than the Sony XM5.

Sennheiser Momentum Wireless 4
Zeke Jones/Digital Trends

Battery life

Momentum 4 Wireless

With around 60 hours of use with ANC per full charge, the Momentum 4 Wireless offer some of the best battery life available in a set of full-size ANC wireless headphones. We’ve not yet been able to fully test quick charging at the time of publication.

Sony XM 5

The XM5 offer roughly 30 hours of battery life per full charge with ANC turned on. While that number was once best-in-class, it’s starting to fall behind the competition. To their credit, though, the XM5 do offer around three hours of performance from just three minutes of charging, which is incredibly helpful.

Winner: Sennheiser Momentum 4 Wireless. Twice the total battery life made this an easy call for the Momentum 4 wireless.

Portability

Since both have similarly sized cases, and each folds down in roughly the same manner, there’s no real differentiation in portability.

Winner: Draw. Pretty standard stuff here.

Wireless connection

Momentum 4 Wireless

Equipped with Bluetooth 5.2, the Momentum 4 Wireless claim a range of roughly 30 feet and support AAC, AptX, and AptX adaptive codecs. In our experience, though, the headphones can easily exceed their claimed range with a clear line of site. We’ve managed to wander roughly 50 feet with line of sight from our source device before experiencing signal drop-out. It’s also important to mention that the Momentum Wireless 4 support Bluetooth Multipoint for connecting to more than one device at a time.

Sony XM 5

The XM5 are also equipped with Bluetooth 5.2 with a claimed range of roughly 30 feet. However, the XM5 support AAC and Sony’s LDAC codecs only, no AptX or AptX Adaptive support is included. Like the Momentum 4 Wireless, the XM5 often exceed their claimed range potential. They are also capable of Bluetooth Multipoint.

Winner: Draw. Though some may have preferences for codec support.

Sony WH-1000XM5 wireless headphones seen with a smartphone.
Simon Cohen / Digital Trends

Bonus features

Momentum 4 Wireless

Unlike the Sony XM5, the Sennheiser Momentum 4 Wireless don’t attempt to fold in a bunch of bonus features. Instead, they seem focused on delivering the most popular core functionality while maintaining a clear interface.

Sony XM 5

For the sake of brevity, we won’t enumerate the XM5’s long list of bells and whistles. One worth calling out, however, is the XM5’s automated transparency mode, which relies on sensing the user’s voice as a trigger. In most cases, this is a helpful feature, though occasionally it can make for an annoying experience. Fortunately, it is easily turned off in Sony’s accompanying mobile app. The XM5 also offer an auto-off mode and have a slightly more reliable auto-pause/play feature which engages when the headphones are removed or replaced on the user’s head.

Winner: Sony XM5. The XM5 have more bonus features. Whether that’s a net benefit will depend on the user.

Mobile app/controls

Momentum 4 Wireless

Sennheiser’s Smart Control app is fairly simple, but it’s also necessary to access some pretty key features. For instance, accessing ANC controls is only available through the app. Otherwise, it offers a very basic 3-band EQ, rudimentary call quality adjustment, Sound Zones for automated EQ and ANC presets, and a connection manager.

Sony XM 5

Sony’s  Headphones app offers a dizzying array of features and options. From battery level indicators to customizable ANC settings, a deep bench of EQ presets as well as custom EQ control, and Sony’s 360 Reality Audio options, which analyzes ear shape to optimize performance, the XM5 are simply better enabled with more control over more features. While this can seem overwhelming to novice users, it’s also easier to use the XM5 without ever downloading the app.

Winner: Sony XM5. The fact that you don’t actually need Sony’s app to access all the essential functions of the XM5 headphones may seem like a weird reason it wins. But that, paired with a litany of features not found with any other app, gives Sony’s headphones app the edge.

Noise canceling

Momentum 4 Wireless

Sennheiser’s noise-canceling tech has seen much improvement over the years, and as implemented in the Momentum 4 Wireless, you won’t hear much of the noise around you if you are playing music, movies, or podcasts at a reasonable volume. The exception to this is when the noise around you is especially loud, such as the roar of an airplane engine, or a loud lawnmower engine. Even then, the noise is quieted significantly, and effective enough to let the content you’re listening to take center stage.

Sony XM 5

When noise-canceling performance is isolated, the Sony XM5 are clearly superior. Without the aid of music, movies, or podcast content playing, the Sony XM5 do a better job of canceling out a broader range of noises. If you want the closest you can get to total silence, the XM5 are the headphones to get. Added bonus: Sony’s adaptive ANC feature is the most effective we’ve tested.

Winner: Sony XM5. Sony’s noise-canceling tech is the best in the business. If ANC is a priority, the XM5 just can’t be beaten.

Sennheiser Momentum Wireless 4
Zeke Jones/Digital Trends

Call quality

Momentum 4 Wireless

The Momentum 4 Wireless are very good for taking calls, with quality microphones on board to deliver your voice to the other end of the call very clearly. The Momentum 4 Wireless are best at handling indoor calls or calls in quieter environments, though, as they don’t isolate your voice from noises around as well as some competing headphones. With that said, the Momentum 4 Wireless have the most impressive wind-noise reduction system we’ve ever heard.

Sony XM 5

The Sony XM5 are excellent for calls, with ambient noise reduction among the best we’ve ever tested. If you want to make the party on the other end of your call believe you are in a quiet place, even when you’re in the middle of a racket of noise, the Sony XM5 will make that happen.

Winner: Sony XM5. While the Momentum 4 are perfectly suitable for calls and have the best wind-noise abatement we have ever heard, the Sony XM5 silence all noise around the user, offering a business-use benefit that just can’t be topped.

Sound quality

Momentum 4 Wireless

Sennheiser’s approach to sound quality is legendary and has generally curried our favor. Nothing changes with the Momentum 4 Wireless. Though these are definitely bass-forward headphones, the bass response is deep, tuneful, and punchy, without any bloat. The midrange is carried out with transparency, clarity, and ease, while the treble region is delivered with remarkable detail and articulation, while somehow still laying back a bit. The sound signature is an absolute joy to listen to.

Sony XM 5

Sony’s approach to sound quality isn’t exactly clinical, but it is formulaic and it’s a formula that works. Most folks will love the way the Sony Xm5 sound, with a sort of “in-your-head” presence that makes them fun to listen to.

Winner: Sennheiser Momentum 4 Wireless. The Sony XM5 sound great, but the Momentum 4 Wireless are just better.

Front view of man wearing Sony WH-1000XM5 wireless headphones.
Simon Cohen / Digital Trends

Price

Momentum 4 Wireless

The coming-out price for the Momentum 4 Wireless is $350, equivalent to that of the Sony XM4 at the moment.

Sony XM 5

The current price for the Sony XM5 is $400, which puts a $50 premium on them over the Momentum 4 Wireless.

Winner: Sennheiser Momentum 4 Wireless. Though you’ll get more with the Sony XM5, less expensive is less expensive.

Final verdict

This was a tight competition, but in the end, we think the Sennheiser Momentum 4 Wireless will likely be the better purchase for most folks. With superior battery life, better sound quality, and good-enough ANC and call quality, the Sennheiser Momentum 4 are hard to pass up already. Toss in a $50 price advantage, and the deal is sealed.

Though the Sennheiser Momentum 4 Wireless won more categories and may make more sense for more people, the Sony XM5 remain one of the most desirable high-end ANC wireless headphones you can buy. They have the best noise-canceling tech and call quality on the market and sound excellent. Plus, if you like bells and whistles, the Sony XM5 have more than just about any other brand. The Sennheiser Momentum 4 Wireless may make the most sense for the most people, but the XM5 are the superior headphones in many ways and will remain the darling of enthusiasts for a long time.

Winner: Momentum 4 Wireless. At the end of the day, the new kid on the block wins out.

Editors' Recommendations