If you’re looking for a pair of wireless earbuds that offer a bit more style, better sound, or more advanced features than the ever-popular AirPods, you’ve probably had your eye on the Sennheiser’s Momentum, Klipsch’s T5 True Wireless, or Sony’s noise-canceling WF-1000XM3.
These three pairs of headphones each take a different approach, whether aiming to be the most stylish, the most feature-packed, or the best-sounding of the bunch. Read on to see how they stack up against each other, and let us help you decide which are the best for you.
Design and fit
This is one category where we think there is a clear loser, but not because there’s a terrible-looking pair among them. The Sony WF-1000XM3 are simply bigger and bulkier than the models from Sennheiser and Klipsch, with big, oval-shaped outer sections that resemble classic Bluetooth headsets. Because of their bulk, Sony’s charging case — a sleek blend of copper-colored metal and plastic — is a bit large as well. That said, we like the understated, business-class exterior of the headphones and the case, even given the size.
The Sennheiser Momentum come in a close second in this category, due to their more compact design and beautiful, fabric-covered charging case. The headphones are sleek and classy looking, with clean silver accents and a simple, ergonomic design that slips into your ears with ease.
The sexiest of the bunch are the Klipsch T5 True Wireless, which come in a gorgeous, Zippo-shaped charging case. Inside the brushed-metal case, the headphones feature a very similar design to the Sennheiser buds. The one flashy bit that some have found divisive is the art deco-style Klipsch logo on the outside of each earphone — something we find beautiful, but some dub ostentatious. To us, the 1940s-style script is a reminder of the classic American audio brand’s heritage, and we love the copper color for a stylish accent.
Winner: Klipsch T5 True Wireless
Features, controls, and battery life
There’s no competition in this category: The Sony WF-1000XM3 are easily among the most technologically advanced true wireless headphones we’ve tested so far, and our favorites in that class. Marquee features include noise-canceling, touch controls, and sensors that will automatically play and pause music when you remove them from your ears, like the AirPods.
They offer 6 hours of battery life with noise-canceling on (an hour better than the new AirPods), and 24 hours total in the case, bumping up to 8 hours and 32 hours respectively without cancellation. That, plus an excellent app that lets you control everything from equalization to the amount of ambient sound you want to pipe in using the headphones’ advanced microphone system make these a clear winner.
One thing the Sony model doesn’t offer that the others do? Sweat-proofing. Sony’s headphones aren’t IP rated, where the Sennheiser and Klipsch models both have IPX4 ratings, which means they are splashproof and should fare better at the gym.
It’s also worth noting that the Klipsch also have impressive battery life (8 hours per charge). Sadly, in terms of features, we’d rank the Sennheiser Momentum the lowest — they’ve only got 4 hours of battery life, and both the Sony and Klipsch feature the ability to use each bud individually, where the Momentum do not.
Winner: Sony WF-1000XM3
The Sony and Klipsch models both sound fantastic, with a warm lower midrange, lots of detail up to, and a slightly scooped center that does well to separate guitar, keyboards, and strings. But if you’re looking for the best-sounding true wireless earbuds, there is a clear king: The Sennheiser Momentum.
Fantastic detail and an extremely balanced sound profile make the Momentum the high water mark when it comes to fidelity from wireless in-ears, beating both the Sony and Klipsch in our head-to-head battle, largely due to their impressive soundstage. Every one of our favorite tunes sounded a bit more vibrant and lifelike with the Momentum than the other two — though we did like the ability to adjust EQ settings inside the Sony Connect app, and all three pairs sound quite good.
Winner: Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless
This is a rare head-to-head (to head) in which we cannot claim there is a clear winner. What you should buy depends on what you value most in a pair of headphones.
If you’re looking for the most features for the money, we’d recommend the $230If you’re a style-first listener who wants to impress on the street, then we recommend the $200 Want the best sound and care about little else? The $300 are for you, but it’s worth noting once more that their 4 hours of battery is looking worse as time goes on.
Still, whichever you choose, we’re sure you’ll be excited with your purchase — these are all excellent premium headphones, and each pair boasts clear reasons you might prefer them over the crowd.
- The best true wireless earbuds for 2020
- Sony WF-1000XM3 review: Still superb, but no longer unique
- The best noise-canceling headphones for 2020
- Klipsch’s $1,000 noise-canceling wireless buds open CES 2020 with a bang
- The best wireless headphones for 2020