Apple and Sennheiser take drastically different approaches to their true wireless earbuds, but both share the goal of winning you over. The Apple AirPods Pro is the default headset for iPhone users, and Sennheiser is one of many competitors trying to usurp the big Apple. Let’s find out which pair of noise cancelling earbuds is right for you.
Editor’s note: this versus article was updated on April 1, 2021, to include a content menu and address an FAQ about the Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro.
Sennheiser and Apple take different approaches to build and design
Simplicity is at the core of the Sennheiser MOMENTUM True Wireless 2 and Apple AirPods Pro designs, but the end results differ. Sennheiser’s earbuds appear refined, sophisticated, and mature, while Apple’s look sleek and futuristic. Neither aesthetic is right or wrong, but there’s a good chance that if you’re drawn to one, you may not like the other.
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Apple’s stemmed design makes it easy to remove and insert the earbuds. On the other hand, Sennheiser takes a more traditional approach to its earbuds, which are free from descending stems. The MOMENTUM True Wireless 2 may be better for exercise because stemmed earbuds can get caught and fly out as you towel off. However, you can still work out with either, as they both merit the same IPX4 rating.
Both earbuds have ear tips that seal to your ear, but Apple includes a vent system to alleviate inner-ear pressure. This design is great if you’re sensitive to the suction-like sensation that some earbuds cause. You can change out the ear tips on either headset for the optimal fit, and you should do so for the best noise cancelling experience.
The charging cases are quite different from one another too: Apple’s sleek, texture-free case starkly contrasts Sennheiser’s cloth-wrapped charging case. Both are sturdy, but most people will probably have an easier time gripping the MOMENTUM True Wireless 2 case. If all of your electronics require USB-C inputs, Sennheiser’s case will also slot in more neatly next to everything else; Apple’s case requires a Lightning connector or Qi wireless charger.
You need an iOS device to remap the AirPods Pro controls
Both Sennheiser and Apple let listeners remap the onboard controls, and disable automatic ear detection for auto-pause/resume functionality. The AirPods Pro has a big catch, though: you can’t customize its controls from an Android device. Sennheiser makes its app available on iOS and Android. All Sennheiser MOMENTUM True Wireless 2 owners can download the Smart Control app to reassign any of the following gestures:
|Action||Left side||Right side|
|One tap||Play/pause||Voice assistant|
|Two taps||Next track||Transparent hearing|
|Three taps||Previous track||ANC|
|Hold||Volume down||Volume up|
If you have an iOS device, it’s easy to reconfigure the AirPods Pro touch and gesture controls. All you have to do is open the Settings app, and select the Bluetooth tab. Once you press the “i” button next to your AirPods Pro, you may adjust the following controls:
|Action (stems)||Either earbud|
|Three taps||Previous track|
|Hold||ANC, Transparency, or disable Noise Control|
|"Hey Siri"||Change volume, request directions, playback control, receive messages, and more|
You may also select which earbud’s microphone is used during calls. Alternatively, you can just let the AirPods Pro decide.
The AirPods Pro has more sophisticated software, but it’s limited to iOS
Nearly all of the AirPods Pro’s features require an iOS device to function properly. If you want to take Apple’s ear tip fit test, you need an iPhone or iPad. The same can be said if you want to enjoy Spatial Audio, Apple’s take on surround sound. In order to switch seamlessly between devices or share audio, you need a host of Apple devices all associated with the same iCloud account. Fast switching for audio playback isn’t available between operating systems, either.
Love or hate Apple’s closed-off ecosystem, the experience is seamless—so long as you operate within Apple’s parameters. If you don’t want to restrict yourself to Apple products, you may prefer the OS-agnostic Sennheiser MOMENTUM True Wireless 2, which operates just as well on iOS as it does on Android.
The AirPods Pro features adaptive EQ technology, but lacks a custom EQ module.
The Sennheiser Smart Control app lets you edit features like transparent voice and equalization. The most important thing about the Smart Control app is that it lets you access firmware updates for the earbuds, which can’t be done with the AirPods Pro unless you have an iOS device.
Does Apple or Sennheiser have better noise cancelling?
The Sennheiser MOMENTUM True Wireless 2 noise cancelling outperforms the AirPods Pro because Sennheiser more effectively reduces midrange frequency sounds. Sennheiser’s earbuds do an exceedingly good job of quieting the sounds of cars, trains, and indistinguishable background noise. However, Apple has the edge when it comes to low-frequency attenuation, as Sennheiser’s ANC is pretty ineffective below 100Hz.
Something else to take into account is passive isolation, which takes care of high-frequency sounds. This is the range where incidental noises like screeching tires, or clattering dishware can be found. Sennheiser’s ear tips do a much better job of passively blocking out background noise, so you’re less likely to be disturbed by unpredictable noise than if you were to use the AirPods Pro.
Sennheiser’s earphones support more Bluetooth codecs
Sennheiser’s earphones support three major Bluetooth codecs: SBC, AAC, and aptX for high-quality audio playback from any device. This is great if you value audio quality, and want to cut as few sound quality corners as possible. The AirPods Pro, on the other hand, support just SBC and AAC, which means only iPhone users benefit from consistent high-quality audio. This isn’t a knock against Apple, necessarily—AAC is sometimes inconsistent on Android depending on the hardware.
|Apple AirPods Pro||Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 2|
|Codecs available||SBC, AAC||SBC, AAC, aptX|
|Battery life (75dB)||5:06||3:59|
|Voice assistant support||✓||✓|
The AirPods Pro operate via Bluetooth 5.0 firmware, while the Sennheiser MOMENTUM True Wireless 2 earbuds use Bluetooth 5.1 firmware. Both stay connected to a source device, and neither support Bluetooth multipoint. Bluetooth 5.1 reads well on paper, but the biggest benefit is location accuracy and power efficiency.
The AirPods Pro have better battery life
Even with the slightly outdated Bluetooth firmware, the AirPods Pro earbuds last longer than the Sennheiser MOMENTUM True Wireless 2 with ANC enabled. The AirPods Pro provide just over five hours of playtime on a single charge, while the MOMENTUM True Wireless 2 supply nearly four hours of playtime. The Apple AirPods Pro case supports Qi wireless charging and can be charged with a Lightning connector. The MOMENTUM True Wireless 2 case may be charged via USB-C only.
|Standalone battery life||Fast charging||Charging case||Wireless charging||Connector|
|Apple AirPods Pro||5:06||5 minutes = 1 hour of playtime||4.3 charge cycles||Yes||Lightning|
|Sennheiser MOMETNUM True Wireless 2||3:59||10 minutes = 1.5 hours of playtime||3 charge cycles||No||USB-C|
Do the AirPods Pro or Sennheiser MOMENTUM True wireless 2 sound better?
The Apple AirPods Pro and Sennheiser MOMENTUM True Wireless 2 both reproduce excellent audio, but they take philosophically different approaches to sound quality.
Everything about the Apple experience is hands-off, including its earbuds. You can’t create a custom sound profile with the AirPods Pro. As a compensatory feature, Apple includes Adaptive EQ, which is akin to Google Nest Audio’s Media EQ setting; both features adjust certain frequency responses according to the environment. The AirPods Pro feature a nearly imperceptible bass bump that adds just a bit of oomph to music and aggressively amplifies treble notes. Modern music sounds good through the AirPods Pro, but you may notice cymbal clashes and triangle dings ring a little too loud.
Sennheiser knows a thing or two about good audio quality, and its MOMENTUM True Wireless 2 earphones follow a consumer-friendly response without off-the-walls bass and treble exaggeration. The dip from 1.5-7kHz may appear strange, but it’s strategic. This de-emphasis reduces the unpleasant sound of resonances within the human ear canal. The trade-off is that some harmonics can sometimes sound a bit muffled (think string instrument detail). Vocals stand out, though, thanks to the nice low-end bump and even mids.
You can’t go wrong with either headset, but Sennheiser offers its listeners a bit more leeway thanks to the Smart Control app’s EQ module. This means you can create a custom sound profile and save it directly to the earbuds for use with any device. Even if you’re not a hands-on tinkerer, you’ll have more freedom to tailor your experience if get the MOMENTUM True Wireless 2.
Are the AirPods Pro better for phone calls?
Apple and Sennheiser both equipped their true wireless earbuds with competent microphone systems, but even with all of the advanced technology, embedded mics have their limits. Listen below, and decide which sounds best to you.
Apple AirPods Pro microphone demo:
Sennheiser MOMENTUM True Wireless 2 microphone demo:
Apple AirPods Pro vs. Sennheiser MOMENTUM True Wireless 2: Which should you get?
As with almost any comparison, matters of taste and circumstance don’t lead to an objective winner. Instead, your needs and your hardware will inform your decision. It’s no surprise that iPhone users will have the easiest time with the AirPods Pro: pairing them is a breeze, and sound quality is good enough for most listeners. If you already live within the walls of Apple’s ecosystem, you probably have your answer.
For the rest of us, the Sennheiser MOMENTUM True Wireless 2 are the better pick: noise cancelling, sound quality, and the degree of customization are all better with Sennheiser’s sophomore true wireless earbuds. If you own an Android smartphone, and want to futureproof your expensive earbuds as much as possible, Sennheiser’s headset is the smarter option, because you can access firmware updates from any device.
Frequently Asked Questions
The Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro has very good noise canceling that outperforms the AirPods Pro and rivals the Sennheiser MOMENTUM True Wireless 2. Samsung's noise cancelling Buds Pro are the most durable of the bunch, with an IPX7 rating to show for it. You can read all about how the Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro compare to the Airpods Pro in our versus article.