BeatsX and Sennheiser Momentum review: Rival tech giants release wireless headphones that deliver the goods

 
Steve Hogarty
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Apple's BeatsX wireless headphones

BeatsX
£130, apple.com/uk

★★★★☆

As long as you don’t count the big ol’ wire that goes around the back of your neck to connect the left earbud to the right earbud, and therefore comprises most of the product, the BeatsX are a new pair of “wireless” earphones from that Dre-backed Apple bedfellow, Beats.

Thanks to the lucrative Cupertino partnership, Beats are the only non-Apple branded earphones to be powered by the fancy pants W1 audio chip, which means faffless, one-touch connectivity with iOS devices. The BeatsX join the AirPods in Apple’s glorious jack-ditching revolution, though unlike the tiny earbuds they’re, as mentioned, usefully tethered together with a comfortable and weighted neckstrap.

They’re a snugger fit than the AirPods, and when not in your ears the magnetised buds snap together to form a fashionable Beats pendant. Sound quality is high and crisp and leans into the bassier side of the spectrum, while the battery (hidden somewhere on this £130 piece of string is a battery) will last up to eight hours.

It’s worth noting that the Powerbeats (Beats’ more workout-oriented neckbuds) have also been updated to use the W1 chip, and so remain the better option for those after a tougher-wearing earphone. The BeatsX work with Android phones too, though rather inconveniently they can only be charged with a Lightning cable.

If the excessively wireless AirPods have one cable too few for your tastes, the BeatsX represent an ideal everyday listening solution for users of the latest, jack-averse iPhone.


Sennheiser Momentum
£170, sennheiser.com

★★★★☆

So it seems that, while we were all looking the other way, earphone manufacturers have collectively decided that we’d all prefer to wear headphones around our necks rather than on top of our heads. Sennheiser’s freshly redesigned (and now wireless) in-ear Momentum phones come attached to a ludicrous stitched leather horseshoe, and make a strong case for the daring neckband style.

The original in-ear Momentums (Momenta?) provided sublime sound for under £100, and this newly configured version outperforms the old pair in terms of audio quality. That rigid brace houses the integrated controls and a beefy, ten-hour battery. NFC allows for one-touch connection, and Bluetooth and aptX tech keeps fidelity as intact as wireless can get.

Joggers might wish to invest in a bit of tape to prevent the things thudding about on your collarbone, but they’re otherwise a comfortable set of round-the-neck in-ears.

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