Cutting it out
Clearing the air
Talk about a tough race. Bose and Sennheiser have built their respective brands through a focus on audio fidelity, and that remains a tight battle here. It's the other elements that put some distance between them, like how effective active noise-canceling (ANC) is in varying situations, and where battery life figures into everything else.
Bose QuietComfort Earbuds vs. Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 2 Sizing things up
Neither of these will win the highest accolades for size, or lack thereof. Sennheiser managed to shave off just enough from its first Momentum True Wireless earbuds, that the MTW2 nestle into ears a little better. Bose, however, went in a different direction with the QC Earbuds, going with a bulky design that is far more obvious anytime you wear them. That's not to say they're the largest on the market, just that they're thicker and stick out of the ears more.
The same is true when comparing the charging cases. Sennheiser only changed the color, but not the overall size, which was already hefty by true wireless earbuds standards. And yet, it feels noticeably smaller when compared to the larger case Bose made for its pair. Put either of these in a pants pocket, and they'll take up a fair bit of room.
It's a wonder why Bose couldn't squeeze in more battery life into both the earbuds and case when there's more real estate on both counts. The same goes for Sennheiser. There are smaller cases offering more battery life, though with either of these earbuds, they are within range of o thers when it comes to ANC being on at all times.
|Bose QuietComfort Earbuds||Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 2|
|Bud battery life (with ANC on)||6 hours||7 hours|
|Charging case battery life||18 hours||21 hours|
|Connectivity||Bluetooth 5.1||Bluetooth 5.1|
|Wireless charging case||Yes||No|
|Digital assistant support||Google Assistant, Siri||Google Assistant, Siri|
|Speaker size||6mm drivers||7mm drivers|
|Supported audio codecs||SBC, AAC||aptX, SBC, AAC|
|Active noise cancelation (ANC)||Yes||Yes|
|Transparency/ambient sound mode||Yes||Yes|
Six hours is on the high end, and an optimistic number if you raise the volume above the default level. Bose rated its earbuds to go up to six hours, though you lose a bit of that when ANC is on. Sennheiser does a better job, particularly when ANC is off, lasting upwards of a full hour longer, whereas turning ANC on does close the gap a little. The cases offer no distinct advantages, given they each other hold two additional charges. But Bose does get a point for convenience by supporting wireless charging.
Bose does also have fast charging via USB-C, where plugging in for 15 minutes gets you up to two hours of playback. Sennheiser does the same, only it's 10 minutes for up to 90 minutes of playback.
Despite their respective sizes, both companies made their earbuds comfortable to wear. Bigger than others, sure, but they do have a respectable level of stability that belies their size when you first see them. They will stand out in pretty much any place or setting, but that won't matter much if they sound good.
Bose QuietComfort Earbuds vs. Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 2 Clarity and control
Bose is actually the underdog in this case because Sennheiser has already proven that it can pack in great sound into a smaller form factor. The MTW2 are arguably the best true wireless earbuds available when the only metric in question is sound quality. Their support for aptX is always a nice thing to have, as it helps bring out the best compatible devices have to offer.
That doesn't just push Bose aside, though. The QC Earbuds chart a neutral path that doesn't skew too far one way or the other. That helps bring out more detail in the mids, albeit with a more subdued bass. The crispy balance fits both the brand and the product, except it's somewhat dumbfounding that a company like Bose wouldn't think to include an EQ in its Music app. It already offers almost a dozen different ANC settings, as well as other adjustment settings, so its absence is all the more surprising.
Sennheiser's Smart Control app doesn't have an elaborate EQ, but it does at least have one, including the ability to save presets. When paying this much for wireless earbuds, it's not too much to ask to personalize or customize the audio profile. The MTW2 have that, and it only helps further set them apart. These earbuds sound superb, even right out of the box, thanks to a clear and vibrant sound that is at the top of its game.
That focus on audio is also why they're great for phone calls, too. It's not a resounding difference over the QC Earbuds, which are more than capable in keeping callers talking clearly as well.
Bose QuietComfort Earbuds vs. Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 2 Let's not get loud
Let's put it out to start with — the QC Earbuds are on par, if not better than Sony's WF-1000XM3, the earbuds most widely regarded as the best noise-canceling earbuds available. They already have great passive noise isolation with the right seal, and ANC just puts them over the top. The 11 levels of ANC, notwithstanding, they let you set three settings as favorites you can cycle through by tapping on the left earbud. Or you could go through the Music app. Much of the very existence of these earbuds is predicated on how efficiently they cancel out noise, and it shows.
Sennheiser didn't reinvent itself in pursuing ANC with the MTW2, but adding it was a big step in the right direction compared to the previous pair, which didn't have it at all. For a first try on wireless earbuds, the German brand did well, but not quite as good as the best currently have, and that includes Bose. It handles low-frequency sounds quite well, but isn't as stifling with higher frequencies the way the QC Earbuds are.
They already have great passive noise isolation with the right seal, and ANC just puts them over the top.
Both have transparency/ambient modes in both models to bring in outside noise to hear everything around you. Super convenient when going out for a run or quickly chatting with someone without removing an earbud. It's hard to give either pair an edge in that regard. Both work perfectly fine that way.
However, Bose does hold an edge when it comes to onboard controls. They're touch-sensitive, and only on the left earbud, but they have a larger area to work with. They're pretty responsive when compared to the finicky way they work on the MTW2. Sennheiser still hasn't fully figured out how to get it right, as it's a lingering problem from the previous pair. With a little time and experience, you can always get the hang of it a little, but they generally work better on the QC Earbuds.
Bose QuietComfort Earbuds vs. Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 2 Which one should you choose?
It's a tough choice, but it boils down to what you find a more important combination to hold. Do you want the best ANC performance with great sound? Or do you want the best sound with very good ANC? Put in those terms, you may think there's an easy choice to pick, but the reason Bose slightly edges out Sennheiser here is because it's harder for Sennheiser to improve the existing ANC on the MTW2. It's nowhere near as hard for Bose to add to the audio quality by throwing in an EQ.
Bearing in mind that we're talking about two of the best true wireless headphones it's not like there is a poor choice between these two. It's just what's important to you. Sennheiser has slightly better battery life and Bluetooth codec support. Bose has more dynamic ANC and better onboard controls. They are so close in other respects that, as I pointed out at the start, there really isn't a huge gap here.
Bose's QuietComfort Earbuds are a little bigger in size, but you get some benefits for it, and once you turn ANC on, you start to realize how immersive they can be. That's why they eke out a win in this highly contested soundoff.
Bigger and better
Loud and clear
Bose made its earbuds bigger, yet make up for it by delivering effective sound and industry-leading ANC performance.
Sound and clarity at once
Sennheiser is back with an encore and makes up for lost time by putting together one of the best sounding true wireless earbuds.
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