We already have a few amazing AirPods alternatives out there that deliver great sound. You don’t have to buy Apple’s expensive AirPods Pro for a great wireless earphone experience. You can choose premium alternatives from rivals, too, like the Bowers & Wilkins Pi7 S2 earbuds that lured my coworker Maren away from her AirPods.
But sound quality and active noise cancelation (ANC) can only improve so much. The next battle in the wireless earphones business might be about something else: Health.
That’s actually why I’m already interested in Sennheiser’s newly announced Momentum Sport wireless earphones. They’re not just premium AirPods Pro rivals that with ANC. They have something better, something AirPods and most other wireless earphones don’t have.
The Momentum Sport earphones come with heart rate and temperature sensors, which means they’ve just shot to the top of my must-buy list of wireless earphones.
Announced at CES 2024, the Momentum Sport will come in Polar Black, Burned Olive, and Metallic Graphite. They’ll be released on April 9th, so it’ll be a while before I can get a pair. Also, they’ll cost $329.95, which is $81 more expensive than Apple’s AirPods Pro 2.
As a would-be ChatGPT-trained marathon runner, wireless earphones are part of my daily routine. I put them on, start playing something, and run or walk. I don’t even care about ANC while running or walking since I obviously have to be aware of my surroundings. All I know is that I have to hit my goals, weather, mood, and laziness be damned. And audio of any kind helps my mind cope.
The Momentum Sport might help improve the overall experience with a few exciting sound-boosing features made for outdoor sports.
The wireless earphones feature “an acoustic relief channel and semi-open design for natural environmental awareness.” This should help minimize “footstep noise, breathing, and other body-borne distractions,” according to the company.
Moreover, the earphones support an adjustable Transparency mode, Anti-wind mode, and adaptive ANC. Add IP55 sweat & water resistance, a shock-proof chassis, and clog-resistant ear tips, and the Momentum Sport would already make my list.
Without having tested them, the Momentum Sport seem to be exactly what I need for my workouts. And that’s without mentioning the health-tracking features. Then again, the Momentum Sport earphones would probably be more affordable if it weren’t for the health sensors.
Health and fitness tracking are also part of that routine. I use the Apple Watch to track everything I can. That includes running and walking sessions, other types of exercises, sleep, and everything else in between. Since the Appl Watch already tracks my heart rate, one might say I don’t need another sensor to double up on that. I disagree.
I think the more health data I’ll be able to store, the better I’ll be prepared to treat future conditions. I’ll be able to access a rich history of data points a physician could go through to understand future health issues and adapt therapies.
Why not have my earphones collect heart rate inputs alongside the Apple Watch? Also, the Momentum Sport earbuds come equipped with temperature sensors, which the Apple Watch SE 2 I use doesn’t have.
The Momentum Sport comes with a photoplethysmography (PPG) heart rate sensor and a body temperature sensor. They’ll upload data to health and fitness apps, including the iPhone’s Health app, where the data from my Apple Watch also goes. The Sennheiser earbuds will work with other health ecosystems, including Garmin Watch/Connect, Strava, Peloton, and others.
Sennheiser also announced a partnership with Polar. The Momentum Sport will be the first non-Polar product to access Polar’s “elite biosensing capabilities and data analytics. That includes Body Temperature readings and support for the Polar Flow app.
While I know that AirPods of the future will come with health abilities, I’m already sold on the Momentum Sport and can’t wait to find them in stores.
Finally, I’ll also note that the battery life sounds great. The Momentum Sport can last for 6 hours on a charge. Make that up to 24 hours when you factor in the case. A 10-minute charge is good for 45 minutes of playback.
That’s more or less on par with what’s available from other wireless earphones. But these stats make me hopeful that Sennheiser’s newest AirPods rival will not run out of battery before I finish my first marathon.
Sennheiser also announced the Momentum True Wireless 4 wireless earphones and the Accentum Plus wireless headphones at CES 2024. You’ll find information about them at this link.