Sennheiser Momentum Sport: fitness tracking from the ear

I was a little skeptical about the $329.95 Sennheiser Momentum Sport headphones. Other earbuds I’ve tested with heart rate tracking were finicky. Training tracking can be well-intentioned but a bit haphazard in practice. So I was pleasantly surprised that the Momentum Sport headphones delivered on what they promised: a simple way to display real-time fitness metrics without sacrificing sound quality.

Most fitness headphones have extra bass, a more secure fit, and emphasize durability. The Momentum Sport has this, as well as an optical heart rate sensor and a temperature sensor. The argument here is that the ear is actually a more accurate place to collect this type of data than the wrist (which is technically true!). It also integrates with the Polar Flow app, giving you access to Polar’s training analytics, voice guidance and coaching. In some ways, it works a bit like a chest strap… although you can put it in your ears and play music.

Earbud fit is always tricky, but the Sport Earbuds are a solid choice for working out. The headphones are larger and I have smaller ears, so I didn’t find them as comfortable as my favorite running headphones, the Beats Fit Pro. However, I have taken them several times and not once have they fallen out of my ear.

I’ve had issues with heart rate tracking earbuds before due to their fit. Good contact with the sensor is crucial, so a poor fit could result in wonky results, or none at all. This defeats the whole point of in-ear metric tracking: better accuracy. I didn’t have this problem here. This makes it a nice alternative if you play sports that aren’t conducive to smartwatches or find chest straps uncomfortable, especially if you like to workout to music – you could theoretically wear one less to get your data.

The transparency and Anti-Wind modes were excellent during my outdoor runs. I could still easily hear the cars whistling around me, but the strong gusts didn’t drown out my music. I’ve also taken them on a miserable, rainy run with no problems. That said, I would always check the weather before running. These are IP55, a bit better than the typical IPX4 you see on headphones, but a torrential storm could be a bad time.

For fitness tracking, I understand that you are not limited to a proprietary companion app. If you’re part of the Polar ecosystem, it fully integrates with the Polar Vantage V3 watch. Without a Polar watch, you can also pair the Sennheiser Smart Control app with the Polar Flow app on your phone. Then, simply launch a workout from Polar Flow and select it as your heart rate sensor of choice. It worked well when I tried it, and if you don’t have a fitness app you like, Polar Flow is a pretty comprehensive app! The downside is that you won’t be wearing them all day, so your recovery information won’t be as good.

It also works with other fitness apps and smartwatches that support Bluetooth accessories. I checked and was able to pair it with Strava and Runkeeper, two of my most frequently used fitness apps. I also paired it with my Apple Watch Ultra 2 and was able to view my heart rate readings from there as well. I appreciate it because it allows me to get my training advice from the platform. My choice. When I tested the Amazfit Powerbuds Pro, a similar pair of fitness tracking earbuds, I had to use its proprietary companion app to access many health features. This only added more chaos to my routine.

As for accuracy, it was around 5 beats per minute of the Garmin Forerunner 165 Music associated with the HRM-Fit chest strap. Body temperature was more of a headache. To begin with, it is difficult to test accuracy. It’s a safety risk to run with a thermometer sticking out of my ear, and other wearable devices focus more on skin temperature changes during the night. But I understand why top athletes value body temperature data. It’s just that for the average person, it’s overkill. You will feel warmer when you exercise. You’ll probably also notice when you start to overheat without needing to know your exact body temperature.

On my everyday headphones, sound quality is what matters most to me. With fitness headphones, excellent sound quality is more of a bonus. I’ll tolerate a little skinny as long as my K-pop anthems can keep me running. No problem here! I’ve been running to a lot of Stray Kids lately and the thumping thud MEGAVERSE sounds great on these buds. Although the headphones have excellent bass, the rest sounds good too.

As for the battery, you get around six hours of playback, which is enough for an average run or long run. The case holds three additional full charges, and in normal use this should take you a long time. I’ve been using them as my daily workout and commute headphones for the past two weeks. There is still about 40% battery left in my case.

One thing I didn’t like was the touch controls. You can customize them in the Smart Control app, but I found them too easy to activate while I was adjusting the fit. And this despite the fact that I adjusted the sensitivity of the tap downwards. Still, it’s best to have them during cold weather workouts when you’re wearing gloves.

At $330, they’re expensive, but you’re technically getting a chest strap and headphones in one. My Beats Fit Pro were around $180 on sale, and I currently use the $150 Garmin HRM-Fit as my chest strap. (Although you can get chest straps for around $80 to $100.) It’s about the same price.

In the past, my problem with fitness tracking headphones was that they didn’t make my life easier. The temperamental adjustment meant it took longer to get going. I didn’t want additional workout features from the buds when I was already using other fitness apps. The Sennheiser Momentum Sport don’t promise much – just good sound and another way to measure your heart rate. This is everything I want from fitness enthusiasts.

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