Get on any bus, train, tram or walk down any street and you will likely see a few people wearing on-ear or over-ear headphones, however it is possible that you will deem only a few of them as looking stylish.
Sennheiser is hoping to change all that with the release of their new Momentum Samba On-Ear headphones, which mix a stylish colourful design with great audio technology.
However one of the main features that will differentiate these from any other pair of headphones is their smaller ear cups, making them the more suitable choice for commuters or just someone who wants something with a smaller form factor. That said the headphones aren’t extremely portable due to the fact they can’t be folded down and they aren’t exactly on the cheap side, priced at £170 from John Lewis, they’re a pair of headphones you will have to make sure you love before you make the purchase.
Thankfully that choice shouldn’t be too hard for you to make, with a good-looking design that mixes plastic with stainless steel and a soft Alcantara material for the ear cup padding and for around the top of the headphones, which feels extremely soft to touch, however we don’t really know what the material is exactly. Sennheiser say that Alcantara is a specialised high-tech material that is generally used in luxury cars and other luxury items, however if you’re a bit common, it might be better to explain it as a soft of soft suede material.
The only part of the headband that isn’t padded is the section which allows the headphone to be adjusted, made from stainless steel, the headband has a small cutout along the middle that allows the headphones to be adjusted to the users head size.
The pair we received were also coloured with yellow on the ear cups and a green detailing around the edge, providing a look that stands out from the rest of the crowd, and that is sure to get you noticed on the street.
But if yellow and green aren’t your favourite colours, you can also pick the headphones up in a high gloss black, classic brown, red, ivory, blue, green and pink.
All of this creates something which turns out to be extremely stylish, with a feel that mixes modern design, with something a little more retro.
However despite all of the padding that is included on these headphones, they are certainly not made to be worn all day, as during my testing I found that after a few hours the headphones will start to feel like they are digging in, forcing me to remove them and swap out to a par of in-ears instead.
Thankfully that cable can be easily swapped out for a new one thanks to the Momentum’s single sided detachable cable, of which you get two in the box, one which is a 1.14m cable with an in-line remote and mic, and the other in the form of a 2.14m cable that is good to go for anything with a headphone output.
I have to say the in-line remote on this cable is spectacular, it’s really thick and the buttons fill up most of that space, this means that it is incredibly easy to find the right button when on the move, alongside that, it has also been placed pretty far down the cable, so it won’t weigh down your head during use.
However if your going to shell out £170 for a pair of headphones, its likely you’ll be more focused on their audio quality, and if you are you might be happy to know that the Momentum Sambas are excellent, with a sound that meets pretty much any genre, with punchy kick drums and bass riffs, and even based filled wob wobs.
We also found that the high-end tones where also produced at a quality that was better than we expected for such a small set of headphones, however that said, with no active noise cancellation and only the padding to keep outside noise out, you may find yourself cranking up the volume levels pretty high to overpower everyone and everything else.
I also would like to mention that there are a few other larger over-ear headphones that provider a slightly deeper and puncher sound, however as I just mentioned they are on the larger side, so they do mean you give up the lightweight feel and portability of these headphones.
And to top off that portability, Sennheiser has also included not one but two carrying cases, a soft one and a hard one, each of which is has been included to help you carry around your new headphones to any situation. (images of the cases can be found in the gallery below).
All in all the Sennheiser Samba Momentum On-Ear headphones are a great set of headphones for anyone looking for a pair that look great, sound great and perform well. However they do come with a few issues, things like their thin cable and the lack of active noise cancellation may be a no-go for some, but if you are looking for something a little more portable, but without a £200+ price tag, these might be a good option for you.
If they are, make sure to check them out on Sennheiser’s website for a better look.
Disclosure: Sennheiser sent us a product sample of these headphones for review, they were sent back to Sennheiser upon our completion.