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These comfortable, well-built over-ears are the upgraded version of the Sony WH-1000XM3 Wireless and offer multi-device pairing, a longer continuous battery life, and new touch-sensitive control features.

Sony Headphone Reviews

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Sony WH-1000XM4 review: the best noise-canceling headphones get better

They address the two main downsides of the previous product: you can now pair to two devices simultaneously, and updated mics should make for clearer calls. Everything else is very similar or unchanged from last time around: the design is nearly identical, battery life still tops out at 30 hours, and the buttons and controls all work the same way. (Sony has assured me that the 1000XM4s will perform reliably in cold weather after it was found that the M3s had significant touch sensor problems in winter.) I think some people will find this useful; the 1000XM4s still have the useful trick where you can cover the right ear cup with your hand to lower audio volume and pipe in ambient sound, but this method is voice-activated.

There was also a situation during my testing where the headphones stopped when an overhead announcement was playing at the train station, even though the feature is supposed to be listening for your voice. You can adjust the sensitivity of Speak to Chat in Sony’s Headphones Connect app to avoid false activations.

I don’t like the headphones taking control or changing the audio on me unexpectedly, so I tend to leave those features switched off. The new headphones have the same outward appearance, down to the copper accents — including the one around the microphone inlet that almost makes it look like a USB-C port. The head cushion at the top has been slimmed down; the ear pads now have 10 percent greater surface area for more contact with your head; and the curve of the headband has been “fine tuned.” I’m not some masochist who likes wearing over-ear headphones outside in the sweltering summer heat, but I’ve found the 1000XM4s to be plush and comfortable when worn for several hours around my apartment. I haven’t had the previous pair on hand to compare against, but my visits to the grocery store have been free of noisy distractions or chatter cutting through.

I’m still riding high on my high-energy summer listens like Phoebe Bridgers’ Punisher and Taylor Swift’s Folklore, and the Sony headphones showcase both albums superbly. My time with the 1000XM4s has made me a firm believer in Sony’s LDAC codec (available on most Android phones), which streams audio wirelessly at a significantly higher quality than the AAC you’re limited to if using an iPhone.

But Sony’s software improvements — multipoint, Speak to Chat, and nice throw-ins like Fast Pair — aren’t insignificant. With no outward design changes, I’m a little perplexed about what took Sony so long to release these — especially considering the 1000X, 1000XM2, and 1000XM3 headphones launched in such rapid succession. But we started counting exactly how many times you have to hit “agree” to use devices when we review them since these are agreements most people don’t read and definitely can’t negotiate.

I’ve also added a mention of the cold weather issues reported with the 1000XM3 headphones, which Sony insists have been fixed in the new model.

Best Sony headphones 2021: budget, premium, Bluetooth, noise-cancelling

Whether you’re after in-ear, on-ear, wireless or noise-cancelling headphones, there’s a pair of Sony’s for you – and at a big Black Friday discount, too. For your extra money, you get a refined design, with slightly larger ear cushions, new features like Wearing Detection (which knows when you’ve taken them off or put them on, and pauses or plays the music, respectively), and a new audio processor – the DSEE Extreme. But as you’d expect, the newer XM4 have a few more tricks up their sleeve including a new Speak to Chat feature and improved call quality.

With a 30-hour battery life, a clever and comfortable design, Sony’s class-leading noise-cancelling and a dynamic sound, the XM4, which picked up a What Hi-Fi Award 2021, are worth the extra outlay.

Specifications OS support: Android/iOS Bluetooth: Yes Noise-cancelling: Yes Battery life: 8 hours (24 hours with charging case) Finishes: 2 TODAY’S BEST DEALS Prime £199 View at Amazon £199 View at John Lewis £199 View at Sevenoaks Reasons to buy + Clear, detailed bass performance + Wonderful sense of musicality + Class-leading battery life Reasons to avoid – Missing Sony’s Multipoint feature – Lacking ear tip choices – No aptX HD Their musical delivery keeps you coming back for more, and also makes you thankful for the eight hours of battery life, which is class-leading in this field.

The compact earpieces include touch-sensitive controls and a new ear tip design which helps with noise isolation. Combine this with Sony’s excellent noise cancelling and you’ve got a pair of headphones that effectively block out the hustle and bustle.

The active noise-cancelling is unique and works a treat, and you get up to 32 hours of battery life with the help of their portable carry case. Specifications Type: In-ear Wireless: Yes Battery life: 20 hours Noise-cancelling: No Waterproof rating: IPX4 3.5mm connector: No Weight: 5.4g per bud TODAY’S BEST DEALS Prime £55 View at Amazon £59 View at John Lewis £59 View at Richer Sounds Reasons to buy + Compact and comfortable design + Spirited, well-balanced sound + Fine control app Reasons to avoid – Ordinary battery life – Slightly small-scale sound – Numerous serious rivals

In the WF-C500 Sony has managed to bring a lot of what makes its expensive true wireless in-ears – such as the WF-1000XM4 – a success without cutting too many corners. Sound is nicely balanced and even-handed; mid-range is loaded with detail and vocals are presented in a cohesive manner.

Specifications Type: In-ear Wireless: No Battery life: N/A Noise-cancelling: No In-line mic/remote: Yes 3.5mm connector: Yes Weight: 9g TODAY’S BEST DEALS Check Amazon 2 Amazon customer reviews ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ Reasons to buy + Comfy, secure fit + Solid, weighty, punchy delivery + Expansive soundstage Reasons to avoid – No volume control Made from trombone material, these shiny and affordable in-ears are supremely comfortable, and offer a lot of performance for very little money. An open and expansive soundstage gives way to a fabulously immersive presentation with a weighty bass that’s underpinned by tonal balance.

The remote is one-button, so there’s no volume control, but it does mean these buds will play nicely with both Android and iOS devices.

Despite being a gaming headset first and foremost, these over-ear headphones aimed at PS5 owners offer an accomplished core audio performance. The headset’s controls are located around the edge of the left cup and include a rocker to adjust the balance between game audio and chat. Battery life is 12 hours, which isn’t huge by Bluetooth headphone standards but should cover the longest of gaming sessions. If you don’t have the money, space or circumstances for a home cinema system, the PlayStation Pulse 3D Wireless Headset is pretty much the next best thing as far as PS5 gaming is concerned, which makes them a smart choice. Specifications Type: On-ear Wireless: Yes Battery life: 11 hours Noise-cancelling: No In-line mic/remote: No 3.5mm connector: Yes Weight: 318g TODAY’S BEST DEALS £165.50 View at Check Amazon 5 Amazon customer reviews ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ Reasons to buy + Precise, balanced sound + Comfy fit + Great for PS4 users + 3D Audio on some games Reasons to avoid – Virtual Surround Sound isn’t great – Mic picks up background noise – Fiddly buttons Sony’s most affordable gaming headset, aimed at those who favor PS4, sound so good that we’d seriously consider upgrading to them, whatever your console (they work with PC, Xbox, Switch and the new PS5). Specifications Connector: N/A Cable length: N/A In-line remote and mic: N/A OS support: Android/iOS Bluetooth: Yes Noise-cancelling: Yes Battery life: 9 hours (+ 9 hours from charging case) TODAY’S BEST DEALS Prime Low Stock £119 View at Amazon £119 View at Richer Sounds £119.99 View at Reasons to buy + Vibrant, buoyant sound + Good noise-cancelling + Comfortable fit Reasons to avoid – Slightly coarse sound – Average battery life Control is available via Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant or Siri, and the mic array ensures your instructions are heard reliably.

Their winning combination of dynamic sound, decent noise-cancelling, good build quality and smart features are hard to beat at this price point. Specifications Connector: N/A Cable length: N/A In-line remote and mic: No OS support: Android/iOS Bluetooth: Yes Noise-cancelling: No Battery life: 9 hours (+9 from charging case) TODAY’S BEST DEALS Prime £68 View at Amazon £69.99 View at John Lewis £69.99 View at Reasons to buy + Clear, punchy sound + Decent battery life + Comfortable, lightweight build Reasons to avoid – Rivals offer more detail – Reasonably large earbud design The WF-XB700 are part of Sony’s Extra Bass range of audio products meaning they’re tuned to emphasise low-frequency response, rather than deliver a neutral sonic balance. The result is a punchy low-end, but it doesn’t overshadow mid and high frequencies, which display pleasing levels of agility.

Specifications Type: On-ear Wireless: Yes Battery life: 35 hours Noise-cancelling: Yes In-line mic/remote: No 3.5mm connector: Yes Weight: 240g TODAY’S BEST DEALS Prime £129.99 View at Amazon 9 Amazon customer reviews ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ Reasons to buy + Detailed, musical performance + Punchy, weighty bass + Impressive battery life Reasons to avoid – Rudimentary noise-cancelling With wireless and noise-cancelling skills onboard, these Sony headphones offer a lot of features for a very reasonable price.

Best Sony headphones 2021: noise-cancelling, wireless earbuds, and more

There are plenty of expensive Sony noise-cancelling headphones, but you don’t have to spend a fortune for a good pair of cans or earbuds. While they don’t look significantly different from their predecessors, the Sony WH-1000XM3, a number of new features including multipoint pairing, DSEE Extreme upscaling, conversational awareness and auto-play/pause using a built-in sensor all help the WH-1000XM4 claim the title of best headphones in 2021.

They might still be better for audiophiles though, thanks to aptX HD and Sony’s LDAC, two of the best ways to listen to hi-res audio, and as they’re wireless, you don’t need to mess around with cumbersome wires. This alongside the stellar noise-cancellation capabilities makes the WH-1000MX3s perfect for commuting, whether you need a pair of cans to get your through your daily journey to work, or a long haul flight.

Sony WF-1000XM4 Wireless Earbuds The best Sony earbuds of 2021 Specifications Acoustic design: Closed Weight: 7.3g Frequency response: 20-40,000Hz Drivers: 6mm Battery life : 8 hours (earbuds) 16 hours (charging case) TODAY’S BEST DEALS View at Crutchfield Prime View at Amazon View at Walmart Reasons to buy + Rapid, full-bodied and eloquent sound + Truly useful features + Impressive call quality Reasons to avoid – Unremarkable battery life – No aptX support Sony is largely responsible for the rude health of the active noise-cancelling true wireless earbuds market, and with the WF-1000XM4, the company has combined performance, ergonomics, and build quality more effectively than ever before.

Compared to their predecessors, the Sony WF-1000XM3, the new wireless earbuds offer enough quality-of-life features to make them worth upgrading to, even if they are more expensive. While other true wireless earbuds surpass the Sony WF-1000XM4 in particular areas – noise cancellation, for example – no other model comes close to offering such excellent quality across the board. The Sony WF-1000XM3 still manage to offer a level of noise-cancellation that’s exceedingly good for a pair of earbuds, fist-pumping musicality, a sleek design, and a decent battery life. Sony WF-C500 true wireless earbuds The best Sony true wireless earbuds for those on a budget Specifications Acoustic design: Closed, dynamic Weight: 10.8g Frequency response: 20Hz-20,000Hz (44.1kHz sampling) Drivers: 5.8 mm Bettery life: 10 hours TODAY’S BEST DEALS Prime View at Amazon Low Stock View at Walmart View at Crutchfield Reasons to buy + Informative, organized and lively sound + Neat and comfortable design + Proper control app Reasons to avoid – Battery life is nothing special – Could sound both deeper and wider – Not short of rivals

But there’s a confined soundstage and lack of bass extension, which means if audio performance is your top priority it might be worth spending a bit more. A slightly flimsy build may be a dealbreaker for some, but for most it’ll be a worthy sacrifice at this price; these wireless on-ear headphones will set you back only $59 in the US, £50 in the UK and AU$89 in Australia.

Thankfully, most of the compromises Sony has made with the WH-CH510 haven’t been too crucial – the lack of analog input mirrors the loss of the 3.5mm port on most modern smartphones while the lightweight, plastic construction improves their portability and comfort. For those chasing something that is substantially more sturdy or sporting a 3.5mm port, you’re unlikely to find an alternative at the same price point that’s also wireless, let alone boasts solid battery life and sound. Sony WH-1000XM2 Wireless Headphones The best over-ear Sony headphones to find in the sales Specifications Acoustic design: Closed Weight: 23g Frequency response: N/A Drivers: N/A Battery life: 10 hours TODAY’S BEST DEALS View at Amazon 308 Amazon customer reviews ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ Reasons to buy + Superb noise-cancelling + Great-sounding audio + 30-hour battery life Reasons to avoid – Hinges are fragile

Like the WH-1000XM3s, they also support aptX HD and LDAC for Hi-Res Audio – in fact, all of the features mentioned above can also be found in the most recent model.

Sony WF-SP800N The best Sony earbuds for working out Specifications Acoustic design: closed Weight: 9.3g Frequency response: N/A Drivers: N/A Driver type: Dynamic Sensitivity: N/A Impedance: N/A Battery life: 18 hours (with case) wireless range: N/A NFC: N/A TODAY’S BEST DEALS Check Amazon Reasons to buy + Basic noise cancellation + Water-resistant and sweatproof + Support for 360 Reality Audio Reasons to avoid – Tight in the ear They can be a little uncomfortable to wear for long periods of time, however, and the bass is bit muddy for our liking – still, these true wireless earbuds are well worth a look. Sony Walkman NW-WS413 swimming headphones The best Sony headphones for swimming Specifications Acoustic design: Closed Weight: 32g Frequency response: N/A Drivers: N/A Battery life: 12 hours TODAY’S BEST DEALS Prime View at Amazon Reasons to buy + Multi-sport use + Excellent sound + Good battery life Reasons to avoid – In-ear fitting won’t suit everyone Although you can’t connect them to your phone, they’re otherwise a solid option for both sporting and general use with top sound quality, normal looks, and a comparatively low price. Sony WI-1000X wireless earphones review The best Sony earphones for audiophiles Specifications Acoustic design: Closed Weight: 71g Frequency response: 3Hz-40,000Hz Drivers: Hybrid Battery life: 10 hours TODAY’S BEST DEALS View at Amazon 493 Amazon customer reviews ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ Reasons to buy + Audiophile wireless sound + Good noise cancellation Reasons to avoid – Average battery life – Adaptive Sound Control is slow They have a fun, energetic sound quality, feel comfortable during long listening sessions and have an 18-hour combined battery life.

We don’t love their radar-disc shape and their lack of noise cancellation, but these are undoubtedly not Sony’s best true wireless earbuds. Sony MDR-1000X Wireless Headphones Great noise-cancelling headphones if you can find them Specifications Acoustic design: Closed Weight: 275g Frequency response: 4Hz-40,000Hz Drivers: 40mm dome type Battery life: 20 hours TODAY’S BEST DEALS View at Amazon 124 Amazon customer reviews ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ Reasons to buy + Quick Attention mode + Noise cancellation + Lengthy battery life Reasons to avoid – Finicky Ambient Noise mode

Well, you’ll likely find that retailers have cut the prices since the newer models launched, which means you could get yourself a fantastic deal on a still very capable pair of Sony headphones – if you don’t mind losing the inbuilt voice assistant and quality of life updates offered by the WH-1000MX3s and the WH-1000XM4s. A long battery life, the ability to hear your surroundings, and on-ear controls are three key factors in choosing a good pair of running headphones.

Sony WH-1000XM4 review

Now Sony has released the new and improved headset that adds multipoint connectivity at the expense of aptX. Commuters and jet-setters will appreciate the battery life, noise canceling, sound quality, and not needing to choose between them. It makes it easy transitioning from listening to music while working at your desk to watching a YouTube video on your phone, and back again, all without opening your Bluetooth settings. This was one of the biggest complaints with the WH-1000XM3, and having it here in the Sony WH-1000XM4 is definitely going to make plenty of people happy, with one big caveat.

The actual earcups are also slightly thicker than the previous pair, which results in better isolation even when noise cancelling is turned off. When you place your hand over the left ear cup, ambient mode immediately activates. Swiping to control volume and skip between songs works seamlessly, but for some reason, the headphones struggle to register taps. Sometimes it’s easier and quicker to simply take off the headphones and let them auto-pause—the pause functionality worked roughly 25% of the time for me.

Cupping your hand over the left earcup activates ambient mode, which is still one of my favorite features.

Not a huge deal for anyone still spending most of their time at home like I am, but useful if you need to quickly catch an announcement from the pilot or train conductor while commuting. Plots like the one above give a rough idea of how much noise is cancelled across the audible spectrum of 20Hz-20kHZ (the limits of human hearing). The WH-1000XM3 isn’t a slouch where ANC is concerned, but the Sony WH-1000XM4 is better in its ability to attenuate lower-frequency sounds like the low hum of an air conditioner, or the constant rumble of a jet engine than most other headsets.

Pairing to the Sony WH-1000XM4 is as simple as tapping your phone to the back of the NFC logo on the left earcup and following the prompt that appears on your smartphone. I live in a fairly average-sized two-bedroom apartment, and in my testing I didn’t have any issues with range. The same held true with my Pixel 3 smartphone which managed to remain connected regardless of which pocket the phone was in.

While the noise cancelling is already excellent out of the box you can optimize it for whatever situation or level of air pressure you’re currently in via the app. Of course, you can always cup your hand over the right earcup to allow a full passthrough so you can order a cardboard-tasting lunch from the friendly flight staff in economy class. This is obviously still great and more than good enough for most people, but I find it odd this doesn’t last as long as its predecessor, which clocks in at about 24 hours.

The more neutral-leaning frequency response in the lows translates to a sound that doesn’t get a huge bass boost as you’ll find on some other headphones. Follow the below chart as a loose guide for your adjustments to get the sound to better fit our house curve.

There is a slight drop-off in the frequency response under around 150-200Hz which isn’t unusual for Bluetooth headphones, but it’s more pronounced than on the previous version. It’s likely an attempt to keep the proximity effect—the pesky phenomenon that makes some podcasts and other recordings overly bassy—at bay. As of March 24, 2021, 4,286 readers rated the above mic sample as somewhere between “okay” and “good.” This is a pretty typical result for wireless headset microphones, and at the upper end of what you should expect to get out of any products of this type. They promise about 20 hours of constant playback with noise cancelling turned on, the same H1 chip that you’ll find in the AirPods Pro, and a transparency mode as well.

However, while the Sony WH-1000XM4 is much more affordable than Apple’s latest headphones, the AirPods Max does offer better ANC performance. If lack of multipoint doesn’t matter to you, you might as well save yourself some cash and pick them up when they inevitably go on sale. If you just want a pair of the best pure noise-cancelers around, the Bose QuietComfort 45 attenuate more outside noise than any other headphones out there—but they don’t sound quite as good. They’re more expensive and have fewer codecs, but their minimalist design looks really nice, though performance still lies with Sony. Bose’s headphones are slick and offer a lot of good features—but if you want higher-bitrate codecs, stick with Sony. This rocks all the latest specs and Bluetooth codecs just like the WH-1000XM4, can use a USB-C cable as a wired connection, and it looks pretty great.

The premium build quality, great sound, and impressive noise cancelling earn this an editor’s choice award. The Sennheiser PXC 550-II lacks a few of the top-tier features you’d expect of headphones (like USB-C charging), but for $199 USD, it’s an almost-unbeatable pick. You’ll get a sleek design, superb noise cancelling, Bluetooth multipoint, and great sound quality to boot.

Sony WH-1000XM3 review

Given that up until the release of the latest in Sony’s line of top-end ANC headsets, the WH-1000XM3 were the best noise canceling headphones, it’s definitely a worthy comparison to make. Casual listeners will love the Sony WH-1000XM3, as it offers a huge boost in sound quality over general consumer headphones when used with Bluetooth Very rarely will I say that a set of headphones is for “everyone,” but active noise cancelers that are comfortable and sound as good as the Sony WH-1000XM3 fall into that category. Despite being largely identical in many ways to the older Sony WH-1000XM2, a few upgrades have made the brand-new WH-1000XM3 a better buy for the long haul. For example, the ear pads are deeper, and the addition of USB-C charging means that you won’t have to scour and scrape for an obsolete cable to top off your cans. Initially, that assistant was limited only to the default one on your phone but the company has recently announced an update to the headphones that will give them full compatibility with Amazon Alexa as well. All you have to do is update through the Sony Headphone Connect app on your smartphone and you can choose whichever virtual assistant you want—depending on what smart products you have in your house, or simply which one answers your questions better. Many users report extreme cold affecting the touch controls of the Sony WH-1000XM3, so be wary if you’re in an environment that freezes over a lot.

They’re extremely light, have great padding, and oh yeah: deliver on the promise of high-end active noise canceling headphones.

At the top of each ear cup are two wide microphones that collect data for the noise canceling unit to destroy outside sound. It’s unclear if Sony addressed the reported cracking issues with the previous iterations of the WH-1000X, but I didn’t run into any breakage or damage in my time with them. And I suppose that’s to be expected—I’ve absolutely abused the Mark 2 over the past year, and it still looks fairly new… minus somewhat flattened padding.

When you’re buying active noise canceling headphones, the main reason you’re opening up your wallet is because they make the world melt away around you, right? Though the chart it produces is wavy for some reason, don’t take that to mean that it’s got an issue with the overall response: it’s just that pink noise as a testing signal is inherently messy. The main takeaway here is that the headphones target a consumer sound, with emphasized bass, a little bump in the mids, and a peak at about 10kHz.

Weirdly enough, the 330kbps default connection is worse than SBC in some ways, so you may find you should dive into the developer options in your phone to lock the WH-1000XM3 into 660kbps just to be sure you’re getting the best of what your headphones have to offer.

Bass is heavily emphasized in the LDAC and default SBC modes, but you can change this by using Sony’s app if you wish. You may find that engine noise masks a bit of the bassline and bongo thumps to the one and only recognized version of September. Using the advantages of MPEG-H and countless remasters of songs stretching back to 1970, there’s a lot to discover about music you know and love. While the nature of transmitting audio still means that quiet sounds might get amplified in order to mask shortcomings of the power situation, the actual technical capabilities of the microphone are quite… okay.

That means that throughout the range of notes that make up all the parts of a human voice, the Sony WH-1000XM3 doesn’t really treat any differently than the other. As of March 23, 2021, 1,636 readers rated the above mic sample as somewhere between “okay” and “good.” This is a pretty typical result for embedded microphone systems.

In order to compete in the high-end consumer market, the company released the Shure AONIC 50 active noise canceling headphones earlier in 2020 and they’re really, really good. The headphones sport a rather unconventional design, featuring a knit mesh canopy headband and large, smooth ear cups that are reminiscent of an oversized Apple Watch—which makes sense since the left ear cup actually uses a digital crown for volume control.

As with all of Apple’s audio products, the AirPods Max comes with the company’s proprietary H1 Chip for seamless pairing and reliable connectivity. Even if it’s not technically very different than its predecessor, that’s okay: all the WH-1000XM2 needed to be truly great headphones were a USB-C charging port, and deeper ear pads… which the WH-1000XM3 provide.

The Sony WH-1000XM3 are the perfect travel buddies with great battery life, solid sound, and a price point under its main competitors. The Sony WH-1000XM4 introduces artificial intelligence (AI) into the mix, and its used to improve noise cancelling along with audio processing. The five-microphone array in tandem with AI voice recognition software learns when you’re speaking and automatically decreases the volume as you and your conversation partner talk back and forth.

Sony Headphones & Earphones Reviews

Here you can find a list of all the Sony Headphones Reviews. The list gets constantly updated every time a new Sony Headphone review is available.

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