Active noise cancellation is a feature that we are seeing more and more often in relatively affordable earbuds or earbuds. However, anyone who has once experienced ANC with quality sealed headphones knows that the best result can only be achieved when listening with headphones of this design. Among them are these new headphones from SONY, which we’ll take a look at in today’s Sony WH-XB910N review.
Sony WH-XB910N Specs
|Driver unit||40 mm|
|Connectivity||Bluetooth Specification Version 5.2, 3.5mm jack|
|Frequency response in active mode||7 Hz – 25 000Hz|
|Bluetooth frequency response||20 – 20 kHz (44.1 kHz sampling) / 20 – 40 kHz (LDAC, 96 kHz sampling, 990 kbps)|
|Bluetooth range||around 10m|
|Supported codecs||SBC, AAC, LDAC|
|Sensitivity||96 dB / mW|
|Active Noise Control||Yes|
|Battery life (music playback time)||up to 30 hours with ANC on, up to 50 hours without ANC|
|Charge time||approx. 3.5 hours (via USB)|
Often we see high-end headphones praised for their superior sound, advanced features and excellent active noise cancellation. However, not everyone is necessarily comfortable with the higher purchase price, and it’s these users who might be interested in the Sony WH-XB910N, which, despite costing considerably less, certainly has a lot to offer.
- Sony WH-XB910N Design processing: comfort above all
- Sony WH-XB910N Sound: ideal for lovers of dense bass and outstanding ANC
- Sony WH-XB910N Functions and controls: tap tap, slide slide
- Sony WH-XB910N Battery life: what more could we ask for
- Sony WH-XB910N Price
Design processing: comfort above all
The Sony WH-XB910N are, by design, bridge folding headphones that completely cover the ears, which may not be comfortable in the sultry summer, but many may find it a nice bonus at this time of year. The foldable design, as well as the materials that the headphones are made of, look traditionally very good, even though they are plastic. Likewise, the padding of the bridge or the headphones themselves ensures a comfortable wearing experience even for longer periods of time, and I personally found the headphones to “fit” very well.
A welcome accessory is definitely also the supplied case in which you can safely carry the headphones. There’s also a compartment for the charging cable and a 3.5mm cable for music transfer, should you want higher quality. The only thing that might be a bit of a bummer is the only two colour options for the headphones, which are pretty casual (black and dark blue). Too bad Sony doesn’t offer some “bolder” colours as well.
Sound: ideal for lovers of dense bass and outstanding ANC
The label of the headphones already gives a hint that this is one of Sony’s line of products with “extra bass”, which is really dense and probably too boomy for many ordinary listeners. That’s why I recommend you to go to the Headphones app, where you’ll find an equalizer with a pretty precise setting. Once you’ve tamed the bass a bit, you can enjoy a quality listening experience that isn’t necessarily dominated by bass alone but also includes well-drawn mids and highs. A definite positive is the presence of Sony’s LDAC codec, which allows music to be transmitted in (for wireless listening) above-standard quality.
The great advantage of these headphones is also the very capable ANC. The design alone provides decent soundproofing, but once you turn on the active noise cancellation, you can enjoy really great soundproofing for undisturbed listening. I also made several calls with the headphones without the other party having any reason to complain about the sound, as I did. The headphones also handle 360 Reality Audio surround sound, which works very well, but count on having a suitable source for reproduction. Tidal, for example, has a library of 360 Reality Audio compatible tracks.
Functions and controls: tap tap, slide slide
Control is handled, as with other Sony models, by a touchpad on the right clamshell, which you tap and slide your finger across to decrease/increase the volume, change the track, etc. The controls are precise and worked properly even after washing your hands, for example, which are still a bit damp. On the left shell, you can feel the power button on the back (with your thumb), which you can press briefly to check the battery status and hold it longer to turn the headphones off/on or into pairing mode. There is also one more important button, which activates ANC or ambient mode. The control of the headphones is thus, in my opinion, very simple and intuitive enough even for users who have no experience with closed headphones from Sony.
Among the features worth highlighting, in addition to the already mentioned ANC, is the ability to run the voice assistant through the headphones, but also a separate Headphones app from Sony, inside which you will find a large number of settings and through which you can update the headphones to the latest firmware version. For example, the app can (if you give it permission) adjust the sound based on whether you’re walking, sitting, indoors/outdoors, etc. You can then assign specific settings to a selected location (such as your home). You’ll also find a nicely crafted equalizer, the ability to have your ear shape analyzed for better 360 Reality Audio, and more, see screenshots. Last but not least, you’ll be pleased with the quick pairing with Android and Windows devices via Fast Pair and Swift Pair respectively. This makes pairing a matter of seconds.
Battery life: what more could we ask for
In this chapter, I will only praise, because the battery life of the Sony WH-XB910N is so great that you can basically forget about charging them. Sure, you’ll need to charge the headphones once in a while (with the included USB-A/USB-C cable or another USB-C cable), but the battery life won’t limit your use. According to the manufacturer, you can enjoy up to 50 hours of music listening on a single charge or 40 hours of phone time. In both cases, these are the values without activated ANC (in that case they would be about 10 hours lower), but even so, in my opinion, the average user has no chance to discharge the headphones within a few days. So you will probably charge the Sony WH-XB910N even twice a month, and that is definitely a welcome feature. Another benefit is the fast charging, where 10 minutes of charging will give you enough power for 4.5 hours of music playback.
Sony WH-XB910N Price
You can currently buy the Sony WH-XB910N headphones in multiple retailers either online or in a brick and mortar shop.
SONY recommends a price of £180 / $249.99, although there are plenty of retailers selling the WH-XB910N headphones with up to 20% discount.
It is needless to say that the Sony WH-XB910N certainly fulfilled my expectations of high-quality headphones in this review. Prospective buyers can look forward to quality sound with more pronounced bass (which they can, however, correct), high comfort while wearing, as well as top-notch ANC that reliably eliminates annoying noise. In my opinion, the advantage of this model is also a relatively affordable price (RRP £180, currently around £150 on Amazon at the time of writing). In this regard, you really get a lot of music for “reasonable” money.