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The Complete Guide to Sony's Wireless Headphones and Earbuds

Sony makes some of most popular headphones you can buy, but its naming convention is extremely confusing. Here's what you need to know.

sony wh1000m4 headphones
Sony

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Sony is one of the biggest names in headphones today. It make some of the most well-reviewed and most popular headphones you can buy. In recent years, Sony has also emerged as the chief rival to Bose when it comes to noise-canceling headphones. Its WH-1000xM4 and WF-1000xM3, are arguably better than Bose's offerings.

The problem with Sony's line is that there are a lot of different models to choose from and their naming conventions don't make it easy. We're here to break it down so you can decide which Sony headphones are right for you.

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Sony WH-1000XM4
Sony
$348.00

Release Date: August 2020

Noise-Canceling: Yes

The WH-1000XM4 are the company's new flagship noise-canceling headphones and the direct successor to the WH-1000XM3. Sony made some subtle design tweaks to improve the comfort of the WH-1000XM4 — such as making the earpads bigger by 10 percent, rounding the headband and slimming the headband cushion. The WH-1000XM4 have have the best sound and noise-canceling abilities of Sony's entire line. As well as a microphone array which delivers a superior call experience. Unlike their predecessors, the WH-1000XM4 can also pair via Bluetooth to two devices at once.

Sony WH-1000XM3
Sony
$348.00

Release Date: Fall 2018

Noise-Canceling: Yes

Even with the recent arrival of the WH-1000XM4, the WH-1000XM3 are still some of the best overall noise-canceling headphones you can buy. They have similar sound and noise-canceling abilities (although the WH-1000XM4 are a little better at canceling out high frequencies), and they have similar features (such as adjustable EQ and capacitive touch controls) because they work with the same companion app. If you don't plan on taking calls on your headphones, or care about pairing them to two devices at once, the WH-1000XM3 are almost just as good as the WH-1000XM4 — and you can probably get a good deal on them. (Expect to see these discounted for under $300.) 

Sony WH-CH710N
Sony
$198.00

Release Date: Mid-2020

Noise-Canceling: Yes

If you're looking for a more affordable way to get Sony noise-canceling over-ear headphones, get the WH-CH710N. That said, there are some considerable tradeoffs from the brand's higher-priced options. The WH-CH710N don't have the same audio or noise-canceling abilities and they lack compatibility with Sony's Headphones app, meaning they don't allow you to adjust the sound settings. Additionally, there's no capacitive touch playback controls on the earcups (there are buttons instead), and headband isn't foldable. On the plus side, they charge via USB-C and have the best battery life (up to 35 hours) of any of Sony's wireless over-ear headphones.

Sony WH-H910N
Sony
$167.97

Release Date: Late 2019

Noise-Canceling: Yes 

The WH-H910N are noise-canceling headphones that are a solid alternative for those that don't want to spend big on Sony's flagship cans. They are compatible with the Sony Headphones app, just like the WH-1000XM4 and the WH-1000XM3, which gives you the option to adjust the EQ or the adaptive sound control settings. The tradeoffs are that the WH-H910N don't sound as good or have the same level of noise-canceling abilities as the Sony's more expensive headphones. On the positive side, the WH-H910N do have excellent battery life (35 hours) and come in more color finishes, including red and orange.

Sony WH-H900N
Sony
$298.00

Release Date: Mid-2018

Noise-Canceling: Yes

The WH-H900N are the older versions of the WH-H910N and, again, are a good noise-canceling alternative for people who don't spend big on Sony's flagship cans. The main tradeoff between the WH-H910N and the WH-H900N comes down to the design, as the latter has a slightly less-premium look and feel. The overall sound and noise-canceling qualities don't quite match the WH-H910N, either. Unless there's a big price difference between the WH-H910N and the WH-H900N, I'd recommend going with the newer headphones.

Sony WHXB900N
Sony
$248.00

Release Date: Mid-2019

Noise-Canceling: Yes

The WH-XB900N are noise-canceling headphones that are in Sony's "Extra Bass" line (which is indicated by the "XB" in the product name) and they're another budget alternative to the company's flagship line. The biggest difference between the WH-XB900N and the WH-H910N is that the former has Sony's Extra Bass technology that enhances low-end frequencies and delivers extra-punchy bass; if you listen to a lot of bass-heavy music then the WH-XB900N are what you want. They are also compatible with the Sony Headphones app, which allows you to adjust the EQ and noise-canceling settings.

Sony WH-XB700
Sony
$128.00

Release Date: Mid-2019

Noise-Canceling: No

The WH-XB700 are entry-level wireless on-ear headphones that are in Sony's "Extra Bass" line, as indicated by the XB in the product name. They lack any active noise-canceling abilities, but they are still compatible with Sony's Headphones app which allows you to tweak sound settings. They also charge via USB-C, which is still a rarity amongst wireless headphones that fall below $100.

Sony WH-CH510
Sony

Release Date: Early 2020

Noise-Canceling: No

The Sony WH-CH510 are the company's most entry-level pair of wireless on-ear headphones. Essentially, they're a cheaper and more basic version of the WH-XB700 headphones. They lack compatibility with the Sony Headphones app, meaning you can't toggle with the EQ audio settings. On the plus side, they do have a great 35-hour battery life and charge via USB-C.

Sony WF-1000XM3
Sony
$228.00

Release Date: August 2019

Noise-Canceling: Yes

The WF-1000XM3 are essentially a truly wireless earbud version of the Sony WH-1000XM3 over-ear headphones and they're the company's flagship wireless earbuds with excellent sound and noise-canceling abilities. The WF-1000XM3 are compatible with Sony Headphones app, which allows you to adjust the audio and noise-canceling settings. They're also IPX4-rating, meaning they're safe to wear while running and working out. Along with Apple's AirPods Pro, these are the best noise-canceling wireless earbuds that you can buy.

Sony WF-SP800N
Sony
$198.00

Release Date: Mid-2020

Noise-Canceling: Yes

The Sony WF-SP800N are the company’s mid-range wireless earbuds with active noise-cancellation. They’re a more affordable alternative to Sony’s flagship WF-1000XM3, but they don't have quite the same level of active noise-cancellation and overall sound quality. They do, however, work with the Sony Headphones app. The real unique thing about the Sony WF-SP800N is that they have a workout-focused design and a more rubust IP55 water-resistance rating. These are one of the few noise-canceling wireless earbuds that are optimized for working out.

Sony WF-XB700
Sony
$129.99

Release Date: Mid-2020

Noise-Canceling: No

Sony’s WF-XB700 ($130) are the company’s and most affordable wireless earbuds, and you can think of them as a direct AirPod alternatives. They're a stripped-down version of Sony's flagship wireless earbuds, the WF-1000XM3, as they lack the premium design and many of the premium features such as noise-canceling and transparency modes. They also aren't compatible with Sony's Headphones app. However, what they lack in features, they make up for in sound and price

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