Turn the bass up to 11…
Sony has been making headlines with their exceptionally well-received Sony WH-1000XM3 and now the new XM4. These headphones are Sony’s flagship noise-cancelling headphones that come at a flagship price.
The WH-XB900N is half the price of their flagships but looks quite similar in design and functionality.
So, at half the price, what’s missing? Let’s find out in our in-depth Sony WH-XB900N review…
These headphones definitely take most of their design cues from the WH-100XM3. They have the same 100% plastic design, which makes them lightweight and comfy to wear for extended periods of time. The headband doesn’t put much pressure on your crown, but they stay on your head during most day to day tasks.
The plastic has a matte color and texture, making them easy to hold and grip, whilst looking a bit more premium than they actually are.
Less tech, but far easier to use…
The biggest difference between their flagship counterpart is the playback buttons. The WH-1000XM3 has touch gesture controls, whereas, on the XB900N, you have physical buttons. They are clicky and responsive, and we actually prefer these buttons over the hit and miss touch gestures on the flagship.
The padding is plentiful, and the ear-cups are large enough for most sizes of ears. The padding is wrapped up in a leatherette, which suffers from the same heating issues as most leatherette pads. It does aid in isolation, which is a fine trade, especially considering this pair of headphones include Sony’s leading active noise canceling technology.
These headphones might look like a pair of WH-1000XM3’s, but they sound nowhere near the same. The “XB” in the name must stand for Extra Bass, but the bass here is almost overbearing.
If you are a bass-junkie, these headphones will not just satisfy your bass urges, but completely blow your expectations out the water. It’s loud, tight, and to be honest, ear numbing.
Vocals and mid-range instruments sound decent with good clarity, although some parts with a lot of bass tend to take the front seat with some audible auditory masking taking place.
The highs were fine too. It feels like Sony took the sound profile of the WH-1000XM3 and cranked the bass up to 11. It’s not for everyone, but there is definitely a market for these headphones.
Great for online work…
Another excellent feature brought over from the flagship headphones is the high microphone quality. Our voices were pretty much unaltered by the microphone on the headphones. Taking calls was a breeze, and we can recommend these for anybody that wants to use them for online work.
As mentioned before, isolation is great. Pair that with the active noise canceling, and you have a great listening experience. The headphones don’t do as well as their flagship counterpart, but that comes with the cheaper price point. That doesn’t mean they do a terrible job at canceling noise.
In fact, they do a great job of blocking out low hums from busses or air conditioners in the office. We had some chatter in the office sneak through every now and then, but playing music at even low volumes mostly kept out any noise.
Sony also threw their 360 Reality Audio Technology onto these, which makes them the only cheaper pair of headphones with this added feature. If you have a Deezer, Tidal, or nugs.net subscription, you can make use of this feature.
Connectivity and Battery Life
Connecting these headphones are as simple as 1, 2, 3. Turn them on, open your devices Bluetooth settings, and pair. As simple as that. If you have a device that supports NFC pairing, just tap the device on the earcup with the NFC mark and pair.
These headphones are still using Bluetooth 4.2, which is a shame considering Bluetooth version 5 has a much better and stable connection.
Superb selection of codecs…
These headphones do come with Sony’s very own LDAC codec, which can stream lossless music wirelessly. It also packs aptX and aptX HD.
Another great feature is Sony’s Headphone app, which lets you control a slew of features like the amount of ambient noise, an Equalizer, and the 360 Reality Audio.
The app works well, but unfortunately, a lot of the features are limited to an SBC connection instead of aptX or LDAC. We don’t ever really mess around with the EQ settings, especially when using decent headphones, but if you prefer to, it is something worth noting.
The headphones also come with Alexa and Google Assistant support.
Quick as a flash…
Sony claims on their website that you can expect up to 30 hours of playback on a full charge. Upon testing, we almost got 37 hours of playback before the battery was drained. This gives you enough juice for even the longest of flights, and even then, if you run out of juice, the USB-C charging supports fast charging.
Who is the Sony WH-XB900N for?
These headphones are perfect for bass junkies. If you are considering buying a pair of Beats, we highly recommend buying a pair of these instead, because they have many more features.
The headphones are also a great alternative for people who want all the great features of the WH-1000XM3, but for a lower price. The extra bass is a bit of a trade-off, but can be equalized in a third-party app if you prefer a more neutral sound.
Sony WH-XB900N Review Pros and Cons
- Excellent range of features.
- Great active noise cancelling.
- Build quality.
- Too much bass.
- Most features on the app don’t work with hi-res codecs.
Looking for more excellent Sony Headphones and Earbuds?
If so, our comprehensive reviews of the Best Sony Headphones would be a great place to start. Or check out our reviews of the Sony WH-CH700N, the Sony WF-1000XM3, the Sony WF-SP700N, the Sony MDR 7506, our Sony WH-CH710N review, and the Sony WH-1000XM2.
However, if you need headphones for a particular reason, it may be worth taking a look at our reviews of the Best Headphones under 100 dollars, the Best Waterproof Bluetooth Headphones, the Best Running Headphones, the Best Wireless Bluetooth Headphones, the Best Headphones and Earbuds for Sleeping, and the Most Comfortable Headphones currently available in 2020.
Sony WH-XB900N Review Round-Up
These headphones are a solid edition to Sony’s headphones line up. And they satisfy a market that Sony hasn’t really catered for in the headphones department. On offer here is a premium package at a decent price that gives bass junkies an awesome sound profile, with flagship features.