Best Sony Headphones Android Central 2020
Crank up your tunes with our favorite headphones, Sony's WH-1000XM3. Not only do the WH-1000KM3 feature class-leading active noise cancelation, but they also feature great sound, battery life, and comfort. Now you can jam out, talk to Alexa, and even take a phone call without ever having to take your headphones off. Sony is one of the leaders in high-end headphones, so there are plenty of other great options, too.
- Best Overall: Sony WH-1000XM3
- Best True Wireless: Sony WF-1000XM3
- Best Over-Ear: Sony MDR-7506
- Best Bass: Sony WH-XB900N
- Best Neckbuds: Sony WI-C400
- Best Workout Buds: Sony WI-SP600N
- Best Value: Sony WI-C310
Best Overall: Sony WH-1000XM3
Without a doubt, the WH-1000XM3 are the pinnacle of innovation at Sony when it comes to headphones. They feature class-leading ANC tech, strong battery life at 30 hours with ANC enabled, and great sound quality. Battery life isn't the best on the market but it's close, and they include fast charging, which means you won't have to wait long when your headphones do die. The only downside when it comes to battery is that you can't listen and charge simultaneously.
Despite this, active noise cancelation is the biggest reason to get the WH-1000XM3 over any other set of Sony headphones. They feature class-leading ANC by a large margin. The WH-1000XM3 virtually block out all noise when you have them on. Wearing the headphones while flying will sound like you're sitting at home in your living room watching TV. They do a stellar job of blocking out low-end noise, and decently well with mid-range and treble noise, especially when you have audio playing.
Audio quality is also good. If you're a bass head, the WH-1000XM3 won't disappoint. Even if you're not, you'll still likely love the WH-1000XM3 as they feature a built-in EQ with the companion smartphone app. The out-of-box sound signature has some serious punch but also has a tendency of drowning out the mids and treble quite a bit.
In terms of comfort, the WH-1000XM3 are one of the best out there. They're not as comfortable as the Bose Noise Canceling Headphones 700, but they are close.
- Great sound quality and EQ settings
- Comfort is great for most
- Excellent battery life
- Class-leading ANC
- Can't charge and listen simultaneously
- Can only connect to one device at a time
The Sony WH-1000XM3 features class-leading ANC, excellent battery life, and a ton of customizability.
Best True Wireless: Sony WF-1000XM3
The WF-1000XM3 are Sony's newest true wireless headphones, and they're incredible. The true wireless market has exploded over the last few years and Sony is finally responding with its own offering. The WF-1000XM3 feature the same great ANC as the WH-1000XM3, but in a true wireless form.
In terms of sound quality, the WF-1000XM3 perform surprisingly well. Unlike most other Sony headphone products, the WF-1000XM3 actually feature a balanced sound. And like most other wireless Sony headphones, the sound can be adjusted through the smartphone companion app (available on Android and iOS).
Battery life is solid as well with up to six hours of juice with the earbuds, and up to 18 additional hours of listening time with the case. When dead, the WF-1000XM3 are able to get 90 minutes of listening with a 10-minute charge, which thankfully uses USB-C. The case doesn't feature wireless charging, which is unfortunate given their price.
Comfort is decent on the WF-1000XM3, although the buds are rather large and have a bit of heft. The ear tips that come in the box are large as well, with the smallest tip being bigger than most buds' medium-sized tips. Fortunately, they use the standard driver sizes, so if the tips that come in the box are a bit too big for you, you can replace them with smaller third-party tips. However, if you can find the right ear tip for your ears, the WF-1000XM3 can be super comfortable.
- Solid, neutral sound
- Customizable sound
- Great ANC
- Buds are large in size
- Case lacks wireless charging
Best True Wireless
These true wireless earbuds pack a ton of features. However, it does come at a cost — size and weight.
Best Over-Ear: Sony MDR-7506
Wireless headphones aren't always the best route especially if you're chasing sound quality specifically. It's no secret that wired audio sounds better than wireless audio and the Sony MDR-7506 are a clear indication of that. These classic headphones have slightly boosted bass, which gives you a warmer sound signature. The mids are balanced, and the treble is slightly boosted giving them a consumer-friendly sound.
The MDR-7506 are also extremely comfortable. The ear cups are large and the padding over the head is decent. However, the leather material used is susceptible to wear and tear. While the ear cups are large, they don't extend too far, which can make them uncomfortable for those who have wider ears.
In terms of portability, the MDR-7506 are excellent. They don't fold sideways but they do fold into themselves, effectively reducing the footprint by half when stowed away. The included cable is non-detachable, which means if the cable starts to break you'll have to replace them entirely. Fortunately, the MDR-7506 terminates in 3.5mm, which is the most widely used audio connector. The cable is also coiled, which will help reduce the likelihood of the cable tearing.
- Sturdy, 3.5mm cable
- Solid sound
- Large ear cups will fit a variety of ears
- No need to worry about batteries
- Ear cups aren't as deep
- Non-detachable cable
The Sony MDR-7506 are a fantastic pair of cans with great comfort and sound as long as your ears fit the ear cups.
Best Bass: Sony WH-XB900N
Sony's headphones are known for being bass heavy and the WH-XB900N are no exception. In fact, the WH-XB900N are part of Sony's "Extra Bass" collection, which aims to pump even more bass than usual into your ears. The WH-XB900N are low end-forward, with a midrange and treble that is slightly recessed, giving the headphones an overall darker sound signature.
Beyond the bass, the WH-XB900N over-ear headphones are extremely comfortable. The ear cups are big and extend deep and the headband feels like a pillow, making them comfortable to wear for hours. Clamping force isn't too strong so it won't feel like the headphones are crushing your head.
Battery life is excellent with up to 30 hours of uptime, matching their ANC brother the WH-1000XM3. That's not the only component the WH-XB900N shares with the WH-1000XM3; the XB900N also have USB-C for charging. You'll also get quick charging which will net you 60 minutes of listening time with a 10-minute charge.
- Dark, bass-heavy sound signature
- Super long battery life
- USB-C charging
- Comfortable ear cups
- Quick charging
- Soundstage is narrow
All 'bout that bass
The Sony WH-XB900N pack a ton of bass and great battery life into a comfortable over-ear design.
Best Neckbuds: Sony WI-C400
Neckbuds are great for those who want earbuds that you don't have to worry about losing because they'll sit comfortably around your neck all day. Enter the WI-C400, the best neckbuds Sony makes.
The WI-C400 are super comfortable thanks to their lightweight design. They also come with several ear tip sizes in the box, which will help tremendously with the fit. Another great feature is their battery life, netting up to 20 hours on a single charge. While battery life is great they, unfortunately, use the aging Micro-USB connector for charging.
When it comes to sound quality, the WI-C400 are decent. Bass response is underemphasized and essentially non-existent, the midrange is a bit bizarre and can sound unnatural, and the treble is boosted a substantial amount which gives it a slightly piercing and sharp sound. However, the WI-C400 are excellent for phone calls as their microphones are above-average and can block out a decent amount of background noise without making your voice sound robotic.
- Great microphone quality
- Super comfortable and light
- Long battery life
- Sound quality is mediocre
- Micro-USB for charging
The WI-C400 from Sony offer exceptional microphone quality, battery life, and comfort for a ridiculously low price.
Best Workout Buds: Sony WI-SP600N
When working out you need four things from your earbuds: great comfort, portability, water resistance, and easy access to music controls to skip that one slow song that occasionally shows up. Fortunately, the WI-SP600N are great at all three of those things.
While the WI-SP6000N feature great comfort, the media controls coming out of the left bud tug that side a little bit, making them slightly uncomfortable after long periods of time. However, the media controls are tactile and follow the standard "iPod" scheme to control your audio. You'll also get an IPX5 water resistance rating, which means you can coat these in sweat with no problems.
As expected, the sound signature is bass boosted, the mid-range is balanced but slightly recessed, and the treble is bizarre and uneven. The treble is a bit sharp, which means they can be fatiguing for some or sound too piercing.
Battery life is where the WI-SP600N fall short, only offering up to six hours of battery life on a single charge. They charge over the older Micro-USB standard, which isn't ideal as users are continuing to upgrade their devices which likely have the more modern USB-C connector.
- Good sound quality
- Great comfort
- Awesome media controls
- Great price
- Left earbud can feel heavy
- Micro-USB for charging
- Treble can be a bit piercing for some
Best Workout Buds
The WI-SP600N are great for fitness due to their great fit, fun sound signature, and decent 6-hour battery life.
Best Value: Sony WI-C310
The Sony WI-C310 hold up surprisingly well considering their price point, especially in the sound quality department. The WC-310 have bass and mids that are balanced, while the treble is mostly balanced, though they can be a bit sharp. This can sound piercing to some users.
Comfort is excellent though. They rest on your ear versus being shoved in your ear canal. Included in the box are several bud tips that come in various sizes, which helps with sizing and fit. The only real annoyance some may notice is that the cable between the two buds is slightly longer than other earbuds.
Battery life exceeded our expectations with up to 15 hours on a charge, which is roughly double what most other wireless earbuds get. Sony took it a step further and included USB-C charging. Most earbuds and headphones at this price point (and some that are more expensive) use Micro-USB for charging. To top it all off, the WI-C310 are capable of fast charging with 60 minutes of audio playback with a 10-minute charge.
The only downside here is that while they do include media controls, the buttons are rather mushy and can be hard to press.
- Long battery life for its size
- Super comfortable
- Balanced sound
- USB-C for charging
- Fast charging
- Mushy media controls
- Treble can sound piercing
The package the Sony WI-C310 offers is unbeatable, especially for their price. You get long battery life and decent sound.
No surprise the Sony WH-1000XM3 make the top of our top Sony headphones list. They are by far the best ANC wireless headphones on the market with class-leading ANC technology.
Not only that, the WH-1000XM3 also feature a highly customizable sound, strong battery life that lasts up to 30 hours on a single charge (with fast charging and USB-C), and comfort and fit that'll suit most people's heads. You also get high-definition audio over Bluetooth and a wired 3.5mm option if you've still got a smartphone with a headphone jack.
How to choose the best Sony headphones
Sony makes a ton of headphones in various shapes and sizes, making it sometimes difficult to decide which set of headphones you want to pick up. If you're looking for wireless headphones, for example, you'll likely be looking at battery life, sound customizability, and portability.
If you don't mind the cord, portability will likely still play a big role, but sound quality,and comfort are likely high up on your list as well. That, and whether or not they have a detachable cable or not.
Sound quality should be the top priority for potential headphone buyers. It doesn't matter if they're super comfortable or look pretty if your headphones sound bad. If you've decided you want Sony headphones, you're basically locking yourself into bass-heavy sound that muddies out the rest. It's worth noting though that Sony is showing signs that it wants to change that with some recent products.
A clear indication of that is the WF-1000XM3, which feature a balanced sound signature with only a few minor inconsistencies that most people won't hear. If you're looking for the best sound in terms of pure sound signature, the WF-1000XM3 take the cake.
Our second pick easily goes to the Sony WH-1000XM3. The sound signature you get out of the box is great for those who love and adore bass. Fortunately, you can modify the sound signature in the app to achieve a more balanced sound signature or any sound signature your heart desires.
The next two picks on our list are wired headphones and they're much lower on the list because they don't offer any sort of sound customizability. Unfortunately, that means you get an overly bass-heavy sound that drown out everything else.
Best active Sony headphones, ranked by sound quality
- Sony WF-1000XM3
- Sony WH-1000XM3
- Sony MDR-7506
- Sony WI-C310
- Sony WH-XB900N
Obviously, no headphone manufacturer wants to create an uncomfortable product, though sometimes that's just the end result. Whether it's material choice, heft and weight, or something else entirely, it's all subjective.
The Sony WH-1000XM3 make the top of the list because they were designed to be comfortable for long term use while on flights or commutes. The ear cups are large and extend deep so they'll fit most people's ears without issue. Tthe headband is also super soft and extends wide to accomodate most heads.
Our next three picks are all earbuds in one fashion or another. Typically, earbuds nail comfort right out of the gate since they're designed to be lightweight and portable, and the only real point of failure is the bud itself. So it's no surprise that the WI-C400, WI-C310, and WF-1000XM3 are among the best when it comes to comfort.
Best Sony headphones, ranked by comfort
- Sony WH-1000XM3
- Sony WI-C400
- Sony WI-C310
- Sony WF-1000XM3
- Sony MDR-7506
Credits — The team that worked on this guide
Peter Cao has an undeniable love for music whether it's listening, analyzing, or producing. When he's not on the clock, you can often catch him playing video games or playing basketball.
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