When it comes to Sony, there are three qualities you can always count on: booming sound, high-tech ingenuity and robust craftsmanship.
The Sony WH-1000XM3 is undoubtedly one of the best noise-cancelling headphone offerings on the market, whereas the newly released WF-1000XM3 (such perplexing naming conventions, we know) can also lay claim to the same praise, while making a strong case as one of the top AirPods alternatives money can buy.
With 70+ models available, going through the selection process can be a daunting task for audiophiles and music lovers. Fear not, as we've tested the brand's biggest models to provide better insight on which Sony headphones are best suited for you. Take a look at our top picks, based on category and price.
Sony's current flagship headphones are its best offering. The WH-1000XM3 doesn't play second fiddle to any other ANC model in the audio department, pumping out phenomenal, well-balanced sound highlighted by dynamic bass response and improved stereo imaging. You're also given the option to customize the sound profile via the Sony Headphones app, though we're confident you'll enjoy the default sound setting.
The inclusion of Sony's new QN1 processor elevates not only sonic performance but also noise cancellation, effortlessly silencing most high-frequency noises such as crying babies and police sirens. One of its most underappreciated features is the touch panel on the right ear cup, which operates responsively through the use of slide gestures. Lastly, the cans spoil you with a solid 30 hours of wireless listening with noise cancellation on; no Bose model offers this.
Read our full Sony WH-1000XM3 review.
The WF-1000xM3 blends together spacious sound with the feature we never thought could be done properly on a truly wireless model: noise cancellation. Sony adding a second mic to each bud helps optimize noise neutralization for peaceful listening on the go. Screeching train tracks and shouting passengers will go unheard. Crisp, full-bodied sound will channel through the ear canal. The buds are even capable of improving the fidelity on low-res recordings. Up to 6 hours of battery life with noise cancellation on is a blessing, too, while disabling the feature allows an extra 2 hours of use.
Read our full Sony WF-1000xM3 review.
This second-gen version in the popular over-the-ear headphones series is an incredible performer that offers many of the same performance perks as its successor, at a lower price. If an attractive design is what you fancy, the WH-1000XM2 certainly has it, draped in leathery accents and polished metal construction. Deep bass remains at the forefront of Sony's sound signature, and even though the low end knocks hard, you still get a feel for crisp mids and highs on booming tracks. To keep environmental fracas to a minimum, the cans produce reliable noise cancellation as well.
Read our full Sony WH-1000XM2 review.
The WH-XB900N crosses that fine line between an entry-level and luxury headphone, packaging all of Sony's beloved sound technologies into a slightly cheaper bundle. It's a model designed for bass lovers who love their sound on the warm side – maybe too much. Using the Sony Headphones app helps tweak the sonics to suit your personal taste and gives you the option to adjust ambient listening modes to hear your surroundings more clearly. Noise cancellation won't match what other in-class leaders offer, but it's strong enough here to hush neighboring uproars.
The saying "you pay more for quality" is one that applies to few high-end headphones. Add the Sony MDR-Z7M2 to that list. A wired sonic powerhouse designed mostly for home stereo listening, these closed-back cans are engineered to help you enjoy spacious, articulate sound across multiple devices, from hi-res MP3 players to the market's best smartphones. Lows have a surreal quality to them when you're jamming out to bass-heavy songs, whereas mids and highs shine. Its large frame and high price won't appeal to everyone, but a true audiophile won't regret splurging on the MDR-Z7M2 for its sonic excellence alone.
Sony's first crack at noise-cancelling true wireless earbuds is an admirable one that brings forth detailed audio and fair noise cancellation. The WF-1000X has a neutral frequency range, which makes mids and highs more transparent over strong bass reproduction. The Sony app enhances the listening experience by letting you fine-tune the EQ to your liking. As a first-gen model, Sony's Smart Noise-Canceling technology doesn't exactly live up to the brand's standards, but it's still useful for muting nearby conversations.
Fans of wrap-around buds will appreciate the WI-1000X's versatile performance. Sony did a fantastic job designing these buds to work across several audio codecs, which compress music files superbly so that you can hear your favorite tracks in high fidelity. The noise cancellation is impressive as well, with the technology adapting to your surroundings to quiet specific external rumblings; you'll be able to shut out noisy co-workers and street traffic. Access to the Sony Headphones app allows you to personalize noise cancellation and sound. The bulky control module does create some discomfort and the battery dies a lot faster than expected (especially with NC on), but those are minor drawbacks when compared with the buds' audio prowess.
The PlayStation Platinum Wireless Headset comes with 50mm drivers that produce a nice balance of bass, treble and vocal clarity. It offers the ability to enhance and personalize audio for music and movies via Sony’s free Headset Companion app, which hosts several presets and custom EQ modes. Comfort is another area in which the cans excel, with plush memory foam pads that rest gently on your ears to listen for hours on end. Design-wise, it feels a bit flimsy, and a lack of Bluetooth means you can only use the headset with the console. Still, it’s a notable option for gamers who use their PS4 for all forms of entertainment.
Read our full Sony PlayStation Platinum Wireless Headset review.
Truly wireless sports earbuds are an expanding category, but there's only one model programmed with digital noise cancellation: the Sony WF-SP700N. These buds carry an IPX4 rating to prevent sweat or water damage. Despite satisfactory overall sound, the WF-SP700N's greatest strength proves to be its energetic bass response, which levels your eardrums with hard-hitting lows to jump-start your workouts. Bear in mind that exercising in loud settings will hinder sound performance, as noise cancellation doesn't silence much. The buds' 3-hour battery life also means you'll have to keep the charging case attached to your gym bag.
Sony’s newest budget buds are a nice upgrade for anyone who wants dependable performance at a low cost. The 12mm drivers don’t hold back on bass, dishing out powerful lows that blend nicely with mids and highs to maintain a well-balanced signature. You’re given plenty of juice with up to 15 hours of playback, perfect for a week’s worth of commuting. One downside is the buds aren’t properly designed to fit small ears. Isolation isn’t great either, as loud external noises tend to leak into the soundscape.