The 5 features Sonos headphones need to beat Sony and Bose – I'd buy immediately

Sonos headphones remain a rumour, but these 5 features would make them the choice pick over Sony or Bose

Sonos has been working on headphones for a long time – that isn't something the company has openly confirmed, mind, but the amount of leaks and rumours about Sonos wireless headphones seemingly makes it all but guaranteed.

With such a long gestation period, it's pretty clear that the project has been a slow burner, which could bode well for the end result, but could also suggest that it's had some turbulent times. 

As a trusted audio brand, though, getting on the best headphones wagon makes perfect sense for Sonos. Here's what I'd want to see from the rumoured headphones to outsmart Sony WH-1000XM5 and Bose QuietComfort Ultra Headphones alternatives. 

1. Meaningful integration with your speakers

Sonos Era 300

(Image credit: Sonos)

The whole joy of Sonos is how easy it is to set up multiroom audio and control it –whether you're building a surround-sound system or just a comprehensive home audio suite.

Sonos headphones shouldn't just be a new, disconnected audio product. Rather, they have to be integrated into the lineup properly, whether that's with intelligent audio swapping and sharing, or being able to leave your house without your music ever dropping out. 

Much of this, and the next feature in my list, is likely to come down to how and whether Sonos manages to get Wi-Fi connectivity in its headphones, something that would make it stand out from the crowd. It would enable a whole heap of integration possibilities with higher-speed and more stable connections.

2. A cinematic option

Sonos Beam 2

(Image credit: Sonos)

I use a Sonos Beam with some Symfonisk speakers for my TV's audio – how about that for one of the best soundbar options, eh? – which works a treat. But sometimes you don't want to deafen the neighbours, and the bass-dimming 'night mode' is too big a compromise to a movie or show's atmosphere.

In these situations, being able to pick up a pair of Sonos headphones to easily transition to personal audio would be a dream – they should aim to be able to connect to my Beam and get me high-quality lag-free audio from my TV. 

This would also be another unique selling point to help them stand out from the crowd in a pretty busy market, and would also open them up a little to potentially attract gamers who don't want a microphone-focused headset. 

3. Proper ANC

Sonos Headphones patent

(Image credit: Sonos)

Sonos is a premium brand, with only a few genuinely affordable speakers, which means we can expect these headphones to be pricey when they arrive. Any premium headphones now need the best active noise cancelling (ANC). From a performance point of view, though, this can often be surprisingly pedestrian even from reliable makers, though.

If Sonos wants to cement an immediate place in the high-end market, its ANC is going to have to compete with Sony and Bose to genuinely cocoon you as you travel or listen. It's a must-have, at this point, and I hope it can be significantly adjustable to suit all manner of use cases.

It would also be great if this could be fully adaptive – while I'm more the type to stick my ANC on maximum and leave it there happily, many people prefer to have it adapt to their surroundings to prioritise audio quality. Having that option is another thing that the Sonos team should be aiming to achieve.

4. Stretch the battery life

Sonos Headphones patent 2

(Image credit: Sonos)

Again, Sonos has stood by over the last few years as the luxury headphone market has zoomed forward in terms of quality, and battery life has gone from mediocre to very solid in many cases.

With headphones from the likes of Sennheiser that offer dozens and dozens of hours of listening on a charge, if Sonos arrives with less than 20 or so hours, it'll constitute a disappointment. 

Given the smart features that its headphones might be trying to pack in, that could mean a real challenge, but it's a seriously essential part of the user experience that needs to be nailed. Maybe a new battery technology will be in tow, which could solve this...

5. A genuinely fantastic design

Sonos Era 300

(Image credit: Future)

Now, this might seem obvious, but Sonos has a lot riding on these headphones, and it's going to want to stick the landing. While the sound quality is a huge proponent of purchase incentive, it's not to be overlooked that these headphones also need to look great.

Most people will see these rumoured headphones either on someone's head or in an advert before they ever hear them. They're going to have to look attractive and striking in equal measure – a step beyond the sea of black and white that's typical in the market (yes, Sony and Bose, you know the deal).

We're no longer in the era where headphones look completely whacky, and there are a lot of homogenous designs right now, but Apple showed with the AirPods Max that it's possible to make standout designs – so Sonos needs to be straining every sinew to match that level of work.

Max Freeman-Mills

Max is a freelance writer with years of experience in tech and entertainment. He's also a gaming expert, both with the games themselves and in testing accessories and consoles, having flexed that expertise at Pocket-lint as a features editor. He has tested all manner of tech too, from headphones and speakers to apps and software.