This Sony WH-XB910N review is for anyone who listens to upbeat music on a daily basis - these over-ear headphones pack a punch and they're also some of the best noise-cancelling headphones you can buy.
When it comes to audio products, Sony is undoubtedly one of the top dogs of the industry. Here at T3, we really rate a lot of their products. Not only do they make some of the best true wireless earbuds in the world but they also trample on a lot of the competition when it comes to over-ear headphones.
The Sony WH-1000XM4, in particular, won us over with their lively sound, incredible ANC and cutting-edge features. It all sounds great, but there’s one quite significant downside - the price.
If you don’t want to spend such an eye-watering amount of money then the Sony WH-XB910N could be a more affordable alternative worth considering.
Sony WH-XB910N review: price and availability
Available to buy now, the Sony WH-XB910N headphones will set you back $150 in the US, £160 in the UK and AU$250 in Australia. Take a look at the widgets on this page to see the best deals on them across the web, as well as where you can find them.
Sony WH-XB910N review: design and fit
You can buy the Sony WH-XB910 headphones in either blue or black, simple but crowd-pleasing colours. Made almost entirely from plastic, they don’t look as smart as pricier headphones like Bose QuietComfort 45 but the overall design isn’t worlds apart either.
Thanks to their rotating earcups with soft leather cushioning they’ll sit perfectly around your ears while the cushioned headband makes them comfortable to wear for long periods of time. Weighing 252g they do feel very light on your head as well.
I get the impression that the Sony WH-XB910N are durable and will survive being knocked about a bit in your bag, but for the more cautious owners, you'll be able to fold them up and pop them into the included zipped case to protect them. They don’t have an official IP rating though so you’ll have to be careful with them around water or in the rain.
There are a couple of buttons on the headphones including the power button and another to switch between the noise-cancelling and ambient sound modes, but you’ll largely control the music using the touch sensors. You tap the earcup twice to pause or play the music, swipe up to increase the volume and swipe down to decrease it. You can also skip forwards or backwards through tracks by swiping to the left and right, as well as get access to your voice assistant (that includes the Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa).
You’ll get about 50 hours of music if you keep the noise-cancelling switched off, and with it turned on, you’ll get about 30 hours of listening time which is still pretty good going. If you do run out, the headphones come with a wire so you can actually keep listening after the battery has died, as long as your phone has a headphone jack that is.
It’ll take about 3.5 hours to recharge the Sony WH-XB910N headphones back to 100%.
Sony WH-XB910N review: sound and features
Punchy and powerful, the Sony WH-XB910N headphones sound fantastic and definitely live up to the ‘extra bass’ claims on the box, but they do so without drowning out the treble. They’ll be best suited to those who listen to upbeat dance music because of just how much energy the audio has. This isn’t a pair for listening exclusively to ballads or podcasts, although thanks to the manual EQ you’ll be able to do so from time to time.
The noise-cancelling capabilities are very impressive, it's able to cut out pretty much everything from the world around you so you can keep your focus completely on the music. Whether it’s the sound of keyboard taps, chatter or train noise, these headphones literally block it all out. There's also a Wind Reduction ANC setting which will come in handy if you're out and about on a breezy day.
If you want to hear some outside noise, the ambient sound mode works well to let it in without being too distracting and you can even choose for it to focus purely on voices, so you’ll be able to hear when someone strikes up a conversation with you. You can dial it up or down depending on how much sound you want to let in.
Connecting the headphones to your devices is as easy as switching them on and tapping the popup that appears on your smartphone or PC screen, you won't even need to open your Bluetooth settings. After that, every time you switch them on they should connect automatically.
You’ll be able to have these connected to multiple devices at once, making it much quicker to switch the audio between them, like if you wanted to go from listening to music on your laptop to taking a call on your phone.
To make the most out of them, you’ll need to download the Sony Headphones Connect app which is available on both iOS and Android. There you’ll be able to tweak the general settings and adjust the sound using the manual five-band equaliser. There are also a few different preset sound modes to choose from including Bright, Excited, Mellow, Treble Boost and Bass Boost. You’ll even get a DSEE switch that restores the sound to be more like how it was first recorded.
Through the app, you can also set up Sony’s 360 Reality Audio feature. It’ll prompt you to take a picture of your ears and then it uses that information to create a more immersive sound, although it’ll only work on certain music streaming apps like Tidal, 360 by Deezer and Artist Connection.
Another feature you'll find in the Sony Headphones Connect app is activity tracking which shows you usage stats for the headphones including how many days in a row you’ve listened to music, how long you’ve listened for and when you’ve used them. It may not be the most valuable feature but it’s certainly interesting to take a look at every now and then.
Sony WH-XB910N review: verdict
For those who don’t want to spend upwards of $250 on a pair of headphones, the Sony WH-XB910N are a great choice. They’re still relatively pricey but they cost a lot less than Sony’s top-of-the-line cans and yet still manage to pack in everything you could need.
With super effective noise-cancelling and vibrant, energetic sound these headphones provide a fantastic listening experience. Noise from the outside world won’t phase you and you’ll feel like you’re having a party when you put them on. These are fun and bassy although admittedly that may not be what everyone is looking for.
Sony WH-XB910N review: also consider
If you’re looking to spend less than this, you should take a look at the JBL Tune 660NC - they're cheap but they do a great job at blocking out sound from your environment and the sound quality is fantastic considering the price.
True wireless earbuds can come with really good noise-cancelling capabilities as well. The Sony WF-1000XM4 are some of the best buds you can buy and they’re not that much more expensive than the Sony WH-XB910N.