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The best Sony headphones 2019: 10 models to appeal to your inner audiophile

sony headphones
Image credit: Sony

If you’re looking for a new pair of headphones, you may have come across Sony, which has become well known for high quality noise-cancelling headphones and wireless earphones

We’ve been mightily impressed by Sony’s over-ear headphones recently, some of which offer outstanding noise cancellation and stunning levels of audio quality.

In the past, Sony's true wireless earbuds didn't impress us much, but the recently released Sony WF-1000XM3s blew us away with their sophisticated noise cancelation and fist-pumping sound.

We also had the chance to test the new Sony WI-1000XM2 wireless headphones at IFA 2019. We were impressed by their excellent noise cancelation and comfortable neckbud design, but you'll have to wait until our full review to find out if they make it into the best Sony headphones.

So, while Sony excels in over-ear headphones, it's becoming a big player in the field of true wireless – which makes it harder than ever to pick the best Sony headphones for you.

If you’re thinking of buying a pair of  the best headphones on the market, read on for our roundup of the Sony cans and buds we've reviewed, ranked from our favorites to the ones we're not so keen on. 

[Update: The Sony WF-1000XM3 are currently at their lowest price ever, dropping to under $200 / £200 for the first time.]

sony headphones

Image credit: Sony

1. Sony WH-1000XM3 Wireless Headphones

The best noise-cancelling headphones

Acoustic design: Closed | Weight: .8.99 oz | Cable length: 3.94 ft | Frequency response: 4Hz to 40kHz | Drivers: 40mm Dual-Layered Diaphragm | Driver type: Dynamic | Sensitivity: 104.5 dB | Impedance: 47 ohm | Battery life: 30 hours | Wireless range: 30 meters (98ft) | NFC: Yes

Outstanding noise cancellation
Fantastic sound quality
30-hour battery life
Small tweaks from 1000XM2
Mediocre call quality

The Sony WH-1000XM3 are our favorite noise-cancelling headphones two years in a row – and not just because they're excellent at blocking out environmental noise. 

They're great for audiophiles, thanks to aptX HD and Sony's LDAC, two of the best ways to listen to Hi-Res Audio, and as they're wireless, you don't need to mess around with cumbersome wires. 

The WH-1000XM3's also come with Google Assistant integration, and as of January this year, Amazon Alexa integration, which means you have instant access to a voice assistant wherever you are. 

This alongside the stellar noise-cancellation capabilities makes the WH-1000MX3s perfect for commuting, whether you need a pair of cans to get your through your daily journey to work, or a long haul flight. 

Sony WF-1000XM3

(Image credit: Sony)

2. Sony WF-1000XM3 True Wireless Earbuds

Noise-cancelling true wireless headphones that made our dreams come true

Acoustic design: Closed | Weight: 70g | Frequency response: 20-20,000Hz | Drivers: 6mm | Driver type: Dome Type | Sensitivity: N/A | Impedance: N/A | Battery life (on-board): 6 hours | Battery life (charging case): 18 hours | Wireless range: 30ft | NFC: Yes

Efficient noise-cancellation
Inconspicuous looks
Great fun to listen too
No volume control on earbuds
Not suitable for sports

Considering it's still rare to get noise-cancellation in wired earbuds at all, the fact that Sony has managed to pack it into a pair that are not only wireless, but true wireless is very impressive indeed. 

The Sony WF-1000XM3 manage to offer a level of noise-cancellation that's very good for a pair of earbuds – it won't offer the same isolation as a pair of over-ear cans, but if you're after a sleek form factor then the compromise is worth it. 

That being said, in spite of a few minor problems we feel that Sony has knocked the ball out of the park with the WF-1000XM3: Not only are these hands down the best-looking True Wireless headphones out there, but they combine serious noise cancelling tech with fist-pumping musicality. If you don’t want the inconvenience of carrying full-size cans, they’re a persuasive alternative.

Battery life is above average, and that compact charging case is pretty slick too. On-ear volume controls similar to the PowerBeats Pro would've been nice, but again, that's really not a deal-breaker in our books.

We reckon the True Wireless jungle has found a new king.

Read the full review: Sony WF-1000XM3

sony headphones

Image credit: Sony

3. Sony WH-1000XM2 Wireless Headphones

Still a great pair of noise-cancelling headphones

Acoustic design: Closed | Weight: 23g | Cable length: N/A | Frequency response: N/A | Drivers: N/A | Driver type: N/A | Sensitivity: N/A | Impedance: N/A | Battery life: 10 hours | Wireless range: 33 ft | NFC: Yes

Superb noise-cancelling
Great-sounding audio
30-hour battery life
Hinges are fragile
Touch controls

If you can still find these headphones, the previous generation of Sony's noise-cancelling cans are still brilliant – and you may be able to find them slightly cheaper than the current model, the WH1000-XM3s. 

At around the same price as the Bose QC35s, the Sony WH-1000XM2 offer better features, including an ambient noise mode that only lets in mid-to-high frequency tones (announcements over a loudspeaker, for instance) and Quick Attention mode that allows you to let in all outside noise without taking off the headphones.

Like the WH-1000XM3s, they also support aptX HD and LDAC for Hi-Res audio – in fact, all of the features mentioned above can also be found in the most recent model.

Aside from a few cosmetic changes, the main difference between the two is that the WH-1000XM2s don't come with voice assistant integration – so if that's important to you, stick to the the WH-1000 XM3s. 

sony headphones

Image credit: Sony

4. Sony MDR-1000X Wireless Headphones

Sony's first-gen noise-cancelling cans still hold their own

Acoustic design: Closed | Weight: 275g | Cable length: N/A | Frequency response: 4Hz-40,000Hz | Drivers: 40mm dome type | Driver type: Dynamic | Sensitivity: 103dB/mW (1kHz) | Impedance: 16 ohm (1kHz) | Battery life: 20 hours | Wireless range: N/A | NFC: No

Quick Attention mode
Noise cancellation
Lengthy battery life
Finicky Ambient Noise mode

Despite the fact they're now a few years old, they're still a top option for noise-cancelling headphones – even if Sony has upgraded its headphones a few times since.

Like the newer models, they support Hi-Res Audio, and sport features like Quick Attention mode, ambient noise mode (although we did find it can be temperamental), and are very adept when it comes to noise-cancellation. 

So, why would you buy the oldest generation of Sony's noise-cancelling cans? Well, you'll likely find that retailers have cut the prices since the newer models launched, which means you could get yourself a fantastic deal on a still very capable pair of Sony headphones – if you don't mind losing the inbuilt voice assistant and quality of life updates offered by the WH-1000 MX3s. 

sony headphones

Image credit: TechRadar

5. Sony MDR-ZX770BT Wireless Headphones

Affordable wireless headphones

Acoustic design: Closed | Weight: 248g | Cable length: N/A | Frequency response: 20Hz-20,000Hz | Drivers: 40mm dome type | Driver type: Dynamic | Sensitivity: N/A | Impedance: 2.2 ohm (1kHz) | Battery life: 20 hours | Wireless range: N/A | NFC: No

Comfortable fit
Fantastic battery life
Affordable
Cramped soundstage
Light on bass

Although these wireless headphones are a couple of years old now, they still offer good value for money – and chances are, you'll be able to find them for cheaper since Sony has released more recent models.

When we tested them, we were impressed by their sport, sturdy design, and long battery life. 

The slightly cramped soundstage probably won't appeal to audiophiles, but a reliable Bluetooth connection and affordability means these wireless headphones could be a good choice if you're looking for cable-free listening for under $150 (£150, around AU$270).

sony headphones

Image credit: TechRadar

6. Sony WF-1000X true wireless earbuds

Noise-cancellation meets true wireless

Acoustic design: Closed | Weight: 6.8g | Cable length: N/A | Frequency response: 20Hz-20,000Hz | Drivers: 6mm dome type | Driver type: Dynamic | Sensitivity: N/A | Impedance: N/A | Battery life: 9 hours | Wireless range: N/A | NFC: No

Noise-cancelling is impressive
Rich sound
NFC pairing
No volume control on earbud
A little bulky
Some minor connectivity issues

These true wireless buds may be a little bulky, but this is offset by their noise-cancelling prowess and relatively long battery life. 

When we reviewed them, the WF-1000Xs did an admirable job at cancelling out most ambient noise. Like other noise-cancelling headphones, this effect is most pronounced on low frequency rumbling, making them a good choice if you are looking for buds to take on public transport. 

The audio quality provided by the WF-1000Xs is decent, with a generally well-balanced sound across the high, mid, and low frequencies – however, they've been somewhat outshined by the Sony WF-1000XM3s.

sony headphones

Image credit: TechRadar

7. Sony WI-1000X wireless earphones review

Audiophile wireless earbuds for commuters

Acoustic design: Closed | Weight: 71g | Cable length: N/A | Frequency response: 3Hz-40,000Hz | Drivers: N/A | Driver type: Hybrid | Sensitivity: 101 dB | Impedance: N/A | Battery life: 10 hours | Wireless range: N/A | NFC: No

Audiophile wireless sound
Good noise cancellation
Unique features
Average battery life
Adaptive Sound Control is slow
No multi-point connection

If you don't like wired headphones but want the security of a neckband , the Sony WI-1000X are a great in-ear alternative.

The inclusion of aptX HD support makes the Sonys one of the best wireless headphones we’ve heard, and they provide a good level of noise-cancellation, making them a good choice for commuting. 

While battery life may just be average at 10 hours, the WI-1000X are a great set of headphones for audiophiles on the go.

sony headphones

Image credit: TechRadar

8. Sony MDR-ZX330BT On-Ear Headphones

Light in more ways than one

Acoustic design: Closed | Weight: 150g | Cable length: N/A | Frequency response: 20Hz-20,000Hz | Drivers: 30mm dome type | Driver type: Dynamic | Sensitivity: N/A | Impedance: N/A | Battery life: 30 hours | Wireless range: N/A | NFC: No

Aesthetically pleasing
Light and comfy
Long battery life
Fragile with poor plastic
No noise isolation
Shallow sound

With a low price, long battery life, and lightweight feel, there's a lot that these headphones do right, but subpar audio performance and a flimsy-feeling build means that the MDR-ZX330BT don't quite make the list of the best mid-range headphones. 

Still, if you need a low cost, light pair of headphones with a long battery life for commuting, they could be a good choice – just don't expect to be blown away by the audio quality. 

sony headphones

Image credit: Sony

9. Sony WF-SP700N Noise-Cancelling True Wireless Earbuds

Comfortable fit, too much bass

Acoustic design: Closed | Weight: 7.6g per bud | Cable length: N/A | Frequency response: 20Hz-20,000Hz | Drivers: 6mm dome type | Driver type: Dynamic | Sensitivity: N/A | Impedance: N/A | Battery life: 3 hours | Wireless range: N/A | NFC: No

Comfortable fit
Sweat-resistant
Clarity could be better
Poor noise-cancellation
Too much bass

Sony’s WF-SP700N are a middling pair of true wireless headphones. They’re lacking in clarity and in noise-cancellation prowess, but at least they’re comfortably to wear for extended periods and don’t fall out easily. 

Still, they're pretty expensive, and you can do better with cheaper models – read our roundup of the best true wireless earbuds for our pick pf the best Apple AirPod alternatives.

sony headphones

Image credit: TechRadar

10. Sony WI-SP600N Wireless Headphones

These buds make you work to find the best fit and audio quality

Acoustic design: Closed | Weight: 21g | Cable length: N/A | Frequency response: 20Hz-20,000Hz | Drivers: 6mm dome type | Driver type: Dynamic | Sensitivity: N/A | Impedance: N/A | Battery life: 6 hours | Wireless range: 10m | NFC: No

Decent sound quality
Noise cancellation
Ambient mode
Heavy inline remote
Call quality isn’t great
Dicey comfort and performance

Designed for sports, these wireless buds have an IPX4 sweat resistance rating, noise-cancellation and an ambient sound mode, which mean you can switch between blasting your music and listening to your surroundings when on your run. 

However, we found that the WI-SP600Ns didn't provide the best fit, which could be a problem if you intend to wear them while working out. 

Saying that, audio performance was decent, if not mind-blowing, and having the ability to change the EQ settings via the app is a nice touch. 

Even so, we'd probably recommend the 1More Triple Driver In-Ear Headphones over these buds from Sony if you're looking for an affordable pair of earbuds.