Travel Tech

Review: Bass heavy Sony WH-XB900N wireless noise cancelling headphones

Sony recently released a more affordable pair of ANC headphones, the Sony WH-XB900N, to accompany you on your next trip. These bass-heavy, lightweight on-ear headphones are a great to pack and boast Sony’s top-tier noise-canceling technology for less than the rest. These are lightweight for on-ear headphones (254g), which is especially important if you intend to use them for travel.

Ample memory foam padding on the headband and ear cups make it easy to wear these comfortably for hours at a time. Airflow isn’t great and this can lead to a damp experience in warm environments. Just like other noise-cancelling headphones we’ve seen, these fold and rotate so they can lie flat on a table. Buttons rest on the left ear cup and may be remapped with the Sony Headphones Connect app. The same ear cup also houses a 3.5mm headphone jack and USB-C input.

The headphones provide 44 hours, 22 minutes of playback and support quick charging: 10 minutes of charging affords one hour of listening. A full charge cycle requires around 4 hours. On the other side, the right ear cup is reserved for touch and gesture control. From here, you can adjust the volume, skip tracks, and enter Quick Attention mode by holding the right housing. The headphones integrate both Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa, meaning you benefit from having incoming notifications read aloud, setting reminders, sending texts, and more. All of these functions may be initiated by saying, “Ok Google,” or “Alexa” to command the assistant of your choice. Pairing the headphones to your device is seamless. Upon powering on the WH-XB900N for the first time, a window pops up on your phone to initiate pairing. (In order for this to happen, Bluetooth must be active on your phone.)

You can also pair via NFC. Generally speaking, connection strength is consistent and reliable. During SoundGuys’ testing process, playback skips and audio-visual lag were non-existent.