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Sony WH-XB900N Review: A Treat For Bassheads
Wireless audio products market is growing exponentially in India and consumers are presented with some new options now and then. To cater to the audiophiles in the country, various brands are coming up with some innovative audio products. While there is a huge market for budget audio products (headphones and speakers, etc.), a huge chunk of the audience is drawn towards the premium audio products.
- Comfortable to wear
- Loud output with thumping bass
- Good backup
- Support for multiple audio codec
- Prolonged usage at maximum audio levels can be discomforting
- Average noise cancelllation
Sony, the Japanese tech giant is one of the pioneers in the audio category known for its premium products. The latest in the league is the Sony WH-XB900N which is a wireless ANC headphone in the 'Extra Bass' series.
Priced at Rs. 16,990, the headphones can be purchased from online stores. Sony's 'WH' headphones series has offered some good headphones in the past; the WH-1000XM3 is one such example. But, does the latest pair justify its price tag, let's find out.
Premium Aesthetics, Comfortable Wear
Sony has crafted the pair using plastic and borrowing a few design elements from the WH-1000XM3. The difference is in the texture of the earcups which are now in a matte finish. There is a soft cushioning on the headband which is of the same material used on the earcups.
The headphone is lightweight and the large earcups add to the comfort. Besides, you can also see the vents on the earcups designed to complement the heavy-bass delivered by the headphones.
The controls are placed on the edge of the left earcup. You get the power key, an audio customization key, a USB Type-C port, and an AUX port. Using the customization key you can toggle between various modes - ANC, ambient sound modes, and also summon the Google Assistant.
The keys protrude a bit making them easy to use without actually looking at them. I have used this pair for more than an hour at a stretch and honestly, I didn't experience any discomfort. The earcups have a rotatable design which adds to the portability factor.
Overall, the lightweight design is accompanied by soft cushions on the earcups and headband for optimum prolonged usage.
Touch Sensitive Earcups
The Sony WH-XB900N comes with touch-sensitive earcups to control the media playback. The controls are similar to what you get on the WH-100-XM3.
With a swipe up gesture, you can increase the volume, while swiping down will decrease the audio levels. To play/pause music you need to double-tap on the earcup.
You can also change the tracks by swiping left/right. The headset is swift in picking up gesture commands and it's quite easy to control media without actually using the connected device.
Pristine Audio Output; Effective Noise Cancellation
The wireless headphones are packed with 40mm dynamic drivers that deliver a loud and clear output. This pair comes under the ‘Extra Bass' audio series which is Sony's proprietary heavy-bass audio products category.
The headphones offer a frequency range of 20- 40,000Hz and supports multiple audio codecs such as SBC, AAC, aptX, aptX HD, and LDAC. This allows the pair to deliver high-resolution audio.
As for the ANC, it is quite effective in blocking the ambient noise. What helps the pair block the surrounding noises is the big earcups with ample padding. While it might not be as effective as the WH-1000XM3, it is par in its segment. What's going to grab your attention instantly is the bass as the headphones live up to the ‘Extra Bass' branding boasted by the company.
This is a loud-sounding pair that has a thumping bass. You can actually feel the earcups vibrating with heavy beats at high audio levels.
The headphones offer balanced mids and highs, and even a small hit on a snare is clearly audible. It does a good job with distinguishing the vocals and the instruments and performs well with most of the genres.
While the audio can get exceptionally loud at peak levels, there is hardly any audio leak. Moreover, there is no distortion or muffling when you turn up the volume to max. Precisely, this pair is a treat for bass heads.
Easy Wireless Pairing
The headphones support the dated Bluetooth v4.2 and are compatible with smartphones, tablets, laptops, and PCs. Pairing is simple, you just need to press and hold the power key for a few seconds and go to the settings menu of the device to be paired. You can now select the ‘Sony WH-XB900N'option to get started.
Besides, the device ships with an aux cable with which you can connect to any device featuring a 3.5mm audio jack. While the older Bluetooth version is a bit letdown, the pair makes up for it by offering support for audio codec.
Headphones Connect App
The headphones are compatible with Sony's Headphone Connect app which can be downloaded from PlayStore and App Store on Android and Apple devices respectively. You get a slew of features for customizing the audio (via equalizer), access to virtual assistants, and set a sleep timer. There is an Adaptive Sound Control feature as well which optimizes the noise cancellation by analyzing the surrounding sounds. Basically, you get all the features using which enhance the audio quality and noise cancellation features.
Good Battery Backup
Sony has claimed a backup of around 30 hours and in our testing, the results were close. It's a beast when it comes to backup. It can deliver over 25 hours with continuous playback on a single charge.
It takes around three hours for the pair to get a full charge (zero to 100 percent). This means less refueling time yet longer backup makes it a good travel companion.
Sony always had a strong foothold in the premium audio products segment. While the WH-1000XM3 is undeniably the best premium headphones in the market in the sub 30k segment, the WH-XB900N marks its position in the sub 20k segment. This is a comfortable pair of headphones that delivers high on audio.
Moreover, it is loaded with features such as touch-sensitive earcups and support for multiple audio codecs. It's a loud pair which delivers a rich audio listening experience.
If you are looking for wireless headphones that deliver heavy bass, blocks outside noise effectively, and are comfortable for prolonged usage, you should definitely consider this product.