Sony is the undoubted leader in the ANC segment. I reviewed some of Sony's noise canceling headphones. They really took NC seriously and delivered some awesome ANC on-ear headphones. With the great comfort, strong battery and superb active noise canceling they got the crown.
We already reviewed Sony's WH-1000XM3 and XM4 and now I have WH-XB900N Active noise canceling headphones in my hand. XB900N though looks and weighs almost the same as XM3 there is a significant difference between them. Both weigh 254g but do they deliver the same level of performance?. Which is the best for you Sony WH-1000XM3 or Sony WH-XB900N? Let's see.
My thoughts are pretty clear about XB900N. By spending 100$ less you will get the main features that every Sony headphone delivers. Of course, you will not get all the features that you get in costly the Sony ANC headphones but yes what you get in XB900N is more than enough for daily use. Though XM3 is costly in some areas XB900 overpowers XM3.
I found the XB900 is more comfortable though the exterior doesn't look rich like XM3. If I compare ANC and call quality XM3 is far better than XB900 but that doesn't mean XB900N delivers bad ANC. I just compared XM3 and XB900 and told my experience. Battery life is equal but quick charging is more efficient in XM3. My opinion is you can enjoy the XB900N by paying 100$ less but if you want the best Active noise cancelling then go for Sony WH-1000XM3 or WH-1000XM4.
One drawback that is common in XM3 and XB900N is they can't connect with multiple devices. At 250 $ XB900N is a real good deal. I felt I reviewed the right product. Totally value for money. I would give 7.5-8 out of 10. How much would you give?
How is the Design and Build Quality of XB900N?
At first look, you will think WH-XB900 mostly the same as WH-1000XM3. XB900 weighs approximately 254 g. XB900 is specially designed for powerful bass so they designed earcups accordingly. As compared to XM3 earcups feel tighter that helps to punch more Bass. In my opinion, they either didn't pay careful attention to the exterior or they purposefully did it for cost-cutting While designing and Building the XB900 exterior.
The exterior didn't look good as compared to XM3. It is built with Plastic that you mostly get in low priced headphones. It gave that scratchy sound when I scratched on it. Definitely, it reduced weight but also gave an average look to XB900 exterior. Though the exterior doesn't look good as much as XM3 they feel durable.
I checked them by twisting but they didn't break or find any damage. That means no compromise in durability and build quality. Sony XB900 has touch sensors to control volume and the same touch panels can be used for attaining phone calls. The left earcup has a custom button to adjust the ANC level that is exactly the same in XM4.
That same Sony Headphones Connect app to operate the XB900 smoothly which you get with XM3 and XM4. Ear Pads are soft and comfortable enough for whole day use. After you finish with it you can keep them easily in the carrying case by folding them. Operating is quite easy. With a tap, you can attend phone calls and with a swipe, you can lower or raise the volume.
On the left earcup, you get the power and pair button and next to that you will get a USB C slot for charging purposes. Left Earcup also consists of 3.5 mm input. Earcups design helps to isolate you from the outside noise. These earcups can swivel a little bit that helps for a better fit. Enough padding at the top as well as in earcups, Nice comfort, nice build quality.
Everything is good except the plastic they used for the exterior that could have better. WH-XB900N comes with a carrying pouch that neither looks that much good nor protects headphones like the carrying case that comes with WH-1000XM3.
How is the Sound Performance of Sony XB900N?
While talking about sound and design we can't ignore the price difference between Sony WH-1000XM3 and WH-XB900N. You have to pay 100$ more to get XM3. Of course, you get what you pay for. Frequency response in XM3 is 4 Hz-40,000 Hz whereas in XB900N you get 2 Hz–20,000 Hz.
For those who are keen to know why there is a low-frequency range for XB900N is because they are made for rich bass. Generally, headphones with lower frequency offer deep bass, and higher frequency headphones give better sound clarity. So lower frequency response doesn’t always mean bad and a higher number does not mean they are good. It solely depends on the purpose of yours.
If you want an average ANC and sound clarity but you can't compromise with Bass then you can check out XB900N. Here is the reason why Sony made an airtight seal in earcups for XB900N. The reason is only that kind of earcup can deliver the best Bass experience. XB900N supports SBC, AAC, aptX, aptX HD, LDAC which is the same as 1000XM3.
This is really great and actually, I experienced the sound quality with these formats. obviously, the Noise cancelation experience I took with 1000 XM3 was far better than XB900N and the reason is 1000XM3 is made with ample ANC features and that is solely dedicated to ANC. Though I feel that if you want an average ANC with great Bass and you want to keep your pocket warm then XB900N isn't a bad choice.
When you want to connect yourself with your surroundings just cover your right ear cup with your palm and the microphones will turn on. In XB900 you get the same app that performs many tasks for you. You can manage ambient sound control, Amazon Alexa, and google assistant with the app.
Here I must tell the feature that I like very much is its super responsive voice assistance. I feel absolutely no delay with them while using google assistant. The audio I get with the phone calls was much better with the Sony 1000XM3 than XB900N even in noisy surroundings. So in this department 1000XM3 outperforms XB900.
How is the Connectivity of Sony XB 900N?
A think that may little disappoint if you love the latest Bluetooth technology. Sony WH-XB900 has 4.2 Bluetooth technology whereas in WH-1000XM3 it's 5.0. But the good thing is XB900 supports an equal number of types of formats as WH-1000XM3 both supports SBC, AAC, aptX, aptX HD, LDAC. SBC means Sub band Codec, AAC means Advanced Audio Coding, an aptX Apt, stands for audio processing technology. I just told a few just for your information.
But the same disappointment I saw in XM3 and XB900N is they can't connect to multiple devices. This is the major flaw I already told you guys when I reviewed WH-1000XM3 and if you want this special feature and you don't want to use another brand then go with Sony-WH1000 XM4 that was recently launched. Though honestly, I want to tell you that I didn't face any connectivity issues with XB900N.
How is the Charging and Battery performance of XB 900N?
Slight Performance difference between Sony WH-XB900N and Wh-1000XM3 is everywhere whether it is sound performance or battery performance. XB900 gives 30+ hours battery life with the ANC on and 38+ hours with the ANC off and that is the same as WH-1000XM3 but in the quick charging department, XM3 performs better than XB900.
With the XB900, 10 minutes quick charge will give you 60 minutes of battery life. In the WH-1000XM3 you get 5 hours of charging with just a 10 minutes charge. In my actual testing, XB900 went for almost 40 hours with ANC off and this is actually better than what they claimed.
Another interesting feature that I get In the XB900N is they tell you the charging status with just a single tap on the right earcup touch panel. Just press the Power button and you will get the battery status. you can also check the battery with the help of Sony app.
What’s in the box?
- Headphone cable
- Carrying pouch
- USB cable (type C)
Who are WH-XB900N for ?
- For those who want powerful bass with good noise canceling
- For those who want to get all the great features of Sony with great bass and want to save some money.