Sony's flagship noise-cancelling headphones and tech-filled true wireless earbuds were refreshed with new 1000XM4 models in recent months. However, the company's more affordable options are still due for a refresh, and Sony begins that process today. With the WF-C500, the company offers a solid set of true wireless earbuds capable of handling immersive 360 Reality Audio for $100. And if over-ear noise-cancelling headphones are more your vibe, the WF-XB910N pairs ANC (active noise cancellation) with 30-hour battery life for $250.
The true wireless WF-C500 replaces the WF-XB700 at the bottom of Sony's price range. What's more, they're $30 cheaper than the XB700 was initially at $99.99. This substitution is a good thing because despite handling the basics well, the tiered design wasn't as ergonomic or comfy as the company suggested. With the WF-C500, Sony takes design cues from its high-end WF-1000XM4 earbuds. The result is smaller size and a more secure fit that should be more comfortable during hours of continuous use. And an IPX4 rating means you can use these during workouts without worrying about moisture damage.
Inside, the C500 is equipped with Sony's DSEE (Digital Sound Enhancement Engine) that restores some of the detail lost when music is compressed for streaming over Bluetooth. The company also allows you employ sound presets and adjust the EQ with its Headphones app. Plus, you have the option of listening in Sony's 360 Reality Audio if you're willing to splurge for the priciest streaming plan on select services (Amazon Music HD, Tidal HiFi, etc.). On-board controls give you the ability to manage music, adjust volume, take calls and activate a voice assistant without reaching for your phone. Lastly, the C500 will give you up to 10 hours of listening time with one additional charge in the included case. A quick-charge feature offers an hour of tunes in 10 minutes.
The WF-C500 is available for pre-order today, but colors vary by retailer. Sony will offer them in black, as will Amazon, Best Buy and Target. Exclusive colors include white (Amazon), green (Best Buy) and orange (Target). The earbuds are set to ship in October.
For the over-ear noise-cancelling crowd, the WH-XB910N replaces the WH-XB900N in the middle of Sony's headphone lineup. The price stays the same at $249.99, but the company offers a new design and improved ANC thanks to a Dual Noise Sensor. As the "XB" signifies, this model is equipped with the company's Extra Bass feature that amps up the low-end tone when activated. DSEE tech makes streaming over Bluetooth a bit more enjoyable by restoring detail lost to compression. The XB910N can also manage Sony's 360 Reality Audio content and employs Adaptive Sound Control, a staple of the company's pricier headphones, that can automatically adjust settings based on activity or location.
Sony is also angling at the remote working crowd here. The company explains that Precise Voice Pickup tech uses a combination of microphones and signal processing to amplify your voice on calls. There's also "a more natural listening experience" in ambient sound mode as Sony says the XB910N can pick up more of what's going on around you. That's handy whether you need to stay tuned in to what's going on either at home or in the office. On-board controls include Sony's quick attention feature which lets outside noise in when you place your hand over an earcup and there's a dedicated button to quickly change from ANC to ambient sound.
Sony says the XB910N will last up to 30 hours with the option of 4.5 hours of listening time after a 10-minute quick charge. To further cater to travelers, the company opted for soft, oval-shaped earpads for extra cushion and a design that folds flat for easy storage. If you prefer to save even more on your noise-cancelling headphones, the excellent WH-CH710N will stick around and are currently $98. Although they lack a lot of the handy features from Sony's other models, the noise-cancelling CH710N are light and comfy, handling the basics very well for that price.
The WF-C500 is available for pre-order today, and once again, the colors vary by retailer. Sony will offer them in black, as will Amazon and Best Buy. Exclusive colors include blue (Amazon) and gray (Best Buy). The headphones are scheduled to ship in October.