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Sony WH-XB900N vs Sony WH-1000XM3: Which To Buy?

This is the review of the comparison between the two headphones of the same brand. Both of these headphones are quite good at their price. They have the features for which they have been valued. To know which one is good for you to buy, go to the detailed review.

5.3 Sony WH-XB900N 35.1 Sony WH-1000XM3 1
Sony WH-XB900NSony WH-1000XM3
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PROSPROS
Great sound quality for the price.
Option for dedicated Google Assistant/Alexa button.
USB-C charging.
Good battery life.
More affordable than the 1000XM3.
Clean, simple looks.
Extraordinary noise canceling.
Pillowy comfort.
Generous battery life (30 hours).
Sony has fixed most Mark 2 frustrations.
Lots of personalization options via the app.
CONSCONS
Touch controls are still frustrating.
Noise cancellation isn’t as powerful as the 1000XM3.
Too much bass for some people.
Irritating blinking LED status light on left ear cup. A premium price Google Assistant isn’t very useful. App can cause some confusion in mode selected.
Mediocre call quality.
No on-ear sensor

SPECIFICATIONS:

MODELSONY WH-XB900NSONY WH-1000XM3
BrandSonySony
Series
ModelWH-XB900NWH-1000XM3
HEADPHONESSONY WH-XB900NSONY WH-1000XM3
Headphones Form Factor
Connectivity TechnologyWirelessWireless
Sound Output ModeStereo
Frequency Response20Hz20 Hz-40,000 Hz
Sensitivity104.5 dB/mW
Impedance50 ohm16 ohm
Diaphragm
MICROPHONESONY WH-XB900NSONY WH-1000XM3
Microphone Technologyelectret condenser
Response Bandwidth50Hz50Hz-8,000Hz
DIMENSIONS & WEIGHTSONY WH-XB900NSONY WH-1000XM3
Width7.3 in
Depth1.2 in
Height10.4 in
Weight8.96 oz8.99 oz
POWERSONY WH-XB900NSONY WH-1000XM3
Battery30 Hour(s)20 Hour(s)
FEATURESSONY WH-XB900NSONY WH-1000XM3
FeaturesSONY AUTHORIZED DEALER: Includes USA Manufacturer Guarantee

BUNDLE INCLUDES: Sony WH-XB900N EXTRA BASS Wireless Noise Canceling Over-Ear Headphones with the 5000mAh Battery Pack and Headphone Case

DIGITAL NOISE CANCELLATION: Sony’s noise cancellation technology means you hear every word, note, and tune with incredible clarity, no matter your environment. Additional microphones also assist in isolating sound while talking on the phone, resulting in improved phone call quality

Wireless freedom with Bluetooth and NFC

Google Assistant, with support for Alexa

Clear hands-free calling
Smart Listening by SENSE ENGINE

Supported Audio Format(s): SBC, AAC, aptX, aptX HD, LDAC

Detail Review:

INTRODUCTION:

Sony WH-XB900N

These are budget-friendly headphones that come for around $178. These are pretty good headphones with quite great features among most of the headphones in the market at this price range.  

Sony WH-1000XM3

You are going to get great sound, good noise cancellation and good comfort with these pair of headphones. These are premium headphones that come for around $348.

5.1 Sony WH-XB900N 2

DESIGN:

Sony WH-XB900N

The only thing I think on which Sony did some cost-cutting is it’s exterior. The plastics here do feel quite cheap, it has hallow feeling with textured plastic that I usually see on $100 headphones. Even though they’re built to be lightweight, but the texture is very generic. You can scratch that you kind of feel it or hear some annoying sound, but they serve its purpose and honestly, almost everything else about these headphones makes up for it.

I stretched the headphones to test out how flexible and strong they are. There was a kind of cracks, creeks, or squeaks also to feel how taut these are but they’re perfectly fine. There’s a little bit of chatter in there but honestly, the quality feels great for the price and it’s very much reasonable.

The right ear cup has very responsive touch controls, pause-play, skipping forward, and going back, on your music. This does have audio pass-through, just hold your hand onto your right side of the ear cup with your palm and then microphones turn on and pumps in your environmental noises, so he could hear what’s going on around you. This happens very quickly with my experience of, nearly instant. You can also keep audio pass through on, without holding the ear cup by pressing the multifunction button on the left ear cup with the physical custom button on the ear. It’s responsive, easy enough to switch between ambient sound on or off, and also turning on active noise-canceling. Within the Sony app, you can change this over and have your google assistant or amazon Alexa activation.

During my testing, I found the voice assistants to be awesome, since one press on the button will read up the notifications, if you hold the button down, you can ask questions like you would with your google assistant. From my testing, Google Assistant is highly responsive and there’s a minimal delay. The only downfall with this is you do lose audio pass-through or even the activation of active noise-canceling. You will need to use the app to adjust that.

Also on the left ear cup, you have a power button, USB Type-C for charging which is awesome for future-proofing yourself. I did the test, if you want to use USB-C to listen to your music on your computer, unfortunately, you wouldn’t be able to do so. You’re not even able to turn on the headphones once you plug them into your laptop or pc. I noticed this was the same thing with the Sony 1000XM3 as well. There is also a 3.5 millimeter port for physical connections which was nice. Also on the left ear cup is the near-field communication for easy pair and just tap your phone on the left ear cup upper part and it will instantly pair for you.

Sony WH-1000XM3

It has a USB type-c port. Actually a lot of people see the upper part of the headphone and immediately think that as a copper accent at the top and it looks like the USB-C port, but it’s not. That’s actually the microphone at the top of both ear cups. The USB-C port is down there at the bottom. They sound pretty good though they’re not perfect. I think in an ideal world I would combine these with the Surface headphones and their design, I think those functions a little bit better.

Also, these headphones come with a good hard case like most other over your headphones. But I find that the way they fold is really annoying maybe it’s just because I haven’t gotten used to it. The case itself is fine actually.

The left ear cup has an NFC logo on it that can be used to tap to pair on the side of the headphones with an NFC naval device. That’s pretty good, that I started using it more often to connect or to disconnect.

They’re matte black, the little copper accent at the top with the sony logo and the microphones and it’s also on the zipper of the hard case. So how they look great, they sound is great, they feel is great, and they’re also the go-to pick for just travel headphones in general. They’re just great for canceling out the noise of an office or a coffee shop or really anywhere, that noise-canceling in these headphones are pretty good.

COMFORT:

Sony WH-XB900N

These feel great on the head. The XB900N is practically the same weight as the WH-1000XM3. There is no fatigue experience, clamping force around the jawline right there, which is nice. The ear cups are comfortable, but they do heat up my ears a little bit there. This is not a super light and airy feeling as the 1000XM3 but Sony claims because this is their XP lineup. The ear cups have increased airtightness between the drivers and your ears to offer punchy bass. For wearability and comfort, these are good.

Sony WH-1000XM3

They have a great design basically. I wore these for five and a half hours straight and they only really started to get tight by the end of those five and a half hours. So, design-wise I think these are kind of great and that’s something Bose has always been king at these, but these are lightweight like those cups have a good amount of padding on the cup, and the top band is padded well. There are plenty flexible enough to not be squeezing your head all the time and getting uncomfortable.

5.1 Sony WH-1000XM3 2

FEATURES:

Sony WH-XB900N

We get Bluetooth 4.2 here. I tested this on Android pixel 4XL and iPhone 10 both phones, I’m able to achieve 90% coverage here in an 1100 square foot apartment. Usually anything below Bluetooth 5.0, I have video syncing delays on both devices and on both YouTube and Netflix but I didn’t have any issues with these. Why the XB900N might be a great value for you is it also supports Bluetooth codecs at a very high degree.

We get the typical SBC, AAC, APTx, APTx-HD, and the highest at the moment which is LDAC. If you either buy or stream high-resolution audio, these headphones will be capable of handling it. The only issue with Bluetooth that I had with the WH-XB900N is I can’t have the headphones connected to 2 devices at the same time for music playback. It’s very similar to be 1000XM3. I can’t connect this to both phones and when I press play on either one of those devices, the headphones will automatically switch over and play from that source. You can though have one phone paired for music and the other solely for phone calls.

It’s very clear that the sony 1000XM3 blows these headphones out the water. But by my assessment, the XB900N is comparable to another budget active noise-canceling headphones. This is more fitting if you’re on a budget and looking for a good respectable and reliable entry point into the active noise-canceling world, a good bit of air conditioners, cars driving by are canceled. It reduces the noise to a certain degree here. It’s not the best, but it is something though technology does work.

Sony WH-1000XM3

There are some things about these that aren’t quite perfect. The first thing I don’t like about these is the controls. There are only two physical buttons on all the rest of the controls, all the rest of the work is all done by swiping and tapping on the right ear cup, which is a small touchpad. Double-tap to play and pause, swiping up and down to change the volume, and forward and backward to change tracks. It can be a bit fidgety it doesn’t work every time, but you kind of get used to it.

Another thing is when you take the headphones off, they just keep playing like normal headphones. But the Surface headphones would detect when you took them off your head and they’d pause and when you put them back on they would keep playing again. These don’t and I kind of miss that and then the two buttons that are physical on these are the power button and the noise cancellation / ambient mode switch, which by default doubles as the Google assistant button, so you can hold it to speak and talk to Google assistant. It is good, that without taking your phone out of your pocket you can ask Google assistant a question out loud and it’ll answer that question. It can also read your notifications when you ask it to. But even with all of that, I still prefer the Surface headphone’s physical dials still for volume.

There is also some cold weather issue with these headphones. There been a couple of reports about it or articles about it. But basically when you take these out in freezing conditions or sub-zero weather, apparently the touchpads will start to register phantom touches. So, without you ever touching them, it’ll start to play and pause your music and change the volume and the tracks and randomly stop playing. That’s pretty awkward. I used these outsides in low as 40 degrees, not below freezing, but I haven’t had this issue yet to with. As cold as it is in some parts of the world, it’s worth noting that these do seem to have that issue.

These headphones only pair to one device at a time and that might not sound like a big deal. When you get used to headphones with multiple device connectivity and seamless switching that is a big-time convenience.

With the Surface headphones or any other pair of headphones that supports multiple devices, you can be playing something like literally music from your phone on the headphones, pull out your iPad which is already paired to the headphones and hit play on some video or Netflix or whatever you’re doing and it’ll instantly take over on the headphones and there’s seamless switching back and forth between devices. Here you can’ do like that.

Bluetooth here is sometimes being kind of fidgety and not connecting on the first try and having to do it again and the whole pairing process is kind of annoying. I hope on the next version of these that they have that multiple device connectivity but these don’t.

5.1 Sony WH-XB900N 3

BATTERY:

Sony WH-XB900N

Sony is claiming up to 30 hours of use and that’s actually with noise canceling on and with the music playback. With my testing, I got up to 44 hours with the ANC on and LDAC. The battery life here is really insane. This does have quick charging, from a dead battery 10 minutes on the charger, you will get back an hour’s worth of music playback. You can also check battery performance by tapping the power button once and you get the audio readout.

Sony WH-1000XM3

You can use the same charger, as you already have for your phone or your laptop, or whatever other USB-C things you have. The battery life lives up to the 20 plus hours, longer than the Surface headphones which is great.

MICROPHONE:

Sony WH-XB900N

The Microphone here sounds really good. These microphones are isolating my voice against what is going on in the background and also if the microphones are having trouble fighting to keep my voice at the forefront. What is interesting though is these ones do sound better than the WH-1000XM3, which is the premium the flagships for Sony.

Sony WH-1000XM3

If wind or anything blows hard enough down on you from above, the mics on the top will pick that up and you’ll hear it as a sort of a fuzzy static. I only notice this because when vents above me were blowing down like directly into those microphones. Other than that the microphone works really well.

SOUND:

Sony WH-XB900N

At 30% volume, the sound was like simple casual listening, at 50% it was great and 60% it’s awesome loud enough. As far as sound leaking, these performed on par with other over-ear headphones with music slightly audible in very quiet environments. With lower volumes and busier environments that sound leaking is very minimal, these headphones should be perfectly fine. Since these are extra bass headphones, it’s quite bass focused. You can always adjust this within the equalizer within the Sony headphone app. It can go deeper and also it can go a little bit lighter as well.

For me, even at the factory default settings I still had slight listening fatigue, but again within the app though I turned it down slightly and then these worked out great. The mid-range is separated for the most part from the lower frequencies, very minor muddiness on vocals on the very bottom end for bass-heavy songs, but for the most part, the mid-range that includes vocal work instruments and such are independent and it stands on their own.

If you really want the mid-range to be a bit clearer, you can use the excited audio preset within the app and then turn down clear bass just by a smidge there. The high frequencies for me never pierced my ears and within reason, they’re sharp enough without being tinny but just enough to complement the heavy bass side of these. I would say these are lacking soundstage it doesn’t sound bad at all but you can hear the 1000XM3 sounds a bit more special.

Sony WH-1000XM3

These sound excellent. They’re full rich and clear with the sound. They have more range and more deep bass than the Bose but without being overwhelming. In sort of studio headphones, this is a great sounding, crisp, clean, pair of drivers. The noise cancellation is actually a bit better than the Bose. I feel the surface headphones had slightly worse sound and slightly worse active noise cancellation. These Sony’s though sound better, and are better at noise cancellation.

5.1 Sony WH-1000XM3 3

WHICH TO BUY?

In my opinion, if you are searching for a good headphone with great features and which is budget-friendly too, then you should buy the Sony WH-XB900N. But if you are looking for a headphone with a great sound then you should buy the Sony WH-1000XM3. 

Expert Reviews of Sony WH-XB900N:

By T3
The Sony WH-XB900N delivers the right amount of bass and noise cancellation features to make it a less expensive alternative to the WH-1000XM3. For 899, casual users looking for a decent pair of everyday wireless headphones. can consider the…

By Digit
Essentially existing as a bridge between Sony’s Extra Bass series and the much-acclaimed Sony WH-1000XM3, the Sony WH-XB900N attempt to provide something of value to numerous kinds of users at a lower price point than the exorbitantly-priced WH-1000XM3…

By FirstPost
The Sony WH-XB900N is priced at Rs 16,990 with a one year warranty but can be purchased close to Rs 15,490 online. If you are looking for a set of wireless headphones with good sound clarity, active noise cancellation, loads of bass…

By stuff
People love bassy headphones. Sony’s Extra Bass range takes that to its logical conclusion, with so much of the stuff it dribbles out like sticky aloe vera gel. These headphones have categorically too much bass by any sane metric and they’re active…

By TechHive
Sony’s Extra Bass WH-XB900N noise-canceling Bluetooth headphones sound great, are low-latency, and do a good job at blocking out unwanted sound.

Expert Review of Sony WH-1000XM3:

By TechRadar
While they’re not an all-out upgrade on the WH-1000XM2, the Sony WH-1000XM3 makes a lot of subtle tweaks to an already amazing pair of noise-canceling headphones.

By hardwarezone.com.sg
I’m an audio geek, what codecs does it support? For those fussy about sound quality, one of the most enticing features of Sony’s noise-canceling headphones is that they support a wide range of codecs – easily one of the widest. The new WH-1000XM3 is no…

By Android Authority
The WH-1000XM3 is a worthy successor to the popular WH-1000XM2 headphones, improving on them in a few subtle ways with the addition of USB-C charging and new ear pads.

By T3 Magazine
With the Sony WH-1000XM3, excellent sound quality meets the best noise-canceling tech in the world, while the ‘extra’ features are useful without being gimmicky. In short, these are brilliant.

By goodhousekeeping.co.uk
If money’s no object, then you’ll struggle to do better than the Sony WH-1000XM3. Not only do they sound great, but they offer 30 hours of listening time and have excellent noise-canceling built-in that really helps immerse you in your music or podcast. Even better, if you want to temporarily let outside noise in such as an announcement at a station, you can just cover the right ear to do that.