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Best Sony earbuds 2021: Sony in-ear headphones for every budget

Best Sony earbuds Buying Guide: Welcome to What Hi-fi?'s round-up of the best Sony earbuds you can buy in 2021.

Ready to ditch the free earbuds that came with your smartphone? Sony makes some of the best earbuds capable of upgrading your audio experience without breaking the bank.

Whether you want wired earbuds that sound superb, Bluetooth in-ear headphones with extended battery life, or even the latest true wireless earbuds, we've rated the best Sony earbuds and assembled them below.

If you opt for wireless headphones, you'll be pleased to hear that all the Sony models below offer decent battery life, and some feature active noise-cancelling to quieten your surroundings. There's even a pair here crafted from trombone material. 

See a pair that you like? Before you reach for that wallet, you could also check out what's on offer in our selection of the best headphone deals.

Best Sony earbuds 2021: Sony in-ear headphones for every budget

(Image credit: Sony)

1. Sony WF-1000XM3

These outstanding in-ears are Sony's best earbuds to date.

SPECIFICATIONS

Wireless: Yes | Battery life: 8 hours (+16 from case) | Noise-cancelling: Yes | In-line mic/remote: No | 3.5mm connector: No | Weight: 8.5g

Reasons to Buy

Great timing and musicality
Impressive battery life
Comfy fit

Reasons to Avoid

Don't support aptX HD

These true wireless earbuds are easily up there with the best Sony in-ear headphones we've ever tested. The WF-1000XM3s feature innovative active noise cancelling technology and come with a portable carry case that doubles as a charger, meaning you get up to 32 hours of wireless playback.

The fit is comfortable and secure, so they won't fall out when you run up an escalator. Packed with features - including subtle touch controls for music playback and volume – they're dynamic, detailed and musical. A home run from Sony.

Read the full review: Sony WF-1000XM3

Best Sony earbuds 2021: Sony in-ear headphones for every budget

(Image credit: Sony)

2. Sony WF-SP800N

A dynamic-sounding pair of noise-cancelling wireless buds.

SPECIFICATIONS

Connector: N/A | Cable length: N/A | In-line remote and mic: N/A | OS support: Android/iOS | Bluetooth: Yes | Noise-cancelling: Yes | Battery life: 9 hours (+ 9 hours from charging case)

Reasons to Buy

Vibrant, buoyant sound
Good noise-cancelling
Comfortable fit

Reasons to Avoid

Slightly coarse sound
Average battery life

The WF-SP800N noise-cancelling earbuds are great all-rounders designed to please. They'll please those who need accompaniment to their workout/commute, as well as those who don't want splash out on top-tier noise-cancelling buds.

And despite the reasonable price tag, they're well-specced offer plenty of useful features. Got a Deezer or Tidal subscription? These buds support 360 Reality Audio, Sony’s spatial audio format.

Control is available via Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant or Siri, and the mic array ensures your instructions are heard reliably. Just as well, as the touch controls don't include ‘volume up/down’ in the list of functions. 

Battery life is distinctly average (18 hours total) but that's not enough to dampen our enthusiasm for the SP-WF800N. Their winning combination of dynamic sound, decent noise-cancelling, good build quality and smart features are hard to beat at this price point.

Read the full review: Sony WF-SP800N

Best Sony earbuds 2021: Sony in-ear headphones for every budget

(Image credit: Sony)

3. Sony MDR-EX650AP

Snug-fitting, great-sounding and the best budget Sony earbuds we've heard.

SPECIFICATIONS

Wireless: No | Battery life: N/A | Noise-cancelling: No | In-line mic/remote: Yes | 3.5mm connector: Yes | Weight: 9g

Reasons to Buy

Comfy, secure fit
Solid, weighty, punchy delivery
Expansive soundstage

Reasons to Avoid

Basic remote

If you want bang for your buck, you won't feel short-changed by the EX650s wired earbuds. Despite the humble price point, they're balanced, dynamic and immersive – with a hefty punch of bass. Sony has even utilised trombone material for the internal sound paths and external enclosures, helping to create an expansive soundstage.

Comfort isn't an issue, since the EX650APs come with four sizes of buds in the box. If you like the brassy design, you'll find that these Sony earbuds will outshine many a similarly-priced rival.

Read the full review: Sony MDR-EX650AP

Best Sony earbuds 2021: Sony in-ear headphones for every budget

(Image credit: Sony)

4. Sony WF-XB700

Reliable and rugged outdoor earbuds with chunky bass.

SPECIFICATIONS

Connector: N/A | Cable length: N/A | In-line remote and mic: No | OS support: Android/iOS | Bluetooth: Yes | Noise-cancelling: No | Battery life: 9 hours (+9 from charging case)

Reasons to Buy

Clear, punchy sound
Decent battery life
Comfortable, lightweight build

Reasons to Avoid

Rivals offer more detail
Reasonably large earbud design

On the hunt for a pair of affordable, sporty wireless buds? The Sony WF-XB700 should be on your list. Battery life is 18 hours – nine hours from the buds, nine hours from the case – so they'll outlast any workout, plus they're IPX4 rated, meaning they're water and sweat resistant.

Comfort is good. In fact, we found we could locate them in our ears and forget they were there. A button on each buds allows for basic controls such as play/pause and skip track.

The WF-XB700 are part of Sony's Extra Bass range of audio products meaning they're tuned to emphasise low-frequency response, rather than deliver a neutral sonic balance. The result is a punchy low-end, but it doesn't overshadow mid and high frequencies, which display pleasing levels of agility.

Some of Sony's pricier buds boast greater detail and subtlety, in addition to active noise-cancelling tech, but if you're after sporty buds, these could be the best Sony headphones for you.

Read the full review: Sony WF-XB700

Best Sony earbuds 2021: Sony in-ear headphones for every budget

(Image credit: Sony)

3. Sony WI-1000X

Impressive wireless and noise-cancelling Sony earbuds with a neckband design.

SPECIFICATIONS

Wireless: Yes | Battery life: 10 hours | Noise-cancelling: Yes | In-line mic/remote: No | 3.5mm connector: Yes | Weight: 71g

Reasons to Buy

Punchy bass
Insightful midrange
Well balanced

Reasons to Avoid

Inflexible neckband

In-ear headphones with a neckband aren't to everyone's liking, but they typically offer good battery life and a very stable Bluetooth connection. Sony's take on the wireless 'neckband' concept is a resounding success, especially when it comes to sound quality, which is precise, detailed and punchy.

There are different grades of noise-cancellation including an 'ambient mode' – useful when jogging – and you can still listen to music after the battery dies by using the supplied micro USB cable. If the design tickles your fancy, you'll be rewarded with impressive sonics and great battery life.

Read the full review: Sony WI-1000X

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