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Best Sony headphones 2019: budget, premium, Bluetooth, noise-cancelling

Best Sony headphones Buying Guide: Welcome to What Hi-fi?'s round-up of the best Sony headphones you can buy in 2019.

If you're looking for a new pair of headphones, Sony should be on your consider list. The firm makes some impressive models, whether you're after in-ear, on-ear, wireless or noise-cancelling models.

So what should you look for before buying a pair of Sony headphones? Firstly, you need to pick a style (in-/on-/over-ear) and then think about which features you want. Do you want a portable pair for commuting or the gym, or are they going to be used mainly at home? If you want Bluetooth, be sure to look into battery life.

Some on-ear pairs have touch controls for functions like play/pause, skip track, etc. Others need plugging into a dedicated headphone amplifier to hear them at their very best. These are all things to consider.

But enough with chat, read on for our round-up of our favourite Sony headphones on the market right now.

Best Sony headphones 2019: budget, premium, Bluetooth, noise-cancelling

1. Sony WH-1000XM3

Analogue amplification ups the ante for these excellent headphones.

SPECIFICATIONS

Type: On-ear | Wireless: Yes | Battery life: 30 hours | Noise-cancelling: Yes | In-line mic/remote: No | 3.5mm connector: Yes | Weight: 254g

Reasons to Buy
Natural, all-round sound quality
The best noise-cancelling out there
Supremely comfortable
Reasons to Avoid
Exposes weaker recordings
Fiddly touch controls

Some of the most comfortable noise-cancelling headphones we've tested, these Sony headphones feature a touch-sensitive panel on the right earcup for controls. Hold your hand to it and it'll quieten what's playing so you can hear the outside world. You can also speak to control one of your voice assistants, be it Siri or Google Assistant.

The noise-cancelling from these Award-winning headphones is excellent, and the sound? Gloriously open and spacious, giving every instrument room to breathe. For they money, they're a virtually fautless pair of noise-cancelling headphones. Beats, Bose and Sennheiser all offer rivals, but none can match these for sound quality.

Read the full review: Sony WH-1000XM3

Best Sony headphones 2019: budget, premium, Bluetooth, noise-cancelling

(Image credit: Sony)

2. Sony WF-1000XM3

The best Sony in-ear headphones on the market right now.

SPECIFICATIONS

Type: In-ear | Wireless: Yes | Battery life: 24 hours | 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
Earpieces lack volume control

If you want a huge chunk of the performance of the WH-1000XM3s (mentioned above), but in an in-ear package, you need to take a look and the WF-1000XM3s. They're a brilliant blend of features and performance. The active noise-cancelling is unique and works a treat, and you get up to 32 hours of battery life with the help of their portable carry case. They Sonys sit snugly in your ears and they even manage to squeeze in touch controls for music playback. The fact they're musical, dynamic and detailed performers is just the icing on the cake.

Read the full review: Sony WF-1000XM3

Best Sony headphones 2019: budget, premium, Bluetooth, noise-cancelling

3. Sony WH-1000XM2

These talented noise-cancelling headphones offer impressive value.

SPECIFICATIONS

Type: On-ear | Wireless: Yes | Battery life: 30 hours | Noise-cancelling: Yes | In-line mic/remote: No | 3.5mm connector: Yes | Weight: 277g

Reasons to Buy
Excellent timing
Loads of detail
Refined, smooth highs
Reasons to Avoid
Fiddly touchpad controls

The XM2s are the predecessors to the XM3s you see at number one on our list. This means they can be picked up for cheaper than their recommended retail price. Like the XM3s, they feature a touchpad on the earcup.

They also feature a sound pressure optimiser mode which fine tunes the sound for listening at altitude in an airplane - handy if you do a lot of travelling. Highs never sound too bright, while wide-ranging dynamics at either end of the frequency scale sandwich an impressive level of detail. The XM3s pip them for sound quality, but these still represent brilliant value.

Read the full review: Sony WH-1000XM2

Best Sony headphones 2019: budget, premium, Bluetooth, noise-cancelling

4. Sony MDR-EX650AP

From sound, to fit, the EX650s are everything a pair of budget in-ears should be.

SPECIFICATIONS

Type: In-ear | 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

Made from trombone material, these shiny and affordable in-ears are supremely comfortable, and offer a lot of performance for very little money. An open and expansive soundstage gives way to a fabulously immersive presentation with a weighty bass that's underpinned by tonal balance. They will happily turn their hand to just about anything, effortlessly balancing detail, dynamics and rhythm. Want a simple but brilliant and wallet-friendly upgrade? Look no further.

Read the full review: Sony MDR-EX650AP

Best Sony headphones 2019: budget, premium, Bluetooth, noise-cancelling

(Image credit: Sony)

5. Sony MDR-Z1R

With the right source, these premium headphones sound nothing short of remarkable.

SPECIFICATIONS

Type: On-ear | Wireless: No | Battery life: N/A | Noise-cancelling: No | In-line mic/remote: No | 3.5mm connector: Yes | Weight: 385g

Reasons to Buy
Excellent detail resolution
Powerful bass
Superb build and finish
Reasons to Avoid
Demand quality electronics

At £1700, these Sony headphones won't be for everyone. But, when it comes to their sound, they deliver in spades. Bass is of seismic proportions, though it never dominates the sound - instead, it showcases a delicate combination of power, authority and agility that few rivals can match. There's also impressive scale and tonality is nicely balanced. They sound surprisingly open and spacious for a pair of closed-back headphones. If you can feed these Sonys with music from suitable electronics, you'll be suitably rewarded.

Read the full review: Sony MDR-Z1R

Best Sony headphones 2019: budget, premium, Bluetooth, noise-cancelling

6. Sony WF-1000X

Sony's true wireless in-ear headphones are sensational value for money.

SPECIFICATIONS

Type: In-ear | Wireless: Yes | Battery life: 9 hours | Noise-cancelling: Yes | In-line mic/remote: No | 3.5mm connector: No | Weight: 6.8g

Reasons to Buy
Balanced, detailed sound
Good timing and dynamics
Decent noise-cancelling
Reasons to Avoid
Slight connection issue

Sony's true wireless earbuds are controlled using just one button on the right earpiece, and it takes a bit of time to get used to. But once you do, you'll find these Sony headphones offer excellent sound quality for the money - the noise-cancelling is decent enough for a pair of in-ears, and the sound is light-footed with a satisfying degree of confidence. Bass, treble and the mid-range are all nicely balanced too, giving a musical sound that's tough to beat at this price level.

Read the full review: Sony WF-1000X

Best Sony headphones 2019: budget, premium, Bluetooth, noise-cancelling

7. Sony WH-CH700N

A wireless, noise-cancelling package for less than £100.

SPECIFICATIONS

Type: On-ear | Wireless: Yes | Battery life: 35 hours | Noise-cancelling: Yes | In-line mic/remote: No | 3.5mm connector: Yes | Weight: 240g

Reasons to Buy
Detailed, musical performance
Punchy, weighty bass
Impressive battery life
Reasons to Avoid
Rudimentary noise-cancelling

With wireless and noise-cancelling skills onboard, these Sony headphones offer a lot of features for under £100. You get 35 hours of battery life too, with a 10-minute charge keeping them going for around an hour. The emphasis is on the bass, but not so much that it dominates the sound, while the timing and organisation make for a pleasurable listen. If you want lots of bells and whistles without breaking the bank, you can't go wrong.

Read the full review: Sony WH-CH700N

Best Sony headphones 2019: budget, premium, Bluetooth, noise-cancelling

8. Sony WI-1000X

Decent sound and noise-cancelling make these earbuds a smart choice.

SPECIFICATIONS

Type: In-ear | 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

Headphones with a neckband aren't for everyone, but these are some of the best around. They're wireless, and the band helps keep them in place while they're out of your ears - this means you're less likely to lose them. There are different grades of noise-cancellation, and impressive dynamics, detail and precision on show. A great step up for those who want in-ear portability with long battery life.

Read the full review: Sony WI-1000X

Best Sony headphones 2019: budget, premium, Bluetooth, noise-cancelling

9. Sony MDR-1000X

Sony's elderly noise-cancelling wireless headphones remain a solid bet.

SPECIFICATIONS

Type: On-ear | Wireless: Yes | Battery life: 20 hours | Noise-cancelling: Yes | In-line mic/remote: No | 3.5mm connector: Yes | Weight: 277g

Reasons to Buy
Impressive noise-cancelling
Balanced, expressive sound
20-hour battery life
Reasons to Avoid
Hit-and-miss touch controls

You can still find Sony's first-generation wireless noise-cancellers around, usually for a knockdown price. They're exceptional value for money - the noise-cancellation does a decent job of minimising the background hubbub, while sound quality is on point. There's a sense of refinement to the sound that cheaper headphones can't match, with highs and lows given equal billing. A great bet, especially if you're not fussed about stretching to the WH-1000XM2s or XM3s mentioned above.

Read the full review: Sony MDR-1000X

Best Sony headphones 2019: budget, premium, Bluetooth, noise-cancelling

10. Sony MDR-ZX770BN

A decent pair of Sony headphones, but they lack a little excitement.

SPECIFICATIONS

Type: On-ear | Wireless: Yes | Battery life: 13 hours | Noise-cancelling: Yes | In-line mic/remote: No | 3.5mm connector: Yes | Weight: 245g

Reasons to Buy
Comfortable
Stylish and understated
Effective noise-cancelling
Reasons to Avoid
Lack drive and dynamics
Sound too smooth
Treble isn’t the best

These Sony headphones feel chunky and solid and are supremely comfortable to wear - important factors if they're to spend a couple of hours on your ears. They're laden with features too, including Bluetooth, noise-cancelling, and a built-in mic for hands-free calls. Sound quality is pretty decent, with an open and spacious soundstage and an ample amount of detail. A solid choice for the money.

Read the full review: Sony MDR-ZX770BN

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