Sonos Ace wireless headphones finally launch with spatial audio for movies and music

Sonos Ace wireless headphones being held in front of an iPad
(Image credit: What Hi-Fi?)

The first Sonos headphones are finally here. The Sonos Ace headphones were originally rumoured to launch in 2021, so expectations are high. But the king of multi-room seems to have delivered, with custom drivers, plush build quality and spatial audio with dynamic head tracking. You can head straight over and read our Sonos Ace review or carry on reading for the key specs.

Let's start with the sound. Inside each earcup is a custom-designed 40mm dynamic driver – these promise to "render each frequency with impeccable precision and clarity". These drivers are 10mm bigger than the 30mm carbon fibre drivers inside the Award-winning and class-leading Sony WH-1000XM5 (against which the Sonos Ace will inevitably be compared), and the same size as those inside the AirPods Max.

They support lossless audio over Bluetooth thanks to Snapdragon Sound aptX Lossless codec, or through wired listening with the supplied USB-C cable.

Active noise cancellation (ANC) is onboard, along with an Aware mode to allow in ambient sounds (if you need to chat with a colleague or cross a busy road, for example). They're equipped with eight beamforming microphones for noise control and voice targeting.

They're built with home cinema in mind, too. Spatial audio with Dolby Atmos adds height channels for a more immersive experience, while dynamic head tracking keeps the sound anchored to the screen if you look away. You can instantly swap the audio from the Sonos Arc soundbar to your Sonos Ace at the tap of a button, so you can cut yourself off in your own private viewing. And later this year Sonos' TrueCinema tech will launch. Similar to TruePlay on Sonos speakers, this maps your room and then adjusts the audio accordingly, so it sounds like you're not wearing headphones.

Sonos Ace headphones in black and white on a grey background

(Image credit: Sonos)

In terms of the design, their look is in between the Apple AirPods Max and Sony XM5. Sonos stresses its use of lightweight, premium materials that give the headphones "an airy fit that gently hugs your head". The memory foam interior is wrapped in vegan leather, while the seamless design of the headband and earcups promise to seal off your ears from external noise without catching your hair.

They promise to be intuitive to use, too. Contrasting colours inside the earcups tell you which way to wear them, proper push buttons let you know when your press has registered, and they fold flat for easy storage. Wearer detection pauses playback when you take them off, and resumes when you put them back on. Like other Sonos products, your colour options are black or white in a matte finish.

Battery life is an XM5-matching 30 hours with ANC or Aware mode activated, and a three-minute charge provides a whopping three hours of juice.

And they're responsibly made, with replaceable ear cushions (in case they wear out) and circular materials that use 17 per cent less virgin plastic. The travel case is made of 75 per cent recycled felt that comes from plastic bottles. 

The Sonos Ace cost £449 / $449 / AUD$699 – that's broadly the same as the Bose QuietComfort Ultra Headphones, but pricier than the Sony XM5 and cheaper than the AirPods Max. They go on sale on 5th June. 

You can read our detailed hands-on review here. Stay tuned for a full review.


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Joe Svetlik

Joe has been writing about tech for 17 years, first on staff at T3 magazine, then in a freelance capacity for Stuff, The Sunday Times Travel Magazine, Men's Health, GQ, The Mirror, Trusted Reviews, TechRadar and many more (including What Hi-Fi?). His specialities include all things mobile, headphones and speakers that he can't justifying spending money on.