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Sony unveils WF-C500 sporty earbuds at a wallet-friendly price

A white pair of Sony WF-C500 wireless earbuds
(Image credit: Sony )

Sony has unveiled not one, but two new pairs of wireless headphones. As predicted, the WF-C500 wireless earbuds are budget wireless buds for the gym, while the WH-XB910N on-ears promise ANC (active noise-cancelling) and "club-like bass". 

Let's start with the buds (above). The WF-C500 are billed as "small and light", with an IPX4 water-resistant design that won't be troubled by a drop of sweat or rain. The rounded shape seems to be based on the company's much pricier WF-1000XM4 buds, which is no bad thing.

Despite costing only £89 / AU$149 (around $130), Sony says the WF-C500 pump out "authentic" sound thanks to the company's DSEE technology (which upscales digital music files to near hi-res quality). You can also opt to use one earbud without the other, which could be handy when sleeping.

Battery life is a claimed 10 hours with DSEE switched off, while the snazzy translucent charging case adds a further 10 hours' charge. In a hurry? A 10-minute charge should provide an hour's playback.

An ice green pair of Sony WF-C500 wireless earbuds

(Image credit: Sony)

Like Sony new WH-XB910N over-ear headphones (below), the new buds support Sony 360 Reality Audio, which delivers 360-degree surround audio. There's also Multipoint, which lets you pair your headphones with two Bluetooth devices at once.

As for smarts, both the new models feature touch controls and hands-free voice assistant functions (the buds are compatible with Google Assistant and Siri; the on-ears play nice with Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa).

The WH-XB910N wirelesss on-ears promise "club-like bass" to transport you to your "favourite venue" – assuming that your favourite venue has a speaker stack the size of a London bus.

The new cans are also said to boast "improved" noise-cancelling compared to their predecessors, the 2019 WH-XB900N. New Dual Noise Sensor technology uses two feedforward and feedback mics to cancel out ambient sound, making it easier to shut out the world.

The new on-ears also feature DSEE (Digital Sound Enhancement Engine), plus the option to tweak the equaliser settings via Sony's Headphones Connect app. Useful if you want to tone down some of that party-starting bass.

Sony WH-XB910N headphones

(Image credit: Sony)

On paper, battery life looks impressive. You get up to 30 hours playback per charge, which is enough for most road trips and weekend adventures. Running low? A 10-minute charge via the optional AC mains charger provides a whopping 4.5 hours' worth of playback. Impressive.

Last but not least, the WH-XB910N have pinched a couple of the high-end features found on Sony's flagship WH-1000XM4 over-ears. Adaptive Sound Control recognises the locations you frequently visit and tailors the sound accordingly, whether it's a noisy gym or a rumbling train carriage. You can also listen to what's happening around you simply by placing your hand over an ear cup.

Tempted? The WH-XB910N will be available in black and blue from October, priced a £179 / AU$349 (around $250). The WF-C500 wireless buds will be available in black, white, ice green and coral, also from October.

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Tom has been writing about tech for 17 years, first on staff at T3 magazine, then in a freelance capacity for Men's Health, ShortList, The Sun, The Mail on Sunday, The Daily Telegraph and many more (including What Hi-Fi?). His specialities include mobile tech, electric cars and video streaming.