People often smirk at Sony’s style of naming products, but stop to decode and you’ll find it’s all very logical and informative. The WH is wireless headphones, the XB is Extra Bass, and the n is noise cancelling. So yes, the WH-XB910n headphones are from Sony’s Extra Bass range, in which they have several products with the audio tuned to cater to consumer tastes and offer a ‘party’ experience. The WH-XB910n is the successor to the XB900 launched at the same price, ₹14,990. Of course, the previous gen is now available at a lower price here and there.
We got the WH-XB910n in a nice shade of dark blue. The other colour is black. These over-the-ear closed back headphones are not bad looking, though in an all-plastic construction. They do, however, have a protruding sort of profile rather than being nice and flat against the sides of the head.
The headphones come in a nice hard case for protection. There’s a fairly prominent white Sony logo on each arm, but no visible metal accents. The hard plastic seems quite sturdy, but it’s the softer foamy leatherette underneath the headband and on the ear-cups that worry me slightly. It’s soft, but should probably be handled with a bit of care to last in the long-term.
One thing the WH-XB910n has in its favour is comfort. It’s soft and doesn’t weigh down — the advantages of plastic, I suppose. It encloses my ears very nicely, without instantly making them feel hot and bothered. But the whole thing is likely to slip off my head if I look down too much; that’s something to be considered if you have a small head and plan to use it a lot while working — not that these are tuned for office use, in particular, or for working out. Otherwise, the XB910n‘s can easily be worn for long hours if they work for you in other ways, and should be reasonable for travel, though they are certainly not the ideal choice.
Pack a punch
One of the advantages of using Sony headphones is that you have the Headphones Connect app. It’s the most full-featured app of its kind, with lots of customisation and settings, including a responsive equaliser. With the XB910n, it’s something you need more than ever because of the skewed sound profile. True to their name, these headphones pack a big thump. Although users in this part of the world rather like heavy bass, the punch delivered by these could just be too overwhelming and rumbling.
Overall, the sound is also a bit closed off and constrained, so it’s a good thing the equaliser is at hand to change things around. The Bright preset, for example, improves clarity. Whether you like this sound profile will depend heavily on what you like listening to as well, and how demanding you are of neutrality, clarity and things like separation and detail. But if it’s the boom that you enjoy, you certainly get that. The XB910n supports AAC, SBC and LDAC. There’s also a DSEE button in the app to enhance compressed music, and the option to listen to these headphones wired, as there’s a 3.5mm jack. 360 audio is also supported.
Play in peace
The noise cancellation works quite well, though of course not of the level of the highest-end headphones. There’s more than enough closing off of outside sounds, and I often had to activate the ambient listening mode to check things around me. The smart feature that allows you to just cup your hand over one ear can to bring up ambient sounds works here, which is great. It also has the adaptive sound feature which, if turned on, will learn what you’re doing and adapt noise cancelling accordingly. This is a smart feature that Sony does really well and if I’m not mistaken, started in the first place.
The left ear-cup on these headphones has the power, pairing and ANC physical buttons, while the right side has a touch sensitive surface on which you swipe and tap to control volume, tracks and call up the assistant you’ve connected to. Multi-point connectivity is supported, but you don’t have auto wear detect so when you take them off, the music won’t pause. It will, however, switch itself off if neglected for about 15 minutes.
The XB910n has a claimed battery life of 30 hours with ANC and 50 hours without. A quick 10-minute charge will keep you going for a few hours. From zero to full charging takes about 3.5 hours.
The XB910n costs ₹14,990.