A host of new audio gear was revealed by Sony at IFA 2017, including new wireless speakers, and a premium Walkman portable audio player. But the most intriguing has to be a new pair of Sony true wireless earbuds that offers something most other competitors in this burgeoning category doesn’t: Noise cancellation.
True Wireless noise-canceling earbuds
The sleek and nimble WF-1000X true wireless earbuds boast many similarities to others in the category, such as Apple’s Airpods, including features like a portable charging case and the ability to automatically turn on and pair when taken out of the case. The buds boast 6mm drivers and rather unimpressive three hours of battery life per charge, with an additional six hours of recharge time stored in the case — the Airpods, for example, boast around five hours per charge and a whopping 24 hours of charge time in their own charging case. However, adding noise cancellation into the mix may be a big reason for the poor battery life, and could be an enticing feature for some users. An equalizer via Sony’s Headphones Connect app is also included in the package.
Two other wireless noise-canceling models, the WH-1000XM2 headphones and the WI-1000X behind-the-neck earphones, were also announced.
The WH-1000XM2 builds upon Sony’s MDR-1000X noise-canceling headphones, folding in support for the Sony Headphones Connect app (available on Android and iOS) and noise-canceling controls. The battery will last 30 hours when listening with noise cancelling enabled, but should you run out of power, the quick-charging function can pull in 70 minutes worth of juice from just 10 minutes of charging.
The WI-1000X earbuds offer 10 hours of battery life when listening wirelessly with noise cancelling enabled or 14 hours when plugged in, and feature 9mm drivers.
Next is a trio of wireless speakers. The first, the LF-S50G, is a wireless speaker with 360-degree sound output, as well as Google Assistant integration, allowing it to interface with any connected Google Home devices, or be controlled via your Android devices. The LF-S50G can also be controlled with gesture commands. It will be available in October for $200.
The next two are a pair of high-powered wireless speakers in Sony’s Extra Bass line, the GTK-XB60 and XB90. As the names imply, these two speakers are built specifically to deliver heavy bass response. The XB60 features dual 2-inch tweeters, dual 5-inch woofers, and a claimed 14 hours of battery life. The XB90 has three 2-inch tweeters, two 7-inch woofers, and a claimed 16 hours of battery power.
Both speakers also feature displays and strobe lights that can sync with the tempo of the music you’re listening to.
The GTK-XB60 and XB90 are available now, for $350 and $450, respectively.
The final speaker featured in Sony’s IFA announcement is the MHC-V90W High Power Audio System. This massive tower of sound is designed to deliver high-powered audio. It stands at 5.6 feet tall and features an open-back cabinet design, with each driver featuring a horn style and angle that “supports the spread and distance of music,” according to Sony’s press release. The $1,300 MHC-V90W will be available in October.
A premium Walkman
Lastly, we have Sony’s new premium Walkman, the NW-ZX300. The portable audio player supports both wired and wireless connections, with Bluetooth and aptX on supported devices, 64GB of storage, and up to 30 hours of battery life. It also supports 11.2MHz DSD native playback and 348kHz/32bit PCM playback for high-fidelity listening.
The NW-ZX300 will be available from authorized Sony dealers in October for $700.