Preview of new Sony headphones for IFA 2016
In early June I posted some news of upcoming Sony headphones likely to debut this fall at IFA, but it seems 2 more models appeared on the FCC in the next 2 weeks following my post. To remedy this, I will outline a quick preview of the 5 models of consumer headphones due at IFA this upcoming week. Here is the list of the 5 pairs of headphones:
The new ZX220BT at first glance looks a lot like the current ZX330 but upon closer inspection there are some subtle differences. The controls for playback are different, with the volume controls removed altogether. The top headband has an indentation along its surface and there is a slight rough texture to the surface. The ZX220 is also lighter, at 130g versus 150g for the ZX330s but this could be due to a reduced battery capacity sine the charge time has gone down from 4 hours to 2.5 hours. Music playback is rated at 8 hours with a standby time of 200 hours, which is much less than the ZX330s supposed 30 hours of playback. The driver remains at 30mm like on the ZX330. With NFC on board, a quick connection can be established with any NFC capable device. As for price, judging by the model name, it should end up being more affordable than the ZX330s. Click on the photos below to see the controls
Next up is the portable XB50, a small, portable and waterproof (IPX4 rating) headset. I initially missed this in the FCC documents but upon seeing it, it reminded me of the AS600BT headset, which feels identical apart from the design and lack of EXTRA BASS. At this moment, I am not sure if the XB50s will ship in different colours like the AS600s. The headset can also be used for hands free calling with support for HD voice if the phone supports it. Playback time is rated at 8.5 hours, standby time of 200 hours and recharge time of 2.5 hours. The XB50 comes with 12mm drivers and features Sony's EXTRA BASS to help enhance the sound. The headset includes NFC for easy one touch connection. With such a portable lightweight design (22g), the XB50 is ideal for cycling, jogging, skating or running and could easily be connected to a Walkman or smartphone. Here are the controls:
While I did include this in my initial post, I was slightly confused how these headphones would look, but it seems they are similar to the Sony h.ear in Wireless headphones (MDR-EX750BT). As with the XB50s, I have no information if these will ship in any other colour than black. The headset features, NFC, 12mm drivers, EXTRA BASS sound and a built in mic for hands free calling. Unlike the EX750s, the XB70 lacks LDAC and Hi-Res Audio, therefore the pricing should be more affordable than the EX750s (180 Euros). Playback time is max 9 hours, standby time of 200 hours, and a recharge time of 2.5 hours. The XB50s do weigh more at 50g but do feature 2 more hours of playback time. Controls are as follows:
Some close up photos from the FCC documents
Next up, is the XB80, which seem to be a higher end version of the XB50. The XB80s feature a closed dynamic 12mm driver, EXTRA BASS and in ear design with IPX5 water resistance. An absolute secure-fit is provided by flexible earhooks and a cable adjuster to lock the earbuds and cable around the neck. The right unit features the controls for the unit which include play/pause and the ability to answer calls for hands free calling, along with other controls seen in the image below. On the bottom of the right unit is the micro-USB port for charging, with the NFC found on the left unit. Unlike the other wireless headsets, the XB80s feature LDAC and aptX support. Playback time for SBC/AAC is 7 hours, LDAC/aptX is 6 hours with a standby time of 200 hours. A full recharge takes 1.5 hours but with a quick 10 minute charge, the unit headset can be used for 1 hour. Coupled with a lightweight design (26g), secure fit and superior bluetooth codecs, the XC80 appears to be the best of the 3 headsets. Here is a layout of the device controls.
Finally the best for last. The 1000X appears to be part of the high end line of Sony headphones, High-Resolution Audio compatible along with active noise cancellation, the 1000X is packed with a lot of new technology. The headphones feature a personal NC Optimizer which tailors the noise-canceling performance perfectly for you. This is accomplished by the headphones optimizing the performance of noise cancelling by analyzing the shape of your head and wearing style. How exactly this happens is unknown to me, but I am sure Sony will explain it at IFA, or perhaps they will not. An ambient sound mode is included, there are 2 modes, I will let Sony explain the 2 modes.
Normal mode: you can hear the ambient sounds like you don’t wear the headphones.
Voice mode: you can notice voice and announcement around you with unnecessary noise cancellation.
Seems the voice mode cancels out the ambient noise like cars and random noise but permits sound to come through. The right unit features a touch sensor on its side; by covering and holding the entire surface of the touch sensor, the NC is turned off and the volume is turned down automatically. This permits one to hear any announcements and conversations quickly without the need to remove the headphones. Like most high end Sony headphones, the 1000X feature DSEE HX which upscales existing music to near high-resolution sound quality. In addition to SBC/AAC, aptX and LDAC codecs are supported for high quality bluetooth streaming, and with NFC, connections are quick and easy. The headphones swivel to fold into a compact shape for easy travel and storage. Playback time is 20 hours with NC on and 22 hours with NC off. Standby time with NC on is 34 hours and a 120 hours when the headset is turned off. The headset can also be used with a wired connection, NC on around 30 hours. I will try to get more details on the 1000X but it is rather scarce at this moment in time.
Update: little bonus today, a teaser of the rumoured high end headphones due at IFA