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Reviewed on May 24, 2018

Sony WH-H900N/h.ear on 2 Wireless
HEADPHONES REVIEW

Usage Ratings - Version 1.2
7.0
Mixed Usage
7.9
Critical Listening
6.9
Commute/Travel
6.9
Sports/Fitness
7.1
Office
5.8
TV
5.5
Gaming
Type : Over-ear
Enclosure : Closed-Back
Wireless : Yes
Noise-Cancelling : Yes
Mic : Yes
Transducer : Dynamic

The Sony WH-H900N (h.ear on 2) are above-average wireless noise-canceling headphones for most use cases. They have the same design and look as the original Sony MDR-100AAP (h.ear on), but they're sturdier and more comfortable. They have a well-balanced sound that delivers in the bass range and still sounds detailed with instruments and vocals. Unfortunately, their noise isolation is a little weak which won't be ideal for noisier environments and they take quite a bit of time for a full charge, which is a bit disappointing.

Test Results
Design 7.1
Sound 8.0
Isolation 6.4
Microphone 6.3
Active Features 6.6
Connectivity 5.5
Pros
  • Great audio reproduction.
  • Comfortable and well-built design.
Cons
  • Mediocre-at-best noise canceling.
  • Very long charge time.

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7.1

Design

The Sony WHH900N (h.ear on 2) are an updated design of the original MDR-100AAP. They have a sturdier build quality that feels more durable, thanks to the denser and wider headband. They also have thicker pads on the ear cups which makes them more comfortable than the originals despite being slightly heavier. They have the same touch-sensitive control scheme as the Sony WH-1000XM2, which is above-average but lacks good auditory feedback. Unfortunately, although they fold into a more compact format they will still be a bit too cumbersome to comfortably carry around on your person. They also come with a soft pouch that feels a little cheap for their price range, especially when compared to the hard cases of the other Sony models.

Style

The Sony H900N are an updated wireless, noise-canceling version of the MDR-100AAP. They have the same overall design, but they look and feel a bit more premium, thanks to the thicker and sturdier build quality. They have the same oval ear cups, and the headband is also pretty much identical except both are slightly denser and feel more durable. They also come in a variety of color schemes to match your style or outfit, but the flashier colors may not be for everyone. The matte Black/Gray finish looks decently high-end but the headphones do not feel quite as premium as the WH-100XM2 or some of the other wireless over-ears like the Beoplay H9.

7.5 Comfort
Weight : 0.7 lbs
Clamping Force
:
1 lbs

The Sony h.ear on 2 are a bit more comfortable than the original Sony h.ear on (MDR-100AAP). They have thicker pads and decently sized cups that are not too tight on the head. They're also decently lightweight although much heavier than the MDR-100AAP since they are wireless and noise canceling, which requires a bit more electronics and a battery. Unfortunately, the ear cups are a slightly smaller than average when compared to some other over-ear headphones, which might not be ideal for all listeners. Also, the ear cup pads have a rather hard frame underneath that shouldn't bother most listeners, but may become an issue for some, during longer listening sessions (once the pads are a bit more compressed from being on your head).

7.5 Controls
Ease of use : Decent
Feedback : Okay
Call/Music Control : Yes
Volume Control : Yes
Microphone Control : No
Channel Mixing
:
N/A
Noise Canceling Control : Yes
Talk-Through
:
Yes
Additional Buttons : N/A

These headphones have a decent touch sensitive control scheme similar to the WH-1000XM2. You control the volume level by swiping up and down. Skipping tracks is done by swiping left or right. For playing and pausing tracks, you tap once and to take and end calls you tap twice on the touch-sensitive surface. They also have a dedicated noise canceling button that cycles through the noise canceling/ambient mode. Also, similar to the higher end WH-1000XM2, you can quickly enable an aware feature by covering the right ear cup, which may come in handy in some situations (like being at the airport or on a bus, and momentarily needing to pay attention to announcements, without removing your headset). Feedback is decent, but since it's a touch-sensitive surface, you have to rely on the audio cues, which is not always ideal.

6.5 Breathability
Avg.Temp.Difference : 5.4 C

Like most closed back over-ear headphones, the Sony WH-H900N will make your ears fairly warm during long listening sessions. They won't be the ideal choice for sports or intense workouts but they're relatively average for most headphones with a similar design. They should be okay for most casual listening activities.

6.1 Portability
L : 4.8 "
W : 5.8 "
H : 3.2 "
Volume : 89 Cu. Inches
Transmitter required : N/A

The Sony WH-H900 are average over-ears with a collapsible design that makes them somewhat decently portable. They will fit into smaller bags once folded, but unfortunately, like most over-ears, they're a little cumbersome to carry around on your person. They also come with a mediocre pouch that isn't ideal for carrying them around in your backpack.

5.5 Case
Type : No case
L : N/A
W : N/A
H : N/A
Volume : N/A

These headphones come with a soft fabric pouch that will protect the headphones against scratches. Unfortunately, this won't shield them from hard falls or water damage.

7.5 Build Quality

The build quality of the Sony WH-H900 feels much sturdier than the original h.ear on. The frame design is similar but thicker and wider which be able to handle stress a little better. The ear cups are also denser, and the hinges are not as loose and click into place once unfolded, which feels much more durable. Unfortunately, the design is mostly plastic, and although the headband is reinforced with a metal frame, the plastic outer cover could crack relatively easily when stretching them out somewhat similar to the Beats Solo3's headband. Overall, they are average for most wireless over-ears but won't be as solid or as premium as the Beo Play H9, the Sony WH-1000XM2 or WH-1000XM3.

7.0 Stability

These headphones are moderately stable. They're a bit better than the MDR-100AAP since they're wireless and no cable will get tangled in your clothes or yank the headphones off your head when running. However, since they're also heavier, they tend to move around a bit more when you tilt your head. They are not sports headphones and they will slip off your ears if used while doing high-intensity exercises at the gym.

Cable
Detachable : Yes
Length : 4.2 ft
Connection : 1/8" TRS

These headphones come with a 1/8" to 1/8" TRS audio cable and a micro-USB charging cable.

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Headshots 1
Headshots 2
8.0

Sound

The Sony WH-H900N is a great sounding pair of closed-back over-ears (see our recommendations for the best over-ear headphones). They have an excellent, deep, and consistent bass, a great, clear, and even mid-range, and a very good and well-balanced treble. This makes them a very versatile pair of headphones suitable for a wide variety of genres from bass-heavy EDM and Hip-hop, to vocal-centric rock, folk, and jazz. They also have great imaging. However, their treble response is a bit uneven and high in harmonic distortion, and like most other headphones, they don't have a speaker-like soundstage.

9.2 Bass
Std. Err.
:
1.18 dB
Low-Frequency Extension
:
10 Hz
Low-Bass
:
1.2 dB
Mid-Bass
:
1.11 dB
High-Bass
:
1.45 dB

The Sony H900N have an excellent bass. LFE (low-frequency extension) is at 10Hz, which is great. Low-bass, responsible for the thump and rumble common to bass-heavy music, mid-bass responsible for punch, and high-bass responsible for warmth are all within 1.5dB of our neutral target. Overall, the bass of the Sony is deep, well-balanced, and punchy, without sounding boomy or muddy.

9.1 Mid
Std. Err.
:
1.25 dB
Low-Mid
:
-0.49 dB
Mid-Mid
:
-0.99 dB
High-Mid
:
1.37 dB

The mid-range performance of the WH-H900N is excellent. The response throughout the range is even, flat, and within 1.5dB of our neutral target. This results in a well-balanced mid-range, and a clear reproduction of vocals and lead instruments.

8.6 Treble
Std. Err.
:
2.81 dB
Low-Treble
:
1.03 dB
Mid-Treble
:
-1.54 dB
High-Treble
:
-4.29 dB

The treble range performance of the Sony WHH900N is great. The response is rather uneven, but well-balanced throughout the range. Low-treble and mid-treble are within 1.5dB of our neutral target. This suggests a well-balanced reproduction of vocals, lead instruments, and cymbals.

7.5 Frequency Response Consistency
Avg. Std. Deviation
:
0.5 dB

The Sony WH-H900N have a good frequency response consistency. In the bass range, the delivery is exceptionally consistent across our five humans subjects. This is most likely due to the active noise canceling system of the H900N and resembles the bass consistency of the QuietComfort 35 II and the WH-1000XM2. In the treble range, the maximum deviation below 10KHz is 7dB indicating that their treble delivery is sensitive to positioning.

8.5 Imaging
Weighted Group Delay
:
0.16
Weighted Amplitude Mismatch
:
1.05
Weighted Frequency Mismatch
:
1.62
Weighted Phase Mismatch
:
5.4

The imaging performance is great. Weighted group delay is at 0.16, which is very good. The GD graph also shows that the group delay response is almost entirely below the audibility threshold. This ensures a tight bass and a transparent treble reproduction. Additionally, the L/R drivers of our test unit were very well-matched in amplitude, frequency, and phase response. This is important for the accurate placement and localization of objects (voices, instruments, video game effects) in the stereo field.

5.7 Soundstage
PRTF Accuracy (Std. Dev.)
:
5.07 dB
PRTF Size (Avg.)
:
6.62 dB
PRTF Distance
:
11.68 dB
Openness
:
3.9
Acoustic Space Excitation
:
3.3
Correlated Crosstalk
:
0.0 dB

The soundstage performance is sub-par. The PRTF graph shows a good amount of ear activation and interaction, but it's not very accurate and there's not a good 10KHz notch present either. This and the closed-back design of these headphones results in a soundstage that is perceived to be located inside the listener's head.

6.2 Total Harmonic Distortion
Weighted THD @ 90
:
9.89
Weighted THD @ 100
:
85.424

The harmonic distortion performance of the WH-H900N is below-average. The overall amount of THD produced in the bass and mid ranges is within decent limits. However, the treble range shows elevated amounts of THD, which could make the sound of those frequencies a bit harsh and brittle.

6.4

Isolation

The Sony WH-H900N (h.ear on 2) have mediocre noise canceling. They create a fairly decent seal around your ears that blocks higher frequencies, however, their noise cancellation is not strong enough for the rumbling sounds of an engine or the ambient chatter of a noisy bus ride. On the upside, since they do have a fairly good seal they do not leak as much as some of the other over-ears we've tested, so you can turn up the volume of your audio to mask some of the ambient noise in louder environments. See our recommendations for the best noise cancelling headphones.

6.0 Noise Isolation
Isolation Audio
:
Overall Attenuation
:
-16.78 dB
Bass
:
-8.52 dB
Mid
:
-11.14 dB
Treble
:
-30.65 dB
Self-Noise
:
20.69 dB

The active noise canceling performance of the Sony WH-H900N is below-average. In the bass range, where the rumble of airplane and bus engines sits, they achieved about 9dB of isolation, which is about average. In the mid-range, important for blocking out speech, they achieved 11dB of isolation, which is decent. In the treble range, occupied by sharp sounds like S and Ts, they isolate by more than 30dB, which is good.

7.2 Leakage
Leakage Audio
:
Overall Leakage @ 1ft
:
38.88 dB

The leakage performance of the Sony H900N is decent. The significant portion of their leakage is between 1KHz and 3KHz, which is a narrow range. The overall level of the leakage is not very loud either. With the music at 100dB SPL, the leakage at 1 foot away averages at 39dB SPL and peaks at 57dB SPL, which is slightly above the noise floor of most offices.

6.3

Microphone

Integrated
:
Yes
In-line
:
No
Boom
:
No
Detachable Boom
:
N/A

The integrated microphone of the Sony WH-H900N is below-average. In quiet environments, speech recorded or transmitted with this mic will sound relatively thin and noticeably muffled and lacking in detail. In noisy situations, it will struggle to fully separate speech from background noise, even in moderately loud environments, like a busy street.

6.4 Recording Quality
Recorded Speech
:
LFE
:
243.22 Hz
FR Std. Dev.
:
3.27 dB
HFE
:
2915.3 Hz
Weighted THD
:
4.186
Gain
:
43.37 dB

The recording quality of the integrated microphone is below-average. The LFE (low-frequency extension) of 243Hz means that speech recorded/transmitted with this mic will sound relatively thin. The HFE (high-frequency extension) of 2.9KHz results in a speech that is noticeably muffled and lacking in detail. However, speech will still be decently understandable, since speech intelligibility is most dependent on the 500Hz-4KHz range.

6.2 Noise Handling
Speech + Pink Noise :
Speech + Subway Noise :
SpNR
:
15.08 dB

The integrated microphone of the WH-H900N is mediocre at noise handling. It achieved a speech-to-noise ratio of 15dB in our SpNR test. This indicates that it is best suited for use in quiet environments, since it will struggle to fully separate speech from ambient noise, in loud and even moderately loud conditions.

6.6

Active Features

The Sony WHH900N have decent active features. The battery life is good, but they are very slow to charge, one of the worst we have tested. There is a quick charge feature, so if you just need them to get you through the commute a 10-minute charge should deliver about an hours worth of playback. They can be used passively with the provided audio cable, but Bluetooth will not work while charging. The available Sony companion app is easy-to-use with average features. You can adjust the EQ to your personal preference as well as adjust the soundstage by adding room effects.

6.4 Battery
Battery Type
:
Rechargable
Battery Life
:
27 hrs
Charge Time
:
5.5 hrs
Power Saving Feature
:
Standby mode
Audio while charging
:
No
Passive Playback
:
Yes

The Sony H900N have good battery life, easily lasting a day, but they are very long to charge, taking almost 6 hours for a full charge. On the upside, there is a quick charge feature that will give about an hour of playback time on a ten-minute charge.

When in Standby, the battery will stay charged for a maximum of about 200 hours with noise canceling disabled and about 48 hours with noise canceling on.

They support passive playback, so they can be used when the battery is dead or while charging, but only wired.

8.0 App Support
App Name : Sony| Headphones Connect
iOS : Yes
Android : Yes
Mac OS : N/A
Windows : N/A
Equalizer
:
Graphic + Presets
ANC control
:
Adjustable
Mic Control : No
Room effects
:
Yes
Playback control
:
Yes
Button Mapping : N/A
Surround Sound : N/A

The Sony WH-H900N works with the Sony | Headphones Connect app, available for iOS and Android. The app is well designed and intuitive and offers a good selection of features. From the app you can control the equalizer through built-in presets or by individual parameters. Room effects can also be added or adjusted to change the soundstage to your personal preference. The noise canceling feature can also be controlled, but there is no button mapping feature or auto-off timer/standby time settings.

5.5

Connectivity

The Sony WH-H900N headphones have poor connectivity. Pairing is easy with NFC, but they cannot be paired to multiple devices simultaneously and you have to repair them each time you want to switch, for example between your phone and PC. They can be used wired for when the battery is dead with their provided 1/8'TRS audio cable, but there is no inline microphone to use with your consoles. Wireless range is good, and they perform well indoors with lots of obstacles, but unfortunately, like most wireless Bluetooth headphones, the audio latency is too high for watching videos or gaming.

8.0 Bluetooth
Bluetooth Version
:
4.1
Multi-Device Pairing
:
No
NFC Pairing
:
Yes

The Sony H900N is easy to pair thanks to NFC compatibility. Unfortunately, they cannot switch between multiple devices and have to be repaired each time. Pairing with non-NFC devices like a PC is done by pressing and holding the power switch.

They are not directly compatible with PS4 or Xbox One via Bluetooth.

7.2 Wired
OS Compatibility
:
Not OS specific
Analog Audio
:
Yes
USB Audio
:
No
PS4 Compatible
:
Audio Only
Xbox One Compatible
:
Audio Only
PC Compatible
:
Audio Only

The Sony WH-H900N come with a 1/8" TRS cable that gives them a secondary connection option instead of Bluetooth. There is no inline remote and audio cannot be transferred through the USB charging cable. When wired they can be connected to game consoles through the controller connection.

0 Base/Dock
Type
:
N/A
Optical Input
:
N/A
Line In
:
N/A
Line Out
:
N/A
USB Input
:
N/A
RCA Input
:
N/A
PS4 Compatible
:
N/A
Xbox One Compatible
:
N/A
PC Compatible
:
N/A
Power Supply
:
N/A
Dock Charging
:
N/A

These headphones do not have a base or docking station. If you are looking for a versatile headset that can also be used wired with a base, check out the SteelSeries Arctis Pro Wireless.

8.1 Wireless Range
Obstructed Range
:
38 ft
Line of Sight Range
:
155 ft

The Sony WH-H900N have a good wireless range indoors and a decent outdoor range. Indoors the range is sufficient for most apartments, you can walk around with the headphones without losing the connection. However, they won't be as good as some of the other sony headsets we've tested to use with a fixed Bluetooth source like the Sony WH-1000XM3 or WH-CH700N.

2.2 Latency
Default Latency
:
213 ms
aptX Latency
:
185 ms
aptX(LL) Latency
:
N/A

The Sony WH-H900N have high latency, too high for watching movies or tv shows. They also support aptX HD for higher quality wireless playback, but the latency is higher than with standard Bluetooth playback.

In the box

  • Sony WH-H900 (h.ear on 2) headphones
  • Audio cable
  • Carrying pouch
  • USB charging cable
  • Manual

Compared to other Headphones

The Sony h.ear on 2 are great-sounding wireless over-ears with a mediocre-at-best noise-canceling performance. They have a decently sturdy build quality and although they're a little heavier than the original h.ear.on, they are still fairly lightweight. They have a surprisingly well-balanced sound that you can also customize via the Headphones Connect App, and a decently long battery life. Unfortunately, their noise canceling is a little weak, especially when compared to some of the more travel-friendly headphones below. They also take very long for a full charge, which is a little disappointing. See our recommendations for the best headphones, the best Bluetooth headphones and the best noise cancelling headphones.

Sony WH-1000XM3 Wireless

The Sony WH-1000XM3 are a much better noise cancelling headset than the Sony WH-H900N. The H900N have a better-balanced default sound. They also have a cool look that some may prefer since they come in a lot more color schemes than the more premium XM3s. On the other hand, the WH-1000XM3 have a better noise cancelling performance that makes them a much better choice for your commutes. They're also a lot more customizable. They have a better battery life and drastically faster charge time that makes them a lot more convenient for day-to-day use, especially if you forget to charge your headphones overnight. They're more comfortable and look and feel a lot more premium than the H900N.

Sony WH-1000XM2 Wireless

The Sony WH-1000XM2 are a better wireless noise cancelling headset than the Sony WH-H900N. The WH-1000XM2 have better noise cancellation and more features and codec options than the WH-H900N. They also look and feel a bit more premium than the lower-end H900N. On the other hand, the 900Ns have a slightly better-balanced default sound than the WH-1000XM2s. They also have a slightly sleeker and more fashion-forward design that some may prefer over the very professional look of the WH-1000XM2.

Bose QuietComfort 35 II/QC35 II Wireless 2018

The Bose QuietComfort 35 II are much better wireless noise cancelling headphones overall than the Sony WH-H900N. The Bose have a more comfortable and easier to use design with tactile controls and lightweight, well-padded ear cups. They also have a much better noise cancelling performance than the WH-H900N, so they will isolate you better in noisy conditions. The Sony WH-H900N, on the other hand, have as good a sound quality as the Bose, but you can EQ them thanks to their better and more customizable app support. The Sony also have a sleek looking premium design that some may prefer over the Bose.

Sony WH-CH700N Wireless

The Sony WH-H900N are a bit better overall than the Sony WH-CH700N. The WH-H900 have a slightly better sound quality and noise isolation performance than the CH700N. Therefore, the H900N will be slightly better for your daily commutes than the CH700. On the upside, the CH-700N are easier to use with tactile controls, have a better soundstage, and have a greater wireless range.

Sennheiser HD 4.50 BTNC

The Sony WH-H900N are better sounding headphones than the Sennheiser HD 4.50. They are also slightly more comfortable, and their touch-sensitive control scheme is precise and fairly easy to use. On the other hand, the HD 4.50’s ANC seems to be more effective at blocking out ambient noise and would be a slightly better option for commuting. They can also be connected to 2 devices at the same time, which can be useful at the office, but the Sonys have a better companion app with more customization options and control over the headphones.

Beats Studio 3 Wireless

The Sony WH-H900N have similar performance to the Beats Studio3 Wireless. The Sonys have better-balanced default sound quality and more customization options, thanks to their companion app. They also have a sleeker-looking build quality that feels a bit more high end than the Studio3s. The Beats, on the other hand, have a slightly stronger noise isolation performance and lower leakage. They also charge a lot faster and have a greater wireless range than the Sonys. They're more stable for the gym, and a lot more comfortable for most users, with easier-to-use controls and a cool-looking design that most will prefer over that of the Sonys.

Sony MDR-1000X Wireless

The Sony MDR-1000X are a slightly better wireless noise-canceling headset than the Sony WH-H900N. The MDR-1000X have better noise cancelation and a better battery life that does not take as long to charge as WH-H900N. On the other hand, the 900Ns have a better-balanced default sound and you can customize their sound profile with the Sony Headphones Connect app, unlike the MDR-1000X. They also have a slightly sleeker and more fashion-forward design that some may prefer over the very professional look of the MDR-1000X.

JBL E65BTNC Wireless

The Sony WH-H900N are slightly better headphones than the JBL E65BTNC. They have a great audio reproduction which follows our target curve accurately and will be versatile for a wide variety of music genres. They also have a great 27-hour battery life (but will take 5 hours to charge fully), and they have a great companion app that allows you to customize the sound to your liking. On the other hand, the JBLs have an amazing wireless range and better isolation performance, making them slightly more versatile for everyday casual use such as commuting and for the office.

AKG N700NC Wireless

The AKG N700NC and Sony WH-H900N are very similar headphones, and both perform well. The AKG have slightly better isolation and have a very useful Auto-Off timer, which is convenient since they have worse battery life than the Sony H900N. The Sony compatible app is also more complete and offers more customization options. However, if you use the headphones wired, the AKGs are more versatile and have audio and microphone support, while the Sonys only have audio. The WH-H900N have NFC and support aptX, but both headphones still have too much latency for video content or gaming.

Denon AH-GC20 Wireless

The Sony WH-H900N are a better headset than the Denon AHGC20 Globe Cruiser. The Sonys have a better-balanced sound quality that caters to a lot more genres than the dark and bass-heavy sound of the Denons. The WH-H900N are also a lot more customizable than the Denons, thanks to their better companion app which gives you a full EQ and noise canceling options, unlike the Denon's companion app. On the other hand, the Globe Cruisers have a more comfortable and premium looking design that some may prefer over that of the Sonys.

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Conclusion

7.0 Mixed Usage
Above-average for mixed usage. The Sony h.ear on 2 have a great, well-balanced sound and a decently sturdy build quality. They're also fairly comfortable, wireless and noise canceling. This makes them an above-average choice for most use cases. Unfortunately, their noise isolation is fairly weak even at the highest setting which means they won't be as good as some of the other Sony models for commuting like the WH-1000XM2.
7.9 Critical Listening
Great for critical listening. The Sony WH-H900N deliver a well-balanced sound that has a good amount of bass that thumps and rumbles without overpowering the instruments and vocals in the mid-range. They do not sound sharp even on brighter tracks and come with a good customizable EQ so you can tweak their sound profile to your liking (via the Headphones connect app). Unfortunately, they do not create the most spacious soundstage which may not be ideal for more critical listeners, but overall their sound quality should be good enough for most.
6.9 Commute/Travel
Decent for commuting. The Sony WH-H900 have a mediocre noise isolation performance but do not leak much so you can mask more ambient noise by turning the volume of your audio up. They are also fairly easy to use and comfortable but are not the most compact headphones to carry around on your person.
6.9 Sports/Fitness
Decent for sports. They're not specifically designed for high-intensity activities, but they're stable enough to jog with. They have a comfortable fit and provide a decent control scheme.
7.1 Office
Above-average for office use. Their isolation is not very strong but should be somewhat okay for an office environment. You can also mask more ambient noise by turning your volume up without distracting your colleagues since they do not leak as much.
5.8 TV
Below-average for home theater. The Sony WH-H900 have a good wireless range and a comfortable design but too much latency to watch movies. Their cable is also a bit too short for a home theater set up unless you have an extension cord or watch your movies on a PC or tablet.
5.5 Gaming
Sub-par for gaming. They're comfortable, and have a good sound but unfortunately a bit too much latency for gaming. They also have a mediocre mic and tend to make your ears a little warm during long gaming sessions. Unfortunately, they will only provide audio with your consoles if you use the 1/8"TRS cable.

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