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Sony unveils new headphones with Google Assistant and two Extra Bass speakers

Sony has announced three new products at IFA: the WH-1000XM3 active noise cancelling headphones and two speakers, all due to hit the shelves this fall.

Published onAugust 30, 2018

Sony press image of the Sony WH-1000XM3 active noise-cancelling headphones. A man is wearing them in a plane.
The WH-1000XM3 headphones retain the active noise cancelling capabilities of its predecessor but feature USB-C charging and an improved processor.

Today at IFA 2018, Sony announced its launch of the WH-1000XM3 active noise cancelling headphones and two speakers: the SRS-XB501G and SRSXB01.

Sony WH-1000XM3 highlights

  • USB Type-C charging
  • HD Noise Cancelling Processor QN1 performs four times faster than the previous generation
  • Adaptive Sound Control
  • Atomic Pressure Optimization for proper active noise cancellation at high altitudes
  • Quick charging that affords five hours of playback after 10 minutes of charging
  • 30-hour battery life
  • Multiple microphones

The headphones improve upon what was already one of the best pairs of active noise cancelling headphones to date, the WH-1000XM2, and Sony’s move to USB-C charging demonstrates that companies are taking steps to make the charging method universal.

Additionally, the updated HD Noise Cancelling Processor QN1 works in tandem with Dual Noise Sensor technology to register and attenuate ambient noise. The QN1 also facilitates 32-bit audio signal processing with an integrated DAC and amp.

Best Wireless Bluetooth Headphones

Also featured, the WH-1000XM3 use Adaptive Sound Control to account for your environment and respond accordingly with the proper changes. For example, as a pedestrian, you may be able to hear all of your surroundings. Such preferences may also be chosen through the Sony | Headphones Connect app.

Unlike the second iteration, the WH-1000XM3 include Customizable Automatic Power Off through the Sony app. This allows the headphones to remain on with noise cancelling active without a connection to a source device. They also sport a deeper ear cup, and thicker headband cushions.

The Sony WH-1000XM3 will be available in September for $349.99.

SRS-XB501G highlights

  • Extra Bass for low-end emphasis
  • Integrated Google Assistant
  • WiFi, Bluetooth, and NFC
  • Live Sound mode with Digital Signal Processing technology
  • IP65 dust and water-resistance
  • 16-hour battery life
  • USB Type-C for smartphone charging
  • Tripod mount
Sony SRS-XB501G press release image of the speaker on the grass by a pool.
With IP65 certification, the SRS-XB501G can hang around the pool all day.

Outfitted with satellite speaker and subwoofer units and a Digital Signal Processor that optimizes the Extra Bass technology, the Sony SRS-XB501G reproduces plenty of bass frequency emphasis. With its IP65 rating, the speaker is vying for an invitation to your next pool party.

Sony posits that Live Sound mode a feature of the Sony XB-41 — will “… recreate realistic festival vibes” and if you actually want to lug this speaker to a festival you can do as the speaker is outfitted with a carry handle.

Plus, if you need to settle the age-old question of “which is better on a hotdog, ketchup or mustard?” the XB501G can help with that too, thanks to the integration of Google Assistant. What’s more, you can listen to your favorite streaming services via WiFi for high-quality audio.

The SRS-XB501G will be available in October for a suggested retail price of $299.99.

Sony SRS-XB01 highlights

  • Internal mic for hands-free calls
  • Live Sound mode with Digital Signal Processing technology
  • IPX5 water-resistance
  • 6-hour battery life
  • Extra Bass
Sony SRS-XB01 image from embargo. The red compact speaker is attached to a man's navy backpack.
The SRS-XB01 is a portable alternative to the SRS-XB501G speaker.

Though the SRS-XB01 may be smaller than the SRS-XB501G, its size shouldn’t be underestimated. According to Sony, the Extra Bass feature means the the SRS-XB01 low-end still packs a punch due to the front-facing speaker and rear passive radiator.

Again, though it may be small, this compact size plays to the speaker’s advantage, providing listeners with a more portable package for day trips and small gatherings.

Unlike the SRS-XB501G, the SRS-XB01 is Bluetooth only. However, if your phone still has a headphone jack, you can connect manually.

The SRS-XB01 will be available in four colorways (blue, red, white, and black) from October for a suggested retail price of $34.99.

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