Bose SoundLink II vs. Sony WH-XB900n

Fadiyah Sameh
Tech savvy, Passionate Researcher and Writer. You can ask me any Question related to my articles.

The SoundLink II from Bose and the WH-XB900n from Sony are both appealing pieces of accessory which makes you desire for more in life. We are going to compare the two wireless headphones and look for the best in terms of value, performance and also chart our the pros and cons. Here we go and let’s make your purchase-decision easy.

Physical features

With the Sony WH-XB900n, the brand has tried to bring it closer to its 1000XM3 cousin but foregoing some of the features for a lower price tag. However, the cost cutting is evident as the plastic feels hollow to use and the matte texture does not help to cover up that feeling.

Compared to the SoundLink II, the XB900n feels a bit cheap and it is nowhere near luxurious as its competition. Stress test went swimmingly without any hiccups, but I would be careful at dropping them too often or leave it lying around carelessly for some weight to crush it.

The Bose QC35II is one of the best ANC headphones that I have come across with respect to quality and built finish. Keeping it at par with the QC35IIs, the Bose SoundLink II features the same quality, comfort and refined style.

The headband’s extension arms are made of aluminum and keep it lightweight. Stress test did not break any seams or had any creaks that could jeopardize the built quality.  The plush earcups rotates 90 degrees for stowing in a carry case.

 

Comfort

Speaking of comfort, the Bose SoundLink II headphones belongs to some of the lightest in its category and suited for long listening hours as they are very comfortable to wear. Weighing only 192 grams, the minimal design on the Bose headphone works great with no hard clamping on the head or jawline. There is a small yet noticeable audio leak at higher volumes, but since the normal listening is at 60-70% volume levels, you always get crystal-clear audio on the SoundLink.

Weighing 254 grams, like the Sony WH-1000XM3, the WH-XB900n is heavier than the SoundLink but is comfortable nonetheless. The clamping force on the ears and jawline is a bit higher than Bose but you can work out with these in a gym. The earpads are dense and does heat up your ears a bit after continuous use.

Sound

Clean, balanced sound quality is the signature of Bose headphones. The SoundLink II does not disappoint and delivers the promise of an all-round sound with sufficient bass, poised frequencies, virtually zero-distortion and no listening fatigue whatsoever.

Extra bass is the characteristics of the Sony XB900n. Pop and rock music seems great on these but when you crank up the volume, the highs gets muddy but is still audible. A lively sound profile with clear mids and lows and a refined vocal range, Sony’s Bluetooth headphones are a delight for listening, gaming and movies.

Controls

The Bose SoundLink II offers a 2.5 mm audio jack. On the right earcup are the volume buttons, pause and play and a button for accepting calls. The power button is on the side, which provides voice prompt notification on the battery levels while switching on.

Sony WH-XB900n has very responsive touch controls for pause, play, skipping forward and backwards. It has audio pass-through, which means you can pause the audio just by covering the right earcup, automatically switching on the microphone and letting in surrounding noises. Once you release it, the headphones turns the audio back on; quite an impressive emergency feature. There is a 3.5 mm audio jack for physical connection on the Sony WH-XB900n for wired listening.

Battery

The Bose SoundLink II offers quick charging on micro USB port with 15 min of charging providing 2 hours of playback time. The battery can be charged from zero to full in three hours and, overall, the Bose SoundLink II gives 15 hours of usage on a single charge.

The Sony WH-XB900n offers USB C charging and cannot be used for listening while you charge them. However, they give an astoundingly 30-hour battery life with ANC turned on.

Personally, I wish this feature were included in the SoundLink as I like them more over Sony. But, Sony did impress me with 44+ hours when I tested them at 70% volume level. Fast charging gives you 1 hour of use within 10 min on the Sony headphones.

Noise Cancellation

The Bose SoundLink II does not have Active Noise Cancellation but the passive noise reduction is quite good on the device. However, if you are willing to shell 20 bucks more, then you can get the QC35II noise cancelling headphones from Bose.

There is a physical button on the XB900n for ANC (with options of letting in ambient sound ON and OFF). With the Sony headphones connect app, you can configure the same button to summon your virtual assistants – Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa instead and get voice prompts by single presses. The ANC technology is not the best and puts the XB900n at the entry level for premium headphones with ANC features.

Connectivity

The Sony XB900n has NFC connectivity for pairing which is a very nice touch. Apart from this, the Sony headphone uses Bluetooth 4.2 while the Bose SoundLink II has Bluetooth connections 4.1. However, I did not find much of a difference between the two in terms of latency and audio breaks through walls. Both sounded pretty much the same with music, games and streaming videos.

Pros and Cons

Bose SoundLink II

ProsCons
Excellent audio qualityThough durable, the headphones feel ‘plasticky’ in the hands
Extremely comfortable for endless listening experienceHighly expensive
Bluetooth is flawless in operation.Lacks in-line control for wired accessory for passive listening
Huge Battery life

 

Sony WH-XB900N

ProsCons
High quality audioHas an extremely boomy bass and can cause the audio to sound muddy. Needs adjustment via equalizer
ANC with adjustable levelsBland design considering the price point
Bass-boosted soundExpensive
Excellent micSlight heating of ear pads while using for long hours
Has Google assistant and Amazon Alexa as virtual assistants

 

Comparison Chart

Here is a quick comparison chart:

Preview
Bose SoundLink II
Bose SoundLink Around Ear Wireless Headphones II - Black
Sony WH-XB900N
Sony - H900N Hi-Res Noise Cancelling Wireless Headphone Grayish Black  (WHH900N/B)
Price
$99.99
$298.00
Rating
Durability
Sleek, durable and flexible
Good design and highly durable
Foldable
Weight
192 grams
254 grams
Carry Case
Wired option
Yes - 2.5 mm audio jack
Yes - 3.5 mm audio jack
Battery life
15 hours
30 hours
Virtual assistant
Yes - Amazon Alexa & Google Assistant
Physical controls
Firm and has a satisfactory feedback
Firm but feels good a bit cheap
Bluetooth
4.0
4.2
No of paired devices
8 (can be swapped with 2 devices simultaneously at once)
Max. 2 devices
Active Noise Cancellation
NFC
Quick charging
2 hours of use time with 15 min of fast charging
1 hour use with 10 min of fast charging
Intuitive ANC
Voice prompts
Listening and charging simultaneously
Bose SoundLink II
Preview
Bose SoundLink Around Ear Wireless Headphones II - Black
Price
$99.99
Rating
Durability
Sleek, durable and flexible
Foldable
Weight
192 grams
Carry Case
Wired option
Yes - 2.5 mm audio jack
Battery life
15 hours
Virtual assistant
Physical controls
Firm and has a satisfactory feedback
Bluetooth
4.0
No of paired devices
8 (can be swapped with 2 devices simultaneously at once)
Active Noise Cancellation
NFC
Quick charging
2 hours of use time with 15 min of fast charging
Intuitive ANC
Voice prompts
Listening and charging simultaneously
Sony WH-XB900N
Preview
Sony - H900N Hi-Res Noise Cancelling Wireless Headphone Grayish Black  (WHH900N/B)
Price
$298.00
Rating
Durability
Good design and highly durable
Foldable
Weight
254 grams
Carry Case
Wired option
Yes - 3.5 mm audio jack
Battery life
30 hours
Virtual assistant
Yes - Amazon Alexa & Google Assistant
Physical controls
Firm but feels good a bit cheap
Bluetooth
4.2
No of paired devices
Max. 2 devices
Active Noise Cancellation
NFC
Quick charging
1 hour use with 10 min of fast charging
Intuitive ANC
Voice prompts
Listening and charging simultaneously

I may seem biased towards the Bose SoundLink but the Sony WH-XB900n impressed me a lot more here. Sony did beat Bose here because of its advanced features and ANC.

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