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Best Amazon Prime Day headphones deals discount Sony WH-1000XM4


sony wh-1000xm4
Enlarge / Sony’s WH-1000XM4 noise-canceling headphones.

Jeff Dunn

Today is the start of Amazon’s Prime Day sales event, which means a ton of gadgets that may or may not be worth buying are currently on sale. We have a big curated roundup of the best deals we can find, but I wanted to give special mention to a couple of particularly notable deals on headphones we’ve reviewed positively: Sony’s noise-canceling WH-1000XM4 for $248 and Jabra’s true wireless Elite 75t earbuds for $100.

Both deals match the lowest prices we’ve tracked from major retailers. If you’d rather not give more money to Amazon, the Sony deal is available at other stores as well. In Sony’s case, the WH-1000XM4 have an MSRP of $350 but have recently averaged closer to $315 on Amazon. The Elite 75t, meanwhile, retail for $150 but have had a few dips to $130 over the last few months.

What you’re getting with the Sony WH-1000XM4

Sony's WH-1000XM4 headphones get the essentials mostly right and come with useful bonus features.
Enlarge / Sony’s WH-1000XM4 headphones get the essentials mostly right and come with useful bonus features.

Sony

We’ve recommended the WH-1000XM4 in a few buying guides since they launched last August, and they remain our preferred pick among wireless noise-canceling headphones. They aren’t the absolute best of their kind in a vacuum: Apple’s AirPods Max are a bit better in audio quality, noise-canceling strength, and build quality. But that pair costs $549; for $300 less, the WH-1000XM4 come more than close enough.

The design here is well-padded and relatively light on the head, which should keep the headphones comfortable to wear for hours at a time. They can fold up for easier storage, and Sony packs them with a sturdy little carrying case. Battery life sits at a strong 30-35 hours, depending on how loud you play, and the whole thing charges over USB-C. While they use touch controls instead of more predictable physical buttons, we haven’t found changing tracks or adjusting volume to be overly finicky in long-term testing. They also let you connect to a couple of devices simultaneously.

The main selling point here is Sony’s active noise cancelation tech, which is excellent at muting out low-frequency sounds like a bus or plane engine and does better than most at countering higher-pitched noises like nearby voices. Alongside this is an effective “transparency” mode, which blends outside noise with your music when you want to be better aware of your surroundings. Sony’s companion app includes a number of useful bonus features beyond that, such as a “speak to chat” setting that can automatically pause your music and let in ambient sound when you start speaking to somebody else.

In terms of audio quality, the WH-1000XM4 go heavy on the bass by default. It’s a full, punchy sound that many will appreciate with hip-hop and pop music, but those looking for a more neutral profile can still get it through Sony’s app, which has a customizable EQ tool with several preset audio profiles that genuinely affect the sound. You can also listen passively through a cable. There’s no aptX support, but you can listen through Sony’s higher-quality LDAC codec if you’re the type who can hear a difference in quality there.

The WH-1000XM4’s main drawback is microphone quality, which is fine but makes voices sound more muffled than other wireless pairs in this price range. Bose’s Noise Canceling Headphones 700, which are on sale for $229 today, do better there. That pair also has the nifty ability to customize the strength of its noise-canceling effect. If you don’t want to pay more than $200, meanwhile, we also like Anker’s Soundcore Life Q30 as a budget pick; those are on sale for $60.

Still, for those interested in a set of premium wireless headphones, the WH-1000XM4 are an excellent value at this price. They probably aren’t worth the upgrade if you own the older Sony XM3s, but given that there was a two-year gap between the launches of those two pairs, we wouldn’t expect another upgrade in this line until sometime next year.

What you’re getting with the Jabra Elite 75t

Jabra's Elite 75t is a wonderfully well-rounded pair of true wireless earphones.
Enlarge / Jabra’s Elite 75t is a wonderfully well-rounded pair of true wireless earphones.

Jeff Dunn

It’s a similar story with the Elite 75t: higher-end alternatives like the Sony WF-1000XM4 and Apple AirPods Pro (which is on sale for $190) do many things better, but, as we’ve written before, Jabra’s pair has the right blend of price and feature set for most people.

The ear pieces here are small and light, with soft silicon tips that help the earphones remain comfortable for extended listening. The in-ear design creates a snug seal that stays secure while on the move and isolates a fair amount of outside noise naturally. It’s also IP55 rated, so it can survive a bit of sweat or light rain. The one-button controls on each ear piece are straightforward enough for adjusting playback and volume. They’re also difficult to press by accident. The earphones will automatically pause once one is removed from your ear, and you can listen with just the right earphone as well.

Battery life is solid at about seven hours per charge with active noise cancelation off and a little over five hours with it on. The easily pocketable charging case adds another 20 hours and recharges over USB-C.

While all true wireless earbuds are more susceptible to connection hiccups than a larger over-ear pair, we’ve had few issues along those lines in long-term testing. The earbuds support multi-device pairing as well—though this can be finicky with certain laptops, so it’s worth confirming that you’ll have no issues within the device’s return window if you do take the plunge.

Like the Sony WF-1000XM4, the Elite 75t have an excited sound out of the box. It puts heavy emphasis on the bass and upper-mids by default, which some might find overwhelming but others might enjoy with popular music. Again, though, those who want a more restrained sound profile can get one without much effort through Jabra’s app, which has an EQ tool and several effective sound presets. Any preferences you select are then saved in the earbuds themselves, so you don’t have to dig into the app repeatedly.

Jabra added active noise cancelation to the Elite 75t through a firmware update months after the earphones launched, so the effect isn’t quite as strong as it would be on a device built for ANC from the ground up. It’s definitely not on the level of the Sony WF-1000XM4 or AirPods Pro. That said, it’s far from useless; low-frequency tones are cut down enough that it should satisfy people who don’t constantly need ANC active. Likewise, there’s a transparency mode that works well, and the built-in mics present voices clearly enough on calls.

Unlike the WH-1000XM4, the Elite 75t do have an upgrade already on the market. Jabra’s Elite 85t launched late last year with native noise-canceling support, a slightly stronger IPX4 water resistance rating, a wireless charging case, a more neutral default sound profile, and a slightly clearer mic setup. That pair is on sale for $170 during Prime Day. We don’t think the upgrade is significant enough to be worth that price difference, though; if anything, the Elite 75t is still a bit better in terms of comfort and battery life.

The recently released Beats Studio Buds might be more convenient for iPhone owners, though. And for those willing to pay more, the aforementioned WF-1000XM4 and AirPods Pro perform better on the whole. But for less than $100, the Elite 75t are a strong buy for those wishing to go fully wireless.

Note: Ars Technica may earn compensation for sales from links on this post through affiliate programs.



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