The upgraded version of the H900N, the H910N is available to buy in five colour options – Blue, Black, Orange, Red and an elusive Ash Green.
Available on Flipkart for ₹20,990, these feature smaller 25mm drivers with highly rigid aluminium domes and soft urethane edge diaphragms. There’s LDAC on board too and Sony also throws in its DSSE function that promises to restore all the good bits in your music that are lost in conversion. Apart from these features, you also get the usual noise-cancellation and other Sony goodies such as Adaptive Sound Control and the handy Quick Attention function.
Build Quality and Comfort
When compared to its bigger brother – the 1000XM3, the 910N feels on par in terms of finish. It’s the dual-tone colour effect and the matte coating on the unit that makes it feel less plasticky and more premium. This reduces the typical plastic clatter and creek that often props up with lesser units. It’s a step up from what we’re used to from Sony, and it’s a welcome change. The overall build is still Sony solid and they’ll survive the usual chuck-em-in-the-bag treatment, although a soft carry case is provided to save it from nicks and scratches.
They hug your ears just like a lover who has just been offered a slice of pizza – not too tight, with just the right amount of pressure and tension. The cushions are soft and grippy and it doesn’t feel uncomfortable even if you wear spectacles. The silicone headband is plenty comfy too and won’t feel cumbersome after long hours of use, although the cushioned unit on the 1000XM3 is our favourite. We also didn’t find ourselves airing our ears out from time to time either as the cushions don’t cook ‘em up.
Many of the features that the 1000XM3 offers have been trickled down to the 910N, the most prominent being the quick attention feature that lowers the volume down to a minimum and lets you have a conversation with others around you. There’s a customisable button on the left earcup that allows you to summon Alexa or Google Assistant or switch it up and use it for Ambient Sound Control.
The Sony Headphones Connect app allows further customisation including EQ options that are easily customisable, although it will change the Sound Quality Mode to a stable connection rather than prioritising on sound quality. Furthermore, there’s a 360 Reality Audio Setup that involves taking pictures of your ears that are stored on Sony’s servers; however, we couldn’t quite complete the process since the app showed an error while installing further services required for the 360 Reality Audio to work.
The right ear cup hosts the regular touch controls that allow you to skip tracks and handle the volume control and are pretty accurate. You don’t get the Atmospheric Pressure Optimiser here, so frequent flyers might be disappointed. What’s not disappointing is the battery life that lasts for a cool 35 hours. Its quick charge function is also a great addition, providing 2.5 hours of playtime with just 10 minutes of charging.
With just a ₹3000 gap between the top-end 1000XM3s and these, this becomes a no brainer. But wait, the 25mm drivers on this puppy are no slouch. We play Maggie Said by Natalie Merchant and the 910N manage to bring out her piercing vocals with enough detail and emotion. The subtle bass line at the back, however, didn’t come across as pronounced as in the 1000XM3s and that sort of robs the richness from the overall experience.
We moved onto Dat Dere by Ricky Lee Jones and found the 910N lacking the openness and sense of space we experience with the 1000XM3. It’s still quite rhythmic and and entertaining listen and they are quite forgiving of lesser recordings too (the 1000XM3s are capable of uncovering some recording flaws); however, we prefer the dollop of richness in the bass that the 1000XM3s are capable of and, unfortunately, lacking on the 910N.
Yes, there’s enough clarity and detail on offer, but the warm well-judged bass that brings it all together without enveloping onto other frequencies is something still a miss here. You also get superior noise-cancellation on the higher model and that price difference of ₹3000 is well worth it.
While the new colours may attract you and they definitely do their part to lift up the looks of the series, the ‘best-buy’ price difference of ₹3000 between the two models give the 1000XM3s (₹23,990 on amazon.in) the upper hand, especially when you consider the superior noise-cancellation abilities, the host of features and overall more rounded presentation of sound.