Sony WF-SP900 review: One step forward, two steps back
- Can swim while wearing them
- Better battery life
- Don't sound good
- Very pricey
Unless you’re religiously drawn to the idea of true wireless swim-buds - the Sony WF-SP900 true wireless earbuds are a disappointment worth avoiding at all costs, nevermind $500.
Price$ 499.00 (AUD)
Sony’s previous efforts in the true wireless earbuds space have been pricey but generally quite good. Even in a category that’s still young and open to challengers, they’ve offered up some of the most technically-impressive and polished options out there.
And, at first blush, the new Sony WF-SP900 true wireless earbuds look set to continue that trend. Where the previous SP700s had some of the best noise-cancelling you can find in the true wireless earbud category, the SP900s promised to bring Sony’s true wireless proposition into line with the competition when it comes to features.
Previous Sony earbuds distinguished themselves through noise-cancelling. The new ones add on-board storage, swim-friendly water resistance and better battery life to the equation. Unfortunately, after a few weeks of messing with these earbuds, it’s clear these exciting additions have come at a cost to the everyday experience as well as affordability.
Specs - Sony WF-SP900 Bluetooth Sports Earbuds
Earphone type: in-ear, true wireless
Weight: 7.3g x 2
Connectivity: Bluetooth 4.0, NFC
Built-in Microphone: Yes
Noise cancelling: Passive
On-Board Storage: 4GB
Pack Ins: Charging case, USB Type-C cable, hybrid silicone rubber earbuds, swimming Earbuds
Battery Life: 3 hours per charge, 9 more on charger case. 12 total. 6 hours of playback per if using on-board storage.
Colors: White, Yellow, Black
Design - Looks, Feel and Features
In terms of aesthetics and form-factor, the SP900’s feel like a natural extension of what the previous SP700s were trying to accomplish. They’re true wireless earbuds that’ll do the trick for any sort of workout - even swimming. Across the board, they’re very similar to their predecessors in look and feel.
They’re a little bulkier, to be sure, but they’re also a lot more ergonomic. The earlier SP700s weren’t uncomfortable to wear, but they were sometimes a little finicky to actually put in your ears and even more unintuitive to stow away inside their charger case. The SP900s addresses both of these shortcomings in strong form. Overall, they’re still more of a hassle relative to fare like Samsung Gear IconX or Jabra’s Elite Series but a definitely improvement nevertheless.
Skipping back to the headline feature: Yes, Sony went made a set of wireless earbuds that work underwater. Traditionally Bluetooth signals can’t actually pass through water. However, if you’re using the on-board storage in the SP900s to listen to your music, you can start a song and then continue swimming uninterrupted. It’s something that no other set of headphones can really offer you - and that’s neat. Really neat. Really.
Performance - How Do The Sony WF-SP900 Compare To The Competition?
But whether it’s $500-worth of neat is going to depend on just how desperate you are to listen to music while you swim. Because if you’re not planning on swimming with these in, then it's going to be a hard ask. When it comes down to it, the SP900s aren't all that exceptional without this aquatic hook.
Listening to music and podcasts through these proved decently audible but little else. In my experience, there wasn't much depth to the sound nor weight to the bass.
As far as everyday headphones go, they're good enough. But that's just it. They sounded fine, and when you're trying to justify a $500 asking price that's not really good enough. Audiophiles are going to better served by Sennheiser's Momentum TW earbuds and everyone is probably going to prefer the better battery life available from the Zolo Liberty+ earbuds and the other options on the table.
As with other Sony wireless headphones, you can configure the connectivity of the WF-SP900s to prioritize either sound quality or connection quality using the Sony Connect App. However, that's not the only app that the SP900 rely on for functionality.
I initially found my music playback was constantly overwhelmed by outside noise with these headphones. Out of the box, the experience was so bad I honestly thought I had been sent a faulty pair of headphones to review. I later learned that the volume control for the earbuds is contained in altogether separate app. This resolved the issues I was having - upgrading the listening experience offered by the SP900s from terrible to not-so-terrible - but it's borderline-ridiculous that the master volume controls for these headphones are located in a second app.
The Bottom Line
At a glance, the Sony WF-SP900 look to do exactly what the WF-SP700s did: build on the strengths of past Sony true wireless earbuds. Unfortunately, somewhere along the line, something has gone awry. Sony accomplished their goal of offering true wireless earbuds that you can swim with but little else. They’ve won the battle but lost the war.
Unless you’re religiously drawn to the idea of true wireless swim-buds - the Sony WF-SP900 true wireless earbuds are a disappointment worth avoiding at all costs, never-mind $500.
Join the newsletter!
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Oppo AX7 review: New looks, same old budget buy
- 2 JBL Free X review: Better battery life comes at a cost
- 3 Samsung Tab S4 review: Freestyle
- 4 Razer Phone 2 review: One for the fans
- 5 Sony WF-SP900 review: One step forward, two steps back
Latest News Articles
- Samsung move on from IconX and introduce the Galaxy Buds
- HyperX bring the Cloud Mix to Australia
- Jaybird upgrade true wireless offering with Run XT
- Jabra amplify enterprise offering with new Evolve 65t earbuds
- CES 2019: 3D Audio was one of the loudest trends on the show floor
PCW Evaluation Team
This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.
Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications
I’d recommend a Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and the new Windows 10 to anyone who needs to get serious work done (before you kick back on your couch with your favourite Netflix show.)
It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!
The Brother MFC-L8900CDW is an absolute stand out. I struggle to fault it.
I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.
- Everything we (already) know about the Samsung Galaxy S10, S10e, S10+ and Galaxy F
- Want to play Apex Legends?
- Huawei Mate 20 Pro review: Full, in-depth, Australian review
- Everything you need to know about Smart TVs
- What's the difference between an Intel Core i3, i5 and i7?
- Laser vs. inkjet printers: which is better?