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Sony boosts Bluetooth headphone line with four new affordable models

In March, Sony is releasing new entry-level and midrange wireless headphones that cost between $100 and $230.

The new MDR-ZX770BN features both active noise cancelling and Bluetooth. David Carnoy/CNET

Over the last few years Sony's put out a number of wireless Bluetooth headphones, some better than others. Now we get four new models -- the MDR-ZX770BN ($230), MDR-ZX770BT ($150), MDR-ZX330BT ($100) and MDR-AS600BT ($100) -- which form the core of Sony's entry-level and mid-range Bluetooth headphone lineup.

All will hit stores in March in the US, with pricing and availability for the rest of the world coming soon. For reference, $100 is currently equivalent to around £65 or AU$130, while $230 is around £150 or AU$300.

I had a quick listen to all but the in-ear MDR-AS600BT and came away liking the 770 around-the-ear models, which are comfortable and relatively lightweight (around 240 grams or 8.5 ounces). They have decent though not exceptional build quality, and they seem to sound good for Bluetooth headphones, though I don't think they surpass the older MDR-10RBT ($200) model that I liked from last year.

Combining noise canceling with Bluetooth, the $230 MDR-ZX770BN (with 40mm drivers) is geared toward frequent travelers -- it can be used as a wired headphone on flights that prohibit the use of Bluetooth. It has NFC tap-to-pair technology and aptX for smartphones that support those features. (aptX is supposed to enhance the quality of Bluetooth streaming, but there's some question whether it makes a difference.) Battery life is rated at 13 hours with noise canceling and Bluetooth turned on. Color options include black or blue.

The MDR-ZX770BT leaves off the noise cancelling but has better battery life and costs less. David Carnoy/CNET

The $150 MDR-ZX770BT is very similar to its step-up sibling, but doesn't include noise cancelling. Leaving that feature off improves battery life -- it's rated at 17 hours for the ZX770BT, which will also be available in black or blue. It, too, has aptX and NFC support, but cannot be used as a wired headphone.

The MDR-ZX330BT costs $100. David Carnoy/CNET

The $100 MDR-ZX330 doesn't deliver the same clarity as the 770 headphones, but they're more compact and offer a whopping 30 hours of battery life and NFC support.

The MDR-AS600BT is a $100 wireless in-ear sports headphone. David Carnoy/CNET

Rounding out the line is that $100 in-ear, sweat-resistant sports model, the MDR-AS600BT, which has NFC support and comes with a few different silicon eartips to help you get a secure fit. It's a little bulkier than some wireless sports earphones, but delivers decent battery life at 8.5 hours. It's available in black or orange.

I'll do a deeper dive into sound quality and comfort once we get review samples in March and I can play around with them for a few days. Sony has some additional info on the new headphones at its website.