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Sony WF-1000X take on AirPods with active noise cancelling

Sony's totally wireless earphones, the WF-1000X have one thing the AirPods don't: active noise cancelling.

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David Carnoy
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David Carnoy Executive Editor / Reviews

Executive Editor David Carnoy has been a leading member of CNET's Reviews team since 2000. He covers the gamut of gadgets and is a notable reviewer of mobile accessories and portable audio products, including headphones and speakers. He's also an e-reader and e-publishing expert as well as the author of the novels Knife Music, The Big Exit and Lucidity. All the titles are available as Kindle, iBooks, Nook e-books and audiobooks.

Expertise Mobile accessories and portable audio, including headphones, earbuds and speakers Credentials Maggie Award for Best Regularly Featured Web Column/Consumer
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Say hello to the WF-1000X, Sony's first set of totally wireless earphones due to hit stores in September. What makes them special? Well, not their price. They're $200, £200 or AU$399. But they are lightweight, sports friendly and have something Apple's AirPods don't have: active noise cancellation.

That's right, this model is part of Sony's new 1000X line, which includes over-the-ear and neckband-style models, all of which feature Sony's excellent noise cancellation, as well as the ability to customize the sound via Sony's Headphones Connect app.

Like a lot of these types of headphones, battery life isn't great at three hours, but the earphones come with a battery case that gives you an additional two charges for a total of nine hours.

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Close-up of one of the buds. The earphones come in two color options.

David Carnoy/CNET

I was allowed to quickly demo the earphones at a press event in New York. I thought they were comfortable to wear and fit securely in my ears with the included fins. But it is important to get a tight seal or you'll lose some bass and could be disappointed with the sound quality.

With a tight seal, I thought the headphone sounded pretty smooth and dynamic, although out of the box the bass is accentuated a little, so this comes across as a warmer headphone at the default setting.

Aside from the active noise cancellation, I'm not sure if Sony's done quite enough from a design and performance standpoint to distinguish the WF-1000X from a growing number of competitors in the totally wireless headphone arena, but I'll reserve final judgment until I spend more time with an official review sample, which should arrive soon.

Look for a full review of the WF-1000X in the coming weeks.

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Battery life isn't great at three hours but you get two extra charges from the battery case. 

David Carnoy/CNET
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