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Sonos Ace headphones take on AirPods

Sonos Ace headphones take on AirPods

Ace AirPods

Sonos has launched its first over-ear headphones, the Sonos Ace, directly competing with Apple’s AirPods Max. The Ace headphones offer high-fidelity audio, custom 40 mm dynamic drivers, active noise cancellation, and transparency modes. They support full Lossless audio, while AirPods Max only offer partial Lossless support. The Ace headphones feature a premium design with vegan leather, fabric, foam, and metal. They come in two colors: Soft White and Black. In comparison, AirPods Max incorporate metal, fabric, foam, and minimal plastic, available in five colors. Sonos Ace has USB-C and Bluetooth 5.4 connectivity, while AirPods Max excel in voice control with Hey Siri support. The Ace’s Content Key can trigger a connected device’s voice assistant. Neither model offers WiFi music streaming. The Ace surpasses AirPods Max in battery life and fast-charging. It includes USB-C to USB-C and USB-C to 3.5 mm cables, while AirPods Max requires a separate Lightning to 3.5 mm cable for wired listening. Sonos CEO Patrick Spence said, “We’ve done more work on this product than anyone in the industry to make sure it fits a variety of different heads, ears — both men and women — and I think this is going to be the most comfortable premium headphone yet.”

The Ace headphones have a practical design with a fabric carrying case and a magnetic pouch for cables.

Sonos Ace challenges Apple’s best

They don’t inherit all the functionalities of Sonos’ home audio speakers, such as WiFi music playback or grouping with other Sonos speakers. The Ace’s standout feature is the ability to receive audio from Sonos soundbars for private listening. Initially, only the Arc will support this, with other models coming later. The headphones use Wi-Fi to beam audio from the soundbar, complete with spatial audio head tracking. Sonos believes the Ace can provide immersive audio partly due to a new feature called TrueCinema. This involves the soundbar calibrating the room’s acoustics and the headphones’ mics helping pinpoint seating positions to adapt spatial audio. The Sonos Ace headphones make a strong first impression, but more hands-on time is needed to assess their active noise cancellation and transparency mode compared to competitors like Bose, Sony, and Apple. The Ace headphones come in two colors: black and soft white. The soft white version has chrome accents and a grayish off-white hue, while the black model offers a more muted look. Both designs are sleek and modern, fitting well with Sonos’ existing aesthetic. Sonos CEO Patrick Spence confirmed a new product in a new category is set to be unveiled by the end of June. The company’s Wi-Fi-enabled headphones, internally named Duke, are expected to face a delayed release due to a software bug, pushing availability to the first half of June.

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