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Sony has a pair of headphones for almost every situation, and picking a pair can get over whelming and confusing sometimes. But for your average consumer who just wants over all good performance then the Sony 1000XM2 and H.ear On 2 are two great options. But they only have a fifty dollar difference between them, so whats the difference? Lets find out!
Just so you know, this isn’t a full review on either of these headphones, I’m just trying to point out the most important differences between them so I can help you with your purchase decision. If you want to learn more about these headphones watch their full reviews. Like I mentioned earlier, these headphones only have a $50 difference between them. The Sony 1000XM2 usually retail for $349.99 and the H.ear On 2 usually retail for $299.99, But I got them for $249.99. If you want to pick either of these headphones up I’ll have links in the description below and I’ll keep them updated so you can get the best deal possible. I suggest you check out the links cause sony products routinely go on sale. And it helps out the channel.
First lets go over whats the same on these headphones… they’re both noise canceling headphones, they’re both closed back headphones with 1.57 inch dome drivers, they both charge via a micro usb port and they both have a 3.5 millimeter audio jack for wired listening and they can both be used passively.
They’re both using bluetooth 4.1 and they both have a range of about 35 feet. And unfortunately they can both only be paired to one device at a time, so you cant hot swap which is pretty annoying given the most other headphones these days can be paired to at least 2 devices at a time and Apple’s W1 chip allows you seamlessly switch either of your apple devices.
They also have very similar build qualities. They’re using the same type of plastics on the paneling, the same type of synthetic leather and padding for the ear pads and underside of the headband and they’re using the same type of stainless steel for the headband itself. Their build quality is good but its not on the level of the Bose QC35 series 2. But the build quality of the 1000XM2 has improved from the Sony MDR-1000X. After 3 months of heavy usage the headband on the 1000XM2 hasn’t cracked which was a big problem with the previous 1000X. So hopefully the H.ear On 2 wont suffer any head band cracking issues either. Their first most obvious difference is their design, I personally think the H.ear On 2 look better than 1000XM2. Especially the ear cups, they have a more defined shape and the plastic paneling really let them play with lighting and shadows. Where as the ear cups on the 1000XM2 are covered in synthetic leather and they just look like this amorphous blob. Like I’ve said in the past I would really like to see the Sony 1000XM3 to adopt some of the design language from the H.ear On 2. But the H.ear On 2 aren’t as low profile as the 1000XM2, they do stick out to the sides a bit. But the key design difference between the H.ear On 2 and the 1000XM2 are the ear pad designs and how they rest on your head. The ear pads on the H.ear On 2 do a far better job of encasing your ears and give your ears more breathing room. Theres also less padding in contact with your head so this means less heat build up over time. The ear pads on the H.ear On 2 are very similar to the ones found on the Bose QC35 series 2. Where as the ear cup design of the 1000XM2 is a little more cramped and they might rest on your ear lobes. Both of these headphones are comfortable to wear and their ear cups both have a good amount of range of motion to accommodate almost every head shape, but the ear cup design alone might be a major deciding factor for some people. I personally find myself reaching for the H.ear On 2 over the 1000XM2 when I’m going to listen to music at home or for when I’m editing video just because of the more open feel of the H.ear on 2 on my ears.
But the ear cup design of the H.ear On 2 does play a negative role when it comes to noise cancellation. Like I mentioned earlier both of these headphones are noise canceling headphones but the ANC on the 1000XM2 is far superior than that of the H.ear On 2. The ear cup design of the H.ear On 2 dosnt offer as much passive noise isolation as the ear cups on the 1000XM2, so a lot of sound still manages to get in even with ANC turned on.
But in general the noise cancellation on the Sony 1000XM2 is the best on the market right now. Where as the noise cancelation on the Sony H.ear On 2 are more comparable to the Beats Studio 3. The noise cancelation on the H.ear On 2 is really only worth using in already quite to mildly loud environments like at home or at the office but the noise cancelation on the 1000XM2 do a far better job of blocking out more sound and perform better in louder environments. The 1000XM2’s are the ones I reach for when I’m traveling or when I’m just commuting.
And the noise cancelation technology on either of these head phones don’t cause any cabin pressure or discomfort on your ear drums when using them. Which is a pretty common problem with other ANC headphones out there. But on problem with the ANC on the H.ear On 2 is that the mic like to pick up a lot of wind noise. So if you’re walking around and you get hit by a breeze you’re going to hear it when listening to music. Where as the 1000XM2 very rarely pick up any wind noise, and thats because the microphones are reassessed with in the synthetic leather. The leather might not look good but I plays a very important role. And the M2’s give you more control over your Active noise cancelation settings. First Up M2’s have an atmospheric pressure sensor built in which allows them to calibrate themselves for better ANC performance while the H.ear On 2’s don’t. And this isn’t just marketing fluff, there have been multiple times where I went through the ANC calibration process on the 1000XM2 and noticed a significant performance improvement. And both of these headphones also allow you to pump in some ambient for safety reasons. But only the 1000XM2 allow you adjust exactly how much ambient sound you would like to let in. Where as with the H.ear On 2 its a fixed amount.
when it comes to battery life the 1000XM2 manages to do just a little better than the H.ear On 2. With noise cancelation on I average 32 hours of playback time and with noise cancelation turned off I average 38 hours of playback time. And with the H.ear On 2 I average 28 hours of playback time with noise cancellation turned on and 35 hours with noise cancellation turned off. Both of these headphones have above average battery lives. But their quick charging sucks, if you plug either one of these in for 10 minutes then you’ll get about 70 minutes of playback time.
Now I know I’ve spent a lot of time comparing the noise cancelation on these headphones and thats because sound quality on these guys is identical and they get just as loud. I have actively tried to find a discernible difference in audio quality between these headphones and I couldn’t. And thats not a bad thing, they both sound really good. They have a good sound stage and good instrument separation and theres no tinning in the highs. Very rarely does the bass muddle out the sound. And through Sony’s headphones app you can adjust the EQ of either of these headphones to better suite your kind of music. With out moving up to higher end headphones like the B&W PX and up I prefer the sound of the 1000XM2 and the H.ear On 2 over other popular options like the Bose QC35 II, Beats Studio 3, JBL’s Everest Elite 750 NC, and so on. Just keep in mind even though these headphones have the potential to have a lot of bass they’re not going to have as much bass as the Sony XB950N1 or the Skull Candy Crusher. But I also want to point out the 1000XM2 has Sony’s S-Master HX audio amplifier system while the H.ear On 2 don’t. Which only really matters if you’re listening to hi res music.
Also, these headphones are using the same touch controls on the right ear cup. Double tap to play or pause, Swipe front or back to skip or go back a track, and swipe up or swap down to raise or lower your volume. And if you press and hold you’ll activate your voice assistant. The touch controls are equally as accurate on both headphones and super easy to use. But more importantly both of the head phones have my favorite feature which is quick attention. I love this feature more than I love chick fil a waffle fries. Matter a fact, if you love waffle fires too comment down below with the chicken and fires emoji so I know you got this far. But with quick attention if you fully cover the right touch pad the headphones will lower the volume of what aver you’re listening to and they will pump in all of the ambient sound. So this way you can talk to someone with out having to take your headphones off.
Now lets go over some minor but pretty important stuff. Remember theres only a $50 precise difference between these two headphones but with the 1000XM2 you get a hard shell carrying case. Something super important to consider if you plan on traveling a lot with either of these headphones. The carrying pouch included with the H.ear on 2 aren’t going to protect your headphones. Also, only the 1000XM2 can fold up AND be laid flat. Which again can be important if you travel a lot, headphones that can be laid flat are much easier to store in my opinion. Where as the H.ear On 2 can only fold up so it can be a little harder to throw into your bag. And finally if you plan on taking lots of phone calls with these the microphone on the 1000XM2 sounds slightly better than the H.ear on 2. It dosnt get blown out as easily. But if you want to hear a microphone test on either of these headphones then watch their full reviews.
So if you’re deciding between either of these two headphones just know you’re getting the same sound quality, the same bluetooth range, stability, and capabilities, and you’re getting the same level of build quality. The major difference between these headphones is the over all styling, ear cup design, and noise cancelation performance. Get the Sony 1000XM2 if you plan on traveling or commuting a lot with these headphones. They have the best noise cancelation out there right now and their included carrying case and ability to be laid flat make them much easier to throw into your bag with out worrying about them. But if you just want good sound and you’re a little more style conscious then go for the H.ear On 2. The ear cup design alone and how they encase your ears and give them so much more room is a major deciding factor for me. Like i said I would really like to see the 1000XM3 pick up some of the design language from the H.ear On 2. Regardless, you cant go wrong with either of these two headphones but if you demand the best noise cancelation then get the 1000XM2. Remember, this isn’t a full review on either of these headphones, Im just trying to point out the most important differences between them so I can help you with your purchase decision. If you want to learn more about these headphones what their full reviews.