Hot topics

Sony ULT WEAR Review: Unique Headphones for Everyone

nextpit Sony ULT WEAR Test
© nextpit

Read in other languages:

Sony's new Bluetooth headset, the Sony ULT WEAR, is rather special. It retails for $199.99, which is rather rare for a Sony headset. Not only that, Sony took a trip down memory lane by resurrecting its Extra Bass technology. The sound of the Sony ULT WEAR is unlike any other Sony headset, for better or worse. Find out what this wireless headset with Active Noise Cancellation is capable of in my in-depth review.



  • LOTS of bass
  • Excellent battery life
  • Beautiful design and finish
  • LDAC codec supported
  • Multipoint Bluetooth connectivity
  • Wear detection
  • Wired and passive operation
  • Adequate Active Noise Cancellation


  • Very unbalanced audio signature
  • Disastrous microphone quality
Sony ULT WEAR: All deals

In a nutshell

The Sony ULT WEAR has been available since April this year. It retails for $199.99 on the official Sony store and at most e-tailers such as Amazon.

It's a Bluetooth headset with Active Noise Cancellation, being positioned in the mid-range headsets within Sony's catalog. Sony's emphasis on bass is evident here, where the ULT WEAR comes in three matte pastel colors: Off-White, Forest Green, and Goji Black.


The special feature of Sony's ULT WEAR is the famous "ULT" button located on the left earpiece. Pressing this boosts the bass to its peak. Apart from that, this is a fairly well-finished headset, with a rather clean design and sporting both tactile and physical controls.


  • Beautiful design and finish.
  • Attractive colors.
  • Responsive touch controls with physical buttons to boot.
  • Wired (and passive) operation.
  • Wear detection.
  • Comfortable.


  • It is a heavy headset.
  • No IP certification.

The Sony ULT WEAR carries a rather premium look.
Visually, the Sony ULT WEAR looks quite premium. / © nextpit

The Sony ULT WEAR has a good finish despite the headset being essentially made of plastic. The ear pads and headband are made of faux leather.

Thankfully, the plastic doesn't squeak whenever you pick up the headset. The headband can also be folded for easy transportation, a feature that is becoming increasingly rare on the market. The earcups can be turned around up to 180°, making it easier to wear the Bluetooth headset around the neck.

Faux leather wraps the earcups and headband.
The earcups and headband are lined with faux leather that's not very breathable. / © nextpit

The black Sony ULT WEAR unit I received for my review is very handsome to look at with its matte coating. The word "SONY" is engraved on the two hinges of the headband with a shiny, reflective effect.

The headset tips the scales at 255 g and it can be felt whenever you move your head. It's weight lends some resistance to movement but it's still very comfortable to wear. Thankfully, the ear cups are well-padded and the headband doesn't strain the ears too much. The faux leather cushions used are not very breathable, so sweat tends to accumulate in hot weather.

You get a premium look thanks to the reflective font on the headband.
The "Sony" lettering on the headband is reflective, giving the headband a premium look. / © nextpit

The headset is not IP-certified for water and dust resistance. Rather, it features a 3.5mm audio jack with an included cable, letting you use it passively (without having to sacrifice battery life) by connecting it to a compatible device. However, it does not support audio via USB-C.

Finally, the Sony ULT WEAR has both tactile and physical controls. The sides of each headset are tactile. You can manage both volume and playback there, while the left earpiece also houses three physical buttons. One is used for power, the other for Active Noise Cancellation, and the last of the lot is the ULT button. This is the most interesting one, and I'll tell you all about it below.

The ULT button is there to boost the bass, and not just by a tiny margin.
The ULT button is there to boost the bass, and not just a little. / © nextpit

Audio quality

The Sony ULT WEAR features Sony's Extra Bass technology. As the name implies, it enhances bass and not by just a little! With the "ULT" button, you can opt for two equalizer presets that boost the bass, which I felt can be too overwhelming at times. It's a radical departure from Sony's usual sound signature.


  • LDAC codec is supported.
  • Lots and lots of bass.


  • Too much bass.
  • Unbalanced audio signature.
  • Poor microphone quality for calls.

The Sony ULT WEAR is highly portable thanks to its ingenious design.
The Sony ULT WEAR is easy to carry with its foldable headband and rotating earcups. / © nextpit

"Maybach music" is how I would sum up the audio quality of the Sony WEAR ULT. Maybach Music is the name of American rapper Rick Ross's label. It's a reference to Mercedes' range of Maybach cars. Massive sedans in which you can listen to larger-than-life music with big bass, while having the window rolled down while you're stuck in a traffic jam along Miami's Ocean Drive.

This is a very fashionable concept, if it were ten years back. The same principle applies with Sony's headphones. The ULT WEAR will knock your eardrums out with pounding bass. The important thing is not to discern all components of the musical message. The important thing is to have your ears dabbed. The sound must be palpable. It has to vibrate.

By pressing the "ULT" button on the left earpiece of the Bluetooth headset, you can activate two equalizer presets. These accentuate the bass even more, up to 10 dB higher than the default settings. That's a lot. For some of you, it will surely be too much.

The Sony ULT WEAR is very sexy in matte black.
The matte black color of the Sony ULT WEAR is very attractive. / © nextpit

Personally, I found its audio signature to be very funny (in a good way). It's great for watching movies and TV series. Explosions can be felt physically. When I put on playlists with huge "workout motivation" rap or electronic dance tracks, I get chills and create movies in my head, imagining myself in action sequences (who does that during a commute but me?).

In short, most audiophiles will shun these Sony headphones like the plague. For the average person like me, it's a very surprising proposition from Sony. It's become very rare for a manufacturer to offer a truly distinctive audio signature.

Sennheiser, Bose, and other similar companies create headphones that look and sound the same. At least Sony stands out in this department. Admittedly, the sound is sorely lacking in terms of precision. The bass is very deep, but not dynamic enough. The stereo scene is also rather limited as the bass drowns out the rest of the musical message. However, if you're looking for an earful of Spotify MP3 sound, these Sony ULT WEAR headphones have the bite.

You get two microphones in each Sony ULT WEAR earpiece.
The Sony ULT WEAR features two microphones in each earpiece. / © nextpit

A quick word about the quality of its microphones during phone calls. It's disastrous. Whenever I am involved in office video calls and I move away from my PC, no one on the line can hear me. The microphones also have the annoying tendency to amplify ambient noise, especially voices, instead of isolating your voice.

Active Noise Cancellation (ANC)

Sony added Active Noise Cancellation to its ULT WEAR Bluetooth headset as well. The headset offers highly effective passive isolation. Active Noise Cancellation attenuates solid-borne and constant noise very well. For this price range, the performance is quite consistent.


  • Highly effective attenuation of structure-borne noise.
  • Excellent passive noise isolation.
  • Automatic switching between ANC, normal, and transparency modes.


  • ANC intensity is not adjustable
  • Transparency mode lacks naturalness and intensity.

You get a very clean finish in the Sony ULT WEAR.
The finish of the Sony ULT WEAR is very clean. / © nextpit

The Sony ULT WEAR's Active Noise Cancellation is very decent. It's not the best ANC on the market but for a pair of headphones that retail for below $200, the performance level is good enough. It's also nice to have LDAC codec compatibility even on a mid-range product.

As always, with Sony, it's the excellent passive noise isolation that really comes into its own. The headphones hug your ears and isolate you from surrounding sounds naturally. On the software side, Active Noise Cancellation attenuates structure-borne noise well. These are low, continuous noises resulting from contact between two surfaces. Car noise, subway noise, footsteps, keyboard noise, etc., are all reduced thanks to Active Noise Cancellation. 

Airborne noises such as human voices, wind noise, and ringtones are less effectively blocked. They fluctuate more, and the headphones struggle to analyze and attenuate them.

Finally, the transparency mode does not sound natural. There's a hissing effect whenever you activate it and even though there are 20 notches to adjust the intensity, I found the surrounding noises are not amplified enough. You have to strain your ear to properly hear what's going on around you.

You get decent ANC performance in the Sony ULT WEAR.
The Sony ULT WEAR's Active Noise Cancellation performance is decent for its price. / © nextpit

Features and applications

You can use the Sony ULT WEAR with the Sony Headphones Connect companion app. This app is free and available on Android and iOS. The application is very comprehensive but some functions are unavailable unless you create a Sony account.


  • Comprehensive application is available on Android and iOS.
  • Multipoint, auto sleep/pause, Spotify Tap.
  • 5-band equalizer.
  • 360° audio.


  • Very bare app interface.
  • Sony account is required to access selected functions.

Sony needs to clean up its act in terms of its application user interface.
The Sony Headphones Connect application is as full and cluttered as ever... / © nextpit

Functionality-wise, Sony's headset packs the essentials. Bluetooth multipoint connectivity, 360° audio, five-band equalizer, automatic sleep/pause, and Spotify Tap. It's all there.

The equalizer is rather precise. You can create your own EQ profiles with or without ULT modes. ULT modes are presets that automatically boost bass. There are two of them, ULT 1 and ULT 2. You can activate them directly by pressing the "ULT" button on the headset.

Sony also lets you run a "test" to determine the audio profile best suited to your taste and hearing. I've already mentioned this in my review of the Sony WF-1000XM5. It's very useful and very well executed. You can also take a photograph of your ears to optimize the 360 Reality audio.

There's also the DSSE Extreme function, specially meant to "upscale" MP3 tracks. The Quick Access function is also present as it lets you assign shortcuts to the physical button normally reserved for Active Noise Cancellation. This button can recognize two types of commands: a double tap and a triple tap. Generally speaking, this shortcut is used to invoke Spotify Tap.

As for controls in general, the Sony ULT WEAR has touch-sensitive controls on each earpiece. However, the headset also has physical buttons on the edge of its left earcup. The controls are not very customizable.

  Touch controls
Swipe up/down Volume up/down
Swipe forward/reverse Next/previous track
Double tap Pause/Play
Long press Voice assistant
  Physical controls
Single tap on ANC button ANC or transparency mode
Double tap on ANC button Quick Access 1 shortcut
Triple tap on ANC button Quick Access 2 shortcut
Single tap on ULT button Activate ULT 1 and ULT 2 equalization modes

Battery life and charging

The battery life of the Sony ULT WEAR headset is exemplary. The 30-hour minimum claimed by the manufacturer is easily achieved. Recharging takes 3.5 hours via the supplied USB-C cable.


  • Excellent battery life of at least 30 hours.
  • Passive operation (no battery, no problem! Just use the 3.5mm cable).


  • -

You get a mix of both physical and touch controls in the Sony ULT WEAR.
The Sony ULT WEAR also features physical buttons, in addition to touch controls. / © nextpit

Sony boasts the ULT WEAR has a battery life of 30 hours with Active Noise Cancellation enabled and 50 hours when disabled. According to Sony, three minutes of charging is enough to recover the equivalent of 1.5 hours of listening time.

Personally, I used the headset within these settings:

  • 100% charged.
  • Auto sleep disabled.
  • Put to sleep at the end of each use.
  • No charging between uses.
  • Active Noise Cancellation is always on.
  • 50% listening volume.
  • Paired to an Android smartphone.
  • Bluetooth listening only, via LDAC codec.

The Sony ULT WEAR lasted for 30 hours and 15 minutes before I heard the low-battery warning. For this specific battery test, I left the headphones on and paired them for 8 hours a day, which is my daily working time. The headset therefore lasted more than three and a half days on a single charge. With a more normal use pattern, you should be able to easily last a whole week. That's pretty good.

Technical specifications

  Technical specifications
Image An image of the Sony ULT WEAR Bluetooth headset in black on a transparent background.
Design Circum-aural | weight 255 g | Wear detection | Touch controls & physical buttons
Audio 40 mm drivers
Frequency response
  • Wired: 5 - 20,000 Hz
  • Bluetooth: 20 - 20,000 Hz
  • Yes, auto or manual, adjustable
  • 2 microphones per headset
  • Transparency mode

5.2 | codecs SBC, AAC, LDAC | Multipoint

Battery life
  • 50h without ANC
  • 30h with ANC
  • 3 minutes recharging = 1.5 hours listening time
Price $199.99


Do I recommend the Sony ULT WEAR to anyone at $199.99? Yes.

These Sony headphones are quite unique on the market. It's one of the few consumer models with a distinct audio signature. Admittedly, it won't appeal to the audiophiles among you, but that's not the target audience for Sony anyway. 

Sony's product philosophy is generally rather conservative and serious. The Sony ULT WEAR is the complete antithesis of the manufacturer's clichés. Unlike the Sennheiser Accentum (review), Accentum Plus (review), or Bose QC Headphones (review), it stands out from the crowd.

It's not the best Bluetooth headset on the market. It doesn't have the best Active Noise Cancellation performance. However, it's fun to use. We've got LDAC codec support. Battery life is excellent and all the essential features are included.

Sony took a risk, and I think it paid off. What do you think about the Sony ULT WEAR after reading this review? Do you intend to buy this Bluetooth headset with Active Noise Cancellation?

 The best gaming monitors at a glance

  Best gaming monitor up to $400 Best gaming monitor up to $600 Best gaming monitor up to $800 Best gaming monitor up to $1,000 Best gaming monitor for consoles
Image LG Ultragear 27GP850P - product image Asus ROG Strix XG27AQ - product image BenQ MOBIUZ EX3210U - product image Asus ROG Swift PG27AQDM - product image Gigabyte M32U - product image
nextpit receives a commission for purchases made via the marked links. This has no influence on the editorial content and there are no costs for you. You can find out more about how we make money on our transparency page.
Go to comment (0)
Antoine Engels

Antoine Engels
Senior Editor

Black belt in specs sheet analysis. OnePlus fanboy in (slow) remission. Average estimated reading time of my articles: 48 minutes. Tech deals fact-checker in my spare time. Hates talking about himself in the 3rd person. Dreams he was a gaming journalist in another life. Doesn't get the concept of irony. Head of editorial for NextPit France.

To the author profile
Liked this article? Share now!
Recommended articles
Latest articles
Push notification Next article
No comments
Write new comment:
All changes will be saved. No drafts are saved when editing
Write new comment:
All changes will be saved. No drafts are saved when editing