Review: Sonos Ace Headphones. Are They Worth It?

Jason Papp
Founder & Editor-in-chief
July 1, 2024
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So they’ve done it. Sonos, known for its premium home audio systems, has made a foray into the wireless headphone market with the Sonos Ace headphones. We heard rumours of the Ace’s release last year but no matter who I spoke to at Sonos, they kept the headphone’s release date tightly guarded. 

So are the Sonos Ace headphones any good? Should you hold out for their next model or go for another brand all together offering a better overall build quality at the same price point? As you know, we recently tested and reviewed the Bose QuietComfort Ultra headphones so naturally, there will be comparisons. Let’s take a look.

Priced at $449 / GBP £449 / EUR €499 / AUD $699, these headphones are billed to offer exceptional sound quality and a host of features designed to appeal to both casual listeners and audiophiles alike. Sonos say the Ace’s have been obsessively crafted to look and feel as good as it sounds. But do they live up to the expectations, especially for frequent travelers and professionals on the go? 

Sonos Ace Design and Comfort

The first thing you’ll notice is the build quality does feel worthy of the price tag. The Sonos Ace headphones boast a sleek, minimalist design that aligns with Sonos’ well known aesthetic. Weighing 312 grams, they offer a solid build without feeling overly heavy. 

Now, the ear cups for me are a sticking point. I’m not sure if it’s because I’ve got especially big ears but the vegan leather, memory foam cups were very snug, something I don’t notice with the Bose QuietComfort Ultra headphones. This snugness did lead to a bit of discomfort and it seemed my wearing glasses exacerbated the problem during prolonged use. 

However, the overall construction looks and feels nice enough. 

Sonos Ace Sound Quality

As to be expected, in terms of audio performance, the Sonos Ace headphones deliver a balanced and powerful sound. They feature 40mm dynamic drivers that produce rich bass and clear mids and highs. While they excel in delivering detailed sound, the Ace’s did at times show up as a brand’s first attempt at a good pair of headphones, which is what they are. 

The Sonos Ace headphones sometimes feel a bit compressed, lacking the spaciousness and dynamism found in some high-end competitors like the Bose QuietComfort Ultra I mentioned and the Sony WH-1000XM5. 

If your music taste is as eclectic as Elton John’s costume changes, perhaps you might find the sound slightly constrained, but the headphones still provide a pleasant listening experience overall.

For movie enthusiasts, who already champion Sonos, the Sonos Ace integrates with Sonos soundbars, such as the Arc. According to Sonos, one of the standout features is the TV Audio Swap, which allows users to ‘transition audio seamlessly’ from a Sonos soundbar to the headphones, ‘ideal for private listening sessions.’ It’s not seamless. Be prepared for a few connectivity issues along the way; connecting to the TV hasn’t been the smoothest experience. 

But, once everything is working, spatial audio and head-tracking features bring pure magic to movie watching, making the Sonos Ace one of the best choices out there for feasting on your favourite films. This, though, for me isn’t a major selling point to purchase a pair of headphones at this price point. 

Sonos Ace Technical Features

The Sonos Ace headphones come with several features designed to enhance usability and audio quality:

Active Noise Cancellation (ANC): Very effective in blocking out external noise, but in my opinion, the Bose QuietComfort Ultras are better. 

Aware Mode: They do as it says on the box. With this function the Ace headphones allows sufficient ambient sounds to filter through, which is very useful whilst commuting and the drinks trolley is making the rounds. You can quickly scroll through each function, useful for staying aware of surroundings although not as customisable as other competitors.

Bluetooth 5.4 and aptX Adaptive: Ensures high-quality wireless audio.

Battery Life: Offers up to 30 hours of playback with ANC on, and a quick charge feature provides 3 hours of playback from just 3 minutes of charging.

Practicality for Commuting

If you travel frequently, the Sonos Ace headphones offer several advantages. They provide excellent sound isolation and a long battery life, essential for long flights and daily commutes. The design is robust and stylish, fitting well in both casual and formal settings.

However, the Sonos Ace headphones do not fold. Apparently this design choice was made to maintain the integrity and durability of the headphones. While the ear cups do swivel flat, the headphones do not have a folding hinge, which can make them less compact for travel compared to some other models that offer a folding design.

The slightly heavier weight and potential discomfort for glasses wearers might also be a consideration for those planning to wear them for extended periods.

THE GOODS’ verdict: Sonos Ace Headphones 

The Sonos Ace headphones are a commendable first attempt by Sonos in the wireless headphone market. They excel in providing high-quality sound for movies and boast a robust feature set, making them a good choice for home use and occasional travel. However, for music enthusiasts and frequent travelers, other models like the Bose QuietComfort Ultra or Sony WH-1000XM5 might offer better sound quality and comfort at similar price points.

If you are already invested in the Sonos ecosystem and prioritise movie-watching capabilities, the Sonos Ace could be a worthwhile investment. Otherwise, exploring other top contenders in the market or waiting for the next model might provide a more rounded audio experience.

Sonos Ace Overall Scores:

- Sound Quality: 3/5

- Features: 4/5

- Comfort: 3/5

- Value: 3/5

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Jason Papp
Founder & Editor-in-chief