Now, back to the noise. The phone analyzes ambient noise and produces a countering signal. In simple terms, if the noise is a 7, the phone subtracts 7 to bring it to zero. If the noise is a 5, the phone subtracts 5.
Unfortunately, it requires special in-ear headphones, which Sony is selling for 60 euros ($82). A sensor in the earpiece detects the noise, so the phone knows what countering signal to send. This approach keeps the headphones smaller and cheaper than typical noise-cancelling headphones.
Noise cancellation is optimized for the office, for planes and for buses or trains. You choose one in the settings.
I tried the headphones surrounded by simulated train and plane noise. The technology works, but it doesn’t filter out the external noise completely. It also requires me to press the earpiece deep into my ears to notice a difference.
Sony tells me the earpiece covers come in three sizes, so a larger one might have helped. I look forward to testing the feature more thoroughly.
For now, I’ll keep my iPod.