Sony has added a noise-cancelling system to the Sony Xperia Z2 and Sony Xperia Z2 Tablet, both of which have just been announced at Mobile World Congress 2014 in Barcelona.
The noise cancellation is the first of its kind, moving the brains of the operation away from the headphones and into the Xperia devices themselves. This means that you don't need bulky headphones including a battery pack to get the active noise cancellation, as the device is supplying the power and carrying out the processing.
The system works thanks to small mics on the MDR-NC31EM headphones that detect ambient noise around the wearer and feed this information back to the Xperia Z2 or Z2 Tablet to which they are connected. The Xperia device can then produce the opposing anti-noise to cancel out the background noise through the headphones.
We tested it out ahead of today's launch announcement and we were impressed with what they offered. There were demo soundtracks producing the "noise" consisting of heavy traffic, an office environment and flying, all of which the headphones effectively cancelled out. While you could still hear the various backgrounds, it was far less invasive and there was a significant difference when the noise cancellation was on, compared to when it was off.
The advantage the system brings is that you don't need bulky headphones or a weighty battery box on the cable, so for those on a regular rail commute, this will be a welcome advantage.
However, you'll need to be using compatible headphones. Sony told us that the MDR-NC31EM will be bundled in the box when you buy the new Sony Xperia Z2 smartphones. The headphones will have a RRP of €60, although we've found them listed on Amazon.co.uk for £39.99.