As seemingly each producer jumps on the true wireless bandwagon, Sony’s $199.99 WF-1000X earphones are among the many costlier choices we have seen thus far. A part of the rationale for that is the inclusion of noise cancellation circuitry, a function that only some cable-free fashions embody. Audio efficiency is robust, with wonderful bass response and readability within the highs, whereas noise cancellation is merely respectable. Some design quirks maintain the earphones again a bit, too, together with charging case contacts that do not at all times join with the earpieces. Like a lot of the true wi-fi fashions we have examined thus far, Sony’s WF-1000X earphones have potential, however are removed from flawless.
Accessible in black or gold fashions, audio is delivered from 6mm drivers in every earpeice. The included charging case is slim and rounded on the edges—not too cumbersome for many coat pockets, however maybe somewhat massive for pants. Sony consists of seven complete pairs of eartips in varied sizes and supplies, in addition to two pairs of fins that slip onto every earpiece for added stability. With so many choices, it isn’t troublesome to get issues to suit comfortably and securely.
The earphones get a paltry three hours of use per full cost, whereas the case can carry three full expenses. As weak as these numbers are, there are only a few true wi-fi choices which have strong battery life—in truth, these so-so numbers are just about par for the course.
It is very straightforward to put the earpieces within the case and assume that they’re charging, solely to find that the charging contacts did not fairly join. It’s essential examine and ensure the LEDs gentle up every time, which turns into tedious. Sony is not the one producer to create a case with this particular situation to this point, however it’s in all probability the weakest facet of the product’s design.
The fitting earpiece has a single tactile button. Press it as soon as to play or pause, twice to skip ahead, or 3 times to skip backward. Holding the button summons your telephone’s voice controls. The left earpiece button switches between noise cancellation modes, in addition to solutions and ends incoming calls. It is unlucky that there is not any onboard management for quantity—you may solely regulate that in your cell gadget itself.
Pairing is a quite simple, fast course of. You’re basically pairing two gadgets along with your telephone, so it isn’t so simple as it might appear, however on this case you merely must press the buttons on every earpiece and get the LEDs blinking, then choose WF-1000X in your gadget’s Bluetooth menu. The case itself is NFC-enabled, in case your cell gadget is suitable.
The Sony Headphones Join app has improved tremendously during the last 12 months—its newest interface is clear, easy, and mechanically detects the earphones when paired. Throughout the app there are controls for adjusting the noise cancellation and the ambient mics that permit you to monitor your environment. You too can regulate EQ (or disable it, although there is not any customizable setting, simply presets), management playback, and change sound high quality modes (Sony offers you the selection of upper audio high quality or a stronger, extra steady Bluetooth connection).
The built-in mic gives strong intelligibility. Utilizing the Voice Memos app on an iPhone 6s, we have been in a position to perceive every phrase we recorded clearly. Nonetheless, like some competing true wi-fi fashions, just one earpiece is used for telephone calls, which is usually a little annoying.
The WF-1000X’s noise cancellation circuitry is respectable, however not wonderful. Like many competing fashions, it provides an audible excessive frequency hiss to the equation when in use. It isn’t disagreeable, just like tape hiss and never loud sufficient to actually distract from music when there is a observe taking part in. Regardless, it is the signal of merely common noise cancellation circuitry—you will not discover comparable points with Bose’s QuietComfort choices. Nonetheless, it’s helpful sufficient in noisy environments. The ambient mics have settings for Voice and Regular modes, which let you hear your environment with out taking the earpieces out.
Sonically, it is attainable to get an honest vary of sound signatures out of the WF-1000X by adjusting its EQ, however we most well-liked listening with it off, which nonetheless gives an honest sense of bass depth and strong readability within the highs. On tracks with intense sub-bass content material, like The Knife’s “Silent Shout,” the WF-1000X delivers wonderful bass depth mixed with robust excessive frequency presence and readability. The sub-bass on this observe is highly effective by the WF-1000X’s drivers, but the stability of the combination does not really feel ridiculously off.
Invoice Callahan’s “Drover,” a observe with far much less deep bass within the combine, offers us a greater sense of the general sound signature. The drums on this observe typically sound overly thunderous and intense on bass-forward earphones, however by the WF-1000X, they sound pure—full and spherical, however not overly heavy. Callahan’s baritone vocals additionally obtain some nice low frequency boosting, however it’s refined—simply as distinguished within the combine are the excessive frequency percussive hits and the strum of the acoustic guitar. This can be a full, vibrant, clear sound—there’s actually not a side of the frequency vary that is not delivered with strong readability, and the bass sounds full with out ever feeling overpowering.
On Jay-Z and Kanye West’s “No Church within the Wild,” the kick drum loop’s assault will get loads of treble edge, permitting it to slice by the layers of the combination, however the loop’s maintain additionally receives an honest quantity of low and low-mid presence. It isn’t as boosted and hefty as it might sound by critically bass-boosted earphones, however the loops sound robust and clear. This leaves loads of room for the sub-bass synth hits that punctuate the beat—they are not delivered with the kind of over-the-top gusto many bass-forward fashions summon, however their depth and energy remains to be apparent. The vocals on this observe are delivered with wonderful readability—issues by no means veer into overly sibilant territory regardless of the vocals having a crisp, vivid presence.
Orchestral tracks, just like the opening scene in John Adams’ The Gospel In response to the Different Mary, sound very good by the WF-1000X. The decrease register instrumentation is given an exquisite fullness and depth that sounds pure. The upper register brass, strings, and vocals have a clear supply to them—we get a transparent sound that is by no means too vivid or sculpted.
Often, there have been playback glitches—one earpiece would drop audio every so often. I would not name this a deal breaker, however it’s a difficulty that is not shared by a lot of the competitors.
From a noise cancellation standpoint, Sony’s WF-1000X earphones are merely respectable, from an audio efficiency standpoint they’re nice, and from a design standpoint issues are combined. If the small efficiency and design quirks have been eradicated, it will be straightforward to place the earphones on the high of our true wi-fi checklist. As issues stand, the quirks and so-so noise cancellation take it down a notch, however it’s nonetheless one of many high few pairs we have examined on this rising class.
The Bose SoundSport Free stays our Editors’ Selection, due to wonderful audio efficiency and comparatively few compromises. The B&O Play Beoplay E8, Jaybird Run, and JLab Epic Air are additionally price trying out. If audio efficiency is your high concern, nevertheless, the WF-1000X is certainly a pair to contemplate.