SONY WI-1000X

Design & Construction

The Sony WI-1000X is the direct competitor to Bose's renowned noise-cancelling behind-the-neck style in-ear headphone, the QuietComfort 30. On the left of the neckband you will find the (From Back-Front): LED light, Power Button, Vol - and Vol + button, Mic and play/pause button while underneath,  you will find the Micro-USB port for charging and wired usage. On the right side, you will find the NC/Ambient button. A red LED will light up when it is left to charge. It takes about 3.5 hours to charge from a dead battery. Pairing via both NFC and bluetooth is simple and quick. The power button allows you to check for battery status by pressing once. It is also worth noting that the headphones only requires 15 minutes of charging for 70 minutes of playback. The NC/Ambient button can be used to switch on/off the noise-cancelling and toggle ambient sound mode. Both sides of the neckband bear the Sony logo and the right side has the NFC. The earbuds are rather big which means that they may fall out if you run with them, however Sony does provide a wide variety of eartips sizes. This includes the normal rubber eartips and the special hybrid rubber and foam tips. The neckband is very light and will not cause discomfort to those who wear them all day. At the rear of the neckband, there is a cushion which rests behind your neck, providing a good amount of comfort. There is also a vibration feature to help users know that they have a incoming call. The in-ears gives off this classy yet bright colour scheme which surprisingly resist fingerprints smudges very well. The side of the earbuds have mics to take in ambient noise or cancel them out.

Sound Quality

The 9mm High-Resolution hybrid headphone drivers are unbelievably great. They produce an extremely bright, clean sound signature that creates a very immersive sound experience. Sony explains that the 9mm driver produces the bass while the balanced armature tweeter produces the mids and highs. No wonder, the sound output is pure and rich in detail. Bass comes off as strong and boosted giving this nice thump while the mids and highs are full of resolution. The highs do not sound too sharp and tinging. It also has a wide soundstage and instrument separation. You can really hear the details and high quality sound coming out of the earbuds like those expensive in-ear monitors. Moving on to noise-cancelling, it is great and lives up to the 1000X reputation. I could not hear my surroundings when there was no music on. Sony also revolutionised the noise-cancelling abilities of the headphone by adding Adaptive Noise-Cancelling, Ambient Sound Control, Sound Position Control, Atmospheric Pressure Optimizing, Virtual Surround Sound, an equalizer, DSEE HX, S-Master HX, LDAC and AptX Codecs. Definitely a plethora of features and functions to satisfy the pickiest of users. All these functions can only be controlled via Sony's Headphones Connect App available for download on the App Store and Play Store. Adaptive Sound Control allows for toggling of different noise-cancelling modes like Walking, Staying, Transport and Running. Each has different levels of noise-cancelling and ambient sound mode. These is all automatically detected by the in-ear headphone itself through its smart Sense Engine technology built in. Of course, users can toggle the amount of ambient sound let in, focus on voice only or just turn it off completely. Atmospheric Pressure Optimizing is another feature that helps to optimize the noise-cancelling to fit different environments such as in an airplane or on the ground. Users can access this feature via the app or just by holding down the NC/Ambient button. The next function is Virtual Surround Sound which include presets like outdoor-stage, club, hall, or arena style sound. However, the presets did not really enhanced the sound and I personally do not use it as it makes my music output rather unnatural and artificial. Next, Sound Position Control allows users to change the way they want to listen either from in front of them or front/rear left and right. I don't see a need for this feature but it is there for you to try out and use to your liking. It is also good to know that the app has an internal equalizer to enable the best output of music. With a large category ranging from Bright, Excited, Mellow, Bass Boost, Treble Boost, Speech etc. You can also choose to customize your own too! This makes the headphones great for all genres of music ranging from soothing jazz to bass-heavy EDM tracks. Highs and mids come off as balanced and bass is slightly boosted which gives off a nice thump in your ear. Call quality was okay, the caller manage to hear me on the other end but the mics on the headphone do pick up my surrounding noise.

Connectivity & Portability

The headphone operates both passively and wirelessly. From my test, it was surprising to know that the volume of the headphones drop just a little while in the wired mode. In wireless mode, it supports LDAC, AptX codecs and Bluetooth Version 4.1 for clear audio transmission. The mic and controls on the earcups are disabled in wired mode and users cannot charge the headphone and use it at the same time. Listening via the proprietary Micro-USB to 3.5mm cable is possible. Sony also include a airplane adaptor plug for you to tap into in-flight entertainment. Users can put the headphone in Bluetooth pairing mode by holding down the power button for 7 seconds when its switched off. The battery life peaks at 10 hours with Bluetooth and Noise-cancelling on and 14 hours in wired mode with noise-cancelling turned on. The headphones' connectivity to the app is about 95% perfect as I do occasionally experience it being unable to detect my headphones when its already connected via Bluetooth. This may be slightly frustrating especially when you need to tune the sound immediately. The neckband features this zip-style cable management where users can fit the wires into the band itself, keeping it neat on your neck when you don't need to use them. A soft carrying pouch is also included to protect the headphone from scratches but I would prefer a hard case for a piece of mind.

PROS

  • Clear, Bright Sound Signature

  • Snug & Comfortable

  • Long Battery Life

  • Bluetooth & NFC Enabled

  • Easy Controls For Music Play & Calls

  • Adaptive Sound Control

  • Ambient Sound Control

  • Atmospheric Pressure Optimizing

  • Equalizer In App

  • Sound Position Control

  • LDAC & AptX Codecs Supported

  • Quick Charging

  • Zip-Style Cable Management

  • Vibration For Incoming Calls

  • Carrying Pouch

  • Airplane Adapter Plug

CONS

  • Imperfect App Connectivity

  • Overly Large Earbuds

  • Limited Colour Options

  • Mic and Controls Not Available In Wired Mode

  • Volume Difference In Wired Mode

The Bottom Line

The Sony WI-1000X definitely lives up to its 1000X Noise-Cancelling standards as a behind-the-neck style in-ear headphone housing various sizes and types of eartips, customisable noise-cancelling, 9mm Hi-Res hybrid drivers, 10 hours battery life and easy to use controls. However, the app is slightly flawed which may irritate some users. It is highly recommended for daily commutes and long flights. Two colours are available to fit users of different gender.

WE RATE IT!

9.5/10

Other Notable Competitors

BOSE QUIETCOMFORT 30
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BOSE QUIETCOMFORT 30