Sony WI-1000X Wireless Noise Cancelling Headphone Review | Neckbands Headphones Done Right


The Sony WI-1000X is a $449 wireless headphone that is predominantly targeted to those that are often on the go due to its noise cancelling feature. Like most wireless earphones/headphones, the WI-1000X uses Bluetooth for its widespread availability in most smartphones. But how does it perform when used in the hectic schedules of Singaporeans? Read on to find out.


Build

Most notably, the WI-1000X uses a leather-covered neckband form factor to house its internals. Wearing it is extremely comfortable, and is a step up over other typical headphones. Not only does it not ruin your hairstyle when putting it on, it also does not cause any discomfort with prolonged use.
It can look pretty inconspicuous
Furthermore, the cables extend long enough to the ear of the user, removing the tug (or tension) that many earphones cause during exaggerated head movements. However, due to the band loosely resting on your collar bone, it is not recommended to be used when exercising as it can fall off easily.

It charges with any ol' micro USB cable, comes with a carry pouch and an airplane plug adapter. Not everyone will need these accessories, especially the latter, if they do not travel often. But the WI-1000X is clearly designed to cover those who do, as explained in the noise cancelling portion below.

The headphone also comes with its own cable management crevices for its cables to be neat when not in use, together with a soft case that comes in the box.


Sound Quality

The WI-1000X features the S-Master HX technology, allowing for digital audio to be played back with low signal-to-noise ratio at higher frequencies. It also features DSEE HX - a Digital Sound Enhancement Engine that upscales compressed digital music. Not to mention, each side holds dual-hybrid drivers - a 9mm dynamic driver and a balanced armature driver.

When used in combination, it results in clearer Hi-Res songs as well as an improvement in audio quality through Bluetooth. Additionally, the choice in drivers help songs to sound clear and also allows for a wider than typical sound stage. Bass definitely feel natural and punchy where necessary, with no noticeable rattling during the bass-heavy parts of songs.

However, the highs may be overwhelming to some. This can cause the mids to take a backseat, with several instruments being less noticeable in fast-paced songs. With all things said, it can be easily fixed with an equalizer.


Convenience

When it comes to distance, the WI-1000X is capable of Bluetooth playback at surprising distances. There is no need to bring your phone around with you when moving between neighboring rooms. Some wireless earphones struggle to even maintain signal when the phone is just in your pocket. It is now possible to grab a snack from your kitchen without much signal loss.


There are also buttons used to control the audio experience, from music controls to toggling of the Adaptive Sound Control modes. This beat needing to take your phone out from your pocket in a crowded bus or train. Its battery is also able to last for a couple of days of usage, and even longer if you just use it for travel!


Headphone Connect App

The companion app that comes with the WI-1000X is loaded with features, which Sony calls the SENSE ENGINE. The main attraction is the Adaptive Sound Control which intelligently switches between noise cancelling and ambient sound mode.
Optimize Noise Cancelling based on atmospheric pressure that are great on planes
On a bus with a buffoon blasting his/her music?
On a plane with screaming children?
Digital Noise Cancelling mode automatically kicks in when you are on a public transport. There is now no need to blast your music just to drown external noises.

Taking a jog, while crossing the road?
Need to keep an ear out for your colleague during work?
Ambient Sound mode got you covered.

Although the Adaptive Sound Control does as advertised, there is one downside to using it. While the modes are switching around, there is a "beep" that cuts off your songs which can break the experience. Hopefully in future iterations, the switching of Adaptive Sound Control modes becomes seamless.

Built-in equalizer
Built-in Surround Sound Virtualizer

To show off how wide the headphone's sound stage is, the app includes a Sound Position Control that simulates the direction of sound.



Conclusion

The WI-1000X manages to keep songs with lower bit rate enjoyable. This makes the headphone great for those who often stream music through Spotify or YouTube. Even though audio quality is subjective, the WI-1000X is able to check all the box for what people look for in a wireless noise cancelling headphone.

FactorDescriptionScore
Innovation+ Customizable Adaptive Sound Control that adapts to your surrounding7/10
Design+ Mix of soft and hard leather skin makes it very comfortable
+ Neckband design is a lot easier to manage than a typical headphone
+ Crevices for cable management
- Not recommended for use during exercise
9/10
Value+ Comes with a full set of accessories, even an airplane plug adapter
- $449 is quite pricey, but is expected for a noise cancelling earphone/headphone
6/10
Performance+ Great Bluetooth range
+ Capable of surviving a couple of days of travel
+ Companion app that is actually useful
+ Improved experience with lossy audio files
+ Hi-Res songs sound clear
+ Larger than typical sound stage
+ Bass feels natural and punchy
= Highs might be overwhelming to some
9/10
Final Score
7.75/10


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