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The Best-Sounding Truly Wireless Earbuds?Posted
I am an audiophile, but more specifically, a headphone fanatic. I own far too many pairs of headphones to count—each with its own purpose. I own headphones as cheap as those that come with your flagship smartphone— all the way to high-end headphones that cost $1k. Whether it's bluetooth or wired, I'm out to find the best and only recommend the best to consumers like you. UNBOXING: The packaging for the WF-1000X is small, which is to be expected, as they're earbuds. Inside the box is the pair of earbuds with their charging case, 3 extra pairs of foam tips, 3 extra pairs of hybrid silicone tips, an extra pair of fitting supporters (silicone wings), as well as manuals and warranty info. Sony is definitely doing things right by including so many options. I immediately swapped out the default silicone tips for the small-size foam tips and found those to fit excellently. While many products are semi-charged out of the box, these were not—at least for me. I docked the earbuds into the charging case and plugged it into a USB wall charger using the included microUSB cable. After waiting the suggested 1hr 30 minutes to go from 0% to 100%, I paired the earbuds with both my iPhone 7 Plus and my brand new Google Pixel 2 XL and downloaded the Sony Headphones Connect app on both devices. SOUND: I listen to a lot of different music—ranging from EDM, Pop, Jazz, Progressive Rock/Metal and much more. The good news is that The WF-1000X handles them all really well. Color me impressed. The default sound signature is very pleasant with great bass extension (especially for EDM), sparkly highs for cymbals, crystal clear mid-range for dynamic guitars, and recessed sibilance to prevent fatigue from consonants in vocals. Listening to "Fantasy" by the rock band Eternity Forever, the WF-1000X handles the guitars wonderfully with good instrument separation and clarity. The bass guitar maintains its clarity, and the drums remain tight in the mix with the kick and snare being very impactful while the hi-hats and cymbals shimmer in a way I've not experienced from other Bluetooth earbuds. The vocals remain balanced without fatiguing the ears, letting you enjoy the entirety of the mix. Moving on to "Dreamer" by the prog-influenced jazz pianist Hiromi Uehara, I am once again impressed by the WF-1000X. It is easy to get lost in the dynamic nature of Hiromi's playing in addition to Simon Phillips' drums and Anthony Jackson's bass lines. Despite having small 6mm drivers, these earbuds continue to do justice to these masterful compositions. Unlike other Bluetooth earbuds I've tried, I have no issue listening in on a specific instrument in a mix. Switching to EDM, songs like "Shelter" by Porter Robinson, "Live for the Night" by Krewella and "Clarity" by Zedd maintain their bass presence while also delivering the excited mid-range and treble that the genre is known for without drowning out the vocals. Considering the types of mixes and masters that are typical of this genre, the bass extension may vary from artist to artist, but overall, I was certainly pleased. But if you're expecting rumbling bass, you will have to move up to over-ear headphones to enjoy such an experience. IN-APP EQUILIZER: In my opinion, the equilizer in the Sony Headphones Connect app is not worth recommending. The default sound signature of the WF-1000X is already quite impressive. No matter what I was listening to, I always preferred the sound without an equalizer applied. It's also worth mentioning that you cannot adjust individual paramaters of the equalizer—you can only select one of Sony's presets. If you absolutely must use an equalizer, you might be better off using your device's native EQ or a third party app. NOISE CANCELLATION: If you're familiar with Sony's top-of-the-line wireless over-ear noise-canceling headphones like I am, you'll be pleased to know that their active noise cancellation has made it to the WF-1000X, as well. To engage the noise canceling feature, you can press the button on the left earbud or enable it from the companion app. While the noise cancellation isn't as good as those found on Sony's over-ear headphones, it is certainly best-in-class among truly wireless earbuds. The WF-1000X does an impressive job at filtering out unwanted noise while maintaining clarity in your music. I would have no problem trusting these on a short domestic flight. It's important to also mention that there is no noise canceling optimizer nor atmospheric pressure optimizer like that found on the most recent flagship over-ear model from Sony. Even so, I took the earbuds outside and used them while operating a garden vacuum to pick up leaves in the yard. The vacuum is quite loud, so having the WF-1000X made things much more tolerable, as I could listen to music and focus on my yardwork without feeling like I was damaging my ears from the constant stream of loud noise from the vacuum. AMBIENT SOUND: The utility of the ambient sound feature while listening to music at reasonably volumes is incredibly limited. If this feature was a major factor in your purchase decision, you may be disappointed. To enable ambient sound mode, you can simply press the button on the left earbud until you hear the built-in alert say "ambient sound". Unfortunately, the hardware button only engages the "voice mode" mode, and doesn't allow you to engage the "normal mode" that is accessible from the app. Whether it's set to "voice mode" or "normal mode", the ambient sound mode isn't very effective unless you're listening to music at lower volumes. And unlike the latest over-ear model, you cannot adjust the volume of the ambient sound. To make this feature more effective, Sony would have to prioritize external sounds over your music—which defeats the purpose of calling this feature "ambient" sound. The "normal mode" might be useful to you if you are in a loud industrial/city environment and want to be a bit more alert of your surroundings, but the "voice mode" is lackluster and would require someone to really raise their voice for you to distinguish them from your music. ADAPTIVE SOUND CONTROL: Additionally, you can enable the "adaptive sound control" feature in the Sony Headphones Connect app. This feature will determine if you are sitting, walking, running, or on public transportation. Based on this status, the app will automatically switch the sound profile between noise canceling and the ambient sound modes. When it automatically switches modes, it will disrupt your music entirely to play an ambiguous alert tone in your ear that does not tell you which mode it is switching to. PLAYBACK CONTROLS: The playback controls are accessible from the right earbud or from your device. To pause or play, simply press the button on the right earbud. To skip forward a track, quickly double-press the button, and to navigate back to a previous track, quickly press the button three times. Unfortunately, there is no volume control on the earbuds, so you'll have to adjust the volume from your source device. Additionally, you can hold the button to spawn your phone's default voice assistant. BATTERY LIFE: Unfortunately, the WF-1000X doesn't break any records with its battery performance. Compared to other truly wireless earbuds from well-known brands, the battery performance is subpar. You're only going to get 3 hours of use before they require a charge. Thankfully, a quick 15 minute charge from the charging case can get you 75 minutes of use, but that's still overshadowed by a competitor's 15 minute charge for 3 hours of use. Regardless, I do feel as though I wouldn't want to use the WF-1000X for more than 3 hours at a time, anyway. The charging case can deliver up to 9 hours of charge to the earbuds, so if you use them quite often, then you'll find yourself reaching for a charging cable more frequently. COMFORT: Some may feel differently about this, but I tend to experience fatigue from in-ears much quicker in comparison to over-ears. I'm honestly not sure that I could keep the WF-1000X in my ears for more than 2 hours at a time. Even so, the WF-1000X remains snug in my ears using the smaller foam tips. I haven't had any issue with them slipping out unless I start jumping. CONCLUSION: Overall, I think the WF-1000X is a good first attempt from Sony at making truly wireless earbuds. Their sound signature is excellent, they have a comfortable fit, and the noise cancellation is best-in-class. The ambient sound features, while not particularly useful at normal listening volumes, don't take away from the overall experience of the product. Even so, it's the only product of this class to have such a feature, and some may find it to be useful. I look forward to seeing the improvements made over time with software updates and new hardware revisions. Sony definitely has a winner on its hands, and with each hardware iteration, I hope to see Sony learn from its shortcomings.
I would recommend this to a friend
Big sound in small packagesPosted
Geared for commuters and users in noisy environments. Not for active and gym use. Pros: *Noise canceling in an earbud style *Small and totally wireless *Charging case (both pro and a con, more on this later) *Numerous wing tips and earbuds for better fitment *Good bass Cons: *No volume control on the earbuds *Not secure enough in the ear to go to the gym with it *May not be loud enough for some listeners *Sound sometimes cuts in and out between the buds (more on this below) *Very dependent on the app for its full features I’m an iPhone user and these are my experiences with using the WF-1000X for the past week. I was intrigued at Apple’s own AirPods as I liked the idea of a true wireless headphones. When these Sony earbuds were announced to have a similar charging case like Apple’s AirPods but includes noise canceling like Bose is famous for? Sign me up! Initial impressions: At unboxing and unpacking the contents, the Sony earbuds comes with numerous ear pieces from small to large and foam to rubber pieces. This is fantastic as it allows you to custom fit the earbuds to your ear. A good fit is important for the sound and bass. The charging case came partially charged but it can be easily charged via the supplied micro USB cable in less than a few hours. You don’t charge the earbuds directly but the earbuds can be charged via the carry case. The stylish case appears to be made out of thin metal and can easily slip into a pocket. Setup: After charging the case for 1.5 hours, the earbuds were fully charged and ready to be Bluetooth paired to my iPhone 7. The advertised runtime is around 3 hours and with 9 hours of total power on-the-go with the charging case. Pairing was as easy as a long press on the button and finding the device name on your phone. Just like the Apple AirPods, the Sony earbuds automatically pair with your phone when you pull them out of the charging case. They however, don’t pause automatically when you pull them out of your ear but the earbuds do turn off when placed back in the case to charge. Design: The Sony’s wireless earbuds looks much better than the Apple’s AirPods. The charging case is much bigger than Apples but still slim enough to fit in your pants pocket. The case has a nice matte texture finish to it. The lid hinges open and you are presented to the two earbuds that charges while in the case. I do wish that the case is better balanced as the case topples over with the weight of the lid being open. Small issue but I expected more at this price point. The charging case does have a red LED that shows that you’re charging the case but it doesn’t show how much battery is left within it. The earbuds glow red when they are charging in the case but no external indicator when the lid is closed. The earbuds themselves only have 2 total buttons. The button on the left powers it on, pairs, and controls the different noise canceling programs. The button on the right earbud controls the music, siri, and answers the phone. Big big negative for me is that there isn’t a volume control on the actual earbuds. That is either controlled with your phone or through the app. What were the engineers thinking?!?! Sound performance, Noise Canceling, and app review: The earbuds do pair to your phone automatically when you pull them out of the charging case. I really like this feature. It voices the standard Sony greeting of letting you know that its paired and the current battery level of the earbuds. The earbuds sounds great out of the box with the proper fit. The earbuds sounds even better with Sony’s headphone app. The app lets you change the equalizer and adds back the bass. I’m actually impressed at the bass and doesn’t leave me wanting more. The highs are clear and the vocals sounds nice. Well balanced sound and this is with the use of the app. You don’t need to run the app every time but I do recommend using the app upon the first few uses so you can dial in the equalizer setting you prefer. The Noise canceling feature is what makes this earbud unique. To my knowledge and at the time of this writing, these Sony earbuds are the first to the market with noise canceling earbuds. Out of the box, there are three modes that you can select with the left button on the earbuds. On, ambiance, and off. The first mode is full isolation. It does a fairly good job at noise canceling for such a small earbud. It does a better job at canceling out low frequency noises like subway/train/airplane rumbles than canceling out higher frequencies like microwave beeps, conversations, and unwanted music. Don’t expect these to cancel out rock concerts. It mutes out sounds like you’re wearing a foam noise blocker. The second mode is allowing some ambiance to come through. Default is the ability to hear cars and voices. You can change that in the app to only allow voices come through on the second mode. This mode kinda works with the voices as the idea is that you can still hear important announcements while commuting but your music will easily drown that out. The third option is noise canceling OFF and that mode prolongs your battery life. Noise canceling is great as it allows you to listen to your music at a lower volume. Lower volume reduces ear fatigue. Have you ever used earphones on a plane? You most likely have to crank it up past normal to drown out the engine drone. The app is simple. It shows your current battery state, the noise canceling mode youre on, and the priority you want your headphone to work in. The priority mode is if you want best sound or best connectivity. Obviously I want to have both best sound and best connectivity but im guessing its too much power or processing power to do both in such a small package. Folks that experience connectivity issues will need to change the priority over in the app. This probably addresses most of the negative reviews you have read about these headphones. The app is also important as it gives you more control over the noise canceling. It also has a mode that you can select in the app that will “smartly” change the mode of noise canceling for you based on your activity. If you’re walking, it will change the noise canceling mode to allow cars to come through so you won’t step out in front of one for safety reasons. If you’re sitting still, it will change the mode to let voices come through. And if you’re sitting but traveling, it changes the mode to full noise cancelation. This auto feature relies on your phone’s sensors to detect your type of activity. Video and sound syncing issues: To address the issues of having your sound not syncing with videos you watch, its not the headphone’s issue but your video player issue. The latency you’re experiencing is how your apps decodes sound and video at different rates. That’s why you see a delay in sound in apps like YouTube but not in apps like Vudu. Blame the software maker, not the headphones! Summary: I’m very satisfied at the performance of these noise canceling earbuds. They sound great and have enough bass to keep me bobbing my head. What keeps this from a perfect score is the lack of volume control and that phone calls only comes through in one ear. Phone calls appears to be an afterthought as people will have a hard time hearing and understanding you. I would recommend this to anyone looking for a noise canceling headphone that is truly wireless and not the “over the head” style form factor. Bottom line: A little more cost than Apple AirPods but with Noise Canceling. Well worth the upgrade.
I would recommend this to a friend
Really Comfortable Truly Wireless EarbudsPosted
These Sony Bluetooth earbuds really surprised me with how well they fit into the ears, and from the looks of these earbuds, I was not expecting them to fit so perfectly in the ears, the design is so simple yet functional. These earbuds are inserted into the ears pointing downwards, and then a simple turn forward locks the earbuds into the ear with surprising stability and comfort. I can wear these Sony earbuds for many hours with little to no ear area discomfort at all. Most other brands of earbuds start to cause ear area discomfort when attempting to wear them for several hours. The micro USB charging cable supplied is a little longer than 20 inches, which is just the right size to make it easy to carry and yet not too short so that it makes charging placement limited, most other earbuds on the market that I have seen come with a 12 or 13 inch charging cable, and that is not quite long enough in my opinion. These Sony earbuds come with many eartip options of various sizes, there are 3 sets of foam ear tips, there is another set of 3 silicone eartips, and then there is another silicone eartip set that is installed on each earbud out of the box. In addition to the earbuds, there are 2 sets of the silicone wings that is what slides behind a part of the ear and holds the earbuds securely in the ear. The Sony app for Android has the most common functionality, the app does have an equalizer with a few presets to choose from, as of now there is no ability to adjust the equalizer manually, but the equalizer presets are sufficient. I am sure Sony will likely add the ability to manually adjust the equalizer settings with a future update of the Sony app. These Sony Earbuds do have the option of using the higher quality AAC audio codec, and the app also allows the user to set the audio to a lower audio quality setting. The lower audio quality setting is supposed to be for enhanced Bluetooth connectivity. If the audio starts skipping when listening to the higher audio quality setting, the app says to switch the audio quality to the lower audio quality setting. These Sony earbuds have great Bluetooth connectivity when connected to my smartphone, but I did experience some audio skipping when paired with my desktop. I finally realized this audio skipping was at least partially caused by the other Bluetooth computer accessories that were also connected to my desktop computer. Too many devices with a Bluetooth signal in a small area can cause Bluetooth connectivity problems. When I experienced the audio skipping, I turned off my Bluetooth mouse and keyboard and then the audio skipping stopped. The button on the right earbud is for the play/pause functionality if it is pressed once, and if it is pressed twice it skips to the next audio track, and then if a phone call is incoming, the right earbud’s button will answer the call with a single press, and then another single press will hang up the phone call. Most earbud brands allow the adding of new or improved functionality when the app is updated, and I hope Sony will improve the functionality of the button on the left earbud, as at the moment the button on the left earbud is designated to toggling between the following settings: Noise cancelling, Ambient room sound, and lastly the Off setting. I have had my Sony earbuds set to the Off setting, and because of this being my chosen option, it would be better if Sony could add the toggling of these three settings to be adjusted by only the Sony app, then the left earbud’s button could be assigned to an audio playback functionality, such as: Previous track functionality. I have two other pairs of Bluetooth earbuds, one is also a pair of truly wireless earbuds, and the other pair of earbuds has a wire connecting the earbuds. This pair of Sony Bluetooth truly wireless earbuds is my favorite, and this is because of the unrivaled ear comfort when wearing the Sony earbuds. I am rating these Sony earbuds at 4.5 out of 5 stars, and I would suggest these Sony earbuds to anyone who wants to have a set of Bluetooth earbuds that sound great, and are guaranteed to fit very comfortably in the ears.
I would recommend this to a friend
A lot to like, and not likePosted
I have over the ear noise cancelling headphones and I have in ear headphones which are not noise cancelling. So I thought these Sony WF1000x would be the perfect combination of the best features of my other headphones. Noise cancelling without the bulk of over the ear headphones. Let's start with the good: I have never been into unboxing, but Sony has done a great job of packaging this product and it makes a great presentation when you open it. These headphones have the look and feel of a quality product. They are small and very light weight. Sony provides you with a total of seven pair of ear pieces, 4 rubber and 3 foam, in varying sizes to insure a secure and comfortable fit. And, when you find the right piece for your ear, they are very comfortable. They come with a storage case which also is the charger. Not only will this case recharge your headphones, but it has its own built in battery which can recharge the headphones 2 additional times. Each charge should last about 3 hours giving you a total of 9 hours before you have to plug the storage case back into an outlet. When you take the headphones out of the storage case they will automatically turn on and connect to your paired device. There is only 1 button on each earpiece. The button on the left will turn on noise cancellation, allow ambient sound, or turn the power off. If you hold it down for 7 seconds it will pair with a new device.The right button will tell you the battery level and will answer phone calls and texts. I found that the sound quality was excellent. Clarity was amazing, sound can go very loud, but if you are into bass these are not for you. So why only 3 stars? Well there are some major flaws. The noise cancelling is not very effective. In fact, there were many occasions where I could not tell noise cancellation was on, even though the headphones said it was. Now, I don't listen at high volume, so maybe the noise cancellation becomes more effective at louder volume. There is a significant delay when watching video on my phone, tablet or computer. The voice is at least a full second behind the video. It makes it unuseable for watching video. Strangely, if you have only the left earpiece on there is no delay, however as soon as you put the right earpiece on you get the delay. These headphones will only connect to 1 devie at a time and to make things worse it does not tell you which device it is connected to. So if you have your phone, tablet and laptop on, which I do, you have no idea which device the headphones just connected to. I had 1 other issue. When you turn the power off and then turn it back on, sometimes only the left headphone comes back on. I found that you have to press the button on the right headphone a couple of times and hold it down to get it to reconnect. I also found that putting the headphones back in the storage box and taking them back out will restore the right headphone. I hope that some or all of these issues can be corrected by a firmware update and are not a hardware issue. This is a premium product at a premium price so until some of these issues are resolved I cannot recommend this product.
No, I would not recommend this to a friend