Reviewed on Feb 27, 2018

Sony WF-1000X Truly Wireless HEADPHONES REVIEW

Usage Ratings - Version 1.3
7.0
Mixed Usage
7.0
Neutral Listening
7.5
Commute/Travel
8.1
Sports/Fitness
6.6
Office
5.4
Wireless Gaming
5.3
Wired Gaming
6.0
Phone Call
Type : In-ear
Enclosure : Closed-Back
Wireless : Truly Wireless
Noise-Cancelling : Yes
Mic : Yes
Transducer : Dynamic

The Sony WF-1000x are decent mixed usage headphones with a few flaws. They're the only noise cancelling truly wireless headphones so far which makes them suitable for commuting. They have a high-end and durable design, they're stable enough for sports and they sound decent. Unfortunately, they have one of the worse latency performances for any Bluetooth headset and the right earbud would often drop connection regardless of range which can be frustrating.

Test Results
Design 7.8
Isolation 7.6
Microphone 5.6
Active Features 5.3
Connectivity 3.0
Pros
  • Compact and sturdy design.
  • Stable fit for sports.
Cons
  • Unreliable Bluetooth connection.
  • High latency.
  1. Update 11/6/2019: Converted to Test Bench 1.3.

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7.8

Design

The Sony WF-1000X have a premium looking design that feels sturdy and durable. The earbuds are fairly compact but do stick out of the ears a bit compared to some other truly wireless designs like the Jaybird Run. They come with a great charging case that's a little bulky but flat, which makes it a bit easier to carry around in your pockets. They're stable and breathable enough to run with and come with multiple tip sizes and types including foam tips which should help you find a comfortable fit. Unfortunately, they have a poor control scheme and no volume buttons.

Style

The Sony WF-1000X have a premium design that looks and feels high-end. The earbuds have a good blend of high-quality plastic and metal with a transparent tip that shows the antenna and lights up when in pairing mode. The case also has an elegant metal finish that feels durable and looks a lot more appealing than some of the other truly wireless designs like the Jaybird Run or the SoundSport Free from Bose. Unfortunately, the earbuds do stick out a bit once in your ear which may not be the ideal look for some listeners.

7.0 Comfort
Weight : 0.03 lbs
Clamping Force
:
0 lbs

The Sony WF1000X have a pretty typical in-ear fit but thanks to a wide range of tips provided in the box, they're above-average comfortable. They come with 7 tip sizes including foam tips. The earbuds are relatively lightweight, and since they're truly wireless, there is no cable pulling on the buds which makes them less noticeable once in your ears. However, since they're in-ears, they do put a bit of pressure within your ear canal which may not be as comfortable as some of the earbud designs like the Bose SoundSport Free or the Apple AirPods. The tips are also not angled like the Jaybird Run which makes them slightly less comfortable.

6.1 Controls
OS Compatibility
:
N/A
Ease of use : Decent
Feedback : Decent
Call/Music Control : Yes
Volume Control : No
Microphone Control : No
Channel Mixing
:
N/A
Noise Canceling Control : Yes
Talk-Through
:
Yes
Additional Buttons : Voice enabled controls

These earbuds have a mediocre control scheme with no volume control. They provide two buttons, one to end calls and pause tracks and another to cycle through noise-canceling modes. The buttons themselves are pretty clicky and have good feedback. However, the lack of functionality forces you to use your phone to turn up the volume or even change tracks, which is a little disappointing.

9.1 Breathability
Avg.Temp.Difference : 0.9 C

The Sony WF1000x are very breathable truly wireless headphones. Their compact in-ear design does not cause any significant temperature increase when exercising or working out. They do trap a little heat in the ear canal, but since they do not cover the ears like on/over-ear headphones, they won't make you sweat more than usual even during more intense work out routines.

9.5 Portability
L : 1.2 "
W : 1.3 "
H : 0.7 "
Volume : 1.1 Cu. Inches
Transmitter required : N/A

The Sony WF-1000x headphones, like most truly wireless designs, are very compact and highly portable. They will easily fit into almost any pockets, and they are a lot smaller than the Bose SoundSport Free. Their charging case is pretty bulky. However, it is flat and won't be as noticeable in your pocket as the Jaybird Run or even the Bose.

7.5 Case
Type : Hard case
L : 3.6 "
W : 0.9 "
H : 1.7 "
Volume : 5.5 Cu. Inches

These headphones come with a flat metal hard case that will easily protect the earbuds from impacts and drops and even mild water damage. However, the case does add a bit of bulk. But on the upside, since it's flat, it won't stick out in your pocket and it's a bit more convenient to carry around than the Bose and the Jaybird's truly wireless design.

8.0 Build Quality

The Sony WF-1000X have a great build quality that feels and looks premium. The earbuds have a metal back plate that adds to the high-end appeal of the headphones and also makes them a bit more durable. The buds feel dense enough that they won't break from a couple of accidental drops and the case is also a sleek metal build that feels sturdy and protects the headphones fairly well. The lid has a slight lift mechanism that may be cause for concern due to wear and tear over time. Overall, the build quality feels superior to that of the Jaybird Run and about on-par with the Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless and BeoPlay E8 2.0. They would be as good as the AirPods if the case and buds were a little more compact while keeping the level of premium design and build quality.

7.5 Stability

The Sony WF-1000X have a stable in-ear fit that goes fairly deep into the ear canal. That combined with the multiple tip sizes and the truly wireless design make them pretty good for working out as they will rarely move around once in your ears. They only have one set of stability fins for listeners with slightly larger ears which is not ideal but also not really necessary in most conditions, unlike the angled earbuds of the Jaybird run which fit a little looser.

Headshots 1
Headshots 2
Top

Sound

They have a consistent, extended and punchy bass, but it is a bit light on sub-bass and sounds slightly boomy. Their mid-range is also very good, but slightly overpowering bass and treble regions. Their treble is very well-balanced and even, but it is noticeably sharp and piercing on S and T sounds. Also, like most other in-ears, they don't have a large and out-of-head soundstage due to lack of interaction with the outer pinna.

Sound Profile
Neutral
:
8.2
Bass-Heavy
:
5.2
Warm
:
7.5
Bright
:
5.2
7.3 Peaks/Dips
Peaks
:
1.95 db
Dips
:
0.94 db
9.1 Frequency Response Consistency
Avg. Std. Deviation
:
0.19 dB

The frequency response consistency is excellent. Assuming the user is able to achieve a proper fit and an air-tight seal using the assortment of tips that come with the headphones, they should be getting a consistent bass and treble delivery with each re-seat.

9.1 Imaging
Weighted Group Delay
:
0.09
Weighted Amplitude Mismatch
:
0.53
Weighted Frequency Mismatch
:
1.47
Weighted Phase Mismatch
:
2.36

The imaging of the Sony WF1000X is excellent. Their weighted group delay is 0.09, which is among the lowest we have measured. The graph also shows that the entire response is below our audibility threshold. This ensures a tight bass and transparent treble reproduction. Also, the L/R drivers of our test unit were very well-matched. This indicates accurate localization and placement of objects (voices, footsteps, instruments) in the stereo field.

0.9 Soundstage
PRTF Accuracy (Std. Dev.)
:
N/A
PRTF Size (Avg.)
:
N/A
PRTF Distance
:
N/A
Openness
:
2.7
Acoustic Space Excitation
:
2.0

The soundstage of these in-ears, like most other headphones, are poor. Since creating a large and out-of-head soundstage is dependent on a good pinna (outer ear) activation, in-ears such as these ones end up with a small and inside-the-head soundstage. Also, because of their closed-back design, their soundstage won't feel as open as open-back earbuds such as the Apple AirPods and the Bose SoundSport Free.

7.7 Weighted Harmonic Distortion
WHD @ 90
:
0.301
WHD @ 100
:
0.130
7.6

Isolation

The Sony WF-1000X have a decent isolation performance and are the first truly wireless design with active noise canceling that we've tested. They should isolate enough for most commuters and have an aware mode which is better suited for runners that need to monitor their environment. However, noise cancellation, although decent, isn't as good as some of the other in-ear/earbuds with ANC like the Bose QuietControl 30 or the WI-1000X so they will let in some ambient noise in louder environments. On the upside, they barely leak so you can turn up the volume to mask some of the noise without distracting those around you with leakage.

7.3 Noise Isolation
Isolation Audio
:
Overall Attenuation
:
-19.75 dB
Bass
:
-8.62 dB
Mid
:
-21.53 dB
Treble
:
-30.45 dB

The ANC (active noise cancellation) performance of the Sony WF-1000X is about average. In the bass range, where the rumble of airplane and bus engines sit, the total isolation is about 9dB, which is decent. But some other in-ears like the JBL Free, Jaybird X3, Run, and Beats BeatsX achieve similar results with passive noise isolation. In the mid-range, which is important for cancelling out speech, the Sony achieves a good 22dB of isolation. In the treble range, where sharp and S and T sounds sit, they isolate by more than 30dB, which is good. It also seems that the ANC system hurts the passive isolation of the headphones in the treble range especially around 3KHz.

8.3 Leakage
Leakage Audio
:
Overall Leakage @ 1ft
:
31.73 dB

The leakage performance of the Sony WF-1000X is very good. Like most other closed-back in-ears, the significant portion of the leakage is a narrow range in the treble section. The level of the leakage is quiet as well. This makes the leakage of these headphones barely audible, even at loud volumes.

5.6

Microphone

Integrated
:
Yes
In-line
:
No
Boom
:
No
Detachable Boom
:
N/A

The performance of the integrated microphone is sub-par. Speech recorded/transmitted with the mic of the Sony will sound relatively thin and quite muffled. This could make the speech a bit difficult to understand. They also struggle in noisy situations and they may have difficulty separating speech from ambient noise even in moderately loud environments, such as a busy street.

5.1 Recording Quality
Recorded Speech
:
LFE
:
239.73 Hz
FR Std. Dev.
:
4.75 dB
HFE
:
1684.1 Hz
Weighted THD
:
13.726
Gain
:
39.67 dB

Sub-par recording quality. LFE (low-frequency extension) is at 240Hz, indicating a thin sound. The HFE (high-frequency extension) of 1.7KHz means that speech recorded/transmitted with the mic of the Sony WF-1000X will sound muffled and lacking presence. This will have a negative effect on the intelligibility of recorded/transmitted speech.

6.0 Noise Handling
Speech + Pink Noise :
Speech + Subway Noise :
SpNR
:
12.05 dB

The noise handling capabilities of the Sony WF1000X's mic is mediocre. In our test, they achieved a speech-to-noise ratio of 12dB, which is below average. This means that this microphone is only suitable for quiet environments and may struggle to isolate speech from noise even in moderately loud environments.

5.3

Active Features

The Sony WF-1000X have a below-average battery life but a great app that offers a good amount of customization options. They last about 3 hours, but a bit less if you're using the active noise cancellation. They have an additional 6 hours in the case for a total of 9 hours of playback if you take breaks. They won't be ideal for more heavy users but on the upside, they have a better companion app than most other truly wireless designs that give you EQ presets, as well as adaptive sound control and noise canceling aware mode options.

5.1 Battery
Battery Type
:
Rechargable
Continuous Battery Life
:
2.7 hrs
Additional Charges
:
2
Total Battery Life
:
8.1 hrs
Charge Time
:
1.5 hrs
Power Saving Feature
:
Standby mode
Audio while charging
:
No
Passive Playback
:
No
Charging Port : micro-USB

The Sony WF1000X have a sub-par battery life. They have less than 3 hours of continuous playtime, especially when using the active noise canceling feature with adaptive sound enabled. This makes them a bit worse than most of the other truly wireless designs but on the upside, the charging case has 2 additional charges totaling in 9 hours of battery life if you take breaks. This should be decent enough to last you through the day but won't be ideal for more heavy users with long listening sessions.

7.0 App Support
App Name : Sony| Headphones Connect
iOS : Yes
Android : Yes
Mac OS : N/A
Windows : N/A
Equalizer
:
Presets
ANC control
:
Yes
Mic Control : No
Room effects
:
No
Playback control
:
Yes
Button Mapping : N/A
Surround Sound : N/A

These in-ears support the Sony| Headphones Connect app which gives them a bit more control over their active features and more customization options than some of the other truly wireless designs. The app is easy-to-use and provides adaptive sound profiles for when you're walking or standing still as well as different noise canceling options. You also get EQ presets but unfortunately, it's not a parametric equalizer like on the WH-100XM2. You can't make your own custom EQs and there are no room effects which is why the app has a slightly lower score for these headphones.

3.0

Connectivity

The Sony WF-1000X support NFC pairing via their charging case which makes pairing with smartphones a bit easier. Unfortunately, if your Bluetooth source does not support NFC, pairing becomes is a bit more of a hassle as you have to manually pair the right earbud then switch on the left which causes a lot of syncing issues. This implementation of the truly wireless design causes exceedingly high latency which is not suitable for watching videos. The right earbud would also frequently cut out and drop connection regardless of the distance from the source, which is quite disappointing. 

7.3 Bluetooth
Bluetooth Version
:
4.1
Multi-Device Pairing
:
No
NFC Pairing
:
Yes
Line of Sight Range
:
62 ft
Default Latency
:
400 ms
aptX Latency
:
N/A
aptX(LL) Latency
:
N/A

These in-ears only connect to other devices via Bluetooth. They do not have simultaneous multi-devices pairing but do remember the last sync device for auto-pairing when you open the charging case. They also Support NFC which makes pairing with smartphones a bit easier, especially for a truly wireless design.

The Sony WF1000X have one of the worst Bluetooth latency performances that we've measured. This makes them considerably worse for watching movies and gaming than most typical Bluetooth headphones.

0 Non-Bluetooth Wireless
Non-BT Line of Sight Range
:
N/A
Non-BT Latency
:
N/A
0 Wired
Analog Audio
:
N/A
USB Audio
:
N/A
Detachable : N/A
Length : N/A
Connection : N/A
Wired Latency
:
N/A

The Sony WF-1000x do not have an audio cable or a wired connection. If you want a decent sounding and stable in-ear with a wired connection, we would suggest the Sony MDR-XB50AP or the 1More Triple Driver In-Ear.

PC / PS4 Compatibility
PC / PS4 Analog
:
No
PC / PS4 Wired USB
:
No
PC / PS4 Non-BT Wireless
:
No
Xbox One Compatibility
Xbox Analog
:
No
Xbox Wired USB
:
No
Xbox Wireless
:
No
2.2 Base/Dock
Type
:
Charging Case
USB Input
:
No
Line In
:
No
Line Out
:
No
Optical Input
:
No
RCA Input
:
No
Dock Charging
:
Yes
Power Supply
:
USB

These in-ears come with a charging case that delivers up to 6 additional hours of battery life. However, it has no inputs but does have the NFC tag which allows you to pair the headphones easier with smartphones and other NFC-ready Bluetooth devices.

In the box

  • Sony WF-1000x Headphones
  • Earbud tips (x7 sizes)
  • Stability tips (x2 sizes)
  • Charging case
  • USB charging cable

Compared to other Headphones

The Sony WF-1000x are great looking and well-built truly wireless headphones. They're one of the only truly wireless design with active noise cancellation which makes them bit better suited for commuters. However, they have a relatively short battery life, a decently balanced but slightly sharp sound quality but a terrible latency performance which makes them one of the worst headphones for watching videos. See our recommendations for the best noise cancelling earbuds, the best noise cancelling headphones under $200, and the best earbuds with a mic.

Sony WF-SP700N Truly Wireless
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

The Sony WF-1000X are slightly better headphones overall when compared to the Sony WF-SP700N. They are both noise cancelling, truly wireless in-ears, but the WF-1000x have slightly better isolation (although not by much). The WF-1000x also have a better and more premium-looking build quality that most will prefer over the plasticky design of the SP700N, and a better default sound quality that's not as bass-heavy but does sound a bit sharp. On the upside, the SP700N sound a bit more exciting out of the box. They also have a slightly lighter and more unique design that some will prefer over the WF-1000X. 

Bose SoundSport Free Truly Wireless
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

The Sony WF-1000X are a slightly better truly wireless option than the Bose SoundSport Free, but not by much. The WF-1000X have an in-ear fit and isolate much better in noisy conditions which makes them a bit more versatile for commuting and different environments. They also have a more polished and premium looking design and come with a great case, but do not feel as durable as the Bose. The SoundSport Free, on the other hand, have a much better balanced sound quality that does not need an EQ for most listeners. They also have a more comfortable earbud fit that you can wear much longer than the Sonys. Their open fit is also a bit more suitable for outdoor runners since it lets you monitor your environment for traffic and obstacles, but also blocks a lot less ambient noise.

B&O PLAY Beoplay E8 Truly Wireless 2018
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

The B&O PLAY E8 are a slightly better truly wireless headset than the Sony WF-1000X. The E8 have a more compact and portable design and a better charging case. The E8 also have a better latency and a more balanced default sound that you can customize thanks to the Beoplay app. They also isolate a little better than the WF-1000x, despite not being noise cancelling. On the other hand, since the WF-1000x have ANC, they do a bit better against low-frequency noise like the rumbling sounds of an engine.

Bose QuietControl 30/QC30 Wireless
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

The Bose QuietControl 30 are a much better wireless noise cancelling headset than the Sony WF-1000X. The QC 30 have a more comfortable earbud fit, better noise isolation performance, better sound quality and a longer battery life and wireless range than the Sonys. They also have a better latency performance, although both headphones would not be the ideal choices for watching a lot of video content. On the upside, the Sony WF-1000X are a lot more compact than the Bose and will more easily fit into your pocket despite their fairly large charging case. The Sony also have a slightly more premium looking truly wireless design which some will prefer over the Bose even if their wireless connection is not as stable.

Sony WI-1000X Wireless
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

If you don’t like the around-the-neck design of the Sony WI-1000X, then the Sony WF-1000X have pretty similar sound quality, but they are truly wireless. However, the around-the-neck model has better noise isolation, longer battery life, and it has access to all the customization options in the Sony app, unlike the truly wireless model. On the other hand, the WF-1000X are more portable and their case offers two additional charges.

Samsung Gear IconX Truly Wireless
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

The Samsung Gear IconX are a much better headphone than the Sony WF-1000X. The Gear IconX isolate better in noisy environments despite not having ANC like the Sonys. They also have more features that make them better for sports than the WF-1000X. They're also more portable than the Sonys and have a better latency performance. The Sonys, on the other hand, have a better more premium-looking build quality. Their noise cancellation also does a bit better in the bass range than the IconX, and their app is slightly more customizable than that of the IconX.

Jaybird Run Truly Wireless
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

The Jaybird Run are a slightly better truly wireless headset than the Sony WF-1000X. The Run have a more comfortable and stable fit for the gym than the Sonys. They also have a much more customizable sound that you can fully EQ, unlike the Sonys, which only have presets. The Jaybird also have a much better latency performance, although they won't be the best headphones for watching videos since their latency is also fairly high. On the upside, the WF-1000X have a better build quality and a more premium-looking design. They also come with a more portable and sturdy case that also supports NFC pairing. The Sony also isolate more in noisy conditions with their more typical in-ear fit and active noise cancellation, though their ANC is not that strong and should not be the defining feature for getting these headphones.

Apple AirPods 1 Truly Wireless 2017
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

The Sony WF-1000X are better in-ear headphones than the Apple AirPods 1 Truly Wireless 2017 thanks to their closed-back design, which helps with noise isolation, and their audio quality which is also better. They also support NFC for quick and easy pairing. On the other hand, the Apple have a comfortable fit for most and their overall battery life is pretty impressive with about 24 hours. They also have noticeably better latency, which might even be lower with iOS devices. However, their interface doesn’t offer as much customization options as the Sony app.

+ Show more
7.0 Mixed Usage

Decent for mixed usage. They're good for sports and decently comfortable. They're also one of the only truly wireless headphones with active noise cancellation which makes them suitable for commuting. Unfortunately, they have an unreliable wireless connection which has a lot of latency. They won't be ideal for home theater and gaming but should be okay for most other use cases.

7.0 Neutral Listening

Average for neutral listening. The Sony WF-1000X have a decently well-balanced audio reproduction. They have a good amount of bass but can sound a bit boomy and slightly sharp due to the peak in the higher frequency range. They also do not have the best soundstage since they're closed back in-ears.

7.5 Commute/Travel

Above-average for commute and travel. The Sony WF1000x have active noise canceling which is rare for a truly wireless design. That combined with their in-ear fit isolates enough for most noisy commutes. Unfortunately, they do not have the best control scheme and they have a relatively short battery life.

8.1 Sports/Fitness

The Sony WF1000x are good breathable and stable headphones for sports. They're compact, truly wireless and come with a large variety of tips to help you find a comfortable fit that stays put while you exercise. Unfortunately, they have a poor control scheme and a spotty wireless connection.

6.6 Office

Decent for office use. They block a good amount of ambient noise and don't leak much so you can play your music at higher volumes. However, they have a relatively short battery life and a fairly typical in-ear fit which might not be ideal for really long listening sessions.

5.4 Wireless Gaming

Poor for gaming. The Sony WF1000x have very high latency which is a deal breaker for this use case. They also have a sub-par microphone and aren't as customizable as most gaming-oriented headsets.

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