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Sony WI-1000X Wireless
HEADPHONES REVIEW

Usage Ratings - Version 1.2
7.0
Mixed Usage
7.0
Critical Listening
7.5
Commute/Travel
7.5
Sports/Fitness
7.3
Office
5.8
TV
5.4
Gaming
Type : In-ear
Enclosure : Closed-Back
Wireless : Yes
Noise-Cancelling : Yes
Mic : Yes
Transducer : Balanced Armature

The Sony WI-1000X are versatile around-the-neck headphones for everyday casual use. They offer a good ANC feature that blocks a lot of noise which makes them a good choice for daily commuting. They also have a more premium feeling than other similar designed headphones we’ve reviewed so far and come with a lot of tip options, so you can find the best fit. Unfortunately, they have too much latency to watch video content and lack a bit of bass, but overall, they are good headphones with tons of customization options in the compatible app.

Test Results
Design 7.4
Sound 6.8
Isolation 7.8
Microphone 6.0
Active Features 6.7
Connectivity 6.0
Pros
  • Good noise isolation and low leakage.
  • Good controls.
  • Can also be used wired.
Cons
  • Slightly sharp on already bright tracks.
  • In-ear, neckband design won't be for everyone.

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7.4

Design

The Sony WI-1000X are around-the-neck headphones that are well-built and you should be able to find a comfortable fit thanks to one of the seven tip options. They feel a bit more high-end than other around-the-neck pairs we’ve reviewed so far. Unfortunately, the neckband is quite rigid, and they don’t fold into a more portable format like the Jabra Elite 65e (see our recommendations for the best neckband headphones). On the upside, they are stable for most sports and surprisingly, they also come with a 1/8” TRS audio cable to use the headphones when the battery is dead.  

Style

These headphones have an around-the-neck design that looks and feels high-end. They don’t really stand out with an all-black color scheme, but the neckband has a thin metal band that gives it a more premium look. But they also come in a gold variant if you want something a bit more flashy.

7.0 Comfort
Weight : 0.15 lbs
Clamping Force
:
0 lbs

The WI-1000X are comfortable in-ears, but not as much as other around-the-necks we’ve reviewed like the Bose QuietControl 30. The in-ear fit isn’t as comfortable for everyone and some people will feel fatigue after long periods of time. The neckband design is lightweight, but not everyone likes having something resting around their neck. On the upside, they come with 7 tip options to help you find the most comfortable fit.

7.7 Controls
Ease of use : Decent
Feedback : Decent
Call/Music Control : Yes
Volume Control : Yes
Microphone Control : No
Channel Mixing
:
N/A
Noise Canceling Control : Yes
Talk-Through
:
Yes
Additional Buttons : No

The control scheme on the Sony WI-1000X is good. The button layout is easy to use, and you shouldn’t have too much problem using it accurately. The feedback of the physical buttons is above-average and the play/pause button feels a bit harder to press since it’s the one at the end of the neckband. They provide common functionalities like play/pause, track-skipping, take/end calls and a volume rocker. They also have a button to switch the noise canceling setting on the right side of the band. You can also press the power button once while the headphones are on to be notified of the battery level.

9.2 Breathability
Avg.Temp.Difference : 0.8 C

Like most in-ears, they don’t trap heat inside your ears, so they are very breathable and are a good option for sports. You shouldn’t feel too much of a difference and should not sweat more while wearing them.

7.4 Portability
L : 6.6 "
W : 5 "
H : 0.7 "
Volume : 23 Cu. Inches
Transmitter required : N/A

The Sony WI-1000X don’t take too much space but they aren’t flexible enough to fit inside your pockets like the BeatsX because of their shape. They will, however, be easily stored in a bag and are quite easy to keep around your neck without being too cumbersome. They also come with a small pouch to protect them slightly, but it adds a bit of bulk, making them less portable.

6.0 Case
Type : Pouch
L : 7.4 "
W : 7.1 "
H : 1 "
Volume : 53 Cu. Inches

They come with a small pouch that should protect them against minor scratches but won’t be as good as a hard case like the one that comes with the Bose QuietControl 30. The case does add bulk and make them a bit harder to carry around but should be fine in a bag.

7.5 Build Quality

The Sony WI1000X are well-built around-the-neck headphones. The neckband is solid, yet quite flexible. The plastic used feels dense and shouldn’t break if you were to accidentally drop the headphones. They also have a cable management slot along the neckband to let you choose the cable length you need. However, the cables are thin and don't feel very sturdy. For a more flexible design, take a look at the Sony WI-C600N.

7.0 Stability

The earbuds are fairly stable and shouldn’t pop out of your ears. The neckband design is decently stable and should be fine to run with. However, they don’t come with stability fins to secure a better fit inside your ears and the cables can get caught on an item of clothing, but it shouldn’t happen too often.

Cable
Detachable : Yes
Length : 3.5 ft
Connection : 1/8" TRS

They come with a USB-to-micro USB charging cable and also have a 1/8” TRS audio cable to use the headphones even when the battery is dead.

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6.8

Sound

The Sony WI-1000X is a decent sounding pair of closed-back in-ear headphones. They have a well-extended, consistent, and well-balanced bass, a very good and even mid-range, and a good treble. However, their upper bass/lower mid-range sounds a bit muddy and cluttered and the treble can be sharp and piercing on S and T sounds, although not all users may experience the sharp treble as intensely. Overall, these headphones are a decent choice for a wide variety of genres, from bass-heavy to vocal centric, and even if you don't find their bass heavy-enough, it is possible to add quite a bit of bass using their app EQ.

8.7 Bass
Std. Err.
:
1.94 dB
Low-Frequency Extension
:
17.31 Hz
Low-Bass
:
-1.86 dB
Mid-Bass
:
-0.67 dB
High-Bass
:
2.55 dB

The bass is great. LFE (low-frequency extension) is at 17Hz, which is very good. Low-bass and mid-bass are also very good and within 2dB of our neutral target. This means that the Sony is able to produce a decent amount of low-end thump and rumble, which is important for bass-heavy music and sound effects, as well as the punch and body of bass guitars and kick instruments. However, high-bass, responsible for warmth, is overemphasized by about 3dB, making the overall bass a bit boomy and muddy.

8.4 Mid
Std. Err.
:
2.17 dB
Low-Mid
:
2.6 dB
Mid-Mid
:
0.04 dB
High-Mid
:
-2.15 dB

The mid-range is very good. The overall response throughout the range is even and well-balanced, which is important for the accurate reproduction of vocals and instruments. However, the 6dB tilt favoring lower frequencies makes the vocals a bit thick sounding and the overall mix a little cluttered.

8.0 Treble
Std. Err.
:
3.46 dB
Low-Treble
:
-0.12 dB
Mid-Treble
:
0.4 dB
High-Treble
:
0.26 dB

The treble performance is very good. Low-treble and mid-treble are even and well-balanced, within 0.5dB of our neutral target. This is important for the accurate reproduction of vocals and lead instruments. However, the 15dB peak in the sibilance range around 10KHz could potentially make S and T sounds on these headphones quite sharp and piercing. This will be mostly noticeable on vocals and cymbals but may not be perceived equally as intense across different subjects depending on the size and shape of their ear canals.

9.3 Frequency Response Consistency
Avg. Std. Deviation
:
0.15 dB

The Sony WI1000X have excellent frequency response consistency. 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, then they should be able to get consistent bass and treble delivery every time they use the headphones.

8.1 Imaging
Weighted Group Delay
:
0.11
Weighted Amplitude Mismatch
:
1.3
Weighted Frequency Mismatch
:
1.98
Weighted Phase Mismatch
:
9.84

The imaging is great. The weighted group delay is at 0.11, which is very good. The GD graph also shows that almost the entire group delay response is below the audibility threshold, suggesting a tight bass reproduction and a transparent treble. The relatively high group delay around 25Hz won't be very noticeable to most people. Additionally, the L/R drivers of our test unit were well-matched in amplitude, frequency, and phase response, which is important for the accurate placement and localization of objects (voices, instruments, video games effects) in the stereo image.

1.2 Soundstage
PRTF Accuracy (Std. Dev.)
:
N/A
PRTF Size (Avg.)
:
N/A
PRTF Distance
:
N/A
Openness
:
2.5
Acoustic Space Excitation
:
2.0
Correlated Crosstalk
:
0.0 dB

The soundstage of the Sony WI-1000X is poor. Since creating a large and speaker-like soundstage is partially dependent on having a speaker-like pinna activation, and in-ear headphones bypass the pinna (the outer ear) and don't interact with it, their soundstage will be perceived to be small and located inside the listener's head. Their closed-back design also means that their soundstage won't feel and open as open-back earbuds like the AirPods and the SoundSport Free.

6.6 Total Harmonic Distortion
Weighted THD @ 90
:
3.595
Weighted THD @ 100
:
20.046

The distortion performance of the WI-1000X is about average. The overall amount of harmonic distortion produced throughout the range is rather high, especially in the upper bass under heavier loads. Also, the sharp spikes in THD in the mid and treble ranges could make the sound of those frequencies a bit harsh and impure.

7.8

Isolation

The Sony WI-1000X are active noise cancellation in-ears with good isolation performance. They isolate a great amount of lower frequencies like engine rumbles, which is great for commuting. They also don’t leak much, so you’ll be able to raise your listening volume to mask more ambient noise, making them a decent choice for a daily commute, but also at the office.

7.5 Noise Isolation
Isolation Audio
:
Overall Attenuation
:
-22.95 dB
Bass
:
-19.54 dB
Mid
:
-18.68 dB
Treble
:
-30.34 dB
Self-Noise
:
23.39 dB

The Sony WI1000X have a good isolation performance. With their ANC (active noise cancelling) enabled, these in-ears achieved more than 19dB of isolation in the bass range, which is very good. This means they will able to cancel out the low rumbling noises like airplane and bus engines to a great degree. In the mid-range, important for blocking out speech they isolate by more than 18dB, which is also good. In the treble range, occupied by sharp sounds like S and Ts and air conditioning systems they achieved 30dB of isolation, which is good. They have better isolation than the Bose Hearphones, but don't have the conversation-enhancer feature that the Bose offer.

8.2 Leakage
Leakage Audio
:
Overall Leakage @ 1ft
:
32.57 dB

The leakage performance of the WI-1000X is great. Like most other in-ear headphones, the Sonys don't leak in the bass and mid ranges and the significant portion of the leakage is in a narrow range in treble between 2KHz and 6KHz. This means that the leakage will be thin and mostly consist of sharp sounds. The overall level of the leakage is not very loud either. With the music at 100dB SPL, the leakage averages at 33dB SPL and peaks at around 56dB SPL at 1 foot away, which is just below the noise floor of most offices.

6.0

Microphone

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

The microphone of the Sony WI-1000X is mediocre. In quiet environments, speech recorded or transmitted with this mic will sound relatively thin, noticeably muffled, and lacking in detail. It may also be prone to pops and rumbling noises. In noisy situations, it will struggle to separate speech from ambient noise, even in moderately loud environments such as a busy street.

6.0 Recording Quality
Recorded Speech
:
LFE
:
253.98 Hz
FR Std. Dev.
:
3.32 dB
HFE
:
2451.46 Hz
Weighted THD
:
5.835
Gain
:
40.77 dB

The recording quality of the microphone is mediocre. The bump around 90Hz makes these headphones prone to pops and rumbling noises. The dip around 160Hz means speech recorded/transmitted with this mic may sound a little bit thin. The HFE (high-frequency extension) of 2.5KHz results a speech that is muffled and lacks detail.

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

The noise handling of the microphone is mediocre. In our SpNR test, it achieved a speech-to-noise ratio of 12dB, meaning it is best suited for quiet environments since it will struggle to fully separate speech from ambient noise even in moderately loud situations.

6.7

Active Features

The Sony WI-1000X have decent battery life and are compatible with a great companion app. They last about 10 hours on one charge with ANC on. However, their charging time is at around 3 hours and is a bit above average. They also save power by going into a standby mode after a few minutes of inactivity. They are compatible with the Sony Headphones Connect app which offers a lot of customization options like an EQ and ANC controls.

6.5 Battery
Battery Type
:
Rechargable
Battery Life
:
10.3 hrs
Charge Time
:
3 hrs
Power Saving Feature
:
Standby mode
Audio while charging
:
No
Passive Playback
:
Yes

The WI1000X have a good battery life of about 10 hours with ANC on. This should last you for a whole day without too much problem. They do however take about 3 hours to charge fully, which is a bit above-average. They can save power by going into ‘waiting mode’ and last up to 100 hours with ANC off according to Sony’s specs sheet. They can also be used wired even if the battery is dead, with the provided microUSB to 1/8" TRS cable.

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

The WI-1000X are compatible with the Sony Headphones Connect app and it gives access to lots of customization options, as much as on the WH-1000MX3 over-ears. You can customize the sound to your liking thanks to a graphic equalizer and presets. You can also adjust the amount of noise cancellation to your desire. The app is well designed and easy to use.

6.0

Connectivity

The Sony WI1000X are Bluetooth headphones with a great wireless range that can also be used wired, which can be useful if your battery is dead. However, like most Bluetooth headphones, they have too much latency to be suitable for gaming or watching videos. On the upside, they shouldn’t have latency issues if used wired and they also can connect simultaneously to two devices, on top of having NFC for easier and quicker pairing.

8.8 Bluetooth
Bluetooth Version
:
4.1
Multi-Device Pairing
:
2 Devices
NFC Pairing
:
Yes

The WI-1000X can connect simultaneously to two devices which is great if you want to switch between your computer and your phone. They also have NFC on the right side of the neckband for an easier and quicker pairing procedure.

7.2 Wired
OS Compatibility
:
Not OS specific
Analog Audio
:
Yes
USB Audio
:
No
PS4 Compatible
:
Audio Only
Xbox One Compatible
:
Audio Only
PC Compatible
:
Audio Only

The WI-1000X can also be used with the 1/8” TRS audio cable, which is a pleasant surprise for around-the-neck headphones. However, only audio will work on consoles and the microphone won’t be usable.

0 Base/Dock
Type
:
N/A
Optical Input
:
N/A
Line In
:
N/A
Line Out
:
N/A
USB Input
:
N/A
RCA Input
:
N/A
PS4 Compatible
:
N/A
Xbox One Compatible
:
N/A
PC Compatible
:
N/A
Power Supply
:
N/A
Dock Charging
:
N/A

The Sony WI1000X do not have a base/dock. If you want a versatile headset with a base that you can also use wired check out the Arctis 7 by SteelSeries, but they won’t be as portable.

9.3 Wireless Range
Obstructed Range
:
59 ft
Line of Sight Range
:
172 ft

The wireless range of the Sony WI-1000X is excellent and you should not have any problem walking around a small apartment with the headphones on you. You shouldn’t have any problem if you work out with your audio source on you.

3.0 Latency
Default Latency
:
206 ms
aptX Latency
:
151 ms
aptX(LL) Latency
:
N/A

Like most Bluetooth-only headphones, the WI-1000X have too much latency to watch video content or for gaming. However, they are compatible with the aptX codec, which provides less latency issues, but still won’t be low enough for videos and gaming.

In the box

  • Sony WI-1000X headphones
  • Carrying pouch
  • 7x tip options
  • Charging cable
  • 1/8” TRS audio cable
  • Airplane adapter
  • Manuals

Compared to other Headphones

The Sony WI-1000X are versatile headphones that are decent for every usage except watching video content and gaming because of their high latency. They are stable enough for sports and have an ANC feature which can be useful for commuting or at the office. The around-the-neck design won’t be for everyone even if they are lightweight. On the upside, they offer a lot of customization options with the Sony Headphones Connect app. See our recommendations for the best wireless earbuds, the best noise cancelling earbuds and the best sounding wireless earbuds.

Bose QuietControl 30/QC30 Wireless

The Bose QuietControl 30 and the Sony WI-1000X each have something good going for them. If comfort is the most important thing for you, get the Bose. If you prefer having sound customization, get the Sony, since their app offers an EQ, which the Bose are lacking. They are both pretty good ANC headphones, but the Bose leak a bit less. However, even if the Bose have a more neutral sounding sound, their treble range is less flat than the Sonys. The Sony's build quality is slightly under the Bose's, but since reports that the rubber coating of the QC 30 peels off, the WI-1000X might be better.

Sony WI-C600N Wireless

The Sony WI-C600N and the Sony WI-1000X Wireless are similarly performing headphones, but the ANC feature of the WI-1000X make them a more versatile pair of headphones. Their sound profiles are practically the same, but the WI-1000X are good for commuting as it blocks noticeably more low-end frequencies. They also have more battery life, can connect to two devices simultaneously, and can also be used passively with an audio cable, even if their battery is dead. They also have a rigid neckband that feels sturdier than the WI-C600N but isn’t as flexible.

Jabra Elite 65e Wireless

The Jabra Elite 65e are slightly better headphones than the Sony WI-1000X. They have a better-built and are more comfortable than the Sonys. Their neckband is more flexible and the ear fit is more stable for sports. Both headphones’ isolation performance are very similar, although you really have to get the right fit with the Jabras to get the best isolation effect. On the other hand, the WI-1000X have better overall sound quality and a slightly better battery life. Their companion app also offers more than the Jabra Sound+ app.

Sony WF-1000X Truly Wireless

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.

Sennheiser Momentum In-Ear/HD1 In-Ear Wireless

The Sony WI-1000X are better headphones than the Sennheiser HD1 In-Ear Wireless. They have better sound quality; their app offers more customization and they also have a better isolation performance. They also come with more tip options to find a better fit. However, the neckband of the Sennheiser HD1 feels more high-end, and they come with a hard case that protects the headphones better than the Sonys' pouch.

Bose Hearphones Wireless

The Sony WI-1000X Wireless are better headphones than the Bose Hearphones when it comes to listening to audio content. Their audio quality is better and they also feel better-built. Their noise isolation performance is also better, but they don’t have the nice conversation-enhancer feature of the Hearphones.

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Conclusion

7.0 Mixed Usage
Decent for mixed usage. They have an adjustable active noise canceling feature which is useful for the office and commuting. The around-the-neck design is stable for sports and the compatible app makes it easy to customize the sound to your liking. Unfortunately, their high latency won’t be suitable for watching TV and gaming.
7.0 Critical Listening
Their default sound quality is decent and relatively flat. They do lack a bit of low-bass and might be bright on some S and T sounds. However, they are compatible with the Sony Headphones Connect app which provides you with multiple sound customization options like a parametric EQ. You should also be able to find a comfortable fit with one of the seven tip options, but the in-ear fit might not be for everyone.
7.5 Commute/Travel
Good for commuting. They are ANC headphones and should block a good of ambient noise during your busy commute. They are comfortable for short trips, but the in-ear fit can be fatiguing for some, especially after long listening sessions like on a flight. They are easy to keep on you but aren’t the most portable design.
7.5 Sports/Fitness
Suitable for sports. They are comfortable and stable enough for physical activity. You might not like the around-the-neck design, but it is suitable for sports. The cables might get caught on items of clothing, but this shouldn’t happen too often to be an issue. The good battery life should last you a few workouts and you shouldn’t have any problems with wireless range if you keep your audio source on you.
7.3 Office
Above-average for office use. They isolate a good amount of ambient noise and don’t leak much, so you won’t bother your colleagues if you raise your volume a bit too mask more ambient chatter. The 10-hour battery life should be enough to last you through your whole shift, but the in-ear fit might not be the most comfortable for a whole day of work.
5.8 TV
Unsuitable for watching TV and videos because of the high latency, even with the aptX codec. They are comfortable and sound good, but the latency is a deal breaker.
5.4 Gaming
Bad for gaming. Just like for TV usage, the high latency makes gaming impossible with these headphones.

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