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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Bad for gaming. Just like for TV usage, the high latency makes gaming impossible with these headphones.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Update 02/14/2020: After reviewing more Sony headphones, we raised the WI-1000X's App Support score to highlight the added features it provides over other apps. However, we had previously said it would let you adjust the level of noise cancelling, which was incorrect - you can adjust the level of hear-through, not ANC.
The Sony 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. The app is well designed and easy to use.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The Bose QuietControl 30/QC30 Wireless and the Sony WI-1000X Wireless 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 Sony. The Bose's build quality is slightly inferior to the Sonys with reports of the rubber coating of the Bose peeling off over time.
The Sony WI-1000X Wireless are the predecessors of the WI-1000XM2 Wireless. While similar, the battery life of the 1000MX2 isn't as long lasting, even if it charges quicker. The sound profile is also less refined in the newer generation, making it less suitable for those looking for a more neutral sound.
The Sony WI-1000X Wireless and the Sony WF-1000XM3 Truly Wireless are both versatile noise cancelling in-ears, although the WI-1000X have a slight edge. Thanks to their neckband design, their controls are easier-to-use, their battery lasts longer on a charge, and they have much better noise cancelling. The WF-1000XM3 have a very premium design and are a better choice for fans of truly wireless designs.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The Sony WI-1000X Wireless are better headphones than the Bose Hearphones Wireless when it comes to listening to audio content. The Sony 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 Bose.