Sony WI-C200 Wireless Headphones Review

Tested using Methodology v1.4
Reviewed Aug 07, 2019 at 10:04 am
Sony WI-C200 Wireless Picture
6.9
Mixed Usage
7.2
Neutral Sound
7.2
Commute/Travel
7.9
Sports/Fitness
6.6
Office
5.3
Wireless Gaming
5.2
Wired Gaming
6.3
Phone Calls
Type In-ear
Enclosure Closed-Back
Wireless Yes
Noise Cancelling No
Mic Yes
Transducer Dynamic

The Sony WI-C200 are decent-sounding in-ear neckband headphones. They are practically identical to the Sony WI-C310, but with very slight design differences. The C200 audio cables aren’t flat, feel a bit flimsier, and they aren’t available in as many different color schemes as the C310. Their performance is decent across the board and they offer good overall value. They are lightweight, easy to carry around, and have a good battery life. However, they don’t isolate well against ambient noise and some may not appreciate the always-on sidetone when using the mic since it feeds your voice and ambient noise back into your headphones. On the upside, if a black or white color scheme is fine for your headphones, you can save a few bucks and get these instead of getting the WI-C310.

Our Verdict

6.9 Mixed Usage

Passable for mixed usage. The Sony WI-C200 have a passable sound profile that will be better suited for bass-heavy genres. Their fit isolates a bit of ambient noise, but won’t fare well in public transit, though it will block out work environment noise like ambient chatter or A/C system noise. They are a good option for sports thanks to their portable and breathable design. These headphones have about 15 hours of battery life, meaning they’ll be great to use at the office during a full work day. Unfortunately, their Bluetooth latency could be too high for some when watching video content or gaming.

Pros
  • Decent audio reproduction.
  • Portable and flexible around-the-neck design.
  • Good battery life.
Cons
  • Slightly cheap build quality.
  • Mushy control buttons.
  • Always-on feedback when using the microphone.
7.2 Neutral Sound

Decent for neutral listening. While they have a decent audio profile, the WI-C200 in-ear fit might not be optimal for neutral listeners. Their bass is quite powerful and a bit boomy while vocals and lead instruments can feel a bit nudged to the back of mix. Their treble is good, but a bit uneven in very high frequencies. Unfortunately, they don’t have a dedicated companion app with an EQ to customize their sound to your liking.

7.2 Commute/Travel

Decent for commuting. The Sony WI-C200 are very portable, can easily rest around your neck, and have a long battery life for the longest trips or rides. They have a decent isolation performance, but they don’t do well against deep engine rumbles. On the upside, you might be able to mask more ambient noise by raising your volume since they don’t leak too much.

7.9 Sports/Fitness

Good for sports. The Sony WI-C200 are very portable and easy to carry around to the gym. Their bud design is very small and doesn’t trap heat inside your ear, which is great since you won’t sweat more than usual wearing them. They are also stable enough for working out, but since the cables are very long, they create big loops and it’s easy to pull the headphones out of your ears.

6.6 Office

Decent for the office. The small buds are fairly comfortable to wear for a while, but the in-ear fit might not be for everyone. Their isolation performance against work environment noises such as ambient chatter and A/C systems is very good. Also, they have a long 15-hour battery life, so they should last you for a couple of work days before needing charging. However, they don’t automatically turn off, so if you get up from your desk and leave them there, be sure to turn them off.

5.3 Wireless Gaming

Poor for gaming. The latency of the headphones won’t be suitable for video games and their in-line microphone recording quality won’t be comparable to that of gaming headset boom microphones. Also, they can’t be customized and don’t have a feature-packed app like some headsets do.

5.2 Wired Gaming
6.3 Phone Calls
  • 6.9 Mixed Usage
  • 7.2 Neutral Sound
  • 7.2 Commute/Travel
  • 7.9 Sports/Fitness
  • 6.6 Office
  • 5.3 Wireless Gaming
  • 5.2 Wired Gaming
  • 6.3 Phone Calls
  1. Update 2/5/2020: Converted to Test Bench 1.4.
  2. Update 11/21/2019: Converted to Test Bench 1.3.1.
  3. Update 11/21/2019: Converted to Test Bench 1.3.

Test Results

perceptual testing image
Design
Design
Style

The Sony WI-C200 are fairly simple around-the-neck headphones with a soft and flexible neckband design. The cables aren't flat like the WI-C310 and are fairly long, which creates a big dangling loop when putting them in your ears. The cables are rubberized, the buds are very small, and they don’t protrude much out of your ears. Unlike the WI-C310, these headphones only come in black or white.

7.0
Design
Comfort
Weight 0.04 lbs
Clamping Force
0 lbs

Like the WI-C-310, the WI-C200 are fairly comfortable for in-ears. They don't go too deeply in your ear canal and don’t apply pressure inside your ear since the buds are very small. The headphones feel lightweight, but some may be annoyed by their long cables that can be bothersome. They come with three tip sizes to help you find the most comfortable fit. However, the in-ear fit might not be the most comfortable to wear for a while.

6.5
Design
Controls
OS Compatibility
Not OS specific
Ease Of Use Good
Feedback Okay
Call/Music Control Yes
Volume Control Yes
Microphone Control No
Channel Mixing
No
Noise Cancelling Control No
Talk-Through
No
Additional Controls Voice Assistant

The WI-C200 have a pretty straightforward in-line remote with a 3-button scheme. You can play/pause your music, take calls with the center button, and double-tap it to trigger your device’s voice assistant. You also have volume controls, and holding them will either skip tracks or go to the previous one. You have audio cues when skipping tracks and when reaching maximum and minimum volume. You also get a clear voice prompt during the pairing procedure, which is useful. Unfortunately, the buttons are a bit mushy, which makes tactile feedback a bit underwhelming.

9.2
Design
Breathability
Avg.Temp.Difference 0.8 C

Like most in-ear headphones, the WI-C200 are very breathable and won’t trap much heat inside your ears. This means you shouldn’t feel a big difference in temperature and won’t sweat more when working out with these.

9.3
Design
Portability
L 3.0 "
W 1.2 "
H 0.6 "
Volume 2 Cu. Inches
Transmitter Required No

Thanks to the flexible neckband design, the WI-C200 can easily be folded into a more compact format and will fit in most pockets or a bag. They are quite easy to carry around your neck as well. These headphones don’t take much space but, unfortunately, don’t come with a case to protect them when you’re on the move.

0
Design
Case
Type No case
L N/A
W N/A
H N/A
Volume N/A

The Sony WI-C200 don’t come with a case or pouch.

6.5
Design
Build Quality

Like the WI-C310, the Sony WI-C200 don’t feel like very durable headphones. The two modules feel like they’re made from thin plastic and are fairly fragile. While the cables are rubberized, they feel thin and look like they could easily be pulled from their bud housing or the modules. On the upside, the buds are magnetic, which helps with cable management when they’re dangling around your neck.

7.0
Design
Stability

The Sony WI-C200 are stable enough for a light run or workout. However, a very small tug on the cable is enough to make the buds fall out of your ears. While their wireless design means you don’t have a wire in the way, the earbud cables are still very long, creating big dangling loops when wearing them, so be careful not to get them hooked on something.

Design
Headshots 1
Design
Headshots 2
Design
Top
Design
In The Box

  • Sony WI-C200 headphones
  • 3x tip options
  • USB-C charging cable
  • Manuals

Sound
Sound
Sound Profile
Bass Amount
1.1 db
Treble Amount
-1.71 db
9.3
Sound
Frequency Response Consistency
Avg. Std. Deviation
0.15 dB

The frequency response consistency is excellent. If the user can 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.

Sound
Raw Frequency Response
8.0
Sound
Bass Accuracy
Std. Err.
2.75 dB
Low-Frequency Extension
10 Hz
Low-Bass
0.19 dB
Mid-Bass
3.19 dB
High-Bass
3.86 dB

The bass performance of the Sony WI-C200 is great. Their LFE (low-frequency extension) is down to 10Hz, which is excellent. There’s a small 0.5dB underemphasis in the low-bass range, which means they may lack a bit of thump and rumble common to bass-heavy genres, but this will barely be audible. The response then gets overemphasized in the high-bass, by about 3dB, which adds a bit of boominess and muddiness to the sound. If you prefer a more bass-heavy profile, check out the Sony WI-XB400.

8.9
Sound
Mid Accuracy
Std. Err.
1.53 dB
Low-Mid
1.34 dB
Mid-Mid
-1.68 dB
High-Mid
-0.0 dB

The mid-range response of the WI-C200 is also great. The vocals and lead instruments will be accurately reproduced. However, the small dip in mid-mid will slightly nudge them to the back of the mix, but this shouldn’t be too audible for most.

8.5
Sound
Treble Accuracy
Std. Err.
1.99 dB
Low-Treble
0.1 dB
Mid-Treble
-1.81 dB
High-Treble
-4.68 dB

The Sony WI-C200 have very good treble performance. The response until 5kHz is well-balanced and even, but there’s a dip centered around 8kHz, followed by a sharp bump at 10kHz. This means that some frequencies will lack detail and brightness, while some other sibilants (S and Ts) will sound overly sharp and piercing. However, not everybody hears the treble frequencies the same way, so your experience may vary.

8.4
Sound
Peaks/Dips
Peaks
1.01 db
Dips
0.9 db
7.2
Sound
Imaging
Weighted Group Delay
0.15
Weighted Amplitude Mismatch
3.34
Weighted Frequency Mismatch
2.67
Weighted Phase Mismatch
3.91

The stereo imaging is decent. Their weighted group delay is at 0.15, which is very low. The group delay graph also shows that the entire response is well below the audibility threshold. This ensures a tight bass and a transparent treble reproduction. However, the L/R drivers of our test unit showed a mismatch in amplitude and the right driver sounded a bit louder, skewing the stereo image. This is will have an effect on the accurate placement and localization of objects (voices, instruments, video game effects) in the stereo image. Note that these results are only valid for our unit and yours may perform differently.

1.2
Sound
Passive Soundstage
PRTF Accuracy (Std. Dev.)
N/A
PRTF Size (Avg.)
N/A
PRTF Distance
N/A
Openness
4.4
Acoustic Space Excitation
1.0

The soundstage is poor. This is because creating an out-of-head and speaker-like soundstage is largely dependent on activating the resonances of the pinna (outer ear). The design of in-ears and earbuds is in such a way that fully bypasses the pinna and doesn't interact with it. Also, because these headphones have a closed-back enclosure, their soundstage won't be perceived to be as open as that of open-back earbuds like the Apple AirPods 2 2019, Google Pixel Buds, or the Bose SoundSport Free.

0
Sound
Virtual Soundstage
Head Modeling
No
Speaker Modeling
No
Room Ambience
No
Head Tracking
No
Virtual Surround
No App
6.9
Sound
Weighted Harmonic Distortion
WHD @ 90
0.438
WHD @ 100
0.395
Sound
Test Settings
Firmware
Unknown
Power
On
Connection
Unknown
Codec
SBC, 16-bit, 48kHz
EQ
No EQ
ANC
No ANC
Tip/Pad
Silicone (small)
Microphone
In-line
Isolation
5.5
Isolation
Noise Isolation
Isolation Audio
Overall Attenuation
-15.57 dB
Bass
-1.14 dB
Mid
-9.12 dB
Treble
-36.9 dB

The Sony WI-C200 have a sub-par noise isolation performance. Their fit doesn’t block much lower frequencies like the rumbling of a bus engine, which means they won’t be ideal for commuting with an isolation performance of only 1dB. On the upside, they isolate by about 9dB in the mid-range, responsible for ambient chatter, which is okay. In the treble range, responsible for sharp S and T sounds and A/C fan noise, they achieved an isolation of 37dB, which is very good.

9.1
Isolation
Leakage
Leakage Audio
Overall Leakage @ 1ft
26.46 dB

The leakage performance is excellent. These headphones don't leak in the bass and mid ranges, which results in a thin-sounding leakage. The significant portion of their leakage is between 2kHz and 5kHz, which is a relatively narrow range. Also, the overall level of the leakage is quiet. With the music at 100dB SPL, the leakage at 1 foot away averages at about 26dB and peaks at 38dB SPL, which is above the noise floor of an average office.

Microphone
Microphone
Microphone Style
Integrated
No
In-Line
Yes
Boom
No
Detachable Boom
No
5.8
Microphone
Recording Quality
Recorded Speech
LFE
522.85 Hz
FR Std. Dev.
3.21 dB
HFE
3466.89 Hz
Weighted THD
1.596
Gain
35.27 dB

The in-line mic has a sub-par recording quality. The LFE of 523Hz results in a recorded or transmitted speech that is very thin. The HFE of 3.5kHz suggests a speech that lacks detail and presence. However, the intelligibility of speech on this microphone will still be understandable in quiet environments.

6.5
Microphone
Noise Handling
Speech + Pink Noise
Speech + Subway Noise
SpNR
16.86 dB

The in-line microphone of the WI-C200 is okay at noise handling. In our SpNR test, it achieved a speech-to-noise ratio of about 17dB, indicating it's best-suited for quiet and moderate environments. However, the mic will struggle to separate speech from ambient noise in loud situations.

Active Features
6.6
Active Features
Battery
Battery Type
Rechargable
Continuous Battery Life
15.6 hrs
Additional Charges
0.0
Total Battery Life
15.6 hrs
Charge Time
2.1 hrs
Power-Saving Feature
No
Audio While Charging
No
Passive Playback
No
Charging Port USB-C

We measured about 15 hours of battery life for a single charge of the WI-C200, which is pretty good and will last you long enough for a full work day without a problem. However, they can take a bit of time to charge with just about two hours. Unfortunately, they don’t have any power saving features, so be sure to turn them off when you’re not using them.

0
Active Features
App Support
App Name No App
iOS No
Android No
macOS No
Windows No
Equalizer
No
ANC Control
No
Mic Control No
Room Effects
No
Playback Control
No
Button Mapping No
Surround Support
No

These headphones aren’t compatible with the Sony Headphones|Connect app and don’t have any dedicated customization options.

Connectivity
6.7
Connectivity
Bluetooth
Bluetooth Version
5.0
Multi-Device Pairing
No
NFC Pairing
No
Line Of Sight Range
164 ft
PC Latency (SBC)
211 ms
PC Latency (aptX)
N/A
PC Latency (aptX HD)
N/A
PC Latency (aptX-LL)
N/A
iOS Latency
145 ms
Android Latency
176 ms

These headphones are Bluetooth 5.0 compatible, so you might get even better results that what we’ve measured if you source supports it as well. However, they can’t be connected to multiple devices simultaneously and don’t support NFC, which is quite rare for Sony headphones.

With 211ms of latency, the Sony WI-C200 might not be the best option to watch video content as some will notice a delay between audio and video. However, some apps and devices offer some sort of compensation, so you might not notice it as much.

0
Connectivity
Non-Bluetooth Wireless
Non-BT Line Of Sight Range
N/A
Non-BT Latency
N/A
0
Connectivity
Wired
Analog Audio
No
USB Audio
No
Detachable No
Length N/A
Connection No Wired Option
Analog/USB Audio Latency
N/A

The Sony WI-C200 are Bluetooth-only headphones and can’t be used with an audio cable.

Connectivity
PC / PS4 Compatibility
PC/PS4 Analog
No
PC/PS4 Wired USB
No
PC/PS4 Non-BT Wireless
No
Connectivity
Xbox One Compatibility
Xbox One Analog
No
Xbox One Wired USB
No
Xbox One Non-BT Wireless
No
0
Connectivity
Base/Dock
Type
No Base/Dock
USB Input
No
Line In
No
Line Out
No
Optical Input
No
RCA Input
No
Dock Charging
No
Power Supply
No Base/Dock

The Sony WI-C200 don’t have a dock.

Compared to other headphones

Comparison picture

The Sony WI-C200 are pretty basic around-the-neck headphones that don’t particularly stand out from the competition and are pretty much identical to the WI-C310. They perform decently in the majority of our tests, without excelling at anything. Unfortunately, they don’t feel like premium headphones and the materials used feel a bit cheap. See our recommendations for the best neckband headphones, the best cheap wireless earbuds, and the best earbuds under $50.

Sony WI-C310 Wireless

The Sony WI-C310 Wireless and Sony WI-C200 are pretty much the same headphones. The main difference between the two models is that the WI-C310 have flat cables, while the WI-C200 have thin cables. The C310 are available in more colors and have slightly better isolation performance.

Sony WI-XB400 EXTRA BASS Wireless

The Sony WI-XB400 EXTRA BASS Wireless and the Sony WI-C200 Wireless are very similar headphones and have nearly identical performance in most uses. The C200 have less bass, but they tend to sound a bit muddy and cluttered, and the treble sounds much more piercing than the XB400. The XB400 have better noise isolation and the microphone is significantly better.

Sony WI-C400 Wireless

The Sony WI-C200 are better neckband headphones than the Sony WI-C400 Wireless. Their flexible neckband is easy to fold into a more compact format that will fit in most pockets. Their sound profile is significantly better, and they take less time to charge. On the other hand, the C400 have NFC pairing and a Bluetooth sync button, but the WI-C200 are Bluetooth 5.0 and have noticeably better wireless range.

JBL Live 200BT Wireless

The Sony WI-C200 and the JBL Live 200BT Wireless are two similar performing headphones. The main difference between the two would be that the Sonys have a flexible band while the JBLs have a solid plastic band that can’t be folded and won’t fit in pockets. However, the Sony offer more battery life than the Live 200BT and are Bluetooth 5.0. On the other hand, the Sonys can’t connect to two devices simultaneously like the JBL Live 200BT can.

Jabra Elite 45e Wireless

The Sony WI-C200 are better headphones than the Jabra Elite 45e Wireless, mainly because of their better audio quality. The Jabra have a very detail-lacking sound and an overemphasized bass, making them sound dark. On the other hand, the Elite 45e have a more comfortable earbud design, they are noticeably better built, and they come with stability fins that are great for physical activity. The Elite 45e also have a companion app with an EQ, which the Sonys are lacking. If you can EQ the Elite 45e to a sound you like, then they are the better choice.

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Sony WI-C200 Wireless Price

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