Sony WI-C200 Wireless HEADPHONES REVIEW

Usage Ratings - Version 1.3
6.9
Mixed Usage
7.0
Neutral Listening
7.2
Commute/Travel
8.0
Sports/Fitness
6.6
Office
5.3
Wireless Gaming
5.1
Wired Gaming
6.2
Phone Call
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.

Test Results
Design 7.1
Isolation 6.7
Microphone 6.1
Active Features 5.9
Connectivity 2.8
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.
  1. Update 11/6/2019: Converted to Test Bench 1.3.

Check Price

7.1

Design

The Sony WI-C200 are straightforward around-the-neck headphones. The buds are small and lightweight, which doesn’t put much pressure inside the ear, making them quite comfortable. Their in-line remote is easy to use, although the buttons are a bit mushy. The neckband is flexible, and you’ll be able to fit them in pockets or a bag easily. Unfortunately, the materials used feel a bit cheap and the bud cables are very long, creating big dangling loops when wearing them that can be a bit bothersome. On the upside, they are stable enough to work out with, if you don’t get the cables hooked on something and don't mind the neckband 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 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.

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

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 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 Portability
L : 3.0 "
W : 1.2 "
H : 0.6 "
Volume : 2 Cu. Inches
Transmitter required : N/A

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 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 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 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.

Headshots 1
Headshots 2
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Sound

Their bass is extended and powerful, their mid-range is very good, and they have an even response in the treble range. However, their bass is slightly boomy and muddy, but this will barely be noticeable to most people. Also, they can sound a bit sharp on already bright tracks due to an overemphasis in the treble range, while some other high frequencies will lack a bit of detail. Overall, these headphones will be better suited for bass-heavy genres and might not be the best option for vocal-centric music. There’s a very minimal difference between the sound signature of these headphones and that of the WI-C310, but most people won’t hear a difference between those two models.

Sound Profile
Neutral
:
9.0
Bass-Heavy
:
7.1
Warm
:
5.3
Bright
:
7.4
7.3 Peaks/Dips
Peaks
:
1.74 db
Dips
:
1.43 db
9.3 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.

7.2 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.

1.1 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.

6.9 Weighted Harmonic Distortion
WHD @ 90
:
0.438
WHD @ 100
:
0.395
6.7

Isolation

The Sony WI-C200 have an okay isolation performance with their in-ear fit. They passively isolate decently well against work environment noises like chatter and A/C system fan noises, but they won’t be a good option for commuting since they don’t block much low-end noises like the rumble of a bus engine. On the upside, they don’t leak much at higher volumes, so you’ll be able to mask more ambient noise by raising your listening volumes without bothering people surrounding you.

5.5 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 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.

6.1

Microphone

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

The in-line microphone of the Sony WI-C200 is mediocre. In quiet environments, speech recorded or transmitted with this mic will sound very thin, muffled, and lacking in detail. However, speech will still be decently understandable. In noisy situations, like in a subway station, the mic will struggle to separate speech from ambient noise. It will, however, do an okay-to-decent job in moderately loud places such as a busy street.

Note: When using the microphone, you have feedback that plays your voice back into your earbuds and it can’t be disabled.

5.8 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 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.

5.9

Active Features

The Sony WI-C200 have a decent battery life with just over 15 hours of continuous playback. This should last you for a few days without needing daily charging, which is nice. However, they don’t have any power saving features and don’t have a dedicated companion app that would offer customization options.

6.6 Battery
Battery Type
:
Rechargable
Continuous Battery Life
:
15.6 hrs
Additional Charges
:
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 App Support
App Name : N/A
iOS : N/A
Android : N/A
Mac OS : N/A
Windows : N/A
Equalizer
:
N/A
ANC control
:
N/A
Mic Control : N/A
Room effects
:
N/A
Playback control
:
N/A
Button Mapping : N/A
Surround Sound : N/A

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

2.8

Connectivity

The Sony WI-C200 are Bluetooth-only wireless headphones that support Bluetooth 5.0. They have a very good wireless range that will allow you to move around without your source, but they have about average latency for Bluetooth headphones, which means some people will notice a delay when watching video content.

7.1 Bluetooth
Bluetooth Version
:
5.0
Multi-Device Pairing
:
No
NFC Pairing
:
No
Line of Sight Range
:
164 ft
Default Latency
:
211 ms
aptX Latency
:
N/A
aptX(LL) Latency
:
N/A

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

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
0 Base/Dock
Type
:
N/A
USB Input
:
N/A
Line In
:
N/A
Line Out
:
N/A
Optical Input
:
N/A
RCA Input
:
N/A
Dock Charging
:
N/A
Power Supply
:
N/A

The Sony WI-C200 don’t have a dock.

In the box

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

Compared to other Headphones

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
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

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-C400 Wireless
SEE PRICE
B&H

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
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

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
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

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.

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.

7.0 Neutral Listening

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.

8.0 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.

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