Reviewed on Apr 05, 2018

Sony WI-C400 Wireless HEADPHONES REVIEW

Usage Ratings - Version 1.2
6.2
Mixed Usage
6.2
Critical Listening
6.6
Commute/Travel
7.2
Sports/Fitness
6.5
Office
4.7
TV
4.5
Gaming
Type : In-ear
Enclosure : Closed-Back
Wireless : Yes
Noise-Cancelling : No
Mic : Yes
Transducer : Dynamic

The Sony WI-C400 are average-at-best wireless in-ears with an easy-to-use control scheme and a long battery life. They're stable enough for sports use and have a decently comfortable fit, but they have a treble-heavy sound that may be a bit too piercing for some. They also lack a lot of bass. They won't be the best headphones for watching a lot of video content either and take a considerable amount of time to charge, but on the upside, they do not leak much even at high volumes.

Test Results
Design 6.9
Sound 6.0
Isolation 6.7
Microphone 6.4
Active Features 5.2
Connectivity 2.5
Pros
  • Lightweight and stable design.
  • Low leakage.
  • Long battery life.
Cons
  • Poor noise isolation.
  • Mediocre-at-best and slightly piercing sound.
  • High latency.

Check Price

6.9

Design

The Sony WI-C400 are decent-looking headphones, with a slightly weak build quality. Like most in-ears, they are stable and very breathable making them an above-average option for sports. They're also decently portable if you don't mind dangling them around your neck. However, the neckband isn't as flexible as the BeastX so you won't be able to fit them in your pockets and unfortunately, their build quality doesn't feel as durable as other similarly designed headphones. The thin audio cables and cheap earbuds make the whole design feel less premium than most of the recent Sony headphones.

Style

The Sony WIC400 look somewhat decent but feel a little cheap and fragile. They have a simple around-the-neck design, with a slim neckband stem and two thick plastic casings to house the electronics. The neckband has a matte finish and a decently polished design that makes them look a little more premium than some of the budget around-the-neck in-ears we've tested like the Mpow Jaws. Unfortunately, this is offset by the thin audio cables and the cheap-looking earbuds. Overall they have an understated style that will work for most but doesn't feel as high-end as some of the more recent Sony releases.

7.0 Comfort
Weight : 0.08 lbs
Clamping Force
:
0 lbs

The Sony WI-C400 have a decently comfortable around-the-neck design and in-ear fit. They're lightweight, and you can adjust the length of the cables so that they do not pull on the earbuds while not being too distracting like on the Mpow Jaws. Unfortunately, the earbud tips are pretty standard. You get 3 different sizes of silicon tips and no other accessories to improve comfort. They do not go in as deeply as some in-ears but if you are not the biggest fan of in-ear designs then you may want to consider the slightly more comfortable earbud fit of the Jabra Elite 45e or Elite 25e.

7.4 Controls
Ease of use : Decent
Feedback : Good
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 : Bluetooth Sync

The Sony WI-C400 have a simple and efficient control scheme. They provide all the essential functions for a Bluetooth headphone; call/music, track-skipping, and volume controls (skipping tracks is done by holding down the volume buttons). Overall, the buttons are responsive and decently easy-to-use once you get familiar with the layout which doesn't take too long.

9.3 Breathability
Avg.Temp.Difference : 0.7 C

The Sony WI-C400 like most in-ears are very breathable. They do not cover the outer-ear so they won't make you sweat more than usual when doing strenuous exercises or workout routines. They do trap a bit of heat within the ear canal, but it's negligible which makes them decently suitable for physical activity and sports.

7.0 Portability
L : 6.5 "
W : 5.4 "
H : 1 "
Volume : 35 Cu. Inches
Transmitter required : N/A

These headphones are fairly portable and easy-to-carry around on your person, especially if you just let them dangle around your neck. However, they're not as flexible as the BeatsX so you can't fold and put them in your pocket. If you do not mind having them around your neck most of the time, then they won't be a hassle to carry around. Unfortunately, they don't come with case or pouch which is slightly disappointing. If you want more portable Sony headphones, take a look at the WI-C310.

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

These headphones do not come with a case or pouch.

6.5 Build Quality

These headphones have a slightly weak build quality but do not feel cheap like some of the budget around the neck designs we've tested. They have a decently flexible neckband that won't easily snap under physical stress, but it's not as flexible as the BeatsX so folding them past a certain point will damage the headphones (see our recommendations for the best neckband headphones). Unfortunately, the audio cables are thin and fragile, and the earbuds look and feel low-end. They feel better built than the Mpow Jaws but are not quite on the level of the Samsung U Flex or JBL Live 200BT.

7.5 Stability

The WIC400 have a stable in-ear, around the neck design for running and sports. They stay put under most circumstances even during more intense physical activities. However, the audio cables leading to the earbuds are a little long and could get caught on an item of clothing which will pull them out of your ears. The neckband has a decent cable management system to mitigate this issue but getting the cable length just right requires a bit of adjustment from time to time. Also, the neckband will sometimes shift around depending on the item of clothing which pulls on cables and may cause the earbuds to slip out of your ears.

Cable
Detachable : N/A
Length : N/A
Connection : N/A

The Sony WI-C400 come with a micro USB charging cable.

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Headshots 1
Headshots 2
6.0

Sound

The Sony WI-C400 is a mediocre sounding pair of closed-back in-ear headphones. They have a consistent bass, a good mid-range and very good imaging. However, their bass lacks quite a bit of thump and rumble, and is boomy. Their mid-range sounds a bit cluttered and too thick on vocals, and their treble is too bright and sharp, especially on S and T sounds. They also don't have a large and speaker like soundstage. Overall, they are not recommended for those who care about sound quality, unless they want to use it for listening to podcasts and audiobooks.

5.9 Bass
Std. Err.
:
5.47 dB
Low-Frequency Extension
:
63.5 Hz
Low-Bass
:
-9.65 dB
Mid-Bass
:
-1.79 dB
High-Bass
:
4.6 dB

The bass is sub-par. With the LFE (low-frequency extension) at 64Hz, and sub-bass lacking by more than 9dB, these headphones won't be able to produce much thump and rumble, which is quite common to bass heavy genres like Dubstep, Hip-hop, and EDM. This is in contrast with most closed-back in-ears like the BeatsX, X3 and Run, which can reach as low as 10Hz. Mid-bass, responsible for the body of bass guitars and punch of kick drums is lacking by about 2dB. On the other hand, high-bass is hyped by about 5dB, but this doesn't makeup for the lacking sub-bass and instead adds boominess and muddiness to the sound.

7.7 Mid
Std. Err.
:
3.08 dB
Low-Mid
:
4.07 dB
Mid-Mid
:
0.22 dB
High-Mid
:
2.54 dB

The Sony WI-C400 has a good mid-range. The 5dB bump in low-mid, which is the continuation of the high-bass overemphasis, thickens vocals and lead instruments and adds clutter to the overall mix. Also, the 3dB bump in high-mid, adds extra emphasis and projection to the higher harmonics of vocals and lead instruments which can make them sound a bit honky.

6.9 Treble
Std. Err.
:
4.37 dB
Low-Treble
:
4.09 dB
Mid-Treble
:
3.97 dB
High-Treble
:
-3.77 dB

The treble of the Sony C400 is about average. The overall response is quite even for most of the range, which is good. But low-treble and mid-treble are overemphasized by 4dB which adds excess brightness and presence to vocals, leads and cymbals. The bump around 9KHz also means that these headphones will sound noticeably sibilant (sharp on S and Ts), especially when considering their lacking bass.

10 Frequency Response Consistency
Avg. Std. Deviation
:
0.0 dB

The Sony WI-C400 has 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. It should be noted, however, that this headphone was measured only once (instead of the usual five), in order to the reduce the wear and tear on our dummy head.

8.1 Imaging
Weighted Group Delay
:
0.16
Weighted Amplitude Mismatch
:
1.0
Weighted Frequency Mismatch
:
3.0
Weighted Phase Mismatch
:
4.77

The imaging is great. The weighted group delay is at 0.16, which is very good. The GD graph also shows that the entire group delay response is below the audibility threshold, suggesting a tight bass reproduction and a transparent treble. The large group delay swings below 20Hz fall below the human auditory range, so should not have a significant effect. 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.

1.5 Soundstage
PRTF Accuracy (Std. Dev.)
:
N/A
PRTF Size (Avg.)
:
N/A
PRTF Distance
:
N/A
Openness
:
4.2
Acoustic Space Excitation
:
1.6
Correlated Crosstalk
:
0.0 dB

The soundstage 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.

6.5 Total Harmonic Distortion
Weighted THD @ 90
:
17.283
Weighted THD @ 100
:
4.994

The harmonic distortion of the C400 is about average. The overall amount of THD is elevated, especially in the bass mid-range. This could make the sound of those frequencies a bit of harsh and brittle which will mostly affect vocals and lead instruments. The shape of the bump in the bass range at 100dB SPL also suggests that these headphones are not capable of producing a lot of bass, and won't respond well to EQ boost in the bass range.

6.7

Isolation

The Sony WI-C400 only isolate passively against ambient noise. They create a somewhat decent seal that prevents a lot of leakage and blocks some high-frequency noise. Unfortunately, it is not enough for the rumbling sounds and ambient chatter of public transit, so you will hear what's going on around you especially in loud environments. On the upside, since they barely leak you can really turn up the volume level of your music to mask some of the ambient noise. 

5.7 Noise Isolation
Isolation Audio
:
Overall Attenuation
:
-16.07 dB
Bass
:
-0.69 dB
Mid
:
-13.69 dB
Treble
:
-34.98 dB
Self-Noise
:
20.34 dB

The Sony WI-C400 has a sub-par isolation. They don't have ANC (active noise cancelling) and don't isolate in the bass range at all, which is occupied by the rumble of airplane and bus engines. In the mid-range, important for blocking out speech, they achieved about 14dB of isolation, which is above-average. However, they reduce outside noise in the treble range by about 35dB which is good for cutting out sharp sounds like S and Ts.

8.6 Leakage
Leakage Audio
:
Overall Leakage @ 1ft
:
30.12 dB

The leakage performance of the Sony WI-C400 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 3KHz and 6KHz. This means that the leakage will mostly consist of sharp sounds like S and Ts. The overall level of the leakage is not very loud either. With the music at 100dB SPL, the leakage will peak at around 60dB SPL at 1 foot away, which is just above the noise floor of most offices.

6.4

Microphone

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

The integrated microphone of the Sony WI-C400 has below-average performance. In quiet environments, speech recorded or transmitted with it will sound quite muffled and lacking in detail, which could make the speech a bit difficult to understand at times. It is also prone to picking up unwanted thump and rumble from the environment. In noisy environments, they are able to separate speech from background noise in moderately loud places like a busy street, but they will struggle in very loud situations like a subway station or gaming competition.

6.1 Recording Quality
Recorded Speech
:
LFE
:
164.69 Hz
FR Std. Dev.
:
2.11 dB
HFE
:
1836.52 Hz
Weighted THD
:
3.049
Gain
:
43.18 dB

The mic has a mediocre recording quality. This microphone has a pretty good bass extension, but the build up in the sub-bass range (below 60Hz) means they are prone to capturing unwanted thump and rumble from the environment. The HFE (high-frequency extension) of 1.8KHz is rather poor and indicates a recorded/transmitted speech that lacks quite a bit of detail and brightness. This will negatively affect the intelligibility of speech, so they are not the best microphone for making calls.

6.8 Noise Handling
Speech + Pink Noise :
Speech + Subway Noise :
SpNR
:
19.23 dB

The noise handling of the WI-C400's microphone is decent. In our SpNR test, they achieved a speech-to-noise ratio of 19dB, meaning they are best suited for quiet and moderately loud environments. However, they will struggle to separate speech from ambient noise in very loud places.

5.2

Active Features

The Sony WIC400 have a long lasting battery life but take a surprisingly long time to charge. They have about 17.5 hours of continuous playtime on average but take a little over 4 hours to charge, which is very high for a simple Bluetooth headphone. They also do not have a lot of power saving features which makes their battery performance slightly worse. Unfortunately, they do not support the Sony| Headphones Connect app so they do not have the customization options of the more premium Sony models.

5.8 Battery
Battery Type
:
Rechargable
Battery Life
:
17.5 hrs
Charge Time
:
4 hrs
Power Saving Feature
:
No
Audio while charging
:
No
Passive Playback
:
No

These headphones have a long battery life of 17.5 hours but also a long charge time. They will easily last you the entire day, even if you're a heavy user, but the 4 hours of charge time means you have to leave them charging overnight. They benefit from a somewhat decent quick charge feature, that gives you an hour's worth of playback from a 15 minute charge, but the 4 hours total charge time may be a deal breaker for some, especially since they do not have power saving features like an auto-off timer or audio while charging.

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 :
Room effects
:
N/A
Playback control
:
N/A
Button Mapping : N/A
Surround Sound : N/A

They do not support the headphones connect app from Sony which is disappointing.

2.5

Connectivity

The Sony WI-C400 support NFC for easy pairing but cannot connect to multiple devices simultaneously. On the upside, they are fairly easy to pair even if you do not use NFC since they have a dedicated power/Bluetooth pairing button. They have a decent range although they perform a bit worse than typical Bluetooth headphones. Unfortunately, they have a fairly high latency performance which makes them not suitable for watching a lot of video content and gaming,

8.0 Bluetooth
Bluetooth Version
:
4.2
Multi-Device Pairing
:
No
NFC Pairing
:
Yes

The WI-C400 have NFC support but do not have simultaneous multi-device pairing. On the upside, they are fairly easy to pair with a dedicated power/Bluetooth pairing button.

0 Wired
OS Compatibility
:
N/A
Analog Audio
:
N/A
USB Audio
:
N/A
PS4 Compatible
:
N/A
Xbox One Compatible
:
N/A
PC Compatible
:
N/A

They have no wired option. If you want a good sounding wired in-ear, check the 1More Triple Driver In-Ear.

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

These headphones do not have a dock. If you want a headphone that's versatile and has a dock, try the SteelSeries Arctis 7. However, it won't be as compact or portable.

6.9 Wireless Range
Obstructed Range
:
27 ft
Line of Sight Range
:
69 ft

These headphones have a decent wireless range but would not be ideal for large rooms or work environments with a lot of walls. They reached up to 27ft when the Bluetooth source was obstructed, which is just below average for most Bluetooth headphones. On the upside, they should have sufficient range for most activities especially if you keep your phone on you, but they won't be able to compete with headphones like the BeatsX or the U flex.

0.5 Latency
Default Latency
:
239 ms
aptX Latency
:
N/A
aptX(LL) Latency
:
N/A

The WI-C400 have quite a bit of latency which is not suitable for watching a lot of video content. They perform a bit worse than typical Bluetooth headphones and have no wired option so they won't be the best headphones for gaming or watching movies.

In the box

  • SOny WI-C400 Headphones
  • USB cable
  • Earbud Tips (x3)
  • Manual

Compared to other Headphones

The Sony WI-C400 are average around-the-neck, in-ears with a long-lasting battery life and a decently comfortable design that you can use for sports. They're also decently flexible and lightweight but do not have the build quality of some o the other around-the-neck headphones we've tested. They have a mediocre sound quality, they lack a bit of bass and can sound slightly piercing on some tracks. They also take a considerably long time to charge and have a high amount of latency which is not suitable for gaming or watching videos. See our recommendations for the best cheap earbuds, the best earbuds for bass, and the best noise cancelling earbuds and in-ears.

Samsung U Flex Wireless
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

The Samsung U Flex Wireless are better headphones than the Sony WI-C400 Wireless. Their sound quality is noticeably better, especially in the bass range, and they offer some customization options if you have a Samsung device as well. While their battery life is slightly shorter, they take less than half the time to charge fully, and you can also use them when charging. They can connect to two devices, have better wireless range, and also lower latency. They also feel more durable and better-built than the Sony WI-C400. The Sonys have NFC compatibility that the U Flex don’t have.

Samsung Level U Pro Wireless
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

The Samsung Level U Pro are better around-the-neck wireless in-ears than the Sony WI-C400. The Level U Pro have a more comfortable fit, a better battery performance overall, and a greater wireless range with multiple codec options. They're also a lot more customizable than the Sony, with a better default sound quality that you can also EQ thanks to the Level app. The Sony, on the other hand, have a much longer battery life on a single charge but do not benefit from some of the power-saving features on the Samsung headset. The Sony also has easier to use controls, although not by much.

JBL Live 200BT Wireless
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

The JBL Live 200BT are noticeably better headphones than the Sony WI-C400 Wireless. Their overall build quality is better and don’t feel as plasticky. Their audio reproduction is also better and suitable for most music genres. You can also connect them to two devices simultaneously and have better wireless range. On the other hand, the Sonys support NFC and have more battery life, although they take more time to charge. Overall, the JBL Live 200BT will offer better value.

Sony WI-C310 Wireless
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

The Sony WI-C310 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-C310 are Bluetooth 5.0 and have noticeably better wireless range.

Sony WI-C200 Wireless
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

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.

Anker SoundBuds Life Wireless
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

The Anker SoundBuds Life are better around-the-neck in-ears than the Sony WI-C400. The Ankers have a much better sound quality and a more premium and durable design despite their thin cables. The Ankers also have a much better battery and latency performance when compared to the Sonys, but on the other hand, the Sonys are more lightweight and have slightly better cable management. The Sony also support NFC, which makes pairing with mobile phones a lot easier.

Beats BeatsX Wireless
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

The Beats BeatsX are a better wireless headset than the Sony WI-C400. The Beats have a better wireless range and latency performance than the Sony, especially when paired to an iOS device. They also have better-balanced sound quality and more durable design that's flexible enough to fold and fit into your pockets. The Sony, on the other hand, have much a longer battery life but do not perform better than the BeatsX in most categories.

Samsung Level On Wireless
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

The Samsung Level On Wireless are not directly comparable to the Sony WI-C400 since they are in-ears and the Level On are on-ear headphones. However, the Level On are noise cancelling headphones, so they perform a bit better at isolating you from low-frequency noise like that of an engine when commuting. They also have a better-balanced sound that you can customize thanks to the Level app on Android. They have a better build quality (although it's not really comparable) and some may prefer the fit of the on-ears over the in-ear headphones like the Sony WI-C400. On the upside, the C400 are a lot more portable. They also leak a lot less since they are small in-ears, but they are worse for most other categories and have a lot more latency when watching videos.

Samsung Level Over Wireless
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

The Samsung Level Over Wireless are a much better wireless headset if you want an over-ear headphone, but the Sony WI-C400 are a better choice if you want something more portable. The Sonys have a wireless around-the-neck design that's a lot easier to carry around on your person than the bulky Level Over Wireless. They're also a lot more breathable and stable for sports and physical activity. On the upside, the Level Over Wireless have a much better sound quality which you can EQ to better match what you're listening to. They're also noise cancelling headphones, so they're a bit more suitable for noisy conditions and commuting, although portability might be an issue for some.

+ Show more

Conclusion

6.2 Mixed Usage

Average for mixed usage. The Sony WI-C400 have a decently comfortable and lightweight design that's stable enough to run with. They also have a long battery life for continuous use. Unfortunately, they have a mediocre-at-best sound quality. They do not isolate as well as other in-ears and take a long time to charge. They also have quite a bit of latency which is not suitable for gaming or watching a lot of videos.

6.2 Critical Listening

Mediocre for critical listening. They have a good mid-range but can sound a bit too forward and piercing on already bright tracks. They also have a lackluster bass range that's missing a lot of thump and rumble so they may sound a bit bland and boring to some. Unfortunately, they are closed-back in-ears so they can't create a spacious and open soundstage which won't be ideal for critical listeners.

6.6 Commute/Travel

Average for commuting. The Sony WI-C400 do not block a lot of noise but they're decently portable, comfortable and fairly easy to use. You can also mask some of the ambient chatter of your commute by raising the volume level since they barely leak.

7.2 Sports/Fitness

Above-average for sports. The WI-C400 are easy-to-use and have an around-the-neck, in-ear design that's stable enough for running. They're also lightweight, decently portable, and wireless. However, the in-ear tips do slide a bit in the ear canal during more strenuous activities.

6.5 Office

Average for office use. The Sony WI-C400 struggle to isolate in loud environments but have very low leakage which won't distract your colleagues. They also have a long battery life and an intuitive control scheme.

4.7 TV

Sub-par for home theater use. They're decently comfortable but have a mediocre sound and too much latency for watching a lot of video content. They're also Bluetooth-only headphones so they have no other connection option to reduce the latency when watching movies.

4.5 Gaming

Below-average for gaming. The Sony WI-C400 have too much latency for gaming and a mediocre-at-best microphone and sound quality. They also do not support the Sony| Headphones Connect app so they have no customization options which are typical for a gaming headset.

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