Reviewed on May 18, 2017

Westone W40 HEADPHONES REVIEW

Usage Ratings - Version 1.3.1
6.8
Mixed Usage
6.2
Neutral Sound
7.2
Commute/Travel
7.2
Sports/Fitness
6.9
Office
5.1
Wireless Gaming
6.8
Wired Gaming
6.4
Phone Call
Type : In-ear
Enclosure : Closed-Back
Wireless : No
Noise-Cancelling : No
Mic : Yes
Transducer : Balanced Armature

The Westone W40 are well-designed and durable in-ear headphones. They're stable enough for sports use, and they're portable, so they're easy to carry on you at all times. They also block a lot of ambient noise and barely leak, which makes them versatile for loud and quiet environments. Unfortunately, their sound quality is a bit disappointing, especially, for more critical listeners.

Test Results
Design 8.0
Isolation 8.3
Microphone 6.3
Active Features 0
Connectivity 3.8
Pros
  • Good noise isolation and low leakage.
  • Stable and portable design.
  • Durable build quality.
Cons
  • Below-average sound quality.
  1. Update 11/21/2019: Converted to Test Bench 1.3.1.
  2. Update 11/6/2019: Converted to Test Bench 1.3.
  3. Update 2/16/2018: Converted to Test Bench 1.2.
  4. Update 9/28/2017: The microphone has been tested with our new methodology, as explained here
  5. Update 8/10/2017: Converted to Test Bench 1.1. Learn more about our new versioned test bench system here.

Check Price

8.0

Design

The W40 have a sturdy and stable ear-hook design. They're lightweight, comfortable and thanks to the various tips included in the box you can find the right fit, even if you're not a big fan of in-ear headphones. They also have two detachable cables, which can be replaced, extending the durability of the W40 over most in-ear headphones we've reviewed so far. They're easy to carry on you at all times and come with a tough, hard case that adds a bit of bulk but will protect the W40s from most environmental and accidental damage.

Style

The Westone W40 have an ear-hook-like design which means the earbuds are at an angle to better fit the contours of your ears. They come with two cables; one that looks pretty standard and has the in-line remote and the second, the 'Epic Cable', is braided and gives off a much more high-end appeal. They also have interchangeable faceplates which come in 3 color variations, black, blue and red, to better match your tastes and preferences. However, their overall design feels a bit bland and doesn't quite reflect their hefty price range.

7.5 Comfort
Weight : 0.04 lbs
Clamping Force
:
0 lbs

The W40 have a wide variety of tips to help you find a fit that's comfortable for you. They have a more comfortable fit than the Etymotic ER4XR. They have multiple tip sizes and types, some made of memory foam that better conform to the shape of your ear canal. They're also worn like an ear-hook design, so the earbuds are shaped in a manner that fits snugly within the contours of your ears. This makes them more comfortable than typical in-ears, although if you're not a fan of the in-ear fit, they may still get a bit fatiguing after wearing them for a while.

7.4 Controls
OS Compatibility
:
iOS
Ease of use : Good
Feedback : Decent
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 : No

The W40 have a simple and efficient control scheme. The inline remote is only available on the default cable which is not ideal, but the controls themselves are easy-to-use and well spaced out. They provide the essential functions; call/play/pause, track skipping, and volume controls. The buttons are a bit flat, but they have a good tactile feedback when you press them.

9.3 Breathability
Avg.Temp.Difference : 0.7 C
8.8 Portability
L : 2.4 "
W : 2.6 "
H : 0.8 "
Volume : 4.9 Cu. Inches
Transmitter required : N/A

The W40 are as portable as most in-ear headphones. They will easily fit into your pockets and aren't much of hassle to carry on you at all times. They even come with a sturdy carrying case that also portable. It adds a bit more bulk to W40s so they may not fit into your pants pocket when they're in the case, but it shouldn't be an issue if you keep them in your jacket or your bag.

9.0 Case
Type : Hard case
L : 2.7 "
W : 3.4 "
H : 1.7 "
Volume : 15.6 Cu. Inches

Comes with a tough carrying case that will protect the headphones from scratches, water damage, impacts, and drops. It's a bit bulky, but it's one of the sturdiest cases we tested so far for any in-ear headphone.

8.0 Build Quality

The Westone W40 are sturdy in-ear headphones with a lot of replaceable parts for added durability. They have the regular cable which is relatively thick and has the inline remote. However, it's not as resistant as the second cable provided in the box. The 'Epic Cable' is braided and a lot more durable than any other in-ear cable we've tested so far, but since it doesn't have the in-line remote, it might not be the cable you end up using. Unfortunately, the interchangeable faceplates are not as solid and broke when we tried to change one of them.

7.5 Stability

These headphones are quite stable. They have a pseudo ear-hook design, so the cables adjacent to the earbuds are not as stiff or as stable as other ear-hook models. However, they're still stable enough to run with and won't easily fall out of your ears unless you physically pull them out or the audio cable gets hook on something. This makes them above-average headphones for working out and for sports use.

Headshots 1
Headshots 2
Top

Sound

Their Bass lacks extension and is a little boomy, their Mid Range sounds slightly muddy, and their Treble lacks detail and presence. On the plus side, they perform consistently given a proper fit, and their Imaging and Distortion performance is within acceptable limits. The Beats BeatsX, and 1More Triple Driver In-Ear deliver noticeably better sound quality for a fraction of the price.

Sound Profile
Bass Amount
:
-3.56 db
Treble Amount
:
-4.31 db
9.4 Frequency Response Consistency
Avg. Std. Deviation
:
0.12 dB

Excellent consistency. Like most In-Ears, if the user is able to achieve a proper seal using the multiple tips that come with the W40, then they should be able to achieve consistent results every time they use the headphones.

7.1 Bass Accuracy
Std. Err.
:
3.88 dB
Low-Frequency Extension
:
56.57 Hz
Low-Bass
:
-5.08 dB
Mid-Bass
:
-0.11 dB
High-Bass
:
5.38 dB

Average Bass Range performance. The W40 shows an under-emphasis of about 5dB in low-bass meaning these headphones will lack thump and low-end rumble in their sound. The overemphasis in high-bass translates into excess boominess in the sound, but doesn't make up for the lacking low-bass.

7.0 Mid Accuracy
Std. Err.
:
4.06 dB
Low-Mid
:
6.02 dB
Mid-Mid
:
2.36 dB
High-Mid
:
2.32 dB

Average Mid Range performance. The bump in low-mid, is the continuation of the high-bass overemphasis which continues up to 700Hz. This makes the sound of these headphones noticeably muddy and mid-rangy. High-mid also shows a bit of overemphasis which shifts the tonal balance of these headphones even more towards the Mid Range.

5.5 Treble Accuracy
Std. Err.
:
5.51 dB
Low-Treble
:
-3.49 dB
Mid-Treble
:
-3.06 dB
High-Treble
:
-0.32 dB

Poor Treble Range performance. The dip surrounding 5KHz, which spans from 2KHz to 8KHz noticeably hurts the clarity, detail and brightness of these headphones. The peak 10KHz means that these headphones could sound sharp and sibilant on S and T sounds like cymbals which may be uncomfortable for some. Our tests showed that the 10KHz may be attenuated by using the foam tips instead of the W40s default silicon tips.

6.1 Peaks/Dips
Peaks
:
2.65 db
Dips
:
2.07 db
9.3 Imaging
Weighted Group Delay
:
0.14
Weighted Amplitude Mismatch
:
0.41
Weighted Frequency Mismatch
:
0.89
Weighted Phase Mismatch
:
1.17
0.6 Soundstage
PRTF Accuracy (Std. Dev.)
:
N/A
PRTF Size (Avg.)
:
N/A
PRTF Distance
:
N/A
Openness
:
2.3
Acoustic Space Excitation
:
0.6
7.2 Weighted Harmonic Distortion
WHD @ 90
:
0.295
WHD @ 100
:
0.353
8.3

Isolation

The W40 have good passive isolation. They block enough ambient noise that even in louder environments, like those involved in commuting, you are still able to focus on your audio. They perform as well as some of the active noise canceling headphones we've tested and thanks to their in-ear design they barely leak. They're discrete headphones that you can use at the office without distracting those around you, even if you have your music turned all the way up.

7.7 Noise Isolation
Isolation Audio
:
Overall Attenuation
:
-21.12 dB
Bass
:
-10.43 dB
Mid
:
-20.94 dB
Treble
:
-33.0 dB

Good Isolation. Although these headphones don't have active noise cancellation, they achieve an impressive 10dB of reduction in the Bass Range. This is followed by 20dB of reduction in the Mid and more than 30dB of reduction in the Treble Ranges. All of these values being good and impressive for a passive in-ear design.

9.5 Leakage
Leakage Audio
:
Overall Leakage @ 1ft
:
24.14 dB

Excellent Leakage performance. Like most other closed In-Ear headphones, the W40 leak very little. The significant portion of the leakage is spread between 3KHz and 9KHz which is a narrow range. Additionally, the overall of level of leakage is very low.

6.3

Microphone

Integrated
:
No
In-line
:
Yes
Boom
:
No
Detachable Boom
:
N/A
6.0 Recording Quality
Recorded Speech
:
LFE
:
479.46 Hz
FR Std. Dev.
:
1.64 dB
HFE
:
3319.91 Hz
Weighted THD
:
27.987
Gain
:
27.89 dB
6.6 Noise Handling
Speech + Pink Noise :
Speech + Subway Noise :
SpNR
:
18.07 dB
0

Active Features

No active features.

N/A Battery
Battery Type
:
N/A
Continuous Battery Life
:
N/A
Additional Charges
:
N/A
Total Battery Life
:
N/A
Charge Time
:
N/A
Power Saving Feature
:
N/A
Audio while charging
:
N/A
Passive Playback
:
N/A
Charging Port : N/A
0 App Support
App Name : N/A
iOS : N/A
Android : N/A
macOS : 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

No compatible app.

3.8

Connectivity

0 Bluetooth
Bluetooth Version
:
N/A
Multi-Device Pairing
:
N/A
NFC Pairing
:
N/A
Line of Sight Range
:
N/A
Default Latency
:
N/A
aptX Latency
:
N/A
aptX(LL) Latency
:
N/A
0 Non-Bluetooth Wireless
Non-BT Line of Sight Range
:
N/A
Non-BT Latency
:
N/A
9.5 Wired
Analog Audio
:
Yes
USB Audio
:
No
Detachable : Yes
Length : 4.5 ft
Connection : 1/8" TRRS
Wired Latency
:
0 ms
PC / PS4 Compatibility
PC / PS4 Analog
:
Audio Only
PC / PS4 Wired USB
:
No
PC / PS4 Non-BT Wireless
:
No
Xbox One Compatibility
Xbox One Analog
:
Audio Only
Xbox One Wired USB
:
No
Xbox One 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

In the box

  • Westone W40 Headphones
  • Audio cables (x2)
  • Earbud tips (x9)
  • Wax removal tool
  • Carrying case
  • Manual

Compared to other Headphones

See our recommendations for the best earbuds, the best closed-back headphones, and the best earbuds with a mic.

Shure SE215
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

The Westone W40 are slightly better-wired in-ears than the Shure SE215. The Westone have a mic and in-line controls, which makes them a bit more versatile than the SE215s. The Westone also come with a better case and a lot more accessories than the Shures. On the upside, the Shures have a better bass, mid-range, and a slightly better treble. They also have a slightly better noise isolation performance but it's heavily dependent on the tip and fit in your ears. Both headphones should have about the same performance for isolation and leakage.

KZ AS10
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

The KZ AS-10 are better multi balanced armature headphones than the Westone W40. Their sound quality surpasses significantly the W40. The Westone, on the other hand, have an in-line mic and remote with volume control, that the mic variant of the AS-10 doesn’t have. The W40 also have a better design, thanks to more comfortable earbuds, and are more portable thanks to their solid case. On the other hand, the KZ AS-10 have better sound performance and are cheaper, making them an obvious better choice over the W40.

Etymotic ER4XR
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

The Westone W40 are slightly better-wired in-ears than the Etymotic ER4XR. The Westone come with an additional cable in the box. The extra cable also has a mic and in-line controls, which makes the Westone bit more versatile than the Etymotics. The Westone are also a bit more comfortable since they do not enter the ear canal as deeply as the ER4XR with their in-ear tips. On the upside, the Etymotics have better isolation thanks to their unique in-ear tips, which makes them a lot more suitable to listen to in noisy conditions. They also have a slightly better sound than the Westone with a bit more balanced mid-range and a slightly better treble.

1More Triple Driver
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

The 1More Triple Driver In-Ear are slightly better headphones overall than the Westone W40. The Westone have a more durable and premium design. They also have replaceable cables, a better carrying case, and a more comfortable in-ear fit with a lot of tip options. They also have better noise isolation, which makes them a bit more suitable to use in noisy conditions. On the other hand, the 1More sound better balanced than the Westones. They also offer a better value for your money and many tip options to help you find the right fit.

Jabra Elite 65t Truly Wireless
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

If you want a wireless in-ear, then go for the Jabra Elite 65t, but if you don't want to deal with battery life and wireless reliability issues, go for the Westone W40 instead. The Westone have a more durable and premium design, which comes with two cables in the box. They also have a lot more accessories, and tip sizes so you can easily find a fit that works for you. On the other hand, the Jabra are truly wireless headphones that are a bit more compact to carry around on your person. They also have an EQ so you can better customize their sound profile to your liking. They're a decent option for sports since they have no cable to hinder your movements, but their fit won't be as comfortable as the Westone.

+ Show more
6.8 Mixed Usage

The W40 are decent mixed usage headphones. They have a sturdy, durable design and a stable, comfortable in-ear fit. They also isolate quite well in loud environments and barely leak even at high volumes. This makes them above-average headphones for sports and office use and thanks to their high passive isolation they do well as commuting headphones too. Unfortunately, they have a subpar sound that may disappoint serious listeners.

6.2 Neutral Sound

Mediocre-at-best for neutral listening. The Westone W40 sound a bit too boomy and lack a surprising amount of detail, while still being sibilant on some tracks. There's enough bass, but it doesn't kick like some of the other in-ears. Instead, the big bump in the High-Bass/Low-Mid makes them sound boomy and muddy. That and the small Soundstage due to their in-ear design and high isolation means they won't be the ideal headphones for more neutral listeners. However, the rest of their sound quality is decent enough so that they should be satisfactory as a pair of casual listening headphones.

7.2 Commute/Travel

Above-average for commuting and traveling. They block a lot of ambient noise, they're comfortable and they're easy to carry on you at all times.

7.2 Sports/Fitness

Good for sports. They have a stable, comfortable design and an easy-to-use controls scheme. They're also portable so that you can fit them in your pocket but the audio cable may get tangled or hooked on something when exercising.

6.9 Office

Above-average for office use. They prevent a lot of noise from seeping into your audio and also barely leak so that you won't distract your colleagues even at higher volumes. Unfortunately, they have a subpar sound that may disappoint serious listeners.

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