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.
- Good noise isolation and low leakage.
- Stable and portable design.
- Durable build quality.
- Below-average sound quality.
Update 8/10/2017: Converted to Test Bench 1.1. Learn more about our new versioned test bench system here.
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.
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.
The W40 have a wide variety of tips to help you find a fit that's comfortable for you. 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The W40 are mediocre sounding In-Ear headphones. 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Poor Soundstage. Due to the in-ear design, these headphones don't interact with the pinna and therefore their Soundstage will be perceived to be located inside the listener's head as opposed to in front. Also, the closed-back design means that these headphones block the outside ambience considerably, creating a closed-up and isolating Soundstage.
Average Imaging. There is a bit of excess phase shift throughout the range, which hurts the imaging and transparency of the sound a bit. However, the drivers of our test unit were exceptionally matched in amplitude, frequency and phase.
Average harmonic distortion performance. The overall level of harmonic distortion is rather elevated in these headphones, especially in the Treble Range. On the plus side, the increase in the distortion at higher volumes is less (better) than average.
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.
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.
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.
- 100% SpNR
No active features.
No compatible app.
In the box
- Westone W40 Headphones
- Audio cables (x2)
- Earbud tips (x9)
- Wax removal tool
- Carrying case