Sony WF-1000Xs are the first totally wireless headphones to feature active noise reduction. They are also the first earphones of this type for the Japanese brand. These direct competitors of Apple AirPods reaped mixed views. Some people love them, others think they are not successful enough. In France, they are found in black or champagne finish around 210 euros.
For this kind of totally wireless headphones, design and fit on the ears are absolutely crucial to their success. In our case, they were fine. They are quite light (9 grams) but not as much as the AirPods.
Unfortunately, they are not waterproof, which means that using them for sports is at your own risk if you sweat profusely. That said, we wore them during an uneventful gym session.
The other thing that disappointed us a bit was that the headphones did not fit as well as we would have liked . They come with a series of in-ear tips to find the best fit possible, but the fins did not provide a satisfactory hold. Sony provides two sizes of fins, but the difference is minimal and neither of us has agreed perfectly.
Also be aware that headphones are more protruding than other models like the Samsung Gear IconX or the Jaybird Run. These are also a little more discreet than the SoundSport Free Bose.
Regarding the case that also serves as charger, it can fit into a pocket but it would be even more practical if it was 30% smaller. Its metal finish is elegant, but it can easily mark if it is carried in a bag with other metal objects.
During our test, we obtained an average of nearly 3 hours of autonomy. But this can go down if the listening volume is high. Competitive models offer superior autonomy and this is clearly an area where Sony will have to progress for the next version.
Its powerful but slight noise reduction
If you manage to make them hold tightly, the WF-1000X you will give you an excellent sound. Under these conditions, we found the rendering to be both dynamic and smooth, with a clarity and bass better defined than on competing models.
But we still insist on the fact that it is really necessary that the headphones are in place because otherwise, the sound is really degraded. The Headphones Connect app offers an equalizer with several presets, but after a few tries we finally decided to do without it.
The noise reduction control options have both impressed and disappointed us. For example, the adaptive mode was able to detect our presence in the subway and activate the "Transport" setting, which is rather great. But the problem is that even at its highest level, the noise reduction is still very slight. And the different settings provide only a minor difference.
There are also some options that are worth it. One can choose to let the ambient noise pass. Headphones also have a hands-free function, but you should know that they operate in mono, that is to say that we hear his interlocutor only one ear. The result is rather correct but not exceptional.
Each earpiece is provided with a button: left on / off and right multifunction button for manage the reading and activation of the Apple or Google Voice Assistant. They are really tiny, but with a little practice we managed to manage the double click to pass a piece and to control the noise reduction.
Some users have reported snags in performance as well as sync issues with some video applications. We have also encountered some concerns and can not say that the performance is of concrete reliability. But note that other 100% wireless headphones have had the same concerns. Bose and Jaybird have used firmware updates to improve the performance of their respective SoundSport Free and Run models.
Sony did the same. Our test drive had firmware 1.05 and the manufacturer released version 1.07. We did our tests on a iPhone X iPhone 6S and Galaxy S8 Plus . The performance improvement after the firmware change is real but we still have some occasional interference. Overall, we were able to use it without major concern. As for audio / video synchronization, a mobile restart allowed us to watch movies on YouTube and Netflix without any problem. Synchronization is not perfect but it approaches it.
As is the case with many headphones Totally wireless, including Bose's AirPods and SoundSport Free, the WF-1000X was not fully completed when it came out. The next version should logically bring significant improvements. But this model still has enough qualities, including a powerful sound, so we can recommend them, provided they are found at a discounted price.