The big question is whether it can be a valid alternative to the Bose reference QuietComfort 35 II . The latter has inherited a dedicated button to activate the Google Assistant and further consolidates its place in the leading pack of high-end wireless headsets. For short, we say that the Sony is better in some cases and less good in others. However, this does not prevent us from giving them the same overall score because they are really very close.
Their public price is identical, but we can find the Sony for a little cheaper, around 340 euros. Given the proximity of these two products, we encourage you to try them to make your choice.
More Effective Noise Reduction and Increasing Autonomy
Sony Noise Reduction Technology, which was already excellent, has been perfected with the support of atmospheric pressure, an equalizer and a system of control of the ambient sound. The set is supposed to better adapt the sound to the environment. The optimization system according to the atmospheric pressure is also a first. The Headphones Connect application allows you to manage all these settings.
The audio portion does not change compared to the previous model. The sound is always great for a Bluetooth headset. On the other hand, the autonomy has been improved to go up to 30 hours with the noise reduction activated and 40 hours if the supplied cable is used. You will not achieve these numbers if you push the volume hard. But during our intensive test, it took us almost four days before we had to refill. The battery is not removable, as on the QC 35. The fast charge can restore 70 minutes of battery life in 10 minutes. It is done via a micro USB port.
There had been some negative feedback on the finish quality of the MDR-1000X and Sony says it has improved the materials to make the headset a bit more robust. We tested the WH-1000XM2 for a month and we had no problem. In addition, we liked the textured coating that covers the headphones.
Like its predecessor, this model incorporates touch controls in the right earpiece to manage volume, playback and phone calls. They work well overall even if it takes a few times to insist a little to get the desired order.
Sony had the good idea to keep a great function that is the ability to decrease the volume of music by simply posing the hand on the right earpiece. This allows you to hear someone speaking to you without removing the headset. And just remove the hand so that the volume returns to its original level. Very useful on the plane for example when a member of the crew speaks to you.
Let's go back to the optimization tool for noise reduction. It can be accessed via the mobile application or the button on the left earpiece. It allows to modify the settings of the reduction of noise according to whether one wears spectacles or that one has changed hairstyle, which can cause "leaks" at the level of the headphones. The equalizer is used to manage the audio profile, for example to increase or reduce the ambient sound that you want to pass. It can even be filtered to keep only the voices, which is useful for hearing micro announcements at an airport or train station.
All these options make the Sony headphones one of the most richly endowed. That said, this debauchery of features sometimes causes confusion in some settings.
Faced with this, the Bose QC 35 II seems simpler in terms of the settings it allows, which is somewhere quite pleasant. It is also a little lighter and more comfortable to wear than the Sony.
Differences in audio rendering
] The Sony offers a slightly better sound than the Bose. There is a little more clarity than the QC35 II and the Beats Studio Wireless. The Bowers & Wilkins PX is an excellent headphone, but it is more expensive, a little less comfortable and the noise reduction is not as powerful.
The appreciation of the audio qualities also depends greatly from each other's musical tastes. On some titles, we have tipped in favor of Bose or Studio3. But the Sony still manages to satisfy the ears on a wide range of styles by delivering punchy bass, mediums well present and a detailed sound and natural. It is a helmet that can be used for long hours.
It is also one of the only, if not the only, to measure itself with Bose for noise reduction. He did a great job on the streets of New York, the subway and our open offices. But in both cases they are excellent helmets in this field
Let us nevertheless mention a small complaint that some users report against the operation of noise reduction on the WH-1000XM2. If you wear the headphones without listening to music, it cuts off after 5 minutes to preserve the autonomy. So if you want to use noise reduction without music, you will need to use the cable to connect the headphones. In this regard, the audio quality in wired mode is identical to the wireless mode.
Our only other criticism concerns performance for hands-free calling. They are correct but not at the Bose level. This is a point that Sony should improve a bit because it is a product that can address mobile professionals and regular travelers.