Is this the Rolls of fully wireless headphones called True Wireless? In any case, this is the impression that the last IFA in Berlin left these WF-1000Xs. Quite simply because they are the only ones of their kind to offer active noise reduction, as on the high-end QC 35 II headphones from Bose or like the excellent WH-1000XM2 … from Sony precisely!
From the Rolls, the WF-1000X have in any case the aesthetic attributes. Chrome is certainly affixed to plastic, but the gleaming appearance of headphones does not go unnoticed. And since they come with three pairs of silicone tips and three more foam tips, it’s very easy to find the ones that best fit your ears. An important step since the headphones are exempt from all wire and it is therefore more risky to lose them than to lose a conventional wired device. However, note that, well in place in the ear canals and secured by flexible plastic lugs, the WF-1000X stay perfectly in place At no time did we fear that they would fall from our ears.
A storage case that charges the headphones
The headphones come with a case that acts as both a case and a charger when not in use. Now a classic feature found in all competitors, starting with Apple’s AirPods or Divacore’s AntiPods. The autonomy of the latter exceeds by far that of the Sony models which only held, according to our reviews, only 2 h 19 in a row with the noise reduction activated.
Without, we barely go up to 2 h 43. We are therefore far from the promise of Sony of 3 hours per charge and 9 hours using the recharging function of the charging case. We reach here a little less than 7 hours in all. The charge and connection indicators are directly integrated into the earphones: the headset turns red when it is charging, blue when it connects to Bluetooth.
Good application, but poor noise reduction
This first disappointment concerning autonomy is accentuated by another which relates to active noise reduction. If this function is more than attractive on paper, it is simply ineffective in use. You can’t hear any difference depending on whether the feature is enabled or not. We will simply be satisfied with the passive insulation, already very effective, offered by the ear-buds.
It is all the more regrettable that this noise reduction is ineffective since the Sony “Headphones” application is completely complete for precisely managing it. It is possible to choose the intensity of the reduction and to adjust it automatically according to the action that is being performed. We can then go from a maximum attenuation in transport to the perception of voices when we are, for example, in the office and we have to keep hearing our colleagues. But this system is much more effective and useful with the lareview WH-1000XM2 headphones from Sony which, for its part, offers a very noticeable active noise reduction.
Sound quality makes (almost) everything forgive
Despite these two important, but not necessarily crippling, flaws, this pair of Sony headphones has a weighty argument in its pocket: its sound quality. It certainly offers the best audio quality of all True Wireless headphones reviewed by the editorial staff to date. Obviously, the bass will never be as deep on this type of device as on Beats headphones for example, but that is not the point. The rendering is very detailed, precise. The voices are flattered by a good performance on the side of the mid frequencies.
The treble is likely to be slightly too metallic for those who are particularly sensitive to this defect, especially when the instruments stack in this high part of the spectrum. We therefore advise you, as much as possible, to try them before buying them. In any case, the different strata remain overall quite distinct, while the distortion is almost nonexistent even at high volume.
For those who are used to watching series and movies on their smartphones, note that there is an inherent latency in this system of headphones without wire. Here, the listener on the left is the master and transmits the information to the one on the right. For the synchronization to be perfect, the listener on the left must therefore slightly shift the broadcast relative to the source so that it is reproduced at the same time as that on the right. This results in a sufficiently noticeable shift between the image and the sound for it to be disturbing; unless you can compensate for this delay in the settings of the playback application (VLC offers this, for example).