Sony WI-1000XM2 review: Hi-res audio, noise cancellation make this a winner



From perfecting noise cancellation to enabling high-resolution audio, Japanese electronics maker has come a long way in adding finesse to its wireless hearable products. The latest in its portfolio, the WI-1000XM2, is a pair of wireless earphones with neckband-based design. These earphones seem to have everything that you expect from premium wireless earphones, including a tangle-free design, in-line controls, promising on-battery time, and LDAC support for hi-res audio. On first look, the WI-1000XM2 appears to be an all-rounder in its segment. But is it? Let’s find out:


Design



The Sony WI-1000XM2 is not a design marvel, but its lightweight build makes up for its otherwise boring design. Featuring a flexible silicone neckband, the earphones are easy to use and store. Like other neckband-based hearable products, the Sony WI-1000XM2 has wires connecting its earbuds with rest of its body. For ease of use, the earphones’ ports and controls are all accommodated on the left side. While the left end of the neckband has a power button, there are 3.5mm audio port for wired connectivity, and a USB type-C port for charging. The wire connecting the left earbud have in-line controls — a voice assistant button, volume controllers and a multi-purpose command key to receive calls, control audio tracks, etc. Overall, the Sony WI-1000XM2 has a minimal yet practical design that most will appreciate for its no nonsense approach.


Performance


The Sony WI-1000XM2 cuts no corners on performance metrics — audio output, comfort, on-battery time and noise cancellation. The earphones’ 9mm audio drivers might seem ordinary, but they are delight to the ear and have a good overall feedback. This is due to the earphones’ pre-loaded value-added features, such as LDAC audio coding technology and Digital Sound Enhancement Engine HX (DSEE HX). The LDAC audio coding technology developed by Sony enables a higher transfer rate between the connected device and earphones, resulting in limited or no loss of audio quality due to compression. The DSEE HX, on the other hand, upscales compressed digital music files, further improving the audio output by bringing the quality of audio closer to that of the high-resolution audio format.


Besides an impressive sound output, the Sony WI-1000XM2 also has an equally impressive noise cancellation. The earphones’ angled earbuds create a good vacuum for noise cancellation. And they are comfortably plugged in ears, with a good grip ensuring they do not fall off. As for noise cancellation, it needs to be enabled in the Sony Headphones app (Android and iOS), which is good and has multiple options.


There is an ambient sound control, which allows you to customise noise-cancellation intensity. Therefore, you can either set the earphones to isolate outside noise completely or to focus only on voices from surroundings. Importantly, the ambient sound-control feature works as intended and provides you complete control over one of the earphones’ most crucial features. There is also an adaptive sound-control mode in the app that detects your actions and movements to automatically control the ambient sound. This comes handy if you are on the go and do not want to tweak the noise cancellation manually based on ambience conditions. Though a great addition, the feature seems a little unpolished at present and does not always work very well.


Complementing the power-packed performance is the Sony WI-1000XM2’s on-battery and recharging time. On a full charge, these earphones go on for more than seven hours with noise cancellation enabled, and around nine hours without noise cancellation. Charging time is also quick — from completely drained out to full in around an hour.


Verdict


At Rs 24,990, the Sony WI-1000XM2 is a winner in the premium wireless earphones segment. With an impressive sound output, class-leading noise cancellation and practical value-added features that work, these earphones have a clear edge over peers. The product is a complete package — if you do not care much about water or sweat resistance (they lack any ingress protection).





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