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The Sony WH-1000XM2 noise-canceling headphones show top performance in the test. It has a very effective active noise canceling (ANC), has one of the best battery lifetimes in the test environment, scores with a balanced sound and practical features. Because the WH-1000XM2 ANC headset comes with a certain level of requirements, it is expected to confirm its predecessor's good points, correct the few faults, and bring some new features.
With the WH-1000XM2 headphones, Sony has managed to retain all the advantages of the MDR-1000X. The sound is as good as ever, and the battery life is even longer, which is appreciable.
Sony WH-1000XM2 Active Noise Cancelling Headphones Review
1. Overview - not finished
Type: Over-ear Noise Cancelling Headphones | Bluetooth: 4.0 | Battery: 30 Hours | Charging: 4 Hours | Drivers: Dynamic | Drivers-Size: 45 mm | Weight: 385g
The device is delivered in a dense cardboard box with a cover, which shows the headphone image and icons illustrating their main advantages. The case’s front side is covered with eco-leather, the back – synthetic fabric.
The scope of delivery is wide enough; inside are the headphones themselves and the rest of the set: a special adapter pocket from a mini-jack to two mini-jacks (for use on airplanes), a carrying case, and a 1.5-meter cable with mini-jack connectors for wired audio source along with a cable with Micro-USB connector for charging.
Sony WH-1000XM2 has a full-size design, which means that the ear fits fully under the ear cushions, which provides the most comfortable fit. The only thing is that, because the ear cushions are made of eco-leather, the ears begin to gradually sweat after an hour of listening to music.
We find the design of the WH-1000XM2 to be quite successful. The design of the MDR-1000x was taken over and improved. It comes in the colors gold and black.
The Sony WH-1000XM2 has a very comfortable fit with fairly soft ear pads that nestle nicely against the head. The ears have enough air. We find the wearing comfort very good, although it’s not perfect. His successor, WH-1000XM3, is even more comfortable in comparison.
At first glance, it may seem that the headphones are made of metal, although, in fact, they are quality plastic. The design has a folding mechanism, which allows you to conveniently transport the headphones in a case that comes with or without them. On the headband of the headphones is a metal plate made of ground metal, which gives the design extra strength. The cups, in turn, are made of plastic with a leather texture.
The Sony WH-1000XM2 supports almost all important codecs for music and standards for connecting to devices. Bluetooth 4.1 and NFC are on board, and the audio standards SBC, AAC, aptX, aptX HD, LDAC (available from Android Oreo).
The LDAC codec is a proprietary development of Sony, which the company is accustomed to say is the most advanced audio coding option for wireless transmission. To believe or not to believe the manufacturer – it’s your business, but compared to AptX HD from Qualcomm, which just got into the definition of Hi-Res, the data transmitted is almost twice (990 kbps vs. 576 kbps). And if in AptX HD sampling rate is 48 kHz at 24 bits, in LDAC, it’s the same 24 bits at 96 kHz sampling rate. LDAC operation is regulated by the application settings on your smartphone, strongly depends on the source file and its parameters.
As the second little delicacy, DSEE HX comes along. This is a sound engine from Sony, which tries to recover the missing data, e.g., in an MP3, through an algorithm to improve the sound experience.
The Bluetooth connection is also stable and doesn’t break down when the user moves to another room – as we have often experienced with the Bose QuietComfort 35 II.
The WH-1000X M2 has a battery life of just under 30 hours of continuous sound reinforcement, and it actually always packs it. The small one needs just under 4 hours to fully recharge. The battery status can be announced by pressing the power button. A standard MicroUSB plug is used as a charging socket. Personally, I would have liked it better if it was a type C plug. The WH-1000X M2 also has a normal 3.5 mm jack connector that can be used even with a flat battery.
In terms of features, Sony offers the Headphones Connect for iOS and Android app for free with your headphones. It allows you to set up the headset’s essential features, which was impossible with the previous version. It’s well-designed and offers many additional features. First of all, it allows you to adjust the filtering of external sounds when you activate the ambient sound mode or even focus only on voices.
The app also makes it possible to determine how the headset is used and to adjust the noise reduction accordingly. To do this, it uses the gyroscope and GPS of the smartphone. This works decently and provides a truly customized noise reduction. In practice, this adaptive control does not always work well and is not very responsive. Manual adjustment is often preferred, even if it requires the application to be used with every change.
Sony provides an automatic noise reduction, which permanently analyses the ambient noise and thus always readjusts the ANC filter. Even the air pressure is included in the calculation of the optimal configuration. According to my impression, Sony has made it to the top of ANC headphones in this area with the WH-1000XM2.
The drivers are two 40 mm copper voice coils (dome) with an aluminum-coated LCP diaphragm. The WH1000x M2 has a frequency response of 4 Hz – 40,000 Hz via cable, and when fed via Bluetooth, the frequency response is 20 Hz – 40,000 Hz.
The WH-1000XM2 does not change the sound experience offered by its predecessor. The warm, soft feel characteristic of the MDR-1000X is found in the WH-1000XM2, with a favored extreme low-frequency response and deep, well-defined bass.
The sound is very good and, above all, much better than that of the Bose QC35II. The highs, lows, and mids are balanced, the feeling of space is tangible, and the dynamics are right. I have not often experienced such good sound. In connection with the app, equalizer settings can be made, or existing presets can be selected. We also appreciated the presence of an equalizer with five frequency bands and a bass boost setting.
Rock is super precise, pop wonderfully balanced, classical music brilliant, and dance or hip-hop tracks full of power and not overdone. We could have benefited from well-ventilated high frequencies, but this is still not the case on this WH-1000XM2.
The Sony WH-1000XM2 is a successful evolution of the MDR-1000X. It builds on the strengths of the MDR-1000X and introduces some significant improvements and new features. The on-board microphones offer good recording quality, which is rarely the case on this kind of headset; thus, you can be heard and understood clearly without having to speak very loudly in quiet environments.
It is comfortable to wear and use with its touch-sensitive buttons and well-thought-out application. There’s also nothing wrong with the active noise reduction that makes the new Sony headphones one of the best on the market.
The sound quality is also excellent, even though this new model has the same small flaws as its predecessor. The battery life is simply excellent, and the application provides some features. Without revolutionizing the genre, Sony is, therefore, offering us a great evolution of its active noise reduction headphones, and the balance is largely positive.