There was a time when headphones served just one purpose: help you listen to music. Gone are those days as with smart technology on the rise, companies are using headphones more than just a ‘listening device’. Sony has been a pioneer when it comes to launching headphones which are known to be equipped with the latest tech. It’s no different with its recently launched Sony WH-1000XM2. Priced at Rs 30,990, the headphones embrace new features like touch-sensitive controls, integrating Google Voice Assistant and emphasising on high quality audio output. We spent some time with the device to see if the Sony WH-1000XM2 has lived up to our expectations or not. Here’s our full review:
Design has always been Sony’s forte across product categories and headphones aren’t an exception. The Sony WH-1000XM2 is a good example of what premium headphones should look like; the outer shell of the ear-cups is covered with leather while the insides are properly cloaked with cushiony leather which really feels soft and comfortable when you put it on for long hours. There’s no denying it looks so much like its predecessor but since they got it right in their first attempt they might as well continue.
The fit is perfect as it just sits on your ears properly blocking all the extra noise from penetrating inside. Having said that, what we think Sony should have done is also covered the main frame with leather it would’ve looked even better. The metal portion at the top kind of turns you off.
The headphones have a very minimalistic approach hence you won’t find a lot of buttons and control keys on the ear-cups — it is all touch sensitive. The only buttons you’ll find are the power on/off button and the noise-cancellation button which are located at the side rim of the ear-cups making it convenient to reach it with your thumb without any hassle.
If you’re a big music enthusiast, you would definitely fall in love with these incredible headphones the moment you put them on. While last year’s version was already the best we could get out of premium headphones, Sony decided to make it even better with the Sony WH-1000XM2 by adding a couple of more features.
It comes with 40mm dome type drivers and has a frequency response of 4 Hz-40,000 Hz. These new cans come with Sense Engine technology — what it basically does is administers your surrounding and plays music according to the noise coming from outside. For example, if you’re travelling in a car or an airplane, it’ll be much quieter and you’ll be able to experience the joy of proper active noise-cancellation. If you’re in an airport waiting for your flight, the music will stop when the announcements are made.
Sony has gone all out in terms of sound quality, the all new WH-1000XM2 comes with Hi-Res, S-Master HX and DSEE HX for enhanced audio output. All of these features focus on high quality audio. Hi-Res means you can play loss-less music and S-Master HX ensures all the distortions are reduced. The 40mm drivers include Liquid Crystal Polymer (LCP) diaphragm which basically handles punchier sounds and heavier beats.
All this looks great on paper but we really had to try it ourselves. We downloaded a bunch of lossless files from across genres to check its dynamic range. Starting off with some David Bowie, music from the late 60’s and early 70’s, pop, electronic rock, jazz –you name it and he had it all covered. If you’re into that sort of music – Bowie, that is — with soulful vocals just warming up your ears, you’ll get to experience it even better with these headphones on. The instruments just come alive without over shadowing his vocals, (‘The man who sold the world’ was on repeat!). The highs can get a little too high at times but nothing to worry about.
Jumping straight to the 90’s, early 2000’s, we checked out some old school hip-hop, R&B, pop and that’s when we experienced the punchy bass. Jamming to Tupac’s estranged but incredible music, Mary J Blige and Robin Thicke ruling R&B and definitely some boy bands like NSYNC, Backstreet Boys and Blue taking over pop.
Trying different genres gives you a better understanding of the headphones dynamic range and we were definitely not disappointed. It might be a little hassle to find lossless files of old songs but some of the music streaming apps supports the format so you might want to check that out.
The touch-sensitive controls on the panel are easy to get used to, but might get annoying at times when you randomly move your hand around the headphone and the song pauses. It comes with a headphone jack which you can use if you run out of battery. As far as connectivity is concerned, it supports Bluetooth, NFC and LDAC (which isn’t very common) but what it does is transfers digital audio files 3x faster than Bluetooth also enhancing audio quality bringing it closer to Hi-Res files. Frankly speaking all these features, except for Hi-Res, normal listeners won’t be able to make out the difference; it will definitely grab a lot of attention but won’t really make a difference to their listening experience.
Sony has upgraded the battery with these headphones and offers a battery life of up to 30 hours on a single charge. A quick 10 minutes charge will give you a maximum of 70 minutes of listening time. During our time with the device, we were really pleased with the battery life, it lasted a good 3-4 days with an average of 2-3 hours of listening every day.
If you’ve been looking to buy really good headphones for yourself and you don’t mind spending the money, the Sony WH-1000XM2 is the way to go. There’s even an app called ‘Sony Headphones Connect’ available both on Android and iOS, which will help you configure the settings among other things.
However, if you’re looking for more options in the same price category, check out Bose QC 35 II which is also one of the best pair of headphones available in the market.