Sony has really upped its audio game in the past couple of years. After entering the noise cancelling range and really taking on the likes of Bose, it is now clearly pushing the boundaries with innovative products. The Sony WI-1000Xm2 is one such device.
The Sony WI-1000Xm2 has a very familiar design. The neck band style has been quite popular and almost overtaken by the true wireless earbud models. However, in bringing this design to its successful high-performance 1000X series, Sony has made it simpler than ever before. All this unit has is a power button and a USB-C charging port behind a flap. It also has a 3.5mm port which is the really unique aspect. This lets users connect to a wired source when needed. For frequent fliers, Sony has added an airline audio adapter in the box, which makes this a great value product for a lot of users.
The Sony WI-1000Xm2 is all about customisation. And the headphone takes this way beyond just getting the silicone tips that are perfect fit for your ears. The Sony Headphones app lets you analyse the ear shape and earphones optimises for your kind of ear. Yeah, you read that right. It’s a bit of work though as you have to click pictures of your ears using the app and then let the app figure out what kind of ear you have. Didn’t happen for me in one go, but it was fun.
Also, the noise cancellation too can be optimised for the atmospheric pressure you are in. I used the noise cancelling first at the noisy Delhi airport and then optimised it again on the flight using the app. This is a good feature as often the air pressure impacts the noise cancellation in many ways. The earphones have to hear right to cancel the noise.
I tried the headphones on a long haul flight from Delhi to Las Vegas, connecting the wireless unit to the entertainment console via a 3.5mm jack. The Air France flights I took did not need the adapters. Watching Once Upon A Time in Hollywood, I was often turning to the left and right to see what the noise was. This is the superb 360-degree audio profile of the headphones at play. There was a scene where I could feel the flies buzz around me. Getting this kind of an output from airline entertainment system is quite an achievement.
In fact, in the Sony Headphones app you can choose other apps that have 3D audio which you can optimise for the Sony WI-1000Xm2. I did use this a bit, but I would rather stick to my playlists.
Through the 20-hour long journey, there were times when I dozed off listening to just music. The noise cancellation is good and cuts out the engine drone almost fully. However, when you are not listening to anything and just letting the noise cancellation help you concentrate or sleep, the earphones switch off thinking it is not in use. You have to switch off the auto off function using the app to let you enjoy what I think is the best part of noise cancellation, cancelling noise.
The Sony WI-1000Xm2 has audio output that will keep even audiophiles happy. No, they will not take anything that comes in this form factor seriously. But for some time now, great audio has not been yoked to large headphones. The app also lets you choose between preset modes like relaxed and vibrant with marked difference in the profiles, or you can toggle the equaliser on your own. Whatever you do, you can get the music to be just perfect for you. On the Air France playlist was a set of songs that let you sleep better and this was where the earphones came on their own, creating a warm roomy space inside which soft music was playing for you to slowly slip into a deep slumber.
The battery on the Sony WI-1000Xm2 lasted almost the full nine-hour flight from Delhi to Paris and a movie of the Paris to Las Vegas leg. When the juice finally drained, it took just about 15 minutes of charging to get this back to about 30 per cent.
One has to be mindful that the neck band of the Sony WI-1000Xm2 is slightly heavy, maybe because of the large battery. And these extra grams do come into play if you are like me on a long haul flight.
At the end of the day, the Sony WI-1000Xm2 is a stunningly good device which high-definition audio quality, good battery life and a wide range of customisations. I would recommend this to anyone willing to spend for their music quality and for peace and quiet while on the move.