Wireless headsets have their own limitations, but the Sony WH-1000XM2 aims to break new ground.
Call me a fuddy-duddy, but when it comes to headphones, I prefer a pair of studio-class over-ear cans and definitely wired. Many have asked me, ‘Why to remain old-school when it’s the age of going wireless?’ Scoffing at such a preposterous idea, I would like to clear the air by stating some facts, not opinions. Wired headphones offer better audio quality, fidelity and frequency range. Keeping in mind all these factors, when Sony launched the WH-1000XM2 wireless noise-cancelling headset, I stayed clear of it. Once it was tagged by many as one of the best in the business, I had to find out if my wired beliefs have become archaic.
Style and comfort
When we review a product, there’s always the proverbial ‘but’, so let’s first get this out of the way. The WH-1000XM2 feels sturdy. The ear cans are big enough to easily cover the ears, but, unlike its competition, the headband and the hinges are more plastic and less metal. The headband could’ve also been better padded. This certainly puts a question mark over its durability and is a strict no-no for a premium headset that’s priced at ₹ 30,990 (Sony India website). Good news is that online shopping portals are offering at least a ₹ 3,000 discount on the headset. All said, it offers a snug fit.
Strikes a chord
This is where the Sony headphones come to the fore. Press the power button for 7 seconds and it is on. Press slightly longer, it’s discoverable and is paired easily to your device. The first thing we noticed was the pronounced bass, but it doesn’t affect the clarity in any way. Now what one calls good sound quality is a very subjective matter, as different people like different genres of music. But in terms of clarity of bass, rich midrange and clear treble, the WH-1000XM2’s frequency remains consistent.
Coming to noise-cancellation, it is capable of drowning any additional sound, cutting you off from the rest of the world. It is perfect for the office or for travelling. If you live out of a suitcase, then the WH-1000XM2’s atmospheric pressure optimizer feature is ideal for you, as it cancels noise based on your altitude.
Is it the best?
In terms of noise-cancellation and audio quality, the WH-1000XM2 certainly is the best, for it provides a wide frequency range. To personalise the sound quality, Sony has an app, Headphones Connect, that comes with an equalizer, set ambient sound and sound position. As it’s a Bluetooth headset, battery life is also very important. We managed to use the headphones for 4 days on a single charge. It also features touch-sensitive controls for volume, changing tracks, play/pause or call/music on the right ear cup. There’s an inbuilt microphone for answering calls, too. Unfortunately, this is where the sound is muffled and not clearly audible over the phone. All-in-all, the WH-1000XM2 has made me a believer in wireless headphones, and even though it’s an expensive proposition, it’s a must-have for an audiophile.
• Noise cancellation
• Active and app features
• Battery life
• Plastic quality
• Inbuilt microphone