Sony is one of the early adopters of neckband in-ear headphones. All their neckband earphone designs are unique to one another. The Sony WI-1000X with Digital Noise Cancelling is possibly the most plush-looking neckband earphones, staying in line with the premium positioning of the 1000X series.
The WI-1000X neckband is supported by a metal frame with leather plush cushion not unlike headphones. The earbud cables are adequately short, and any excess cables can be kept neatly into the neckband groove. While the neckband is not lightweight, it does not feel heavy around my neck, partly because I put them outside my shirt collar instead of inside my shirt.
I love wearing neckbands all day at work, as they do not slip off my neck like normal wireless earphones do. The WI-1000X helps tremendously in notifying me of incoming calls by vibration. Its digital noise cancelling works very well in eliminating low and mid-frequency noises, while effective in dulling the higher frequencies. The ambient sound mode lets in open sounds so that I do not get entirely cut-off from the surrounding.
The companion app, Sony Headphones Connect, lets you adjust audio characteristics like EQ, Sound Position Control, Virtual Surround Sound. The Adaptive Sound Control can even detect your activity (Stay, Walk, Run, Travel) and automatically adjusts the ambient modes. The WI-1000X runs ANC Optimiser to further customise your sound according to the atmospheric pressure, since sound pressure changes with different altitudes.
The WI-1000X supports all the popular wireless audio codecs, like SBC, AAC, LDAC, aptX, aptX HD. Wireless audio is excellent with no discernible audio compression artefacts, but if you are a wired lover, the WI-1000X also supports wired audio via the micro USB port, one of the few earphones I know of that supports this flexibility. With the included flight adapter, you can use the earphones for in-flight entertainment.
With so many interesting features, I almost forgot to mention the most important feature – audio quality. The WI-1000X is driven by a 9mm dynamic driver and a Balanced Armature unit, resulting in a signature Sony tuning of bright, detailed treble and tight bass. The highs are clean and adequately airy without the harshness, while the lows are not as boomy as the mega bass series, but well-balanced to deliver sufficient oomph. They might not sound accurate for an audiophile, but they make modern tracks sound good.
The WI-1000X has good battery life with 14 hours of wireless playtime. The ambient mode turns off automatically when not in use, so that battery life is extended. They last about five days at work with occasional music listening and actively connected to my smartphone.
There are so many useful features on the WI-1000X and for the price, it beats many of the other premium noise cancelling headphones in this area. Together with its premium build, good ergonomics, as well as stellar sound, Sony’s flagship neckband earphones has set the bar for other wireless neckband earphones to follow.