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Sony WH-1000XM2 review: The soundly designed sequel we deserve

by | Jul 16, 2018 | Lifestyle, Reviews, Tech

Sony’s much-awaited sequel delivers.

There’s one crucial thing to look for in over-ear headphones—the fit. That logic is sound, for purposes varying from shopping for running shoes to acquitting a football player alleged of murder. Like a glove, the Sony WH-1000XM2 fits perfectly. It’s comfortable enough that it sometimes feels like an appendage on my head than an audio peripheral, and that easily trumps any potential setbacks that it has, of which there aren’t all that plenty. It’s a notable improvement over its predecessor, and I’d feel haunted if I didn’t recommend it to you with passion.

But first, a little breakdown of what the headphones have going for it. The foremost thing is its engineering, of which many have claimed, using 2016’s Sony MDR-1000X, to royally—for the lack of a better word—suck. The ergonomics, some user point out, would creak and even break. I personally haven’t found any hardware issues on either headphones, and though I’m not the toughest with handling gadgets, I’m going to cross that issue off. The WH-1000MX feels great, perfectly weighted, and dare I say sturdy. The muffs twists and bends to contortions I’ve yet to get myself used to, but they do it with an ease that leaves me no worry whatsoever that they might break.

As for what’s inside, the Sony WH-1000MX has made plenty of improvements. Take a look at this spec sheet.


Sony WH-1000XM2 specs:

  • Wireless listening: LDAC
  • Bluetooth version: Bluetooth 4.1
  • Effective range: Line of sight approximately 30 ft.
  • Frequency Range: 2.4 GHz band
  • Noise cancellation: Automatic AI Noise Canceling, Personal NC Optimizer, Atmospheric Pressure Optimizing, Ambient Sound Mode, Quick Attention
  • Volume Control: Touch sensor
  • Frequency Response: 4 Hz – 40.000 Hz
  • Frequency Response (Bluetooth): 20 Hz – 20,000 Hz / 20 Hz – 40, 000 Hz
  • Sensitivities (DB/MW): 98-103 dB/mW
  • Plug: L-shaped stereo mini plug
  • Ports: Micro USB, Stereo Mini jack
  • Battery Life: Max 30 hours (continuous music playback); Max 200 hours (idle)
  • Battery Charging time: Approximately 4 hours
  • Weight: 257 grams
  • Colors: Black, Bage
  • Inclusions: Carrying Case, Plug Adaptor for in-flight Use, Headphone cable, Micro USB cable
  • Apps: Sony Headphones Connect (for iOS, Android)
  • More Features: Hands-free calling

These parts working in concert yield a very impressive experience, rooted mostly on the audio and add-on features that Sony smartly folds in. Anyone familiar with the MDR-1000X’s Noise Cancellation will be happy to learn it stays with the WH-1000MX. It’s still great in its precision, and the muffled ambient noise effect built-in is something to incessantly adore for eager beavers at the office.

The controls, meanwhile, haven’t changed a whole lot. It’s the one department where I felt reserved for the headphones. Though it’s less fiddly than those of its predecessor, its controls are fiddly just the same. I constantly hit playback when I pick up the headphones from my desk, or when adjusting them over my head, I sometimes hit Previous or Next.

The sound quality is nothing to scoff at, but I found that it’s wilder with bass. By default, it becomes more of a delight with music that thumps and throbs, such as Nine Inch Nails’ new track, “Over and Out”. Softer vocals, like those peppered in Kelela and Solange’s music, are rendered a little hokey, but it’s nothing messing around the EQ won’t fix. In its default configuration, I had quite the kick out of binge-listening to Mitski’s record, “Puberty 2”—and that’s about where I peak with satisfaction on a sleepy Sunday morning. Perhaps more important, podcasts sound great with the headphones, especially when Volume Boosted, a feature that comes with a lot of podcast players.

The rest is perfectly decent. The 30-hour is nothing worthy of its own pedestal, but it gets the job done, without requiring you to bust out the—at-this-point ancient—micro USB charging port. Bluetooth connectivity is pretty standard, and nothing to complain about if you’ve familiarized yourself with Sony earphones. Toggling it on requires you to hold the Power button for about seven seconds, but other than that, connecting the headphones to a device is mostly frictionless.

So, should you pick up the Sony WH-1000XM2 Wireless NC Headphones?

Yes. The WH-1000XM2 is among the few wireless NC headphones I can wholeheartedly recommend to people. If you have the money—and mind you, PHP 17,999 is quite a sum of money—you’d get your money’s worth, and then some more.

Sony WH-1000XM2 Wireless NC Over-Ear Headphones
Sound Quality8.5
Reader Rating0 Votes0
The Good
Super comfortable fit
Sturdy formfactor
Impressive audio output
The Bad
Fiddly controls and sensors
No USB-Type C support
The Takeaway
Sony's new headphone is comfortable enough that it sometimes feels like an appendage on my head than an audio peripheral, and that easily trumps any potential setbacks that it has, of which there aren’t all that plenty.

About The Author

Armando Dela Cruz

Friendly neighborhood nerdboy, at your service. Follow me on Twitter: @armanddc.