- The most Versatile in-ear Neckband Headphones there is
- Headphones Connect app takes complete advantage
- Quite the all rounder and a good travel headphone option
- Impressive no-compromise sound quality
- A Good alternative for users who want the in-ear experience
- Battery life falls a little short
I think by now, it’s safe to say that we have reviewed all the amazing Noise Cancelling Headphones from this particular XM Series here and we are super proud of that – if you do want to read our Sony WH-1000XM3, click here and for WF-1000XM3, click here. Today we are taking a look at the final offering in their series which is the Sony WI-1000XM3. One question we got was – who is this WI for, considering the fact that we have the WH and WF. Sony made this WI for a great reason and this is more like an alternative for those who doesn’t want the Over ear but wants all that feature in an in-ear. Let’s talk more in this review.
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Look and Feel
The WI-1000XM2 carries the same DNA as the other two counterparts with some really nice color and finish. The WI we reviewed came in this Black with bronze accent, which made it look a lot nicer – almost like a rustic feel to it. That said, the WI is a neckband style in-ear headphones but unlike the other Neckband style we have seen, Sony’s approach in this part is interesting – there are presence of huge modules on the left and right where the important components are stored and the band itself is very flexible. That flexibility offers a good versatility and you can fold it, store it away in a case that comes along with the headphones – its amazing. The finish of the headphone is quite alright with the rubberized band for a grippy fit. Not to forget the ear tips have magnets inside of it to stay attached and avoid the tangle.
The in-ears feel just as premium as the other two and to elevate the experience – the inclusion of both foam tips and silicon tips are a welcoming choice, giving users the right fit. Overall, the Sony WI-1000XM2 has a thoughtful design and feel that makes it easier to use on a day to day basis. The way the module sits mostly to the front shows that the weight is more on the front, therefore its hard to drop or fall from your neck.
What’s nice of Sony to do with the WI is also include a case to store the headphones away when you are not using it and you could even bring extra tips and the accessories that it comes with.
Connectivity and Features
Just like the other XM Series headphones, the WI gets the same Noise Cancelation treatment. But the Processor that’s found in the WI is the same as WH which is the QN1 – this is a little powerful as compared to the QN1e which you can find in the WF, we will tell you why in a bit. Following that, it gets an HD Hybrid Driver System which makes the whole experience a lot better – the driver is close to Sony’s Balanced Armature series – they didn’t skip from offering the best listening quality. As for the rest of the headphones, it has High Resolution Audio Support like DSEE HX and LDAC. It lacks Qualcomm aptX and aptX HD but with LDAC around, you won’t miss the aptX much.
Experience and Sound Quality
Unlike the WF-1000XM3 which is a true-wireless earbud from the same lineup, the WI has a much better sound quality and its all possible to the support of LDAC which did step up the audio experience in general. I was expecting the audio quality to be almost near close to the WH-1000XM3 as for the most part its pretty much identical although the sound quality in incomparable because of the way you wear it. But it does come close, but if you enable the DSEE HX and LDAC, you will like the In-ear as it sits near to the eardrum and surprisingly has a good seal.
I love the sound staging on the WF-1000XM3 with a nice dynamic presence. The mids, highs and the lows were distinctively clear and with the help of Companion you can push it further in the bass department to get a little oomph which it sure does offer. Personally, the lack of LDAC on the WF-1000XM3 puts that at a not-so-audiophile grade true wireless but the WI fills the gap and still offers good amount of indulging experience. We listened to She’s Gone by Tove Lo, Desert Rose by Lolo Zouai, Revolution by Diplo, Killing me Softly by Roberta Flock – it’s really nice.
There’s a good reason why the QN1 processor is a smarter choice because not only you can change your Noise Cancelling capabilities but also be able to calibrate according to the atmospheric pressure just like the WH-1000XM3 and also have the chance to use a Travel adapter with a 3.5mm Jack port on the headphones – this is possibly the most versatile in-ear over neck headphone I have used. The application to control the WI-1000XM3 got a major overhaul and now it has features like Location tracking to remember the kind of mode you want your headphones to be in when you are in that place. The constant update also patched things up and made the experience only better. You also get the features we have seen with the other headphones like Google Assistant, Alexa support and to be able to program the button for shortcuts.
For the most part, there was no distortion or drop in connectivity. I enjoyed the WH-1000XM3. The battery life is a little limited by 9 hours+ but it’s something I don’t mind living with because how many neckband styles offers the opportunity to connect via a Headphone jack? The controls on the WF-1000XM2 is amazing with dedicated buttons for power on, Sense Engine, Play/Pause, Volume and Changing Track.
At the end of the day, it all comes down to one’s preference – good thing Sony got everyone back. To put it short, think of the WI-1000XM3 as the in-ear variant of the WH-1000XM3. Here’s why, the WI is pretty much decked out as much as the WH-1000XM3 is and I am glad Sony took the effort to make the WI because there are users who’d much prefer the in ear experience because of different taste listening experience. Hence the title “In-betweener”. While it may have the in-ear style as the true wireless counterpart, the WI’s neckband isn’t just for support but makes this particular neckband in-ears the most versatile ones in the market with no doubt.