HWM (Malaysia) - - TEST -

The fi­nal head­phone in our shootout, this is again an im­proved ver­sion of a con­tender from last year. With the WH-1000XM2, Sony has kept the same driv­ers and tun­ing, but added some in­tel­li­gent fea­tures to give you more con­trol over your au­dio via an app on your smart­phone. You can now ad­just the level of am­bi­ent sound, add a vir­tual sur­round sound ef­fect, and even choose which di­rec­tion you hear sounds from.

ANC per­for­mance is ex­cel­lent again, as it re­ally feels like the head­phone cre­ates its own bub­ble of sound once ANC is ac­ti­vated. The head­phone also gets even bet­ter bat­tery life than be­fore too, giv­ing you 30 hours on a sin­gle charge so you’ll be able to en­joy your mu­sic with­out dis­trac­tions for longer. Another wel­come im­prove­ment is the ad­di­tion of a quick charg­ing fea­ture, and that gives you 70 min­utes of play from just 10 min­utes of charge.

Sony has also in­cluded an At­mo­spheric Pres­sure Op­ti­miz­ing fea­ture to take into ac­count how pres­sure dif­fer­ences af­fect sound, so that should give even bet­ter per­for­mance in the air. We didn’t quite get to take a flight to test that on, but we did run the head­phone through our usual test­ing, and found the au­dio per­for­mance to be as ex­cel­lent as be­fore.

For ex­am­ple, on a live record­ing of ‘Old Love’ by Eric Clap­ton on his Un­plugged al­bum, the head­phone did an ex­cel­lent job of imag­ing the en­tire set. Close your eyes and you can clearly pic­ture the master slight off-cen­ter to your left, with the ac­com­pa­ny­ing pi­anist to the right, and the bass gui­tar next off to the far right. The stereo imag­ing and de­tail of the head­phone makes you feel like you’re re­ally right in the crowd with front row seats to an ex­cel­lent per­for­mance.

No sur­prise then that it does best on The Ea­gles’ ‘Ho­tel Cal­i­for­nia’ in our for­mal test­ing, as the acous­tic in­stru­ments re­ally play well to its strengths. Bass is nice and warm, with good depth. Over­all, it seems like the head­phone will per­form well on all gen­res of mu­sic, mak­ing it quite the ver­sa­tile per­former.

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