Good news for sporty audio lovers: At IFA 2019, Sony announced it will be expanding its range of noise-canceling headphones. As well as the true wireless WF-1000XM3s and the beloved over-ear WH-1000XM3s, Sony is releasing an updated version of their wireless model with noise-canceling technology called the WI-1000XM2.
The WI-1000XM2s use a similar approach to noise cancellation as the other products in the line, but they boast a new QN1 noise-canceling processor that Sony says has “best-in-class signal-to-noise ratio” and low distortion, making it ideal for portable devices.
Two microphones sit on top of the earbuds to facilitate the noise canceling, and there’s an inline microphone as well so you can use the headphones to place calls from your smartphone.
In addition to the microphone, there are standard inline controls with buttons for volume up and down, play/pause, and skipping tracks forward or backward.
The headband that holds the headphones is rubbery and very flexible. It feels like it could withstand some serious abuse, meaning these would make good traveling headphones. They come with a traveling case too, and they fold up to a surprisingly small size considering the heft of the headband.
The stand out feature, however, is the noise canceling. The WI-1000XM2s have impressive noise-canceling for in-ear buds though of course it’s not as good as on an over-ear pair such as the WH-1000XM3s. But one feature the wireless headphones do borrow from their over-ear brethren is the ambient sound mode. If you want to be able to hear sounds happening around you while still listening to your music, you can enable ambient sound mode. This uses the microphones to pick up sounds like voices, honking, and announcements and pipe these sounds over your music.
This could make the WI-1000XM2s a great pair of headphones for running or other outside exercises, as you can enjoy great-sounding music while also being alerted to any dangers around you such as car horns.
In our quick hands-on with the headphones, the audio quality was nice and bright, and well-balanced without being too heavy or too light on the bass. True audiophiles looking for the best noise-canceling experience will likely still gravitate to the WH-1000XM3s, but for those looking for a durable pair of noise-canceling wireless headphones, the WI-1000XM2s could be it.
The WI-1000XM2s will be releasing in January 2020 in Europe for €330, with a U.S. release to come some time later.