It’s crazy how brain conditioning works. Hearing the same pattern over and over with the same positive outcome.
2 sentences comprised of 4 words that alter your mood in a positive way when you hear them.
TLDR – Without a doubt the best noise-cancelling headphones on the mass market. If you’re in the market, buy them!
The ability to block out the outside world be it a busy train station, airport or even city at the same time having phenomenal audio swirling around your head.
The Sony WH-1000XM2’s, what a shite name. Fortunately, that’s the only negative about them, so if anyone asks what they are, just say either Sony’s or XM2’s.
Now for the good things, of which there are many.
With a flat sound profile, the quality is unreal. Whether it’s Bangalter, Bach or The Beach Boys there’s no compromise. To put it in it’s simplest form, a flat profile sounds as close to the original recording as possible. Unlike the likes of Beats for example, where their drivers are set up for a very Bass-heavy sound profile which compromises everything else. Good if you’re listening to Skrillex and the likes, but throw some James Vincent McMorrow on and you’ll instantly discover how they fall short. You won’t have to worry about that here.
Off the top of my head, I’d say the longest I’ve had them on without removing them once is 13 hours. Waiting to board and then the flight to Hong Kong. One full season of Billions and not 1 issue.
The leather headband and cups are very soft and smooth with plenty of padding. Clamping pressure is a weird one that doesn’t make sense. Whilst being very light for lying hours on end watching aeroplane screens they are tight enough to go for a 5K run when you get off the plane.
When they were first introduced a few reviewers were saying the hinges were weak and break within weeks. Not sure if they had early samples or what but for the amount of time I’ve had them, plus the conditions I put them through, flawless. Same with this whole “Phantom Touch” “ISSUE” which all the big reviewers had. Apparently when in cold conditions there would be phantom touches such as track skip or volume up etc. I can confirm that this is utter bollox. Minus 4 degrees ive been out with them on and no issues what so ever. The same on the other end of the spectrum, 45+ degrees in Houston Texas, again not a problem.
Realistically if you’re using them to block out the world on your commute to work and then in the gym, you’ll be charging them once a week or maybe even every other week. For heavy users, once every few days or a quick 30 minute charge before you head out. Sony rates them for 30 hours of use which is crazy. I’ve only had the notification “Please recharge headset” when they run out of battery twice and that was just walking to the shops and on a train so not much of an issue.
Even if the battery does die, you still have the option to use the 3.5mm headphone jack and cable to use them as normal headphones, you just won’t get the noise cancelling.
2 buttons are all you need. Located on the right cup, the first is the power button. A long press turns on the headset. A short press when the headset is on will give you an audible readout of the battery level, “Battery level, High”, ” Battery level, Medium” and ” Battery level, Low”. Press and hold whilst the headset is on for a good 5 seconds and that will begin the Bluetooth pairing process.
The second button is set by default as the noise-cancelling button. This can be reprogrammed to voice assist in the app though so Siri if you’re on iPhone or Google Assistant on Android. Pres once for notifications and time, press and hold for a voice command, double press to cancel voice command.
Also on the right cup, you have the touchpad. Slide your finger from the back to the front to skip the track, front to back to skip backwards, bottom to top for volume up, top to bottom for volume down. Double tap for pause, touch and hold to disable noise cancelling then release to enable again (handy for when you’re at the till buying something).
A simple to use interface which can transform the experience of using the XM2’s.
Firstly there’s the 3 step noise cancelling optimizer which takes less than 10 seconds to set up. If you’re the finicky type its useful if you’ve had a haircut or are lying down instead of sitting or standing etc.
Next up you have the equalizer. As mentioned earlier the xm2’s come with a flat profile. Whilst personally I’ve left mine that way, you can change it up to a warmer profile, more bass-heavy or balanced. the choice is yours.
All updates can be done through the app. It isn’t the quickest update process so if there is an update, make sure you allow for a good 20 mins.
In my opinion, the XM2’s are the best noise-cancelling headphones you can purchase, this from a guy wearing a Funktion-One T-shirt. Since buying them I’ve probably done 200,000 miles in the air and everything else that comes with that like trains to the airport, waiting in lounges, etc. A couple of people have said I was daft for spending over £300 on headphones, but having flown with said people, i let them use them for the full duration of the flight (3.5-10 hours) they reluctantly give me them back and concede that £300+ for some headphones isn’t a daft idea after all.
***EDIT*** The Sony WH-1000XM3’s are now out, the differences are slightly lighter, cables fit inside the case, they are USB Type C and they’re a lot cheaper to buy (which I would highly recommend doing so).