Jack of few trades, master of one
Avaliado nos Estados Unidos em 9 de abril de 2019
Overall, this is a high quality product offering from Sony and a worthy competitor to a Bose QC. Sadly I have decided to return the product for reasons I will describe below, but the device's quality and performance key factors weren't the issue.
First, the positives: Noise-cancelling:
This is top of its class, absolutely wonderful. I tried to switch from Bose QC 35 IIs to this, and the difference in noise reduction is absolutely detectable and almost uncanny. It seems to be much better at filtering lower sounds as well, so while dull rumbles with the QC35 will be quieter, with this Sony they are practically gonezo.
Audio Playback/Sound Quality:
Again, this is a great pair of cans. Reasonable bass, excellent highs and mids. For a non-audiophile, this will likely be one of the best sounding headphones you can own. Compared to the Bose QC35 IIs, it's not a huge difference in my common scenarios (sadly I didn't always get to make the best use of the DAC stuff built into the Sony which clearly wins by a mile), but if you listen with noise cancelling enabled, the superior reduction in background noise makes the audio seem even clearer.
Now for my negatives: Controlling the unit (compared to my trusty Bose):
- It takes 2 full seconds of holding the power button to turn the system on or off
There is this nifty little feature where you can cover your right earpiece with your hand and it will turn off noise cancelling and lower the audio playback volume so you can hear the external world. This works well enough, but usually it looks a little strange and isn't typically what I would use. I tend to either be in a context where I'm listening with no need to interrupt, or I need to turn it off immediately for extended periods. Having to awkwardly hold the power button is cumbersome, but because the ear-holding doesn't pause the playback any sufficiently long interaction will require pausing, which is also not good...
- Play/Pause requires a double tap of the the ear phone
The issues with this are pretty straightforward. I'd say I only had this "gesture" work for me the first time I attempt it about 66% of the time. If you're too low or too high it's not recognized, if you're slow or too fast it's not recognized, if you're too light or too heavy it's not recognized. And repeatedly tapping hard on your own head both looks silly and sounds unpleasant. Way too unreliable for how critical the function is.
- Volume and playback controls are entirely touch based
Swiping up and down on the ear controls volume. If you want any semblance of precision you have to do one quick swipe at a time to go up or down one "tick". If you're too slow it will register them as multiple swipes which can lead to quickly having undesired low or high volumes.
- Skip forward/backward are swiping forward and backward
The same issues for volume apply here as well, generally.
--- There are two aspects of all this touch-based control that I despise
1. The orientation of the swipes is static, and precise. Meaning, if you're lying down trying to skip forwards, you need to swipe from the surface you're on towards the ceiling, or else you'd accidentally adjust volume, and vice-versa. Also, if you're setup such that you're lying on a side, you basically can't interact with the controls if the right ear is covered.
2. The precision required on getting the right part of the earphone with the right part of your finger at the right speeds/pressures is a totally unhelpful and unneeded abstraction from simple buttons. If your gesture doesn't work, there's no feedback to understand what you did wrong.
- The "multi" device syncing:
This may not be as big an issue for other users, but this headphone does NOT support synchronous device pairing/playback. Meaning that you have to manually disconnect from say, your phone, and then manually connect to your laptop or other device. You don't have to re-sync the Bluetooth, but you have to go into menus and fiddle. My Bose QC 35s connect to both my phone and PC at once, and switch between them based on audio-playback-priority. I can be listening to YouTube on my laptop, and if I get a phone call it switches audio to my phone automatically. No such behavior from the Sonys. This feature is the main make/break for me.
- Wind noise-cancelling:
Although the actual level of cancelling is better, the handling of high speed wind is atrocious. Sadly this effect my commute quick often as I take an open ferry most mornings.
- Long-term comfort:
I suspect this would improve with more break in time, but on multiple occasions, a session of 45+ minutes started to get a little painful, and loosening the headband led to it slipping off more than reducing discomfort.
Overall, it's clearly a high quality item, and it does the jobs it does very well, but for my workflow and usecases, it falls quite short.
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