Sony has made some seriously impressive active noise canceling headphones over the course of the last few years. It has a wide array of headphones across all categories including over-the-ear, on-ear, in-ear and now neckbands. Somewhere in between the crowded portfolio, there’s the WI-C400 wireless in-ear neckband in the entry-level segment.
Sony also has WI-1000X in-ear noise cancelling wireless headphones priced at Rs 21,990. Then comes the WI-C400 aimed at those looking for an affordable option. it is priced at Rs 3,990, but some retailers sell it for Rs 3,299.
While all the other types are conventional and have been adopted by many, the neckbands are becoming popular among the commuters. It makes sense as they provide you an almost wireless experience with a better battery life than truly wireless headphones and finer audio than regular wired headphones.
Sony WI-C400, with all its features, looks like a great headphone for audiophiles who commute and need a affordable headphone. To verify this, we put the wireless neckband to test.
Looking at the WI-C400, the first impressions were neither overwhelming nor awful. The looks are decent but the build quality doesn’t seem very durable. Yes, they are flexible, but you can’t twist and keep them in the pocket.
It has a minimalistic around the neck design, with two thick casings at both ends, which accommodate the battery, microphone, and other components. The plastic casings are joined by a slim neckband stem that feels fragile, but it actually isn’t. It’s just the thin audio cables and finicky earbuds that are the inferior elements in design.
These headphones are fairly easy to carry, especially while dangling around your neck. Unfortunately, Sony doesn’t provide a case or a pouch, and they are not flexible enough to carry in the pocket. So you either keep them in a bag or around your neck.
I have been using them for more than a month now, but there’s no change in shape or colour. They look the same as when I received them and I never specifically intended to handle them carefully.
They have easy-to-use control buttons that provide all the essential functions like play/pause, next/previous track, volume controls, pick/disconnect calls. The feedback from the buttons is good and layout is easy to use. It took me just one day to get used to them.
The Sony WI-C400, on the other hand, are average quality in-ear headphones which cannot be recommended for hardcore audiophiles.
On the brighter side, they have a steady bass, impressive mids and loud enough audio. The bass is consistent, but lacks thump and sounds more boomy. That means, it’s not the best for Hip-hop, EDM and DnB lovers. Mid-bass from instruments like kick drums and bass guitars lacks big time, whereas the high-bass is overpowered. That is the reason why the bass isn’t tight on these headphone.
They have good mid-range, but there’s a slight bump in low-mid, which reproduces cluttered vocals and instrumental sound. Especially from instruments like a trumpet, clarinet or violin. Similarly, there’s a bump in high-mids too, which emphasises high pitched vocals and instruments to make it sound honky.
The treble is about average. In most of the ranges, the overall response is quite even. Also, in some cases the mid-treble and low-treble does feel slightly overemphasised.
Unlike most in-ear headphones, the leakage performance is impressive. There’s minimal leakage in the mids and bass, only the treble range is heard out of the headphones till about a feet away.
The microphone performs pretty well for calls in an isolated surrounding. I didn’t experience any muffling at any point of time. But they do pick up ambient noises at places like busy streets or metro trains. If you’re on a call at a extremely noisy place, you’ll hear the noise around you louder than the person speaking to you on the other end.
The WI-C400 has an impressive battery life, but it takes an equally long time to charge as well. They offer around 16 hours of continuous playtime in most cases and take more than 3 hours to charge.
The Sony WI-C400 are undoubtedly comfortable and lightweight in terms of design. They offer great battery life for prolonged usage, but they have mediocre audio quality for critical listening.
They do not block a lot of noise while commuting, but it’s battery life and durable design makes it a good headphone for commuters. Also, they are stable enough for running and other fitness activities as well.