These are an update to the Sony Wi-C300 Bluetooth headphones that they introduced a little over a year ago. When those were introduced, I wrote that they were a steal: Great comfort, excellent Bluetooth performance and decent sound at a very good price. They are not the...
These are an update to the Sony Wi-C300 Bluetooth headphones that they introduced a little over a year ago. When those were introduced, I wrote that they were a steal: Great comfort, excellent Bluetooth performance and decent sound at a very good price. They are not the best sounding Bluetooth headphones I own, but they are the most comfortable to wear, and I find myself using them very regularly, even a year later (and they still work great).
I was excited to get these, as they improve a things things about the previous generation while maintaining all the other advantages (and even carrying a cheaper list price).
Happily, these don''t disappoint. They are just as comfortable as the previous generation (can be worn for many hours without discomfort), the battery life is FAR better, the cord is better, and even the sound quality is better--although I would still call the sound overall just decent.
So let''s break it down.
In terms of sound, what you get here is clear highs, very agreeable mids, and limited bass. Compared to the previous generation, the highs are a bit more accentuated, and all the instruments and vocals are well articulated. With respect to the overall sound, these sound less congested on complex music than the previous genreation. There''s still a SLIGHT bit of harshness at higher sound levels. But, they remain easy to listen to. As with the previous generation, the mids are much better balanced in these than in many earphones--even some costing many times the price. The bass is the weak link: There''s not much of it. What you hear in the bass region is fine, but limited bass is a deal breaker for you, these won''t be your earphones. It seems the bass may have been ever-so-slightly improved over the previous generation, but the difference isn''t huge.
The sound, on the whole, is detailed and pleasant. I find these easy to listen to for very extended periods. But let''s be clear: These are not audiophile headphones. To be honest, few Bluetooth headsets offer an audiophile experience, and the ones that do are very expensive. But these are headphones you can listen to for a long time without feeling the need to rip them off--and that in itself is a win in this class.
One thing I like a lot about this earbud design is that the earbuds are small and light. Because these are single driver earbuds, and because there''s a separate battery pack on the cable, these fit very well inside the ear canal. These are FAR more comfortable to use than most in-ear headphones, as a result. You only get three sizes of silicone earbud covers to choose from in the package, but I find the mid-sized ones (that come installed by default) to fit just fine. You don''t get any clips to go in or around your ears, so while these are extremely comfortable, they won''t stay in under conditions of stress. So these are probably not the earbuds you''ll want if you engaged in any aggressive sports activity. .
The battery is charged via a USB-C port (see photo). This is an upgrade over the previous generation, which used a more fragile micro-USB port. The package includes a standard USB-A to USB-C cable that can plug into any compatible USB charger. I like that MUCH more than the proprietary chargers that companies like Jaybird use. It means that I will never worry about losing the charger. They take about 3 hours to fully charge (about 1 more hour than the previous generation) and I got somewhat over 13 hours on a full charge, which is terrific and about TWICE what the battery life of the previous generation.
The ergonomics are satisfactory. There are two "bulbs" on the cord connecting the left and right buds. One bulb contains the battery, and the second bulb houses the controls (on/off/Bluetooth_pair, volume up, volume down, pause, skip forward, skip back). Like most earbuds, there are three buttons, and all do double duty depending on how long you hold them. The weight of everything: earbuds--cable, two bulbs--is quite light, and you quickly forget you''re wearing them.
These headphones have fixed the assymetry issue of the previous genration and have greatly increased the length of the cord connecting the headphones. With the previous generation, although they are sold as "behind neck" earphones, I found they were too short to be worn comfortablly that way, so I wear them with the cord in front of me. With this new set of headphones, the cable is about twice the length and comfortably fits behind the neck. That''s a much appreciated improvement.
The buds announce power on, when a Bluetooth connection is formed, and when you power them down.
Bluetooth performance itself is excellent. Pairing was fast and reliable every time I turned them on--a rare experience with inexpensive Bluetooth headphones. And they held a good Bluetooth connection even across the entirety of a floor of a large house. I would even say that Bluetooth performance was surprisingly good, far better than some more expensive Bluetooth headphones I''ve used.
These headphones feature Bluetooth version 5, whereas the previous generation featured Bluetooth version 4.2. This should translate into both more stable connections and better battery management (allowing the doubling of run time on a single charge, as is seen). Based on research, it appears that Sony has updated the Bluetooth module in the headphones from the Airoha AB1522 v 4.2 chip in the WI-C300 to the Realtek RLT8763B v 5.0 chip in the WI-C310.
Comparing these to my other favorite mid-priced Bluetooth headphones, the Jaybird X2, I find these Sony headphones to be considerably more comfortable, and only modestly inferior in sound quality. I actually like the balance of highs and mids on these better than the Jaybirds. But the Jaybirds can deliver better bass (when you can properly seat them in your ears) and the highs are a bit nicer.
Given the very reasonable price, these are a relative steal compared to the Jaybirds and others. There are cheaper no name Bluetooth earbuds, but in my extensive experience with those off brand earbuds, they are mostly horrible (bad sound, bad ergonomics, bad Bluetooth performance). This WI-C310 set, along with the predecessor, the WI-C300, are the first Bluetooth headphones with a list price in this range that I would strongly recommend.
Inside the package: You get the Bluetooth earbuds headset, three pairs of silicone tips (small, medium [pre-installed], large), a USB-C cable, and an instruction booklet. The USB charger is NOT included, but any standard USB charger will work.
Terrific Bluetooth pairing and excellent Bluetooth range
Very comfortable in the ears
Standard USB-C charging port
Quite decent balance of highs and mids
13+ hours on a charge (rated for 15 hours)
Long cord fits comfortably behind the neck
No clips to keep in your ears during aggressive sports
Differences between WI-C310 (this headphone) and predecessor WI-C300:
WI-C310: Version 5.0 (bettery battery life, better connections)
WI-C300: Version 4.2
Lenth of connecting cord:
WI-C310: 34" (fits better behind neck)
WI-C310: USB-C (more durable)
WI-C310: Similar, but less congested on complex music
WI-C300: Similar, but more congested on complex music