Sony has consistently offered solid audio products for years, with the Sony WH-1000XM3 over-ear headphones and the Sony WF-1000XM3 true wireless earphones being the best products that will appease most users. Nevertheless, Sony’s products that garner the most fanfare are, and rightly so, its premium offerings, while the company’s mid-range offerings tend to be further from the limelight. Nevertheless, Sony has some great products, even in the mid-range. So, in this review, we’ll be evaluating a new mid-range competitor from Sony, the WI-SP510 wireless neckband-style earphones. The Sony WI-SP510, priced at Rs 6,990 and available for Rs 4,990 on Amazon and Headphonezone, is part of both Sony’s ‘sport’ lineup and its ‘XB’ – Extra Bass headphones. These earphones seem like an extremely lucrative purchase, at least on paper. So let’s see how the Sony WI-SP510 in-ear sports headphones fared in our review.
Construction and comfort
The Sony WI-SP510 has a familiar neckband style design and is stylistically extremely minimalist. Available in blue and black, the design is a bit monotonous and dull, especially the black-colored variant we received for review. The construction is all plastic, but the quality doesn’t feel cheap at all. The earphones have two compact, rounded plastic modules along with a semi-flexible plastic neckband.
Now the plastic construction lends itself to making the earphones extremely lightweight and portable. Weighing just 30g, the earphones can easily be stored in a backpack or even smaller handbags. The weight of this new generation of earphones has increased compared to the previous model – the WI-SP500, but the battery has also increased significantly, with the WI-SP510 offering a whopping 15 hours of playtime compared to the WI-SP500’s now measly 8 o’clock.
The earphones are very suitable for people with an active lifestyle. Whether you’re going to the gym, running, cycling or jogging, the earbuds sit securely in the ear and the neckband itself stays snug around the neck thanks to the forward-leaning weight of the plastic modules. The snug fit of the earphones also provides excellent passive isolation, making them suitable even for use on commutes or in noisy office environments.
The earphones also come with both silicone ear tips and silicone tips in different sizes – four pairs of silicone tips and three pairs of silicone tips. While we managed to find a well-fitting pair of earplugs and wings, the wings left the reviewer’s ears feeling quite tired after wearing them for an hour. This is partly because the reviewer has smaller ears than usual, so if you do, keep that in mind.
The earbuds are small and ergonomic, and the driver housing is magnetic, allowing them to snap together when you’re lying idle around your neck. Unfortunately, there is no auto-pause/play feature associated with the magnetic housings like in OnePlus’ wireless in-ear headphones. In addition, the magnets are also not as strong as we would like.
The controls are located on the left side of the plastic module and are extremely easy to use. The buttons are sufficiently large and also have a decent tactility. You can pause/play the music, skip tracks or go to previous tracks, increase/decrease the volume and even call up your voice assistant with the commands. Unlike the controls on many wireless earphones, the Sony WI-SP510 features simple and intuitive controls that just… work. In addition to the controls, there is also the USB-C port under a plastic cover.
While the cream of the crop, such as ANC, Adaptive Sound Control and Ambient Mode, is reserved for premium Sony offerings, the WI-SP510 packs in quite a few useful features that most users will be looking for in 2020. these are sports in-ear headphones, they come with an IPX5 water resistance rating which means you can use these earphones at the gym or in heavy rain (according to Sony) without worrying about it. Sony even claims that these earphones can be washed after an intense training session!
In addition, the earphones allow users to access their device’s voice assistant through built-in controls. Simply double-tap the center multi-function button to summon Google Assistant or Siri. Users can also make and receive calls hands-free and, as mentioned above, control music and media playback via the built-in controls.
Powered by Bluetooth 5.0, the Sony WI-SP510 has a company-rated wireless range of approximately 33 feet. In the limited testing we were able to run due to Covid-19, we saw that the earphones have a pretty decent wireless range. We can go from one end of a 400-square-foot house to the other without cutting off the range. However, if you put a wall or two between the earphones and the source device, the connection will falter. In addition to the standard SBC, the earphones also support AAC codec, which Android users can take advantage of. However, it unfortunately does not come with aptX support.
With the Sony WI-SP510, users also get a significant battery life of around 15 hours, according to the company, which is on the higher side for wireless earphones. In our tests, at around 60-65 percent volume, the earphones lasted around 14 hours and 30 minutes, which is quite exceptional. Charging the headphones is also a quick affair, just a 3-hour charge will get the earphones fully charged again.
The Sony WI-SP510 is equipped with 12 mm drivers and offers a relatively pleasant sound profile and good audio reproduction. However, there is a serious crack in the armor of these earphones. The noise floor (amount of white noise produced by the headphones) is inexplicably high, especially for headphones from a brand like Sony. So because of this unfortunate but major flaw, we have to advise users who listen to many podcasts, audiobooks and quieter music genres to stay away from these headphones, as the relatively jarring white noise may disturb you (as it bothered us during our tests). ).
Now most headphones have a small amount of noise, but the amount of noise present on the WI-SP510 is much more than most modern wireless offerings and will certainly stand out. The noise is most noticeable when you pause the music/media and when you turn on the device. Basically, if nothing else is playing, it’s noticeable even during quieter music and movies, audiobooks, and podcasts. However, if you mainly listen to loud music, the sound won’t be too noticeable.
As for the sound quality of the Sony WI-SP510, we really liked the warm and pleasant sound profile of the headphones. They are definitely more low and bass focused, but even the bass has character and control. It’s not cloudy or tangled in any way, which we liked. The mids are well produced too, with vocally focused tracks like Hey by means of Adele or save me by means of A republic sound dynamic and lively, while preserving detail.
The highs are decent, but nothing to write home about. in the lane Hysteria by means of Muse, the cymbals sounded energetic but at higher volume levels it got a bit distorted. Imaging on these headphones is also great. In busy tracks like Selkies by means of BTBAM with a range of instruments, you can still understand the chaos and place instruments somewhat. However, the soundstage is a bit less.
The quality of the microphone is also quite decent. During calls the voice sometimes sounds so muffled but that could very well be a network issue and not a microphone issue. We also tried to include a paragraph of speech and speech intelligibility through the microphone was also quite good, with only a few words getting eaten or misheard.
Priced at Rs 6,990, and especially at a discounted price of Rs 4,990, the Sony WI-SP510 is undoubtedly one of the better sounding wireless mid-range earphones. However, the noise floor is way too high and users who consume a lot of podcasts, audiobooks and softer music genres may find this quite upsetting and even distracting. If this isn’t a problem for you, there’s a lot to like about the headphones. You get a pretty rugged build, solid battery life, intuitive controls, IPX5 rating and good sound quality.