Grado has knocked it out of the park with the GW100x, a terrific pair of wi-fi on-ears with an expressive audio efficiency, lengthy battery life and higher consolation than you may count on from an on-ear. If you need the best-sounding wi-fi on-ear efficiency, these are at present our high advice.
- Extra snug than you may count on
- Energetic, energetic, and interesting sound
- Lengthy battery life
- Superb name high quality
- Not the very best noise-isolation
- Patchy wi-fi efficiency in busy areas
4th Gen X driverRedesigned 44mm driver items
Battery life46 hours of battery life
BluetoothSBC, AAC, and aptX Adaptive codecs
I can’t assist however admire Grado’s persistence. Whereas noise-cancelling over-ears are vastly standard, the GW100x exhibits the Brooklyn-based firm just isn’t one for chasing the mainstream route.
The Grado GW100x are neither the over-ears generally seen on commutes, neither is there any curiosity in supporting noise-cancelling (which might be onerous for an on-ear to do anyway). It doesn’t have a ‘Professional’ or ‘Max’ within the identify, simply an ‘x’, which hopefully signifies the X issue.
The GW100x aren’t probably the most handy for outside use, however they do supply a terrific audio efficiency that warrants nearer inspection.
- Design leaks noise in from the surface
- Snug to put on
- Easy to make use of
Like the unique GW100, the Grado GW100x aren’t probably the most sensible pair of headphones exterior the house. They’re nearly antithetical to be used in public areas.
Why? Properly, the GW100x have each an on-ear and open-backed design, each of which aren’t famend for his or her noise-isolating properties to filter sounds away once you’re within the midst of a music session.
The on-ear design means exterior noises filter by – when it will get actually loud on the Victoria and Jubilee line it turns into onerous to listen to something. On an overground prepare they’re wonderful, and strolling by London, they’re okay, however these headphones aren’t constructed to deal with loud environments.
The open-backed design (the perforated grille on the earcups) has the other impact of leaking the audio to the world exterior. Nonetheless, Grado says they’ve taken steps to cut back the quantity of sound that escapes by as much as 60% in comparison with their wired headphones. A advantage of the open-back design is that it widens the soundstage, greater than you’d usually hear on a closed-back, over-ear design.
Simply to additional add to the shortage of practicality, there’s no carry case, so if you happen to’re taking these headphones on lengthy journeys, they’re both being stuffed in a bag or going across the neck.
Regardless of that, the Grado GW100x just about nail the opposite areas of the design transient. They’re probably the most snug wi-fi on-ears I’ve worn in a while. The Grado’s WS Cushion (which may be swapped out and changed) does warmth my ears up however by no means to the purpose the place it turns into uncomfortable.
Whereas the clamping power is tight, it’s additionally to not the purpose the place the headphones pinch on the earlobes. It’s the proper stage of rigidity to maintain them affixed to the pinnacle, and at about 188g, they’re a light-weight pair.
Onboard buttons are saved to the naked minimal: a multi-function button for energy, playback, and Bluetooth pairing, plus quantity buttons that additionally double up as observe skipping forwards and backwards (with an extended press). The three.5mm jack is retained (cable included within the packaging), however the GW100’s micro-USB port receives a welcome improve to USB-C.
- Lengthy battery life
- aptX Adaptive Bluetooth help
- Clear voice high quality
Options aren’t normally quite a few for a pair of on-ears – the Sony WH-CH520 are probably the most characteristic packed I’ve come throughout with their EQ, Bluetooth multipoint, and different customisation potentialities. Nonetheless, what you see is what you get from the Grado GW100x.
There’s no app to fiddle with, no firmware updates or battery stage to examine except you’re wanting on the icon in your cell gadget. Bluetooth help is model 5.2, and dropouts have been frequent at Victoria prepare station. That’s a shock contemplating the headphones help Bluetooth codecs as much as aptX Adaptive, which is meant to offer a secure connection in busy sign areas. These with iOS units will solely be capable to profit from AAC streaming.
The efficiency with calls was a extra constructive shock in gentle of its open-back design. Voices are intelligible and clear on each ends, and background noise is saved to a minimal in most conditions. It’s solely when it turned actually loud that it was more durable for my voice to penetrate by the noise.
Stamina is great. These headphones really feel as if they will go on and on at default quantity (which, fortunately, is sort of loud). An 11-hour battery drain solely noticed them fall to 80%, so there ought to be at the very least 50 hours to get pleasure from earlier than a recharge is required.
Sound High quality
- Energetic sense of dynamism
- Agency bass, vibrant highs
- Vast soundstage
In comparison with the unique GW100, the Grado GW100x play louder at related quantity ranges, and that instantly offers them extra influence. The tuning of the 4th Gen X Driver has had a number of adjustments too with the midrange barely crisper, and bass extra pronounced.
There’s extra power, dynamism, and drive to the GW100x’s efficiency, and its midrange readability has the superb impact of separating and isolating vocals from the remainder of a observe, giving them more room to breathe.
The highest finish of the frequency vary is vibrant and there’s a level of heat to the low frequencies with a good bass output for an on-ear pair. In comparison with the Grado GW100, the GW100x is clearer and extra outlined in the way it offers with bass.
There’s a propulsive circulation the Grados give to Porno Graffiti’s Melissa that captures the observe’s bouncy power. The percussive hits of the drum hit cleanly and punchily, and whereas there’s maybe not the utmost sense of element and definition to devices, the tone and character of every instrument is effectively described.
The width of the soundstage permits for music tracks to be unfold extensive. With Keep Excessive (Infantile Gambino model), it’s a observe painted on an enormous canvas, Gambino’s vocals planted within the centre with backing vocals out in the direction of the perimeters. With a soundstage this huge it feels as immersive as you may get with out listening to spatial audio tracks resembling Dolby Atmos and Sony’s 360 Actuality Audio.
That observe can also be a very good instance of the GW100x’s attain when it comes to brightness with excessive frequency notes, presenting them with sufficient shine and readability to offer them influence, however to not the purpose they’re both grating or distorted.
There’s good variation in GoGo Penguin’s Raven that depicts every hit of the piano key effectively, whereas with some headphones the piano keys can meld into one. That’s additional bolstered by a play of Andreas Ihlebæk’s Come Summer time, during which the Grado captures the number of keystrokes with a wealthy sense of brightness.
The tuning of the Grado GW100x ensures they’re an incredible hear throughout quite a lot of tracks, but when I needed to nit-pick, it’s that the heat of the GW100x’s presentation that doesn’t produce excessive ranges of element and constancy. It’s a nit-pick because the Grados are enormously pleasing, radiating power, dynamism, and energy for a energetic and interesting hear.
Must you purchase it?
You should purchase for the superb audio efficiency: I haven’t heard an on-ear that sounds nearly as good because the Grado GW100x. They’re a terrifically expressive and dynamic performer.
You shouldn’t purchase if you happen to hate interruptions from the surface world: The Grado’s lack of safety from the surface world means it’s ok for many commutes, though it received’t survive the loudest elements of the Underground.
The design carries its drawbacks, which doesn’t make the Grado GW100x most suited to outside use, however is that as huge a drawback? I see loads of commuters carrying on-ear and even open-eared headphones like AirPods and Shokz, so there are some greater than wonderful coping with some noise leakage.
If that describes you then the Grado GW100x are one of many best-sounding wi-fi on-ears round, an expressive pair of headphones with an expansive soundstage, agency bass and pleasing sense of power and dynamism. They’re a cracking hear.
The wi-fi efficiency may stand to be much less flaky in busy sign areas, particularly with its aptX Adaptive help; however elsewhere they’re one of many extra snug on-ears I’ve worn, name high quality is surprisingly good, and the battery life will maintain these headphones going for days. Grado has knocked it out of the park with the GW100x. Take a look at our Greatest Headphones record for much more choices.
How we take a look at
We take a look at each set of headphones we assessment totally over an prolonged time frame. We use trade customary checks to match options correctly. We’ll at all times inform you what we discover. We by no means, ever, settle for cash to assessment a product.
Discover out extra about how we take a look at in our ethics coverage
Examined for a number of months
Battery drain take a look at carried out
Examined with actual world use
There’s no Bluetooth multipoint help with these headphones, so you possibly can solely join them to 1 gadget at a time.
SBC, AAC, aptX Adaptive
44mm X Sequence
20 20000 – Hz