Brooklyn-based Grado has updated the world’s only wireless, open-back headphones. The on-ear $275 GW100x — the third generation of these cans — are now available via gradolabs.com. and they offer several improvements over their predecessors, like better sound and improved battery life.
The GW100x uses Grado’s 4th-generation 44mm driver, which the company says has a more powerful magnetic circuit, a voice coil with decreased effective mass, and a reconfigured diaphragm. The design is claimed to also improve efficiency while reducing distortion.
On the wireless side of the equation, the GW100x now use Bluetooth version 5.2, which should offer more reliable wireless connections to devices. Grado has also added Qualcomm’s aptX Adaptive Bluetooth codec (in addition to SBC and AAC), marking the first time these cans will be able to receive 24-bit wireless sound, albeit still with some compression. Previous versions only supported classic aptX, AAC, and SBC.
The GW100x have been given Bluetooth Multipoint support, which greatly improves the ease with which you can switch between two paired devices — handy for anyone who needs their phone for calls and their computer for work or other listening activities.
Battery life has also been improved. The second-generation GW100 was already impressive, with a claimed 40 hours of life, and the GW100x bumps that number up to 46 hours of listening on a two-hour charge. Charging now takes place via a USB-C port. Should the battery die, you can still use the headphones in wired mode with the included 3.5mm headphone cable.
The words “wireless” and “open-back headphones” are almost never mentioned in the same sentence because, in some ways, the two ideas are contradictory. We want wireless convenience when moving from place to place, but that’s usually accompanied by external sounds that would trash the audio quality that open-back cans are renowned for.
At the same time, the sound from these headphones tends to leak out, so it can be heard by those around you. Grado says it has significantly improved this sound leakage — by up to 60%.