Grado GW100 Wireless Headphones: A Complete Review
- Good sound quality (in a quiet environment)
- AptX codec support
- Wide stereo panorama
- No noise isolation
- May be too large for people with small heads
Today’s main attention is focused on completely wireless headphones, which, at the same time, surprise with their miniature size and high technical level of performance. But don’t forget about on-ear and full-size wireless headphones. Today we have a review of the Grado GW100 overheads, which were released by a company famous for its attention to sound. We will find out very soon whether Grado’s spirit has been preserved in the new wireless model.
Who is the Grado GW100 for?
- For fans of the Grado brand. Perhaps you are listening to the Grado SR60e right now, love the way the headphones of this brand sound, and want to try the wireless novelty immediately. In this case, yes, you will be extremely curious about the GW100.
- For those who miss wireless open earbuds. Of course, open-top wireless earbuds are a rather rare option because it contradicts itself slightly. After all, open headphones do not have any noise isolation, and therefore you can listen to them on the street only when it is quiet around. In a big city, it is never quiet, even at night. For this reason, open headphones are used mostly at home. At the same time, GW100 is wireless, which means they are designed for mobile use. So I think the GW100 is an interesting experiment, but nothing more.
The package includes:
- Soft case for storage and transportation
- Micro-USB cable for battery charging
- 3.5mm audio cable
Design, materials, and build quality
GW100s are entirely made of plastic, and this is a little embarrassing because the price of the headphones starts at $ 249. But at the same time, plastic also brings significant benefits. Thanks to him, the design turned out to be very light and comfortable. And this is quite an important indicator for mobile headphones. Yes, the headphones do not look at their price, but they are comfortable and practical, probably Grado considered these qualities to be more important.
The open back design creates a bigger sound stage with increased definition and clarity.
I rate the convenience during use as high. If you do not wear glasses, the headphones can be worn for a flight and not feel discomfort. However, if you wear glasses, then the headphones will strongly press the temples to your head, which will make you uncomfortable by the end of the first hour of listening.
There are physical control buttons on the left side, and this is a good solution because buttons are always better than the touch panel, this is my personal opinion. On the same bowl, there is a Micro-USB connector, which is protected by a silicone cap. Perhaps at the end of 2018, Micro-USB headphones may be considered obsolete, but I don’t think so. A huge number of phones with Micro-USB and other technology are still being produced, so I do not support the general opinion that Micro-USB is an anachronism.
Like all Grado headphones in this model, the ear pads can be removed easily and replaced with any suitable one. This feature is very popular with the brand’s fans, and it is enjoyable that the manufacturer left it for this model.
The only drawback of the Grado is its relatively large headband. Even at the smallest distance, the headphones can be great for petite girls. It will be possible to listen to them, but any not careful movement of the head will entail the headphones’ fall because they will be very poorly supported on the head. I would say that the GW100 is for men only because of the large headband. If you decide to buy the GW100, try to try them on before purchasing.
Can Grado GW100 be used outdoors?
My experience shows that using the GW100 on the street, and even more so in public transport, is not a good idea. Although the manufacturer says that there is a certain level of noise isolation in the headphones, I did not notice it. And this is understandable because the GW100 is an open headphone. Therefore, if you walk along quiet streets and listen to music, this is still acceptable, but God forbid getting on a bus or subway – the music will disappear, you will stop hearing it because it will be drowned out by noise. It is for this reason that I do not quite understand why wireless open headphones were created.
Microphone sound quality
Another disadvantage of the GW100 is the microphone. It is there, and it works, but it does not have any noise-canceling functions, narrow focus, or something else, so during a conversation, your interlocutor will hear you as if you have moved away at a distance of one meter. At the same time, a slight echo appears from somewhere. Extraordinary effect and strange quality considering the cost of the headphones.
You can use a microphone for a quick conversation, but I would not speak with these headphones for a long conversation or a responsible call. This is not the best idea.
The GW100s have an impressive battery life. In our test, with the volume set well above average, we got a result of 15 hours and 55 minutes. This is not a record, but the result is good and will positively affect the comfort of daily use. In most cases, you will need to charge your headphones once a week.
Full charging takes only 2 hours.
The GW100 is equipped with a Bluetooth 4.2 module that supports the aptX codec. So headphones can provide a fairly high-quality sound reproduction.
The signal remains stable at a distance of up to 10 meters from the source without obstacles; in an apartment, this distance drops to 7-8 meters.
The result is good. It will be more than enough for normal use.
During testing, there was no interference or signal interruption; the wireless connection worked stably.
GW100 sound quality
The overall sound delivery nature of the GW100 is relatively neutral. The company was trying to create wireless headphones with an open acoustical design that could become a favorite of audiophiles who know a lot about good sound.
The headphones’ frequency response is relatively flat, although, of course, there are certain questions to this parameter that may arise when looking at the graph. They sound pleasant to the ear and without serious distortion.
The Grado GW100 is an open headphone and therefore doesn’t have as much bass as ordinary listeners are used to. Low frequencies are played out neatly and moderately, they are there and are perfectly audible, but I say to all bass lovers right away – these headphones are not for you. Low frequencies sound detailed, fast enough, and at the same time, delicate. Thanks to this presentation, familiar melodies are listened to in a new way, you begin to hear details that were previously masked by the accented bass of closed headphones—an exciting experience.
The mids sound smooth, natural, and very detailed. In some familiar songs, I heard something that had eluded my attention before. These are small details that do not affect the sound, but for some reason, only now I heard them. Perhaps I was just not careful enough before. As an example, I can cite the composition St. Vincent – Slow Disco (piano version). At the sixth second, you can hear the performer opening her lips to start singing, and in ordinary headphones, this sound is almost inaudible. Of course, when you have already heard it, for example, in Grado, afterward, you will hear it in any other headphones, but before that, you might not even suspect that this sound is there.
Likewise, the headphones’ detailing allows you to hear details and nuances that previously escaped your attention.
The high frequencies of this model are played out cleanly, without sibilance or other distortions, detailed and dense. However, in some compositions, it seemed to me that they sound slightly accented. Not much, but with comparative listening to the composition in several headphones, it becomes audible.
In general, the GW100 sound exactly as open headphones should sound: free, wide, with good detail, and more or less even sound with a neutral flow. Another thing is that you don’t need Bluetooth for this, but it is here, and therefore headphones, seemingly designed for mobile use, are well suited only for listening to music in a quiet environment. A strange combination, but perhaps someone was looking for it.
If you are a fan of Grado, then buying the GW100 will be a pleasure for you, and you will have a full range of pleasure from them because these are true open headphones that have all the advantages of such an acoustic design: free sound with a wide stereo panorama, neutral sound presentation and natural sounding. However, as I have written above several times, it is not entirely clear that there is Bluetooth in open headphones because listening to music on the street or in transport will be problematic, if not impossible.
Obviously, the GW100 model is trying to occupy a vacant niche because I don’t see any competitors, at least serious ones. This is probably why they can be considered a good buy because they will be bought by those who understand their features and are ready for them. In this case, everything will be fine, and the headphones will delight you.
I recommend that all other people take a closer look at other models of this brand. Yes, they are all wired, but high quality and pleasant in all respects.
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