Grado updates 5-star wireless headphones with better drivers, battery life and Bluetooth

Grado GW100x wireless headphones
(Image credit: Grado)

It's always welcome when a manufacturer improves on a five-star product. That's exactly what Grado has sought to do with the GW100x wireless headphones – they take the GW100 and add new drivers, better Bluetooth tech and a longer battery life. Colour us excited.

The GW100 were the first open-backed wireless headphones, and while their leaky nature wasn't for everyone, we gave them five stars for their awesome sound quality and foolproof operation.

And now the GW100x improve on them in multiple ways.

First up, the drivers. The fourth-generation X series drivers have a more powerful magnetic circuit, a voice coil with decreased effective mass, and a reconfigured diaphragm. Reconfiguring these components makes the 44mm drivers more efficient while reducing distortion.

The speaker housings and internals have also been redesigned, and now promise to reduce sound leakage by up to 60 per cent compared to Grado's wired headphones. 

Grado GW100x wireless headphones

(Image credit: Grado)

The GW100 were released in 2018 – technology has moved on since then, and thankfully so has Grado. The GW100x feature Bluetooth 5.2 for greater wireless range and a more robust connection. They also support aptX Adaptive, along with the standard AAC and SBC codecs. And they have a feature called "enhanced pairing" which "lets you switch between two devices more efficiently" – it's not quite multipoint as you can't pair devices simultaneously, but it does make it easier to switch between devices that have been previously paired.

Finally, the battery life is much improved. Considering the poor battery life was one of the few faults we found with the original GW100, this is very good news. The GW100 only lasted 15 hours, but the GW100x are good for 46 hours before needing a recharge. That's over three times the run time!

And if you do suffer a flat battery, you can always listen cabled using the 3.5mm headphone jack.

They also feature a mic for voice calls, on-earcup controls and the ability to control them from your mobile device.

The Grado GW100x are available now for £249 / $275 (about AU$440).


This is how to choose the right pair of headphones

These are the best headphones around

This: Sony WH-1000XM5 vs Apple AirPods Max: which are better?

Joe Svetlik

Joe has been writing about tech for 17 years, first on staff at T3 magazine, then in a freelance capacity for Stuff, The Sunday Times Travel Magazine, Men's Health, GQ, The Mirror, Trusted Reviews, TechRadar and many more (including What Hi-Fi?). His specialities include all things mobile, headphones and speakers that he can't justifying spending money on.

  • runningawaynow
    Has anybody any comparisons of these or older models of the GW100s, using the supplied cable, compared to SR60 or SR80?

    I've been completely happy with a pair of SR60i - with knock-off G cushions - for about 15 years but they have just failed on one driver (not the cable, unfortunately - wonder if I have the skills eyesight to fix a supected voice coil disconnection). I'd happily buy a new pair of SR60x or 80x possibly even 125x but, if the sound was similar with cable, I'd like the advantage of bluetooth when linking to a phone without a decent jack.
  • hazelmullins
    I would like point out that the GW100x does support multipoint connections. I have mine connected to my DAP and PC and the same time and can recieve audio from both at the same time without having to switch between them.
  • joenangle
    hazelmullins said:
    I would like point out that the GW100x does support multipoint connections. I have mine connected to my DAP and PC and the same time and can recieve audio from both at the same time without having to switch between them.

    EDIT: I misread your post! How were you able to get multipoint working?!

    In my experience the GW100x are only working with singlepoint pairing.

    Coming from AirPods Pros, which do handle the multipoint situation quite well within my iPhone + MacBook Pro x2 (1 work, 1 personal) ecosystem, the GW100x really disappoint on this front. It's a shame because I really like them otherwise, but this is a common scenario...
    Answer an incoming call and ask the caller to wait while I do the following.
    Pause music/mute Zoom call/whatever
    Open the Sound Preferences/Bluetooth menu on my laptop and forget the GW100x there (otherwise they won't enter pairing mode after turning off, then restarting and trying to enter pairing by holding down the power button)
    Turn off the GW100x
    Hold power and turn the GW100x back on in pairing mode
    Open iPhone settings and pair the GW100x to iPhone (I timed this at ~45 seconds, quite a while for the caller and can be taken as very unprofessional in my line of work)
    Complete my call
    Forget GW100x from iPhone
    Turn off GW100x
    Hold on GW100x (didn't enter pairing)
    Turn off GW100x
    Hold on GW100x (did enter pairing)
    Open laptop Bluetooth menu
    Resume audio on laptop (further 1:36 later)Grado did offer the not-included-in-the-manual suggestion to hold volume +/- to force reset pairing on the GW100x side. Here's how that goes:
    Working on laptop
    Receive call.
    Pause... and "please hold"
    Hold +/- on the GW100x
    It does reliably enter pairing, which is a plus
    (assuming GW100x was previously forgotten from phone) Pair with iPhone (in ~25 seconds, an improvement for the caller, at least)
    Finish call
    +/- again
    Remove from laptop
    +/- again
    Bluetooth menu, pair again
    resume on laptop
    forget GW100x from iPhone (another minute and a half or so)
    Another incoming call
    Repeat 2-12... ad nauseamI really wish Grado could fix this via firmware.