Sony WH-1000XM3 evaluation – the most effective noise-cancelling on the town



With model three of its over the ear wi-fi noise-cancelling headphones, Sony is making the largest modifications each outdoors and in. The WH-1000XM3 construct on the established method of its predecessors and take direct purpose at Bose’s ubiquitous QuietComfort 35 II. I discovered Sony’s newest cans outdo the Bose by way of noise-cancelling, however whether or not they sound higher than Sony’s personal 1000X’s is a extra difficult query completely.

I’ll preface this text by saying that it isn’t considered one of our typical test-filled evaluations and that I’m not an audiophile however quite a daily techie that loves wi-fi noise-cancelling headphones. I’ll be evaluating the Sony WH-1000XM3 to their patriarch – my beautiful Sony MDR-1000X. Each headphones had been paired with an iPhone X and music was principally coming from Spotify with some YouTube thrown right here and there.

I personal the primary of Sony’s MDR now renamed WH line of premium noise-cancelling headphones and I can see a number of its DNA nonetheless embedded into the XM3. I’ve had a fleeting run-in with second era WH-1000XM2 and located them to be principally the identical as the primary gen. They did add an estimated 10 hours of battery life, which was not sufficient of a motivator to change.

Design and construct

With the WH-1000XM3 Sony made a giant redesign of your entire headphones. It’s noticeably lighter than the unique however on the identical time extra agency and sitting tighter on the ears. I discovered the tighter match way more comfy. The diminished weight (23g, measured) was welcome too.

The leather-based cups nonetheless make my ears too heat after extended use however I am prepared to simply accept this as my very own shortcoming and never the Sony’s.

The scarf on the brand new mannequin has been shortened and in consequence it doesn’t stretch as broad as on the originals, demonstrated within the picture under. The scarf, just like the cans themselves, has acquired a wholesome dose of additional cushioning, making the brand new headphones extra comfy and extra comfortable to put on.

Sony's 1000XM3 on the left, 1000X on the right
Sony's 1000XM3 on the left, 1000X on the right

Sony’s 1000XM3 on the left, 1000X on the proper

I’m not a fan of the styling of the brand new 1000XM3. My outdated pair has painted aluminum bits and the earcups have a leather-based end on the skin. The brand new ones are plain clean plastic, which each seems to be and feels much less premium. There are two copper accents on either side of the headphone – the Sony emblem and the delicate rim over the twin microphones on every cup. At first I mistook the copper-framed microphone to be the USB-C port, then a colleague thought the identical factor, after which one other one. Poor alternative making the microphones appear like USB-C ports, Sony, though all of us right here agree that the delicate copper accent makes the headphone higher trying.

Just like the Sony 1000XM2 the XM3 match the Ambient Mode and the Noise-cancelling Mode on the identical button, which means you need to push the button as soon as for Ambient Sound, twice for Ambient Sound Management (adjusted within the Headphones Join app) and thrice to allow Noise-cancelling. My outdated pair had devoted NC and Ambient buttons.

The headphones are available in a nicer trying and higher feeling case, which manages to suit a three.5mm audio cable, the USB-C cable and the plug adapter for in-flight use inside.

The USB-C port is among the many largest additions to Sony’s newest headphones and permits for quicker charging – extra on this a bit additional on.


The Sony WH-1000XM3 come filled with options I spend hours enjoying with solely to overlook after a couple of days. Inevitably I reverted to utilizing them for simply listening to music and movies.

Sony has a Headphones Join app that permit’s you mess around with the settings on the headphones. Adaptive Sound Management helps you to decide what sounds out of your atmosphere attain your ears. There’s a sensible Sense Engine that determines which sounds to dam and which to permit relying in your place – principally it could maintain issues as quiet as doable once I was sitting at my desk and permit some ambient sound as soon as I rose and began strolling.

You too can customise the noise-cancellation to your liking by listening by way of a sequence of tones and selecting what you need cancelled and what not, utilizing the Headphones Join app.

I most popular to maintain the noise-cancelling on or off, relying on the scenario. I rarely use Ambient mode however I discovered it unchanged in comparison with my the my first gen headphones.

What I really like on the Sony 1000XM3 is the Fast Consideration function – simply cup the proper headphone together with your hand and the music stops and also you enter Ambient Mode. It’s an incredible function for when somebody wants to speak to you or it’s essential tune again in to an workplace dialog. Carry your hand and also you’re again to no matter it was you had been listening to.

The precise ear cup is touch-sensitive, like on the unique and second era 1000X’s, and like them it presents double faucet to play or pause, a swipe up or down for quantity management and a swipe left or proper to alter tracks. When you press and maintain you invoke Google Assistant or Siri, relying on the OS.

The controls work positive more often than not, particularly when you’ve had time to regulate to them. However I nonetheless often modified the tune once I wished to alter the amount. And talking of quantity, the “you’ve reached the max quantity” alert is loud, annoying and stops the music for about 2 seconds – I feel Sony ought to’ve used a less complicated, softer tone that doesn’t interrupt music playback.

Sony claims the identical 30 hour battery as on the second era WH-1000XM2, which is 10 hours greater than my very own MDR-1000X. I didn’t take a look at that declare in a scientific manner however I can say that the 1000XM3 endured longer than my very own headphones by some 5-6 hours.

Sony additionally says you will get 5 hours of listening by way of simply 10 minutes of plug-in time, yay USB-C!


That is the place the brand new headphones supply essentially the most enchancment over the earlier generations. Sony put a devoted noise-cancelling chip contained in the WH-1000XM3 to observe exterior sound and promise 4 occasions higher noise-cancellation.

I’ll evaluate it with my very own 1000X’s and say that the brand new headphones are a lot, a lot better at cancelling out noise. A minimum of twice nearly as good. I examined the NC by putting myself straight subsequent to a buzzing fan, sitting all day within the workplace with the headphones on, taking them outdoors and testing in a automobile, and the 1000XM3 had been unimaginable at neutralizing noise.

My authentic Sony MDR-1000X has nice noise-cancelling, these WH-1000XM3 have unimaginable noise-cancelling. Not solely are the 1000XM3 the most effective Sony’s by way of noise-cancellation, they’re the most effective I’ve examined, interval. The Bose QC 35 II cannot even match that stage of noise elimination.


All the above brings us to crucial a part of any headphone pair – sound. Are the Sony WH-1000XM3 good headphones, all of the noise methods and high-tech options apart? The quick reply is sure. The lengthy reply is, as regular, a bit extra nuanced.

As a standalone pair of headphones – the Sony 1000XM3 are nice. They provide full of life mids and highs however are principally characterised by their pronounced bass. I feel most individuals will take pleasure in their highly effective rumbling sound. It’s particularly nice for watching motion pictures or movies however can also be completely suited to bass-heavy music. Music that could be very vocal or instrumental additionally sounds nice in a vacuum on the 1000XM3, however will strike you as a bit too bassy in case you’re accustomed to extra pure sounding cans.

It is after we evaluate the 1000XM3 to the unique MDR-1000X that the reply turns into difficult. Sound desire is extraordinarily private – everybody has a sound profile they like. That stated, the Sony WH-1000XM3 are bass-oriented headphones and have extra pronounced lows in comparison with the 1000X. However the older mannequin has clearer mids and highs and is even a bit louder. After hours of backwards and forwards between the unique Sony 1000X and the most recent mannequin I can say this – the older mannequin presents a barely clearer, crisper sound whereas the newer mannequin has a deeper sound with extra bass.

The distinction is ever so slight and really arduous to listen to until you take heed to the 2 pairs one after the opposite quite a few occasions. The one really noticeable issue is the bass, the 1000XM3’s clearly have extra of it.

You should not take this to imply that the Sony WH-1000XM3 are a one-trick pony, they are not. They provide nice, dynamic sound, which is emphasised by nice lows.

Determination time

OK, now that we have listened to music on the Sony WH-1000XM3, examined out the noise-cancelling, fiddled round with the and spent hours simply sitting round, carrying the headphones, we will say that these are among the many greatest headphones you should buy.

The 1000XM3’s aren’t low cost. Priced at £330/€380/$350 they’re firmly planted into premium headphone territory. Nonetheless their direct opponents from Sennheiser and Bose are priced about the identical proper now. Shopping for the older 1000XM2’s will not prevent that a lot cash both at £270/€300/$350 and you would be giving up the good enchancment in noise-cancellation.

The Sony WH-1000XM3 supply stellar sound, superb noise-cancellation, very good battery life, contact controls and are among the many most comfy over the ear headphones you should buy. And you may make certain that you may dwell with these headphones for at the very least a few years due to their sturdy construct.

When you’re available on the market for wi-fi noise-cancelling headphones, look no additional – these are the most effective round. When you’re in search of wi-fi headphones with nice bass – the 1000XM3 are once more those to have. When you’re looking out for the clearest-sounding wi-fi headphones round, it’s possible you’ll need to check out a couple of totally different fashions, particularly the Bose QC 35 II (my authentic Sony MDR-1000X’s might have a couple of issues to say right here however they’re not available on the market). And if you cannot fairly afford both of these proper now it could be a good suggestion to attend a couple of months till the vacation season rolls round – there may very well be reductions and Sony’s been recognized to bundle its top-end Xperia’s with its top-end noise-cancelling headphones.

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Anatolia Raspotovina


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