With the release of Sony WH-1000XM4, bargain hunters are looking at the Sony WH-1000XM3 as a worthy wireless alternative. The Sony WH-1000XM3 is known to be one of the best noise cancelling headphones, popular not only in the US but globally as well.

Who are the Sony WH-1000XM3 for?

The Sony WH-1000XM3 is perfect for casual listeners, with its huge edge in sound quality compared to general consumer headphones, especially when used with Bluetooth.

The Sony WH-1000XM3 is also recommended for commuters thanks to its excellent noise cancellation features, considered to be one of the most top-rated in the market.

Lastly, the Sony WH-1000XM3 is ideal for the traveling individuals, who just want to have their own peace of zen, away from the hustle, bustle and noise of noisy airports and terminals.

It’s quite rare to find a pair of headphones that can please everyone but the Sony WH-1000XM3 can defy this concept. The Sony WH-1000XM3 performs well on flights, commutes and can even provide a decent performance in audio games. 

Sony WH-1000XM3 Features

The Sony WH-1000XM3 is considered to have one too many similar features to its wireless successor, but with enjoyable upgrades that make it one of the best deals and a better model for the long haul. The earpads are deeper and the USB-C charging is a breath of fresh air because it means that users would no longer have to worry about dealing with an obsolete cable.

While the upgrades of the Sony WH-1000XM3 may be considered as minor, those are actually very helpful in ensuring that the headphones will have a longer life span. With the Sony WH-1000XM3, you’ll also enjoy a modern design with very minimal issues. This is considered to be Sony’s offering that can actually compete with AKG, Sennheiser, and Bose.

One of the best features of this headphone is that users rarely need to use their phone to control music. Once the headphone app is installed, users can easily navigate playback with just swiping movements of the fingers. The volume can also be adjusted along with the voice assistant. Initially, the voice assistant feature was only limited to the default one on a user’s phone but much to the pleasure of the public, Sony has recently announced an update that will give the Sony WH-1000XM3 access to Amazon Alexa as well. The voice assistant feature allows users to communicate with Siri for iPhone or Google Assistant.

All you need to do is update via the Sony Headphone Connect app through your smartphone and you can then choose the virtual assistant that you want, depending on the smart devices that you want to pair it with. You can also hear what’s going on around you temporarily by simply cupping your hand over the right ear cup, making the headphones use the external microphone to pass the external noises to your ears. This feature is very beneficial for when you need to hear important sounds or announcements with pertinent information, such as in the airport, train station or city subway.

What’s Inside the Sony WH-1000XM3?

There’s a powerful hardware in these wireless headphones along with four microphones that are strategically located on the outer ear cups and inside the headphone. The noise cancellation technology of the Sony WH-1000XM3 is like no other and this kind of high-resolution service is backed up by a processing chip that runs calculations in real time dubbed as the NC1. The earcups are also touch capacitive allowing users to control the headphones at a virtual touch of their fingertips.

Sony WH-1000XM3 Battery Life

The battery life of the Sony WH-1000XM3 is impressive at 24 hours even with maximum ANC technology running. You get good quality, high resolution audio with headphones that keep you sheltered from the outside world, perfect for long trips or for when you just want to experience some high value me time. 

If you find yourself running out of juice while traveling or in the middle of your workout, fret not because the Sony WH-1000XM3 has a Quick Charge feature that provides around 5 hours of playback for only 10 minutes of charging. How cool is that?

Sony WH-1000XM3 Comfort

Whether you are planning to use these headphones to keep you entertained during travel or simply to binge watch TV shows at your place, it’s good to know that Sony hasn’t compromised the comfort factor. In fact, weight-wise, the Sony WH-1000XM3 is an ounce lighter than last year’s design.

The Sony WH-1000XM3 also comes with a new flush fit that replaces the old padding on the bridge for a material that’s softer and more cushiony. These headphones are not only more comfortable to use but they are also more sophisticated looking, especially the classic black model. If you’re a stickler for details, you would also notice that the Sony WH-1000XM3 has ditched the silver accents on the side of the headphones and is now sporting a copper tone.

They say that great customer service begins with the product, and with the Sony WH-1000XM3, we truly agree with that. Sony has swapped out the micro USB port located on the right earcup with a USB Type-C that could definitely reduce the amount of cords and cables that users need to carry around. In terms of aesthetics, the Sony WH-1000XM3 is a real delight for minimalists, with a unique yet sophisticated look.

Sony WH-1000XM3 Noise Cancellation Technology

Just like its predecessors, the Sony WH-1000XM3 offers premium noise cancelling technology that really delivers. There may be instances when you can still hear sounds from nearby office mates or chatter from the next table, the Sony WH-1000XM3 can effectively drown out sound like engine noise, HVAC system and other persistent notes. Sony has really outdone the competition thanks to the improvements and upgraded performance of the WH-1000XM3.

In some of the published tests by Sony, the 1000XM3 model is more than 4 times effective in terms of noise cancelling compared to the 1000XM2. If you were impressed by the ANC technology of the XM2, prepare to be blown away by the Sony WH-1000XM3. Put simply, these wireless headphones are made to effectively block out unnecessary and unwanted noises from the outside world and replace that noise with the best audio quality among other models in the same price range.

Sony WH-1000XM3 Sound Quality

For the Sony WH-1000XM3, the audio quality is great and pleases the general audio consumer population. The operational keyword here is consumer, meaning, the company has really put an effort in the reproduction of a consumer friendly sound, with an emphasized but not overpowering bass, a little oomph in the mids with a peak of about 10kHz.

The Sony WH-1000XM3 delivers a spacious, open sound that highlights every instrument, vocal and effect room to breathe. In terms of directness, no loss is noted and the vocals remain to be direct and focused, just as how it should be. Meanwhile, the instruments sound like they are being delivered in a way that the listener is standing in the middle of the room surrounded by a band.

In terms of tone, the Sony WH-1000XM3 delivers an extra helping of deep bass. It is worth noting that while these wireless headphones offer a generous amount of bass, it’s not too overpowering to the point of threatening the balance of the overall tonal presentation. The bass simply highlights the overall delivery of audio, adding richness and weight in a pleasant and natural way.

Sony WH-1000XM3 Aesthetics

The headphones are available in two colors – grey-silver and black. As mentioned earlier, the Sony WH-1000XM3 thrives in a minimalist style; aside from an engraved Sony logo, all the other parts, nook and crannies are nondescript. Don’t take the simplicity as a sign of a weak performance – while these headphones may look simple, it actually houses a very powerful and smart noise cancelling software.

Sony WH-1000XM3 Downsides

In this review, we are planning to expose not only the positive features but the not-so positive as well. Let’s start off with the aesthetics – one of the changes applied to the Sony WH-1000XM3 is the switch of the housing from metal to plastic. Granted that this change has some underlying technological or ergonomic reasons behind it, aesthetically speaking, it’s not that great of a change, not something that we would consider as an upgrade.

Another thing that we noticed is because the Sony WH-1000XM3 has such a great audio quality, it ends up exposing poor recordings in broad daylight. Of course, this is more of a great feature but quite a downer for consumers who like to listen to or download poor or sketchy audio files.

Is the Sony WH-1000XM3 Worth Buying?

If you are a fan of Sony and you need upgraded ANC technology, this is by far one of the best headsets in the market. However, some may cringe a little bit with its price tag of $349. If you are looking for a budget friendly alternative from the same brand, the Sony WH-XB900N is a good call. It offers around 70% of the service performance of the WH-1000XM3 for a price tag of less than $100. If you are trying to choose between Bose and Sony WH-1000XM3, the latter can beat the former easily with its top rating ANC technology, design, battery life, comfort and overall performance.

Newer models from other brands may appear to be interestingly similar choices, such as the Shure Aonic 50 and Jabra Elite 85h, as their Active Noise Cancelling features go confidently head to head with the Sony WH-1000XM3. That being said, the Sony WH-1000XM3 is a solid buy, a perfect travel companion with a solid sound, awesome battery life and a reasonable price point.