For quite some time, the Sony WH-1000XM3 has been regarded as one of the highest-rated noise cancelling wireless headphones on the market – a crowd favorite, a hall of famer. Even up to now, it’s quite difficult to beat its powerful combination of performance, features and design. The sound and noise cancelling capabilities of the Sony WH-1000XM3 is exceptional, sealing its value in the audio industry.

In 2019, a lot of premium noise cancelling models were introduced to the public, including the Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700, which would then be dubbed as the closest competition of Sony WH-1000XM3. In terms of comfort and bass quality, the Sony WH1000XM3 is better and it also touts with it a better battery life at 30 hours. Meanwhile, the Bose 700 offers a superior for calls, has a more detailed sound, an always-on Alexa voice assistant option and a sturdier headband. The biggest difference of the Sony WH1000XM3 and Bose 700 is their price – the former is more affordable offering pretty much the same features.

Sony WH1000XM3 Design Improvements

The biggest design change of the Sony WH1000XM3 from its predecessor is the padding on the ear cups and the shape of the headband. With the new design, the headband is now engineered to be more contoured to the head and the overall weight of the headphones has been shaved off 20 grams. In short, the Sony WH1000XM3 is a more comfortable version of its predecessor.

Another big change of the Sony WH1000XM3 wireless model is that it has moved from micro-USB to USB-C charging. The Sony WH1000XM3 also comes with a quick charge feature that gives users 5 hours of extra battery life for a 10-minute charge. Pretty impressive, right? This model offers approximately 30 hours of battery life when music or other media is played at moderate volume levels.

Another set of cosmetic changes in the wireless Sony WH1000XM3 can be noticed in the exterior finish of the ear cups, which are now smoother. The carrying case of the successor is also a bit different and reserves a spot for the USB-C cable and headphone cable. This means that you can use the Sony WH1000XM3 either as a wired or wireless headphone. Bonus – it gives a great listening experience in both modes. 

The Sony WH1000XM3 also looks less awkward, thanks to the design of the headband that highlights less of a gap on the head. Unlike its predecessor, the Sony WH1000XM3 has a straighter and less balloon-like physique.

Who are the Sony WH-1000XM3 for?

The Sony WH-1000XM3 is for casual listeners, as the headphones offer a huge boost in sound quality compared to general consumer headphones. Take note that the sound performance is also pretty impressive even when used with Bluetooth. 

People who are always commuting in the city or traveling cross country will also appreciate the superior noise cancellation technology that the Sony WH1000XM3 can offer, which is one of the best in the market.

What features do the Sony WH-1000XM3 have?

Despite the many similarities that the Sony WH1000XM3 has to the WH1000XM2, it still bears some updates that makes it a wiser purchase for the long haul. The ear pads are deeper and bargain hunters appreciate the fact that the Sony WH1000XM3 supports USB-C charging. Think of the Sony WH1000XM3 as the successor with a modern design along with little tweaks that go a long way.

One of the best things about the Sony WH1000XM3 is that it makes busy life easier with the fact that users rarely need to use or touch their phones to control music thanks to an app. Once the headphone app is installed, users can easily adjust volume, navigate playback and activate voice assistant with just a long press. Primarily, the voice assistant, which works just like Siri or Google Assistant, was only limited to the default one on a user’s phone but the company recently announced that the Sony WH1000XM3 will be given full compatibility to Amazon Alexa. Life with headphones will surely be easier by simply updating the Sony Headphone Connect app on your smartphone. 

Another unique and very useful feature of the Sony WH1000XM3 is that users can temporarily hear ambient sounds by simply cupping their hand over the right earcup. This action makes the headphones activate the external microphone to pick up sounds from the outside. This feature is useful for when someone needs to tell you something or for when you need to be on alert for travel announcements.

Sony WH1000XM3 Performance

It is also worth noting that the Sony WH1000XM3 has been one of the wireless models that experienced the move of the company to analogue amplification. The chips inside the Sony WH1000XM3 have been upgraded, offering upgraded sound processing and noise canceling. The new HD Noise Canceling Processor QN1 delivers four times the performance of the previous models and works great not only for noise canceling but also for high quality audio with 32-bit signal processing paired with DAC amplifier.

The Sony WH1000XM3 has adaptive noise cancelling, ambient sound control, atmospheric pressure optimizer, equalizer and a surround sound position control. All of these features work together to give users a better listening experience regardless of the environment. The atmospheric pressure optimizer that was mentioned earlier is specifically for plane use and was previously exclusive to the Sony WH1000XM3. The Sony Headphones Connect app allows users to customize and control all the features mentioned.

Speaking of Bose, the noise cancelling technology of the Sony WH1000XM3 is at par with the Bose QC35 II headphones. There are even some instances when the Sony WH1000XM3 is better than the QC35. One of the cool features of the Sony WH1000XM3 is the palm to earcup command where users get to hear ambient sounds by simply cupping their palm to the right earcup.

How do the Sony WH1000XM3 Sound?

The audio quality of the Sony WH1000XM3 is quite stunning to the point that they can be easily tagged as Hi-Res headphones. The Bose QC35 has a balanced, non-offensive, generic sound and the Sony WH1000XM3 sounds far more dynamic. The Sony WH1000XM3 brings music to life in a way that most wireless noise cancelling headphones in the market can’t. It offers a roomy soundstage, has a punchy bass, a sharp treble and crystal clear mid range that works harmoniously without necessarily cutting or distorting the sounds around you.

Gone are the days of the wireless headphones suffering from big issues or glitches. Currently, wireless headphones can go head to head with wired headphones, offering good sound performance, long battery life and durable frames.The Sony WH1000XM3 have a generically pleasant sound, with an emphasized yet not overpowering bass and a little bump in the mids that works great with mostly any music genre.

With the Sony WH1000XM3, listeners can enjoy a spacious, open sound that provides ample room to breathe for every effect, instrument and vocal. It’s also good to note that there is no loss of direction, with the vocals still sharp and focused. Meanwhile, the Sony WH1000XM3 makes listeners feel as if they are in the room with the band when listening to instrumental pieces. Tonally, the Sony WH1000XM3 has a generous amount of bass that’s just enough to reinforce the overall audio quality, bringing in weight and richness in a natural and pleasant way.

Sony WH1000XM3 Fit and Comfort

Wearing the Sony WH1000XM3 can be considered as a delightful experience. Since they have an over-ear design, they will eventually get hot if you use them for workouts, but aside from that tiny issue, you’ll get a firm and light fit with faux leather padding that’s more plush and luxurious than older models. The digital assistant and power buttons are also easier to locate and distinguish than the older versions.

If you are looking for a pair of headphones that offer hassle free charging, the Sony WH1000XM3 can be an ideal choice because of its USB-C charging cable. However, you’ll realize that you don’t really need to be concerned about charging because with its long battery life, you can stretch it for nearly 40 hours (with noise cancelling turned off). There are only a few rival headphones that can offer a battery life this long and the Sony W1000XM3 is a worthy choice.

Sony WH1000XM3 Noise Cancellation

The Sony WH1000XM3 is primarily marketed as a noise cancelling headphone and that’s really not surprising because it can really carry itself proudly with the clarity and details that it offers. They work well in noise cancelling, whether a user wants to drown out the chitchats in an office or annoying honks and traffic noise.

Sony WH1000XM3: Verdict

No pair of headphones in the market can literally obliterate all sound – users will always hear something sort of faint, residual noise – but the Sony WH1000XM3 provides the closest noise cancelling nirvana experience at a price that’s not as expensive as Bose. Of course, the Sony WH1000XM3 is not a perfect headphone; just like other headphones in the market, even the high-end ones, it also has some limitations. 

Nevertheless, with its increased comfort, superior audio ability and improved noise cancelling technology, consumers can get a pair of headphones that’s pretty close to perfect. Bargain hunters may argue that there are cheaper alternatives but if you’re all in for a good pair of wireless, noise cancelling headphones, the Sony WH1000XM3 is a good purchase that will last you for years.