Sony WF-1000XM3 wireless headphones review

The Sony WF-1000XM3 True Wireless headphones have a lot going for them: Launched as part of the brand’s famous 1000X family of noise-canceling headphones – which includes the award-winning Sony WH-1000XM4 – and these genuine Wireless Headphones Headphones will offer superior noise cancellation and a great deal of style.

The good news? They don’t disappoint either way – and that’s why the Sony WF-1000XM3 remains one of the best true wireless headphones one can buy, especially at sales events. like Black Friday and Cyber ​​Monday, when there is a plethora of deals to choose from.

In November 2019, Sony released a firmware update for the WF-1000XM3 headset that brings many improvements, including support for Amazon Alexa, volume control through the headset, and a visible battery level indication. charging case in the Sony Headphones Connect app.

You can get slightly better performance if you upgrade to the latest Sony WF-1000XM4, Gadgetmasti’s first choice for wireless headphones, but we sincerely believe that you will still enjoy the WF-1000XM3 despite a few years at this point.

Price and release date

The Sony WF-1000XM3 is priced at £ 220 / € 250 (Ireland), $ 230 and AU $ 399. However, you can get them a lot cheaper these days, and they’ll definitely be discounted in Black Friday deals in November.

Available in both regular black and rather sleek champagne silver, they’re about a third cheaper than the on-ear model WH-1000XM3 with which they share the technology. They’re also competitively priced against competing wireless headphones like the Bose QuietControl 30 at $ 299 which also offer active noise cancellation.

Design

If the headphones were judged on design alone, the WF-1000XM3 would already win all the balls: they lack the protruding mass of the Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless and the shameless stupidity of Apple’s AirPods. Plus, weighing just 8.5g each, they’re comfortable in the ear and they look great.

The headphones come in a smart rechargeable case, with a trendy copper cover, and are held securely in place with magnets. The case itself doubles as a battery, should you need a backup charge when you’re on the go.

Late successors to the WF-1000X, launched in 2017, they feature a number of improvements in sound quality and noise cancellation. This includes a dual sensor system in each bud and adopting essentially the same QN1 noise canceling processor as the WH-1000XM3 earbuds.

sony wf-1000xm3

(Image credit: Steve May)

In terms of comfort, the fit of the WF-1000XM3 inspires confidence. Cleverly twisting into place, secured by the structure of your ear, they’re snug and comfortable enough (let’s face it, you’ll never want to spend all day wearing in-ear headphones). Importantly, they don’t feel like they’re going to give up when you take to the streets and they’re easy going earphones – just throw the charging case in your pocket and you’re good to go.

A wide selection of non-slip rubber and foam earphone covers come in the box, so it’s worth experimenting to find the one that offers the best fit / comfort.

sony wf-1000xm3

(Image credit: Steve May)

Characteristics

Few specs are lacking: In addition to Bluetooth NFC pairing, there is support for Google Assistant and Sony audio processing enhancements, including DSEE HX, which is available to restore the subjective details of lossy streams. Hands-free voice calls are also supported.

Best of all, the Sony Headphones Connect partner app lets you make equalizer changes if needed (we never found it necessary), which is an option that not all headsets include in our. days. You can also use the app to prioritize Bluetooth connection over sound quality, but why make the sacrifice?

Much like their full-size stable mates, a selection of physical controls are offered, although the reduced space for the headphones makes their use a bit trickier.

Like the Powerbeats Pro and other high-end true wireless headphones, a proximity sensor can detect wear, so the WF-1000XM3 always knows when they’re in use. Take one out and your music will stop and resume when you put it back on. Pressing the touchscreen will pause or play your songs.

sony wf-1000xm3

(Image credit: Steve May)

There is also a Quick Attention mode available on the right earbud which was a staple of the WH-1000X on-ear series allowing you to touch the earpiece to clearly hear ambient sound. Unfortunately, there is no volume control on the buttons; which can only be done through the app.

The other bad news? There is no support for aptX HD or Sony’s high headroom LDAC Bluetooth extender. The WF-1000XM3 also uses a 24-bit audio processor, not the 32-bit silicon of the WH-1000XM3. Sorry audiophiles, you’ll have to buy the full-size cans if you want all the best features.

Performance

Tiny 6mm drivers exude clarity and rhythm; these stunning little music makers miraculously conjure up a large and expansive soundstage, with believable spatial detail.

If your commuting vice is podcasts, the midrange is silky. If you’d rather rock, they roll with the best of them – the guitars have edge, the drums are tight and hard. Alternatively, the mixes of dance and pop sound positively sparkling.

There is appreciable bass, but no boom. If you want a more pronounced thump, the over-ears will always be a better bet.

Of course, the real test for the WF-1000XM3 lies in its noise canceling capabilities. To find out more, we took them on a noisy drive and sightseeing tour and then put them to the ultimate test – in flight. The results were surprising.

The WF-1000MX3 uses the same noise canceling engine as its big brother, but that doesn’t mean they are directly comparable. Sony told us that the QN1e HD noise-canceling processor at work here delivers performance comparable to that found in the second-generation WH-1000XM2 earbuds.

sony wf-1000xm3

(Image credit: Steve May)

Sony’s noise reduction has really left its mark on daily commutes, whether by train, tram or bus. Noise suppression is high. The headphones are extremely effective at eliminating nearby chatter, thanks to two noise sensors in each bud.

We’ve found it virtually impossible to have a conversation with active noise cancellation – which is a good thing when trying to keep outside conversations to a minimum on a flight, a train ride, or a day in the office.

However, the noise from the cabin of the planes turned out to be too loud for the little buds. While the WF-1000XM3 may have reduced the drone of an aircraft in flight, they certainly did not eliminate with the same ruthless efficiency as the WH-1000XM3. So while daily travel is within their grasp, we wouldn’t look to them for a long-haul flight.

Bluetooth stability has always proven to be good. Sony has positioned the Bluetooth antenna in the pointed part of the headset and uses a new L / R simultaneous transmission system that reduces latency, handy if you are watching TV on your smartphone. It also improves signal stability, reduces power consumption, and lets you connect a single earphone if you need to.

Battery life

When it comes to battery life, the WF-1000XM3 outperforms rivals like Apple’s AirPods (5 hours) and Sennheiser’s Momentum True Wireless (4 hours) with around 6 hours of battery life per charge. If you forgo noise cancellation altogether, you can claim a few extra hours – but where would the fun be in that?

The charging case has a fast charging mode. Plug it in for ten minutes and you’ll get another 90 minutes of juice – perfect if you need a quick boost before a flight – and the case charges via USB-C in about three hours.

Final verdict

Despite a few minor issues, we think Sony has knocked the ball out of the park with the WF-1000XM3: not only are these some of the best true wireless headphones on the market, but they combine some serious noise canceling technology. with breathtaking musicality. . If you don’t want to have to carry large cans, these are a compelling alternative.

The battery life is above average and this compact charging case is also quite stylish. On-ear volume controls similar to the PowerBeats Pro would have been nice, but again, that’s really not a deal breaker in our books.

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