Sony WF-1000XM3 In-Ear Headphones

SONY

WF-1000XMS In-Ear Headphones

One of the very best in-ear headphones on the market.

PRICE


$228

THE HIGH NOTES


  • Best noise cancelling available
  • Great Sony sound with real bass
  • 8 hour battery life

Company & Product Overview

Sony has been a leader in portable audio and headphones ever since the original Walkman. In the over the ear headphone category, the Sony WF-1000XM3 is the number one noise-cancelling headphones on the planet, winning almost every award available. Sony launched its original WF-1000X wireless earbuds in 2017. They were a huge success. Skipping the M2 series, Sony has now updated the earbuds to match the award-winning 1000XM3 over the ears. These new earbuds are best in class just like their big brother headphones. The Sony WF-1000XM3 earphones are completely wireless Bluetooth headphones with noise-cancelling and great sound. These are truly wireless headphones with no wire connecting the two earpieces together. We test an enormous number of headphones at Audio Advice and have to say that these are the best wireless earphones made at this point. They produce dramatically better sound than Airpods 2 and have the best noise-cancelling on the market. If you are looking for a great set of earphones to wear while you run or workout, these are a terrific choice.

 

Sony WF-1000XM3 In-ear headphones

Packaging, Design & Build Quality

The headphones come in a small hard case that serves as a great way to transport them safely and as a battery source. The case is well designed and is approximately the size of two Airpods cases next to each other. The case charges the headphones while they are in it. The headphones themselves last for 6 hours with noise cancelling on and 8 hours with it off. However, if you are away on a trip, the charging case can deliver an extra 3 charges without ever having to plug the case in itself. Additionally, you can get 90 minutes of use from only 10 minutes of charging. This battery time is a terrific improvement from the prior version and explains the slightly larger carrying case. The case has fast USB-C charging and comes with a USB to USB-C cable, a simple and elegant solution.

The headphones come with 6 pairs of earbuds to choose from--three rubber and three foam. The earphones create a nice seal and stay in well even through a full gym workout or a long run. Since there is no cable on these headphones, it’s the fit itself that holds them in your ears. This is no small feat for wireless headphones and we’ve found many competitor options fall or slip out. These do a great job of staying in for fully wireless earphones. We’ve tested these running, cycling, lifting weights and find them simply the best on the market for people with an active lifestyle. It goes without saying that if you are moving around a lot these are dramatically better for staying in your ear than Airpods and similar to PowerBeats Pro but without the ear loop.

Features & Technology

Like AirPods, Beats PowerBeats Pro, and Jabra Elite 65t, these earbuds have a sensor that detects when the earbuds are in your ears. When you pull the earbud out of your ear, your music will pause. Your music resumes when you put them back in. You can use just one earbud to listen to audio or make calls if you want. Sony has built into the earbuds the ability to touch and hold one earbud to temporarily pause the music and allow you to hear outside of the earbud. This is great for travelers to hear an airplane announcement or briefly answer a question without taking the earbuds out.

The earbuds are packed with cool features. They come out of the box with the following functions:

  • Left tap: Noice cancelling-Ambient Sound-Ambient Sound Control Off
  • Left hold: Temporary pause of music and ambient sound on
  • Right tap: Pause/Play
  • Right hold: Voice control (Siri/Google)

They have Bluetooth 5.0 with each earbud communicating directly to your phone or device--an improvement from the prior version. The new QN1e also used in the best of breed over the ear series, is the best noise-cancelling processor on the market. The earphones come with noise-cancelling that can be put into three different modes: noise-cancelling, ambient sound, or off.  Since these headphones are in-ear, they naturally block a certain amount of ambient sound. These are also ideal for situations where you want the sound quality of a sealed earbud but also want to be able to hear outside ambient sounds. This provides a nice balance of focused listening while also allowing you to hear critical things around you. If you turn the cancelling fully on, the music will sound a little more robust with less outside distraction.

Sony WF-1000XM3 In-ear noise cancelling headphones

Performance

These are simply the best sounding wireless earbuds on the market today. They have a new digital to analog converter with 24-bit audio signal processing and good amplification. The key to getting the maximum performance out of these earphones is to play with the various earbuds (rubber and foam) to find the best fit. To make sure you get the right fit, you want to squeeze the ear bud down and then let it expand in your ear to create both a seal and tight fit so they stay in nicely; you generally want to choose the largest foam earbud that fits. This will get you the best sound and bass. While you can’t get $1,000 high-performance headphone bass from these, there is enough bass combined with a really strong upper and mid-range to compensate. The combination of timing, clarity, and punch makes you want to keep putting these back in your ears, and thus make going for a run or exercising that much more fun.

Finally, you will want to download the Sony application on your phone to dial in the settings for your personal preferences. For instance, you can change what happens when you tap each ear. You can also set whether you want maximum sound quality or the best connection. Frankly, the Bluetooth in these is good enough that most people will be able to go with the best sound in 99% of the cases with little issue.

Sony WF-1000XM3 In-ear noise cancelling headphones app

Overall Recommendation

The Sony WF-1000XM3s are now the best in class wireless headphones. The combination of great sound, good Bluetooth connectivity, advanced controls, long battery life, and industry-leading noise cancelling makes these a no brainer in this category.

HIGH NOTES UNPACKED

Sony WF-1000XM3 High Note 1

Best noise cancelling available

The new QN1e also used in the best of breed over the ear series, is the best noise-cancelling processor on the market.

Sony WF-1000XM3 High note 2

Great Sony Sound with Real Bass

While you can’t get $1,000 high-performance headphone bass from these, there is enough bass combined with a really strong upper and mid-range to compensate.

Sony WF-1000XM3 High Note 3

8 hour battery life

The headphones themselves last for 6 hours with noise cancelling on and 8 hours with it off.

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