Sony WF-1000XM3 Truly Wireless Noise Cancelling Headphones Review

Sony WF-1000XM3 Truly Wireless Noise Cancelling Headphones



I don’t think I have been this excited for a pair of headphones ever. A pair of in-ear TWS with Active Noise-Cancelling, Google Assistant and fantastic design. The Sony WF-1000XM3 truly Wireless Noise Cancelling Headphones is available in Black and Platinum Silver. Sony went with a capsule design, as opposed to the Apple hockey-stick design. The outside is a smooth matte material, with a circle on each for the touch-sensitive buttons.

Sony WF-1000XM3 Truly Wireless Noise Cancelling Headphones

Sony uses a ‘Tri-hold structure’ for the WF-1000XM3. This concentrates on 3 main areas of the ear for a more secure and comfortable fit. To add to the overall fit, there are seven different sizes of earbud included. There are four made from a ‘hybrid silicone’ and three ‘triple-comfort’ buds. These triple-comfort buds feel a bit thicker and the fit is great on my ears, though I did have to try a couple to find the best size. You insert them in and twist a little to “lock” them in place. I would add I don’t think these are aimed at heavy workouts, as they may start to loosen.

Sony WF-1000XM3 Truly Wireless Noise Cancelling Headphones

Each bud uses a Sony QN1e HD Noise-Cancelling processor. This is where the excitement comes from, as it’s the same chip found in their Sony WH-1000XM3 over-ear headphones. This means it optimises the headphones to help save battery. The chip also acts as a DAC, though I was sad to see no AptX support, only SBS and AAC. Perhaps AptX will be added with an update in the future.

Sony WF-1000XM3 Truly Wireless Noise Cancelling Headphones Review

The charging case is smooth and matte black. With a copper lid, and a Cylon-red LED to indicate charging. It also flashes red when running out of juice. I feel the design choice of the earphone has meant the case is slightly larger to accommodate them. There is also a USB-C port which is a bonus as many other brands have been staying with micro-USB ports. Despite being a large case it fits comfortably in my jeans pocket.

I was able to get around seven hours of playback when using these each day. The case holds around three full charges, so you can get around 24 hours of use before having to get out a cable. This 24 hours is based on Bluetooth and ANC turned on. But turning ANC off will get you around 32 hours including the case.

You will need to download the Sony Headphones Connect app. This gives you a view on battery, connection status, EQ, and ability to control the ANC. You can drag a slider to pick the level of ANC you have, and you can also prioritize voice, allowing people outside of your headphones to speak to you. You can set it to change ANC based on your environment, but this didn’t always work for me.

Removing one of the earpieces will pause the music, and it will then resume when back in your ear. You can double-tap to hear messages (via Siri or Google Assistant), and then hold to speak your reply. The buttons are a little small, so it will take practice to find the target. There is no volume control, which I know is a killer feature, but for me, this isn’t a problem as I rarely use the control on the headphones.

Sony WF-1000XM3 Truly Wireless Noise Cancelling Headphones Specs

  • Headphone Type – Closed, dynamic
  • Driver Unit – 6mm, dome type (CCAW Voice coil)
  • Magnet – Neodymium
  • Frequency Response (Active Operation) 
  • Frequency Response(Bluetooth® Communication) – 20Hz – 20,000Hz (44.1kHz Sampling)
  • NFC – Yes (Case)
  • DSEE HX – Yes

Instruments sound almost live and in the room with you. The headphones handle the various tones and levels without sounding tinny or artificial. Drums and bass are intense and vibrate the ears. The vocals are crisp and clear, with treble notes coming through with a beautiful tone. With the ANC switched on, it is easy to forget where you are and get lost in your own bubble of sound. When I tested the headphones with Netflix I could hear everything clearly, and it felt like having a personal cinema system on the bus.

Sony WF-1000XM3 Truly Wireless Noise Cancelling Headphones Review

The ANC technology for in-ear headphones is no replacement for over-ears, and I doubt they ever will be, but they do work very well compared to other earphones. Sony has made a great pair of ANC in-ear headphones that deliver on both volume and clarity without the bulk of over-ear cans or the hassle of a wired in-line set. The battery lasts much longer than I’d expected, considering it is fuelling a powerful ANC chip.

Call quality is usually a big issue for true wireless headphones, and I have often found that I can’t be heard by the other person on the phone. I tried the Sony true wireless headphones outdoors on a windy day and had no problems, so I was impressed. You can easily answer the call by tapping on either of the earpieces which makes using these headphones on-the-go simple and convenient.

I’m glad I chose the Sony WF-1000XM3 and took a chance on true wireless ANC. Mainly I use headphones for watching Netflix and listening to music on the bus, which is the perfect environment to use these in. I would recommend them for anyone with a commute who prefers to pack light.

In an attempt to further enhance your listening experience, Sony has introduced a new Bluetooth chip for these in-ears and also altered how the headphones communicate both with each other and with your music source. Sony claims the audio should arrive at both earpieces simultaneously, making for a more robust connection, and also minimizing the possibility of any audio delay and lip-sync issues when watching a video. They also claim a 75 percent reduction in latency compared to the WF1000Xs.

Sony WF-1000XM3 Truly Wireless Noise Cancelling Headphones Review

Sony WF-1000XM3 Truly Wireless Noise Cancelling Headphones

We try the Sonys with a mixture of content from Netflix, BBC iPlayer and YouTube. We find no lip-sync issues with Top Gear as the headphones capture the excitable twangs of comedy duo Paddy and Freddie. It’s the same with Netflix as we play a couple of excerpts from the Umbrella Academy series. We experience a tiny audio delay when watching one YouTube clip, but with so many potential reasons for that, we’re willing to give the Sonys the benefit of the doubt.

Call quality is good, given the mics are on the earpieces and quite a distance from your mouth, and you can answer calls by tapping on either earpiece. A pair of wired earbuds with an in-line mic will give greater control over how you’re being heard, and how much outside noise you allow through, but it’s hard to be too critical.

Sony has pulled something special out of the bag with the WF-1000XM3s. They sound excellent, battery life is up there with the best and they are one of the only pairs on the market to pack in active noise-canceling and execute it so well.

Sony WF-1000XM3 Truly Wireless Noise Cancelling Headphones

The touch controls take a bit of getting used to, and it’s a shame they don’t, for now at least, allow you to change the volume on the earpieces, but you simply can’t get a more musical and engaging performance from a pair of truly wireless earbuds. We’re well and truly smitten. Finally, check out our other audio reviews.

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