The Japanese company Sony is very active in many fields: electronics, telephony, IT, video games, music, cinema and audiovisual. The company has been able to impose its products internationally. Today we are interested in its high-end headphones, the SONY WH-1000XM3. This model simply succeeds the WH-1000XM2.
In the field of high-end headphones, it is the models of the Bose and Sony brands that are at the top of the ranking. The SONY WH-1000XM3 is in direct competition with the Bose QuietComfort 35 II. These two models are aimed at users who are looking for a Bluetooth headset with ANC function. For this new iteration, the Japanese manufacturer would have improved comfort and new features. Let’s find out together if the WH-1000XM3 keeps all its promises.
Table of Contents
SONY WH-1000XM3 Pros & Cons
- Active noise reduction
- Sound performance
- Battery Life
- Intuitive controls
- Great sound definition.
- Very good dynamics.
- Incredibly accurate treble, very spacious soundstage.
- Active noise reduction among the very best available.
- Neat design and finishes.
- Extremely comfortable.
- Excellent battery life, recharges via USB-C.
- Comprehensive and responsive touch controls.
- Quality hands-free kit.
- No multipoint connection for Bluetooth
- A bit overpowered bass
Design & Comfort
The Sony WH-1000XM3 is the successor to the Sony WH-1000XM2, but the manufacturer has made changes, particularly in terms of its design. The general design of the headphones has not changed significantly from the older generation.
We feel that the Japanese manufacturer has not gone back to the drawing board. They simply took the basics of the old model, while making changes. That’s not a bad thing, as the design of the WH-1000XM2 was very successful. The shape of the headband has been reworked somewhat and the ear cups are equipped with new pads.
We will return to their qualities when discussing the comfort of the helmet. The WH-1000XM3 has gained in terms of lightness, 255 grams on the scale (275g for the Sony WH-1000XM2). The new one is slightly more understated to wear.
The design of the Sony WH-1000XM3 headphones is neat. The Japanese manufacturer has once again done so in sobriety, without spoiling the elegance of the whole. It is available in black or silver (we tested the black version).
Once in hand, you can feel that the headphones were designed with solid materials. The different manipulations make you feel real confidence in its solidity.
Sony has also applied for assembly. Its finishes are perfect, no unsightly mark or trace is visible on the entire Bluetooth headset. The WH-1000XM3 has a quality design.
The first difference that we notice compared to the old version is the arch. This one is covered with a leatherette covering that covers the metal headband. The upper part of the roll bar was visible on the WH-1000XM2. The headband is slightly more curved on the WH-1000XM3, which allows a more discreet carrying.
The inner part of the headband is padded with a thick foam, good comfort is improved thanks to it. The headband is adjusted via the sliding system placed on both sides of the headphones. This is a classic system, the notches allow you to adjust the same height on each side.
The notch system is solid, the ear cups stay in place once set. We still regret that Sony has not applied a graduated marking. This would have made it easy to find the right fit (the one that corresponds to our body type).
It is once again possible to fold the ear cups flat and inwards of the headband. This design is really helpful while using the headphones.
First, it allows for a more comfortable fit when the Sony WH-1000XM3 is placed around your neck and the ear cups folded against the headband saves space. Once folded, you can more easily carry the headphones in a bag or store them in the case provided in the box.
The joints that allow the pivoting of the ear cups are fluid and solid. There is no play or noise when performing the manipulations.
The shape and structure of the ear cups are close to what the other versions offer. The physical controls are placed on the edge of the headset and the touch panels allow you to manage your music.
The difference with the WH-1000XM2 is the outer covering which has been replaced by plastic. This reinforces the discretion of the whole. On the left ear cup, there are two buttons. The first allows you to turn the headphones on and off and activate Bluetooth pairing.
Once you have connected the headset to your source device, you can press the button once to find out the remaining battery life (a voice announces this to you). This function is useful. The second button on the headphones allows you to select the listening mode.
There are three modes available: classic, ambient sound and active noise cancelation. The 3.5 mm jack for wired listening is placed a little lower.
The other commands are made by interacting with the outer part of the right atrium. You slide your finger from top to bottom to manage the sound volume, from right to left to navigate between audio tracks and a double press in the center of the touch surface allows you to pause the music.
You also use touch controls to answer phone calls and activate your smartphone’s voice assistant. The touch controls are effective, they work perfectly. This was already the case on previous versions of the helmet. There is nothing to complain about on this point.
The Sony WH-1000XM3 are circum-aural type headphones, the pads are placed around your ears when you wear them. On this model, the pads are wide and perfectly cover your ears.
The contact is pleasant, but above all the memory foam is really comfortable. It is thick enough not to feel the pressure. Once in place on your head, the WH-1000XM3 is comfortable and stable. Its weight of 255 grams contributes to good comfort.
You can use it for several hours in a row without feeling any discomfort. Sony once again shows us its know-how in the design of audio headphones. It’s really nice to see that the Japanese manufacturer has managed to combine comfort and functionality.
When you are no longer using it, you can fold the ear cups against the headband and store the headphones in the hard case. Thanks to this accessory, it will be safe from shocks and falls when you take it on the go.
The app that accompanies the headphones is called “Sony Headphone Connect”. You can download it for free from the App Store and Google Play. It offers several options and settings. You can, for example, use it to modify the sound rendering or the noise reduction system.
The application has not evolved compared to the other versions of the headphones, the same options are present. You can adjust the “Ambient Sound” mode, which lets you hear or mute outside noise without having to remove the headphones from your head.
It is possible to let the headphones automatically manage this function when you move, but the result is not yet optimal. The application also allows you to select the different codecs.
The WH-1000XM3 headphones are compatible with LDCA or SBC codecs. An option allows you to automatically put the headphones on standby after a certain period of inactivity. This option is really useful to save the battery.
The active noise reduction is still as efficient and impressive as ever. Most outside noise is cut out when you use ANC. You find yourself in your musical bubble. Whatever the place (at work, on a busy street or on public transport), the Sony WH-1000XM3 is able to cancel noise.
It is one of the best headphones with an active noise cancellation system. The effectiveness of its ANC system is similar to that offered by the Bose QC 35 II. It is a reference to absolutely recommend if you are looking to isolate yourself from the outside world.
Previous versions of Sony’s high-end headphones did not disappoint us in terms of sound performance. The sound of the WH-1000XM3 remains just as satisfying. Sony has made sure to satisfy the majority of users. It is a closed helmet that is equipped with a 40mm dynamic speaker. The diaphragms are liquid crystal and have an aluminum coating. Ordinary mortals will appreciate the detailed sound reproduction. We have all noticed improvements compared to the previous version.
The low frequencies are a little more present than on the WH-1000XM2, but they are never excessive. The lower part of the spectrum dominates, however the bass remains well controlled.
The advantage with this helmet is that you can modify the rendering via the application. So if you find the bass too accentuated you can adjust it via the app. You modify the rendering according to your personal tastes and the type of music you listen to. We didn’t hear any unpleasant effects while listening.
The mediums are also present, the voices benefit from an excellent restitution. They are not lacking in clarity. The third version of Sony’s headset has also undergone improvements in the rendering of high frequencies.
Overall the sound of the WH-1000XM3 and better quality than previous versions. We enjoy a sound richer in detail. Listening is enjoyable and immersive, no matter what type of music you listen to.
Battery life is one of the other strong feature of these headphones. You can enjoy your music for nearly 30 hours. The duration of the standalone varies depending on the volume of the sound, the codec used and whether you activate noise reduction. Either way, it’s one of the most durable Bluetooth headphones on the audio market.
You will be able to enjoy your music for many hours without fear of running out of batteries. Once the battery is flat you recharge it using the USB-C cable supplied in the box. It will take approximately 1 hour to get 100% battery. A fast charging function is available. Ten minutes of charging will give you 5 hours of use. This feature is really useful, especially when you want to use the headphones at the last minute. We would like to remind you that the headset can also be used in wired mode. That is also a great feature as Beats Studio 3 headphones were not geared with this specification.
The Sony WH-1000XM3 headphones can be used wired via the 3.5mm jack port and wirelessly. It uses Bluetooth technology in version 4.2. Wireless pairing can be done in conventional ways via the Bluetooth menu of your source device (smartphone/tablet, audio player) or using the NFC chip.
Near Field Communication is a short-range wireless communication technology. It allows the exchange of information between devices up to a distance of about 10 cm or 4 inches.
If your source device is compatible with this technology, you do not have to bring it closer to the NFC logo to perform the pairing. The wireless connection was always stable during our test. You can move up to 10 meters away from your source.
The only complaint we could make is that the headset is still not compatible with the multipoint connection. As a result, it is impossible to pair your smartphone and tablet simultaneously. The lack of this function is nevertheless regrettable, especially for headphones sold at this price. Many competitor headsets are compatible with this function.
The latency in Bluetooth is about 160 ms, a reasonable value that allows you to watch a video without being too bothered by the sound/image lag. Fortunately, moreover, because the headset does not allow applications such as Netflix and YouTube to automatically compensate for this lag.
The autonomy is also very good: in very difficult conditions (LDAC codec, noise reduction activated, volume at 60%), the WH-1000XM3 managed to reach 23 hours, which puts it on the same level as the 1000XM2 , in the front rank of the most enduring active noise reduction Bluetooth headsets. By limiting yourself via the application to the SBC codec, it is possible to exceed 30 hours. Recharging is now done via USB-C, thus also allowing a very significantly shortened recharging time: in 15 minutes with a 5 V / 2.4 A adapter, we were able to fill the battery to 40%.
The integrated microphone has a mediocre recording quality. Like most Bluetooth headphones, recorded speech may sound a little thin, noticeably muffled, and lacking in detail. Sony has improved the quality and increased the quantity of microphones used for voice calls, so whoever you’re talking to should hear you more clearly.
SONY WH-1000XM3: Conclusion
The WH-1000XM2 headphones were truly a success when they were released. For this third version, the Japanese manufacturer once again shows us its know-how. Sony has designed an efficient and powerful Bluetooth headset.
The Sony WH-1000XM3 stands out as one of the best references in the field of portable headphones. The sale price is high, but it is justified. The WH-1000XM3 has a neat design, solid construction. Its different functions are easy to use and the sound reproduction is pleasant and rich in detail. You can also isolate yourself from the outside world thanks to the active noise reduction system.
The Sony WH-1000XM3 is absolutely recommended for users looking for headphones for everyday use. The WH-1000XM3 is currently among the best on the audio market. You can also check our list of Best premium gaming headsets to discover more audio equipment.
Current Best Price on Amazon: $389.99
Price History on Amazon
|Months||Lowest Price on Amazon|
SONY WH-1000XM3: Specs
|headphones||Over the Ear|
|Supported Bluetooth codecs||AAC, aptX, aptX HD, LDAC, SBC|
|connectors||mini jack, USB-C|
|Battery Life||30 hours|
|Active noise reduction||Yes|
|Listening to the environment||Yes|