Sony WH-1000XM3 Review – Updated Excelence

Sony WH-1000XM2

9.6

Comfort

10.0/10

Control

9.2/10

Noise Canceling

9.8/10

Sound

9.5/10

Conclusion

The Sony WH-1000XM3 is the real deal when it comes to noise-cancellation. But the really big deal is its transformation to analogue amplification. After tirelessly working to achieve this, Sony has achieved it. By combining noise-cancellation, an analogue amplifier and a DAC in a chip (QN1 chip), Sony has managed to emerge on top.

You can experience a piece of greatness when you purchase the headphones.

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Introduction

Buying headphones and earphones are like a life-long commitment. It is all about getting the right equipment that you will enjoy for a long time. Something that will surpass other headphone releases and stay at the top for a long time. It makes no sense to buy headphones then start shopping for others three months later. That’s expensive and cumbersome let alone introducing electronic clutter into your life.

So, back on the commitment, you want headphones that are durable. Headphones that will give you the right quality of sound. One that will be a comfort and not a burden to use. In this case, you should look upon the best brand names. They include Sony, Bose and Beats by Dre among others.

Sony is a reputable company and dedicated to the production of great electronics. They range from television sets, Hi-Fi systems, projectors, earphones and headphones. Despite their variety of production, they dedicate themselves to quality sound.

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Sony WH-1000 Series

With the headphone industry shifted towards noise cancellation, the competition is high. All competitors in the market strive to offer their customers with the best. At least in sound quality. Its only up to 2016 when Sony bumped the market with their first series. The Sony WH-1000X gave noise cancelling supremo Bose a run for its money. It even landed Sony a coveted award.

In 2017, Sony brought it again with its second-generation Sony WH-1000XM2. It has tweaks and claims to solidify Sony’s new-found noise cancellation reputation. But increased competition saw Bowers & Wilkins PX carry the awards. Luckily, with the release of WH-1000XM2, Sony was developing its upgrade. A year later, Sony dropped WH-1000XM3 and seems to have kept its promise, to release a stellar noise-cancelling headphone. It has also kept its addictive touch controls. Hence, scaling the WH-1000XM3 to greater heights. But the pinnacle of this model is analogue amplification. This improves audio performance, especially after its predecessors.

Apart from the price point, it is paramount you understand why you should settle for Sony WH-1000XM3. This can only happen if we go through the specs.

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Comfort and Design

Design and comfort are an integral part of the headphone industry. This is something to consider because you wear it on the head. Sometimes you will have to spend hours on them. A design may be cool but comfort supersedes it. The XM3 headband is plastic. This is different from the metallic headband installed on the outgoing XM2 model. On a brighter note, it has shaved off about 20g of the total weight. Less weight translates to more comfort if you got the headphones on for long.

The use of polyurethane foam on the ear pads and headboard is standard on most headphones. It makes the headphones more comfortable to wear. So, what is so different for the XM3 headphones? This year, Sony has made the padding even thicker and softer. It contributes to the lighter feel as well as adds to the comfort of the headphones.

Maintaining the sleek look and touch control pad is a smart idea. The first series was a wonderful gadget for techs. XM3 appeals to the same crowd. The touch control makes it easier to manipulate the headphones. Imagine having to press a button to change the volume or touching a control. Which is easier and more comfortable? It should be easier to deal with a touchpad. Options include double tapping the right earcup to play or pause and answer calls. Swipe up to increase the volume or swipe down to decrease the volume. It also gives it a sophisticated look. The earpads are also a little bit wider than its predecessors. The reason behind the change is to allow XM3 to fit around any ear. It also helps with noise reduction.

The headband design is also different. It has achieved a straighter look which is less awkward. No more balloon-like looks when wearing them. This is because the gap left between the headband and your head is less.

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Sound Quality

Sound quality is the main attribute one should consider when purchasing headphones. A headphone is an instrument that relays audio from a source to the ear. The quality of that audio should be of great concern. This is because one should enjoy the real sound as intended by the producer.

Ingenuity has finally paid off for the WH-1000XM3 headphones. The pair offers a clear sonic upgrade over the WH-1000X and the WH-1000XM3. The XM2s sounded closed in and dull though this only comes out when comparing XM2 and XM3 side by side.

The larger padding and cups provide room for a more spacious sound. It sounds more open giving every instrument an effect and vocal room to breathe. Despite space, the directness of vocals accustomed to its predecessors is not compromised. Vocals produced by the gadget is still focused and direct. What is apparent is the delivery of instrumental sound. It makes you feel as if you are in the room with the band playing the instruments.

Sony WH-1000XM3 packs a little more bass. The generous and extra helping of the lovely deep bass produces a satisfying rendition. Just like in SBTRKT’s ear-throbbing “Trials of the Past”. The greatest fear is that the bass can ruin the balance in the delivery of other sounds. It does not. It simply reinforces the overall delivery of other sounds. The bass adds weight and richness in a way that is natural and pleasant. Simply put, in an analogue way.

Noise cancelling is part of sound quality. It generally means that the headphones have the capability of filtering out external noise. You then get to concentrate on the sound that is coming from your audio source. Sony’s already superior noise-cancellation tech improved on the XM3 model. The improvement is in terms of frequency range especially in the mid to high area. The generally crispier and sparkly treble is what you will need to block out noise in the office.

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Connectivity and Features

Sony pushes itself in the products it designs for its consumers. With the new WH-1000XM3 headphones, Sony has made some improvements to connectivity and features. One of them is the number of microphones available on the headphones. Sony increased the number of microphones for voice calls. This enables the person you’re talking with to get you clearly. With the noise-cancellation feature, you are also able to cancel out the outside environment and focus on your caller.

Are you a frequent flyer? You may want to take advantage of the returning Atmospheric Pressure Optimizer feature. When in the plane and ascending to higher altitudes, the atmospheric pressure changes. The change affects your hearing thus affecting the quality of sound. Using the feature tweaks microphone sensitivity and frequency response. It allows you to experience an improved performance at high altitudes.

WH-1000XM3 headphones are compatible with both iOS and Android. Audio connectivity is possible both wirelessly or through an audio cable. Cable connection may not exhibit the best of sound response as compared to the wireless connection. Besides connectivity, there are apps for both Android and iOS that extend the range of controls available for the device. They are not as effective in use but can enhance noise-cancellation options.

At times you may engross yourself into listening that you shut out the outside world. It pains to have to remove the headphones when someone briefly speaks to you. Putting the headphones back to the same comfortable position is difficult. XM3’s “Quick Attention” feature makes it easier. It reduces the music playing to whisper and lets in outside noise. All you have to do is place your finger over the top of your right cup. This enables you to hear the person talking next to you. Once connected to your phone, whether on iOS or Android, the same gesture helps to communicate with your assistant. By assistant, we mean Siri and Google Assistant. Sony is still working to include Amazon’s Alexa.

Another improvement is its quick charging battery. It takes three hours to charge it while WH-1000XM2 takes four hours. A 10-minute charge gives five hours of work as contrary to its predecessor which will work for 70 minutes. The change from the standard USB to USB type-C is also an improvement to note.

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What You Will Get When Receiving Sony WH-1000XM3

On purchase of this beautiful piece you get the following to come with it:

  • Owner’s manual.
  • USB cable for charging.
  • Connection Cable.
  • Plug adaptor.
  • Carrying case.

PROS

  • The devices noise-cancellation extend is extraordinary.
  • Comfort is optimum
  • Battery quick charging capabilities and long battery life (30 hours)
  • It has a variety of personalization options.
  • Most of the inconsistencies experienced in XM2 Sony addressed in XM3.

CONS

  • The LED blinking status light is annoying
  • The device has no on-ear sensor.
  • The app can cause confusion in the mode selected.

Post Author: Martin