Sony WH-1000XM3 Headphones Review: The BEST noise-cancellation out there

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Sony has built up a reputation for creating fantastic audio products, and that’s mostly thanks to the headphones and earphones that they have been releasing in the last few years.

The 1000XM series of headphones have been well regarded as one of the best in the market, due to its sound quality, noise-cancellation, and battery life.

The latest model, the

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WH-1000XM3

, was released back in 2018, but they’re the kind of product where there’s been no justification for an update as yet.

This reviewer has had them since Feb, so we wanted to review them, to give you some insight into just what we think of them.

Design - Score 96

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As soon as you take them out of its case and fold them out, you get a feel that this is a premium product.

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From the cups for your ears, to the top where there’s great padding for everything to hold together, these are very comfortable. These can also be adjusted to in-case they don't quite fit as yet, but once they do you're in for a treat.

They come in either black or white, and these are the black ones, with a really nice bronze-font to the Sony lettering, while the USB-C and headphone ports are found at the bottom of each cup. We were worried at first that these required a USB-C adapter for these to work with any device that had a headphone-jack, so it was a relief to see one on the left cup.

The touch controls work very well here; on the right cup, you can swipe forwards and backwards for a track, while up or down is volume; something that's not available on Apple's AirPods line. Alongside a tap for play/pause, it been incredibly useful, and after a few days you'll know exactly which gesture means what.

Features - Score 98

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Let's get to main the point here; the noise cancellation.

This has been a feature long-touted in the Sony XM line, and it's incredible here too. When you want to buy a set of headphones or earphones, one of the main features you want to find out more about, is the noise-cancellation. It's a matter of looking at one set of headphones or another, and if you put the 1000XM3 in this, there's a good chance that they'll win every-time.

Walking down the high street with buses and cars aplenty, the noise-cancellation worked so well that you need to be on your guard in case a car needs to turn in to park near where you're walking. It also adjusts to the noise around you, which can be very useful, and it was rare when the button on the headphones needed to be pressed to manually change the level of this.

When you pair the 1000XM3 to a device, you are advised to download the 'Sony Headphones' app, where it can optimise the sound to your surroundings. The app does its job and it can give you a good start-up experience when turning these on for the first time, but otherwise it's not something you'll be using each day.

Yes, these headphones only pair to one device, which is a shame when you consider other accessories like AirPods and Bose headphones that can pair to multiple devices with ease. This is where the headphone-jack comes in use here, but for times when you can only use it wirelessly with your iPad or PC, it can only be done by manually pairing them. A drawn-out process, and we hope that the next version allows for more devices to be paired more easily.

The battery life is fantastic; it consistently gives a 31-hour charge, and yes we took notes on how long it took for them to switch off.  There's a 'quick charge' feature that can give 5 hours of playback after ten minutes of charging, and once the headphones were dead, we did indeed try this out, and as expected, this feature worked out as stated.

Having USB-C for this is very useful, as we're rapidly heading into a USB-C standard world, especially with the PlayStation 5 having one right at the front of the console, so using a spare cable from an iPad Pro has proven useful.

Siri, Alexa and Google Assistants are able to be used with the 1000XM3, and they work as expected. You can command them in the same vein as normal, and work as expected.

One thing to note here was the call-quality. It worked great and the person on the other end of the call thought that we were just using our phones up to our ears. We suspect that's mostly thanks to the microphones that have been added to this version of the 1000XM, but we'd be surprised if you bought these for calling people.

We haven't even gone into the sound quality, and yes, it's incredible. Every bass, every treble, every rap, it's all crystal-clear here and you will even notice certain instruments you never noticed before in your favourite albums. Even using them for a console or PC, every bullet, lightsaber, and boost from a car booms from these headphones, and its a treat.

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Price - Score 96

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Ever since its launch in August of 2018, they have been on sale for £249.99.

For what these headphones offer, we can confidently say that they justify the price. From the hard-to-beat noise-cancellation to the impressive battery life, these headphones are a premium-quality, and if you just want to use them for podcasts and to silence the world around you as you're doing work for example, they will justify.

 

Our Score

Pros

  • Fantastic Sound
  • Incredible noise-cancellation
  • Impressively-long battery life
  • Headphone-jack makes it accessible to most of your devices
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Cons

  • Not waterproof
  • Only pairs to one device at a time

These headphones are simply the best on the market, rivalling other manufacturers such as Bose and Klipsch.

The comfort of wearing them mixed with the quality of the sound is something that you simply need to try when you can. The touch-screen controls are well-thought out on the right cup, with slides in each direction to control your music easily, more than what the AirPods currently offer.

The noise-cancellation is simply the best in its field, drowning out 95% of sounds so much that you need to be on your guard when walking though a city centre. Thanks to the headphone jack available, you can use these on a Nintendo Switch or a PS Vita and reap the benefits of this too, so there's no scenario where these headphones miss out.

A price of £250 may be eye-watering to some, but its justified in what it offers as a package, and if these are your first set of wireless headphones, there's a good chance you won't change back.

Highly recommended.