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Saturday, November 2, 2019

Sony WH-1000XM3 Headphone Practice Test: Top Sound, Comfort and Noise Reduction

Sony WH-1000XM3 Headphone Practice Test: Top Sound, Comfort and Noise Reduction

Following a detailed practical test, we are ready to tell you about the latest Sony headphones model WH-1000XM3, what has changed compared to a very good predecessor and what sound, noise reduction and comfort were like.

WH-1000XM3 is a new top Over-Ear model from Sony with an active noise cancellation system. Headphones surround the ear and effectively dampen ambient noise with its Noise-Canceling technology. To do this, the headphones are equipped with several microphones, which are perceived by this ambient noise. Due to this, the device's processor provides the driver with antiphase sound waves and thus provides a noticeable silence. During practical testing, it worked very well, like the previous model, the Sony WH-1000XM2.

The technology reliably dampens low frequencies, and the higher ones muffle, but still penetrate. Voices and high rattling can be heard, but they no longer interfere. In WH-1000XM3, this phenomenon is not noticeably so much, relative to this, the previous model is more prominent. During the first practical test of interfering pressure on the ears, we did not feel it - but subjectively this can be perceived differently.

Unlike the XM2, the WH-1000XM3 does not turn off shortly after it is no longer connected to the smartphone. Thus, they can be used in a mode without connection with a reproducing device in order to protect oneself from excessive noise in the office or in an airplane. For the latter case, the WH-1000XM3 even has a special measuring module on board that allows the Noise Canceling system to adapt to changing atmospheric pressure conditions after take-off, and therefore work even better.


Sony WH-1000XM3: superior comfort and advanced features

Sony WH-1000XM3 Headphone Practice Test: Top Sound, Comfort and Noise Reduction

Sony WH-1000XM3 on the head sit very comfortable. Headphones are available in beige and black colors.

The Sony WH-1000XM3 is an extremely comfortable headset. We carried the already preceding WH-1000XM2 with great pleasure, but the new model feels a little better. The reason for this was primarily the following three changes: the bow has a thicker upholstery, the opening of the auricles became slightly larger, and Sony, a little, reduced the pressure, especially in the jaw bone. You can wear a WH-1000XM3 for a long time without feeling disturbed. During the concentrated work, the device partly even becomes invisible on the head. By the way, whoever travels, he can fold the ears and store headphones in a durable travel case.


On the technical specifications, Sony did not save, although their list was very extensive even in the previous model. In particular, there are mechanical buttons for turning the device on and off, and also for changing the mode of operation of the Noise Canceling system. The sound volume is controlled using the touch surface on the right ear cushion. Whoever puts two fingers on it or a completely open hand, temporarily deactivates the noise reduction system. Then the headphones do not prevent the penetration of external noise and you can talk to someone without any problems. This is very nice, but we recommend taking off the headphones for reasons of politeness during conversations.

If desired, Noise Canceling can be adjusted to completely skip high frequencies, such as voices, but filter out the low-frequency hum. We believe that the so-called Ambient-mode is not very useful, as the noise level increases significantly. There is on board and support for Google Assistant. Thus, whoever wants, he can, for example, initiate a telephone conversation using a voice command, even if the smartphone is in the bag.

Sony WH-1000XM3 have a full, very bass sound

Sony WH-1000XM3 practice headphone test: top sound, comfort and noise cancellation For travel, the headphones can be folded and placed in a (included) travel case

The most noticeable changes compared with the previous model are observed in the sound image. However, in our taste, the sensations of listening have not changed for the better everywhere. We like the more scenic reproduction, most likely due to the increased opening of the auricles. In relation to the predecessors, the feeling is created that the instruments are farther from the head, and in general, the sound gains at a higher volume in scale and strength. The sound is very warm and full, as Sony raises the bass and reduces saturation with high frequencies. This approach has both advantages and disadvantages.

If the music played is not “mixed” in an optimal way or recorded in poor quality, then WH-1000XM3 often makes it better. They compensate for missing bass, overly sharp high frequencies add a bit of softness. Thus, you can listen to your favorite music with pleasure even at high volume. On the other hand, at high frequencies there is not enough voicing and transparency, therefore, for example, the piano and guitar sound very velvety and, as a rule, a little dull.

More irritated may be the reaction of some users to raised bass. While they can still be enjoyable when playing electric or hip-hop compositions, in a “natural” music the sound picture turns out to be somewhat overloaded. Depending on the track, the headphones sound a little rattle or bass. In our opinion, Sony has overdone it here. To test the sound, we use the Spotify Premium online service with the highest quality and set up the headphones in Bluetooth mode with ANC via LDAC. In general, we like the sound of Sony WH-1000XM3, but if you prefer brighter and cleaner tones, you should try listening to Bose Quiet Comfort 35 II.

Battery life and detailed test

Sony WH-1000XM3 headphones test: top sound, comfort and noise cancellation. On the left auricle there are only mechanical buttons for turning on, switching off and switching the ANC mode. In the back of the right auricle is the sensory surface, with which you can control the tracks and volume

Sony WH-1000XM3 has already passed the first test of the battery life in our test lab. With an activated ANC (active noise cancellation) system, they lasted approximately 23.5 hours. This is a good indicator. However, the previous model in exactly the same test worked for almost 34 hours, that is, significantly longer.

First, we send the WH-1000XM3 to an audio measurement lab to test Noise Canceling damping under standardized conditions. Full results of the test, together with repeated indicators of the endurance test, we will present to your attention a little later.

Charging WH-1000XM3 via USB Type-C. Those who let the charging process last for 10 minutes will be able to enjoy music for as long as 5 hours. This is a significant improvement over the 1000XM2, which, according to the manufacturer, for 10 minutes of charging, accumulate energy only for 70 minutes of battery life. At a time when the headphones are charging, they can not be used.

Cost and availability

Sony WH-1000XM3 is already on sale in the fall of 2018 in the colors “black” and “platinum silver” (beige) at an initial price of about 30,000 rubles. Who wants to save money, he must wait a few months or take a very good previous model, WH-1000XM2, which can be found for about 28,000 rubles.

If you are looking for a more affordable model (sometimes without ANC), the Bluetooth headphone models we tested can be found in the table below.

Bluetooth headphones are excellent value for money

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