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SONY WH-1000XM3 Bluetooth Noise Cancelling Headphones In-depth Review

SONY WH-1000XM3 Bluetooth Noise Cancelling Headphones In-depth Review

In August 2016, Sony unveiled a pair of wireless noise-canceling headphones, MDR-1000X in the IFA Electronics Show in Berlin. 

With the introduction of active noise canceling, this series of headphones marked Sony's stepping forward to emulate the front runner of noise-canceling headphones, BOSE. However, due to the problem of the broken headband, the SONY headphones were unwelcome by the consumers, so was the second-generation MDR-1100X.

Not until Sony released the third-generation headphones, WH-1000X Series in August 2018 that Sony reiterated the significant improvement in noise canceling performance.

The QN1 chip on WH-1000XM3 headphones, designed by Sony, has four times higher performance than previous generations, plus dual mic, the noise reduction capability is the highlight of the new headphones.

Let's leave out the package contents, because there is nothing special, except the user manual, warranty card, instruction, and so on.

In my opinion, the headset bag is admirable, which allows you to make the best use of space. There is a little mesh bag on the back, in which you can put some small things, such as the keychain, tissue, or something else. 

Compared with M2, WH-1000XM3 has a golden logo and a golden zipper at the outside. The golden zipper is eye-catching, in stark contrast with the dull gray color.

After unzipping the bag, you'll see Sony WH-1000XM3 resting in it in a unique and elegant way, which takes full advantage of the space, for there is room for a 3.5mm audio cable, an airline adapter, and a Type-C power cable.

In addition to the golden logo mentioned above, Sony WH-1000XM3 headphones don't differ from the previous generation in appearance. However, this little change denotes luxury a bit in the formal business style.

Compared with the previous generations, the headband of WH-1000XM3 features reinforcement, as high-quality brushed metal is in use. After so many issues about the broken headbands, WH-1000XM3 headphones offer a perfect solution.

The outer materials in the first two generations are artificial leather; that of the new generation is a kind of frosted, skin-friendly plastic. However, the plastic is more like a fingerprint magnet. I think the material is not as good as that of previous generations because I prefer the tactile experience of artificial leather.

The earmuffs are made of protein skin, which is very soft and comfortable.

On the left earphone, there are only two buttons, one switch, one noise reduction switch. The 3.5mm headphone jack is on the bottom.

The new generation headphones have a USB Type-C charging port, so you don't need to take extra cables when you go out.

Don't worry that you might not be able to wear the headphones, because they can fit big heads well. WH-1000XM2 headphones are less comfortable than WH-1000XM3 because they clamp the head; in comparison, you can find a significant improvement in WH-1000XM3, which brings more comfort to you. 

The soft protein skin will deform according to your face shape, offering more comfort while avoiding clamping your head for an extended wearing time.

The weight of the WH-1000XM3 is about 255g, nearly 20g lighter than the previous generation. WH-1000XM3 headphones cause little pressure on the head, which is excellent. You will hear a slight sound of the friction between the earphones and the skin when you are walking. However, the sound is so small that anyone will completely neglect it.

You can play, pause, control volume, switch songs, etc. by either clicking buttons, sliding on the right earphone. Long press to summon the voice assistant. By the way, the voice assistant that you can summon depends on which mobile phone you are using.

Hold the right earmuff to switch the noise canceling function quickly, and you'll listen to the “Ambient Sound” with the volume of music turned down... Even when you meet an acquaintance, you can communicate with him/her without taking off the headphones.

Noise Canceling:

Sony has added the QN1 HD noise canceling processor to the new headphones; thus, compared with WH-1000XM2, the uplift in noise canceling performance of WH-1000XM3 is significant. According to Sony, WH-1000XM3 headphones are four times more efficient at canceling noise.

Additionally, the LDAC transmission has also been improved, as 32-bit audio signal processing technology is applied.

Apart from the above, in the QN1 processor, the integrated digital-to-analog converter and analog power amplifier enable excellent signal-to-noise ratio and low distortion for superior sound quality.

In general, the upgraded QN1 chip improves the sound quality and noise reduction of WH-1000XM3, compared with WH-1000XM2.

Is the experience consistent with the technical parameters?

I used WH-1000XM2 in 2018 for about a week. I am glad at the fact that the noise canceling of WH-1000XM3 has been dramatically improved. However, as for the sound quality, the improvement is limited. Let us talk about it later.

In a quiet office

Because it is in the afternoon, the office is quiet. The noise is only about 50 decibels, and the noise in the office is about 60 decibels during the working hours.

After putting on the Sony WH-1000XM3 and turning on the noise canceling, I feel as if I dived in the deep sea in no time. During this period, only high-frequency noise come into my ears, but if I play music, I can't hear the noise.

On the road with heavy traffic

The noise made by the car on the roadside is about 76 decibels. Wearing the headphones, I can merely hear the horn, and the friction between the tires and the concrete roads is inaudible.

On the bus

The noise on the bus is about 76 decibels, which is quite loud because of the old-fashioned engine.

Wearing the Sony WH-1000XM3 while standing, I find that the noise of the engine is completely gone thanks to the noise canceling. However, due to the vibration of the old-fashioned engine, I can hear the noise as it transmits through the chair. At the moment, I feel weird.

I yawn on the road, my cheekbones bulge, and the headphones fail to cover my ears for a moment, and I feel that my ears are about to explode as loud noise comes in.

In the loudest game room

In the loudest game hall, the noise is about 95 decibels.

Wearing 1000XM3, I feel the environment becomes quieter instantly, but not as quiet as sinking in the deep sea, because various kinds of noise made by the machine come into my ears. However, I can barely feel the roaring sounds in car racing.

As for the crash and the knock, I can still hear them, but they become 50% quieter, i.e., nearly 50 - 60 decibels after noise reduction.

In a workshop

At last, I arrive in a boisterous place where the noise is constantly above 100 decibels. As sharp metal parts rub the machine, without wearing headphones, I would suffer from tinnitus in a few minutes.

With Sony WH-1000XM3, the noise is reduced to what can be heard on the road in our daily life although it is still a bit noisy, as sharp sound sneaks into the ear. However, it is much better than not wearing headphones. After the noise reduction, you can feel 70dB noise in the ears; if you play music, you can clearly hear the music.

Sound quality

Sony provides an App for headphones, which is called “Headphones Connect.”

I have used a lot of exclusive Apps for headphones which provide tuning effects, but none of them is comparable with Sony's for its effects are outstanding.

All settings of the App are in the primary menu, so you won't have trouble to look for anything.

Like WH-1000XM2, WH-1000XM3 supports adaptive sound control. More specifically, the headset and the microphone automatically recognize the environment, whether you are in the car, on the plane, walking or having at rest so that the ambient sound will be adjusted accordingly. This is because the microphone of the headset picks up sounds in the environment. Then, the headphones amplify the sound and play it. In this case, the headphones work like a bullhorn.

Well, I seldom use this function of the headphones, but the adaptive sound control function of WH-1000XM3 is much better than that of WH-1000XM2, because of the optimization of intelligence.

Although controlling the sound position by using the App is meaningless, it is interesting, because you can make sounds come from different directions, and they sound true-to-life.

(If only I would upload a video to Gearbest to make you hear the wonderful sound!)

The surround sound function allows you to simulate the music effects of the stage, the club, the outdoor stage, the concert hall. The simulation is extraordinary, and the resonance is exceptionally realistic.

Now, I want to talk about the equalizer.

If someone says that the sound quality of the Sony 1000XM3 is not good, it must be that he has not adjusted the equalizer. SONY's equalizer enables the WH-1000XM3 headset to sing in numerous styles, and the tuning effect is extremely impressive.

Various modes are built-in, including Bright, Excited, Mellow, Relax, Vocal, and so on. Each mode has a pronounced tuning effect, such as highlighting the voice, enhancing the bass, stressing the treble, etc. Use the equalizer, then turn it off, and you will find the sound becomes as plain as water.

In combination with the equalizer of the APP, the sound quality of the Sony WH-1000XM3 is second to none, unrivaled among the Bluetooth headphones. These new headphones are free of ground noise buzz when the noise reduction is turned on, and the sound of the headphones becomes purer.

With Sony's new QN1 processor and tuning, LDAC high-quality transmission protocol, WH-1000XM3 headphones boast a lot of advantages. I believe that the sound quality of WH-1000XM3 is satisfying for most people, especially when they wear WH-1000XM3 after using other headphones, most of them will come up with the same words as me: Sony headphones are excellent!

OK, let's talk about the experience.

I've got Huawei Honor V20 and Honor Magic 2 which support LDAC transmission. It seems that the iPhone only supports ACC.

Sound mode: All modes are off by default.

I've listened to most of the songs on my mobile phone and written this review about sound quality based on my experience in the past few days. I hope that it can serve as a reference.

First of all, the low frequency of Sony WH-1000XM3 is excellent, extremely crisp, and detailed. 

When I heard the low frequency of Sony WH-1000XM3 for the first time, I was so excited, totally obsessed about the details, elasticity, and after-sound.

The gentle, detailed low frequency is the reason why I wanted to buy Sony WH-1000XM3 at first.

As for the middle and high frequency, use WH-1000XM3, and you will reacquaint yourself with the singers with whom you are familiar, because of the outstanding sound, explosive power, and exquisiteness. 

As for the middle frequency, you can listen to songs like Lemon, etc. You will fall in love with the beautiful melodies, wide sound field. WH-1000XM3 headphones have never let me down because of its extraordinary reproduction of sound.



1. The appearance is eye-catching, in the low-key luxury style;

2. Comfortable to wear because the touch control perfectly helps you to get rid of the difficulty in control;

3. The noise canceling is impressive, and the sound quality is satisfying;

4. The APP is extremely powerful, and the automatic optimization of the sound is excellent;

5. 30 hours long battery life. I often wear it almost for the whole day without completely draining the battery, i.e., there is still 50% of electricity left.


1. The headband material has been replaced by plastic;

2. Sometimes, one's hands might be clamped when the headphones are twisted;

3. The price drops too fast, so people are worried about the devaluation;

4. The earmuffs are prone to oil stain.

In great excitement, I finish the review of Sony WH-1000XM3. Thank you for your attention. 

Please read on, here are a few words that I want to say.

The application of Sony WH-1000XM3 is not limited. They are so competent that you can use them to listen to songs, enjoy watching movies and playing games.

As I wear WH-1000XM3 to play games with my friends, I revel in the realistic gaming experience, thanks to the clear shots, bombs, footsteps in the games and the excellent low-frequency performance of WH-1000XM3. 

They are great for movies, as there exists a lot of low-frequency vibration in battle scenes in many blockbusters. There is no denying that Sony WH-1000XM3 headphones perform well in low frequency. 

The world needs peace, and Sony WH-1000XM3 headphones can bring peace to me. I sincerely hope that my article will be of some help to you.

SONY WH - 1000XM3 Wireless Bluetooth Headphone



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