The noise-canceling Bluetooth headphones Sony WH-1000XM3 with touch control and refined sound. Can he beat the top dog Bose QuietComfort 35 II?
A few unwieldy names to start: The Sony WH-1000XM3 is the successor to the Sony WH-1000XM2, which in turn had inherited the Sony MDR-1000X (test). Both models inspired the trade press and buyers. In the latest litter, the Japanese electronics group has once again made important fine-tuning in order to come to a step closer to the goal of the perfect ANC headphones.
Sony WH-1000XM3: Our test verdict
Who pays, may quietly have high expectations. They are fulfilled. After days of use in the office, on the plane, on foot on the road and in city rumbling subways, we can assure you: These headphones are worth every penny and deserve an absolute buy recommendation.
Allround-capable and expressive sound, pretty good wearing comfort, excellent noise-canceling and numerous (sound) options via a smartphone app – the Sony WH-1000XM3 shows in practice no weaknesses and is recommended as a daily companion in every situation.
Is he better than the previous “ANC-King” Bose QuietComfort 35 II? Yes, he is. Only those who want hardware buttons to the operation or attach great importance to the very best wearing comfort will give preference to the competitors of Bose. After all, it’s an eye-level battle in which the Sony WH-1000XM3 does not win every round, but leaves the ring at the end as a point winner.
Sony WH-1000XM3: Good to know
- The headphones are charged via USB-C port.
- If you put your hand on the right auricle while listening to the music, the Sony WH-1000XM3 temporarily transmits the ambient noise, such as announcements in the train or plane. A great feature that the competition likes to be inspired by.
- The Sony WH-1000XM3 uses the transmission codec LDAC, which like aptX / aptX-HD with high data rates should ensure the best possible sound via Bluetooth.
- Use the action button on the left to start the Google Assistant or Siri, for example, to read the weather report or upcoming appointments.
Sony WH-1000XM3 - Review
A few unwieldy names to start: The here tested Sony WH-1000XM3 is the successor to the Sony WH-1000XM2, which in turn had inherited the Sony MDR-1000X (test). Both models inspired the trade press and buyers. In the latest litter, the Japanese electronics group has once again made important fine-tuning in order to come to a step closer to the goal of the perfect ANC headphones.
- Processing: The Sony WH-1000XM3 seems to us even more robust and cleaner processed than its predecessor, and it has become a little lighter. Even if mainly plastic is used, nothing works cheap here. The silver version has a very light golden complexion and makes a noble impression, which should also appeal to fashion victims. The ear cups are spacious and wonderfully soft padded, although here some competitors still a little more air and can be so even more comfortable to wear. The Sony WH-1000XM3 is transported in a supplied case, which also has space for the optional jack cable and the rather short USB-C charging cable. A power adapter is not included. The operation is done by touch on the right auricle, which always worked reliably.
- Sound: In the main discipline of sound, the WH-1000XM3 takes the pole position and beats heavy opponents from Bose or Bowers & Wilkins . The bass is contoured and slightly raised, the centers colorful and expressive, the heights a little stressed and wonderfully detailed: Our test course of jazz, classical, pop, techno and podcast masters the Sony exemplary. The sound can also be extensively customized via app - here every listener will find his ideal setting.
- The touch operation (right ear cup) works reliably and is learned quickly. Swiping sideways changes the song, swiping up and down adjusts the volume. Once pause and playback is paused, but when you remove the headphones is not automatically paused. With a double tap you take calls.
- The noise-canceling of the Sony WH-1000XM3 is likely to represent the tip of the currently technically feasible. It is effective and provides a significant reduction in environmental noise, but at the same time is the "pressure-on-the-ears" feeling only minimal to none at all. Again, great praise to the engineers for raising the bar.
- With up to 30 hours of battery life in wireless mode, the Sony WH-1000XM3 can easily complete several working days, including round-trip travel. In the app, you can also set the automatic standby to get through the day more efficiently.
- The comfort is good, but not perfect. The Sony WH-1000XM3 is a bit closer to the ears and thus accumulates more heat than the Bose QC 35 II. This can be crucial in a continuous use in the office or generally in the summer and should be considered.
- Not a disadvantage for everyone, but the touch operation of Sony could be a deal-breaker for some buyers and thus lead to the grasp to a competitor.
- Yes, we forgave 95 percent for the sound, but still there is still a bit of room for improvement. In the field of Bluetooth headphones, there is hardly anything better - but in a duel with wired studio models (eg) shows that the Sony WH-1000XM3 can be beaten in terms of stage performance, fine-tuning and bass control.
- The quality of the interview we found sometimes a little dull. As a headset, the Sony WH-1000XM3 is indeed suitable, but it should not be his main task.
Hardware, Design & Functions