Sony's new noise-cancelling headphones are simply amazing!

Sony's critically-acclaimed WH-1000X series of wireless, noise-cancelling headphones is making a return this year! Unveiled at the IFA Berlin 2018 expo, the WH-1000XM3 are a significant step forward in a number of ways.

Except the name. That part remains terrible.

Much improved, lighter design

Every self-respecting wireless, over-the-ear pair of headphones should be comfortable enough to be worn for extended periods of time, but we all know very well this is not the case at all. Too often headphones will try to chew away at their listeners' heads, clamping them strongly with all force they may have. Not the Sony WH-1000XM3! For such a sophisticated pair of headphones, the WH1000XM3 are surprisingly light. Not only that, but their clamping force is very low – there is an immediate sense of comfort once you put them on (unlike with their predecessors), and all that is while they successfully and immediately block out all outside noise. How do they do this? Is it magic? Sure feel like so, but we're sure it's the result of countless hours of work and innovation instead.

Appearance-wise, the Sony WH-1000XM3 are quite reminiscent of the previous models in the series, but the headband has been improved to both look better and feel more comfortable. Now, there remains less of a gap between the headband and the listener's head, making for a less off-putting styling. In terms of color variants, we would really like to see more from Sony. There are two versions: black with copper accents, and platinum silver with gold accents. Both of these look good, but headphones can make much more of a fashion statement, and Sony isn't taking full advantage of the opportunity. Instead, it's going for the minimalist look, and we guess that's OK.

Sound quality and noise-cancellation

The star of the show in the premium consumer class of wireless headphones these days tends to be noise-cancellation. With the WH-1000XM3, Sony is at the forefront of this technology. At the carefully staged demo are Sony had set up, there were multiple speakers outputting a constant, heavy sound very similar to what you get in a plane. That's on top of all other music that was playing around! It really was quite a busy and, more importantly, noisy environment to be in, and of course, these were the perfect conditions for to drive the point home. Just as we put the WH-1000XM3 on, all outside noise suddenly disappeared, only to be replaced by the mellow music playing on the demo Walkmans. It was a great experience, and one which proved the effectiveness of Sony's noise-cancelling technology.

There are three modes that you can listen to the WH-1000XM3 with: noise cancellation on, noise cancellation off, and ambient noise pass through. The latter mode is obviously designed for those times when you'd like to be more aware of your surroundings and not isolate yourself too much. You cycle through these with the press of a single button.

Speaking of buttons, the music controls are integrated into the right earcup, which is touch sensitive. While using these hidden touch pads may be a bit fiddly at times, it's probably for the better here, as having multiple buttons and switches laid around the headphones would have taken from their pleasantly minimalist design. Swiping up or down along the earcup controls the volume level, while swiping forward and back is used to change tracks. Play and pause are done by double tapping. There's also one final gesture, where you can cover the whole earcup with your hand – this lowers the music volume and completely enables audio pass through, allowing you to quickly communicate with someone. This is also the time when your virtual assistant of choice will be listening for commands.

Unfortunately, we couldn't test the sound quality of the Sony WH1000XM3 properly in those busy conditions, but we'll hopefully be able to do so soon. According to audio experts around the web, the WH-1000XM3 are capable of outputting superb audio, in part thanks to their built-in analog amplifier.

Price and release date

Needless to say, Sony got us very excited for its WH-1000XM3. Thankfully, it long be long before hit the shelves, which should happen later this month. The only potential obstacle to obtaining them would be their admittedly high price of $350. These babies sure don't come cheap, but hey – all of this acoustic goodness, plus 20 hours of continuous wireless music playback? Give us a call if you find a cheaper offer!



1. japkoslav

Posts: 1497; Member since: Feb 19, 2017

Looking good, hopefuly 1000XM3 will be much better in term of sound quality and build quality compared to my Sony WH-1000XM2. Really glad I bought mine 1000XM2 with 50% discount, otherwise I would not be so happy with my purchase.

2. Foxgabanna

Posts: 587; Member since: Sep 11, 2016

Those are fire AF fam.

3. cocoy

Posts: 455; Member since: Oct 30, 2015

Good thing the audio jack input is still there. Looking forward to this. The 1000XM2 had a very good review from different audio enthusiasts on YouTube.

4. kingkoopa765

Posts: 31; Member since: Oct 22, 2011

I have the 1000mx2 which are amazing for $250 so I can only imagine with improvements the xm3 will be a winner

5. sirohunter

Posts: 193; Member since: Sep 23, 2017

Very nice, for some reason when I got my XM2's they weren't that loud for me and I'm a Bass junky so I ended up returning them

6. Avieshek unregistered

Still stuck to Bluetooth 4.2

14. paceman

Posts: 38; Member since: May 23, 2013

Strange? why not 5.0.

17. japkoslav

Posts: 1497; Member since: Feb 19, 2017

Could it be, that is probably does not bring any important advantage over BT 4.2 for audio transfer?

18. mixedfish

Posts: 1551; Member since: Nov 17, 2013

For accessories Bluetooth 5.0 has little benefit. Energy efficiency was already introduced in 4.0 and LDAC from Sony already alleviates bandwidth issues. It's the phone that benefits the most from 5.0, not accessories.

7. Jrod99

Posts: 713; Member since: Jan 15, 2016

I have some MPOW which sound great for 50 bucks. Not ready to spend that kind of money yet for headphones.

9. izim1

Posts: 1596; Member since: Feb 04, 2013


8. darkkjedii

Posts: 30964; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

My AKG’S shipped. I’ve never had an interest in these types of headphones, but I’ll soon see how they are. Airpods, and Iconx are more my style.

10. djkhalid

Posts: 156; Member since: Jul 01, 2013

the akg headphones that came with the note 9 are actually pretty good tbh

13. darkkjedii

Posts: 30964; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

I figure, if they’re free...why not. If they’re great on top of being free...all the better lol.

11. Well-Manicured-Man

Posts: 670; Member since: Jun 16, 2015

Why did you buy AKG? When I had a galaxy s8 I also bought Sony Noise cancelling MX1000 head phones to profit from Sony’s LDAC codec build into Android since Oreo. I can assure you that you have never ever listened to so good music via Bluetooth. I really suggest that you give Sony a try to use LDAC. This is the only thing that I am missing from Android since I switched back to iOS.

15. japkoslav

Posts: 1497; Member since: Feb 19, 2017

LDAC won't really save you, unless you are using Tidal Premium or localy stored FLACs. I have WH-1000XM2 and my next bigh wireless headphones will be, most likely, Fiio BTR3. Or I will use my Shanling M0 as a reciever instead.

16. 47AlphaTango

Posts: 715; Member since: Sep 27, 2015

I'm more of the in-ear type wireless headsets. Any chance for sony releasing a new wireless earbuds after WF-1000x?

21. blackmalt

Posts: 1; Member since: Sep 11, 2018

The previous models were already great (I owned the first one). The only thing really matters with this latest release – has Sony been able to finally solve the headband cracking problem that plagued the 1000X and 1000XM2? $350 is too expensive for a product that doesn’t even last a year.

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