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Sony New - WH1000XM3B - WH-1000XM3 Wireless Noise Cancelling Headphones
- HD Noise Cancelling Processor QN1 lets you listen without distractions
- High quality wireless audio with BLUETOOTH and LDAC technology
- Smart listening experience by Adaptive Sound Control
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Headband style High-Resolution Audio headphones with industry-leading noise cancellation and Ambient Sound control.
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- The ANC is insane. I wear these in the office, and at 30% volume cannot hear conversations next to me.
- Extremely comfortable and lightweight. I get Cervicogenic headaches, and heavy headsets will trigger these headaches. I can wear these for hours without any pain at all.
- The audio quality is good. Not amazing, and on the default profile, the bass is a little heavy. The bright/excited preset is the best for me I've found.
- The battery life is amazing
- The microphone leaves a lot to desire. Muffled and hard to hear in high ambient noise scenarios.
- The accompanying app needs some work - not as feature rich as one would hope, although is certainly enough to configure headphones.
- The headphones does not have smart Bluetooth; you can only connect to one device at once. What? Is it 2010?
Overall, the cons of these headphones are far outweighed by the pros. I would buy these again in a heartbeat.
The noise cancelling is amazing. Sound quality blows the Bose out of the water. Nice and comfy too, and better battery life. Very, very happy.
About the only negative is they don't do multi device pairing like the Bose does; you can only be connected to one music source at a time.
However, I was quite disappointing to note it's below-par mic and Bluetooth performance.
Mic quality issues: Almost all of the recipients of the calls I made with this were complaining they couldn't hear me and the audio was muffled. I wasn't even in an area where there was a lot of background noise. Tried calling on my commute on the train and it was completely unusable and the other end couldn't understand a work I was speaking. Very disappointing.
Bluetooth issues: During calls and even listening to music, there are constant disruptions to the audio stream with pauses and audio fades which is really frustrating. My phone was only two feet away or inside my pocket.
Verdict: When someone buys a premium wireless headphone these days, one expects it to have really good mic performance (with good background noise reduction) and reliable Bluetooth streaming with zero interruptions. WH1000XM3B certainly does a great job in audio quality and ANC but had compromised the basic features of a standard Bluetooth headset.
Also, sometimes the sound becomes a little bit jerky. It's happening on my phone and on my desktop PC. I know mastering Bluetooth is more an art than a science, but for that price I expected a bit better.
- in terms of noise cancelling, these are on par or better. I wear these at work, or at home while my wife watches TV (or when she's around generally), and they work great.
- for music, these flat out are in a different league to Bose. The bass is deeper, the sound stage is wider and the vocals are crisper.
With the latest update, also now supports Alexa. So with the better tech and longer battery life, it's a no brainer. Amazing headphones.
Top international reviews
First, the positives: Noise-cancelling:
This is top of its class, absolutely wonderful. I tried to switch from Bose QC 35 IIs to this, and the difference in noise reduction is absolutely detectable and almost uncanny. It seems to be much better at filtering lower sounds as well, so while dull rumbles with the QC35 will be quieter, with this Sony they are practically gonezo.
Audio Playback/Sound Quality:
Again, this is a great pair of cans. Reasonable bass, excellent highs and mids. For a non-audiophile, this will likely be one of the best sounding headphones you can own. Compared to the Bose QC35 IIs, it's not a huge difference in my common scenarios (sadly I didn't always get to make the best use of the DAC stuff built into the Sony which clearly wins by a mile), but if you listen with noise cancelling enabled, the superior reduction in background noise makes the audio seem even clearer.
Now for my negatives: Controlling the unit (compared to my trusty Bose):
- It takes 2 full seconds of holding the power button to turn the system on or off
There is this nifty little feature where you can cover your right earpiece with your hand and it will turn off noise cancelling and lower the audio playback volume so you can hear the external world. This works well enough, but usually it looks a little strange and isn't typically what I would use. I tend to either be in a context where I'm listening with no need to interrupt, or I need to turn it off immediately for extended periods. Having to awkwardly hold the power button is cumbersome, but because the ear-holding doesn't pause the playback any sufficiently long interaction will require pausing, which is also not good...
- Play/Pause requires a double tap of the the ear phone
The issues with this are pretty straightforward. I'd say I only had this "gesture" work for me the first time I attempt it about 66% of the time. If you're too low or too high it's not recognized, if you're slow or too fast it's not recognized, if you're too light or too heavy it's not recognized. And repeatedly tapping hard on your own head both looks silly and sounds unpleasant. Way too unreliable for how critical the function is.
- Volume and playback controls are entirely touch based
Swiping up and down on the ear controls volume. If you want any semblance of precision you have to do one quick swipe at a time to go up or down one "tick". If you're too slow it will register them as multiple swipes which can lead to quickly having undesired low or high volumes.
- Skip forward/backward are swiping forward and backward
The same issues for volume apply here as well, generally.
--- There are two aspects of all this touch-based control that I despise
1. The orientation of the swipes is static, and precise. Meaning, if you're lying down trying to skip forwards, you need to swipe from the surface you're on towards the ceiling, or else you'd accidentally adjust volume, and vice-versa. Also, if you're setup such that you're lying on a side, you basically can't interact with the controls if the right ear is covered.
2. The precision required on getting the right part of the earphone with the right part of your finger at the right speeds/pressures is a totally unhelpful and unneeded abstraction from simple buttons. If your gesture doesn't work, there's no feedback to understand what you did wrong.
- The "multi" device syncing:
This may not be as big an issue for other users, but this headphone does NOT support synchronous device pairing/playback. Meaning that you have to manually disconnect from say, your phone, and then manually connect to your laptop or other device. You don't have to re-sync the Bluetooth, but you have to go into menus and fiddle. My Bose QC 35s connect to both my phone and PC at once, and switch between them based on audio-playback-priority. I can be listening to YouTube on my laptop, and if I get a phone call it switches audio to my phone automatically. No such behavior from the Sonys. This feature is the main make/break for me.
- Wind noise-cancelling:
Although the actual level of cancelling is better, the handling of high speed wind is atrocious. Sadly this effect my commute quick often as I take an open ferry most mornings.
- Long-term comfort:
I suspect this would improve with more break in time, but on multiple occasions, a session of 45+ minutes started to get a little painful, and loosening the headband led to it slipping off more than reducing discomfort.
Overall, it's clearly a high quality item, and it does the jobs it does very well, but for my workflow and usecases, it falls quite short.
If it helps the headphones are supplied with the following...
A reasonably solid case - don't buy an extra one until you've tried it out, as I think it's pretty good.
A very short charging adapter.
A lead that will connect them to a device. It is about a meter long so will reach an entertainment system on a plane.
An adapter so you can use them on a plane (ie with the two prongs).
Hope that's helpful
The sound quality is great, nice and full sound, deep bass, being able to customise sound settings via the app is very useful as everyone prefers different tones. The connectivity with the app is very good. I haven't used them on a phone call yet, but I have heard other people say they do a great job, however apparently these are not as good as the Bose QC35ii for calls.
They pair to my phone (OnePlus 6T) almost instantly - no complaints about this.
The noise cancelling is really good, you do get a slight feeling of pressure in your ear when there is little to no sound, but as soon as some audio kicks in you don't notice it. It's also really good being able to switch between external mic on/off which means you can keep them on when in public places where you need to speak to people i.e in the shops, or when you are at home with friends and family.
The battery life is brill. I probably charge them every week or two, if that. I use them most nights for watching Netflix, YouTube, watching sports and listening to Spotify.
The case is okay, i'd prefer it to have a pouch for the cable to go in but instead it's kinda just stuffed into an empty gap. Not the biggest issue in the world if i'm honest! Having a USB-C input is a huge advantage as all my other devices use this. This was one of the reasons I chose this over the Bose QC35ii's.
There are only 2 things I don't like. 1st is that the ear cups could be a tiny bit more generous. I have large ish ears, so they do tend to touch the wall of the cup which is very well padded so not in the slightest bit uncomfortable, just would prefer a bit more space for ventilation. 2nd is that the touch panel on the right earpiece every now and then does not react and you have to re-do whatever gesture. HOWEVER, having this touch panel is great in comparison to trying to feel around for buttons every time you want to change track, volume etc... so I still prefer this over buttons. It is MUCH more convenient without buttons.
All in all, if I could mark these out of 10 they'd get a 9.5. As I said there are a couple of niggling things that I don't like, but nothing in life is perfect and I can promise anyone who buys these will be very happy with them. You really can't go wrong with a product of this quality and I definitely recommend them.
I bought my first pair of the Sony headphones in Duty free where they were about 30 quid cheaper & on the recommendation of the 3 sales people in the shop who ALL said that they had a pair over all of the ones that they sold.I had intended to buy a pair of Bose with my second choice being B&O(expensive !)
I was seriously impressed & I knew I could return them if I didn't like them after week of pretty serious use.
I ended up buying another pair for my wife for a birthday present ( who normally doesn't do presents like this at ALL).She said about a week after getting them that she REALLY liked them & it was an excellent choice of present.
I think that says it all.
2. Sound quality is awesome. Very good bass.
3. Sound is not very loud. There should be one or two more level to increase the music volume.
3. Touch control works very well.
4. They look premium and are light weight.
5. Couldn't charge it with OnePlus 6T charger but nokia 8.1 charger worked.
6. They are not very comfortable to wear specially if you wear glasses or you have cervical problem.
7. Within 10 mins of use you can feel the sweat around your ears. Actually earpads heat up a bit while in use so you cant wear it for long in indian summer.
8. My product had a very poor battery life. It last 6 hours after full charge so definitely the battery was poor.
9. Warranty card was missing in the packet but packing was good.
10. Usb cord provided for charging is of 8 cm length only. I think it is okay. But there is no type c adaptor provided within the box.
11. Google Assistant support is awesome and useful.
12. Bluetooth connectivity is okay.
15. Sony headphone app is user friendly and a must to have.
16. Overall I don't recommend this headphone at a cost of rs 30k.
First impressions: Box it came in looks smart and professional along the lines of Sony's usual design language. Carrying case is not leather like the Bose QC35 ii but is still great quality, can fit all accessories and will protect the headphones.
The headphones when picked up were surprisingly light, but also had a weight to it that portrayed a quality built product. Very soft faux leather ear cups and headband, very comfortable to wear hours on end.
Headphones instantly connected to my Samsung Galaxy S9+ and connected with Google assistant straight away. NFC also available for instant connectivity.
Sound is excellent, with an unbelievable amount of customisation. Bass is strong and controlled, highs and mids are clear and crisp, discovering new sounds in music I've been listening to for years! Please bear in mind, these headphones are LDAC Bluetooth connection enabled, so if you have a phone with LDAC connectivity this will greatly increase sound quality. Usually Bluetooth connections are SBC which is poorer quality, this is chosen as default but can be changed to LDAC in settings (if phone is compatible).
Noise cancellation is fantastic, best I've ever used so far. Perfect for commuting on the bus or train. Very impressive even with higher frequencies such as peoples voices. It does not cut out ALL the external sound maybe maximum around 90%, if you want that then buy some ear plugs. Wind is minimum for me when cycling and running. Also covering the touchpad with your hand will cancel the noise cancelling and open up both the mics so you can speak to someone or hear your surroundings quickly, very useful feature I have used many many times!
Touch controls (although sceptical) I got used to them within 10 minutes. 9 times out of 10, the control panels reads my input correctly. This also makes the headphones look very sleek with only two physical buttons for Power/battery status and noise cancelling/ambient/Google assistant button.
Downloading the Sony Headphone app, an abundance of customisation available such as:
- Adaptive Sound Control, which detects if you're sitting, walking, running or commuting to tailor the noise cancellation.
- Noise Cancelling Optimizer, optimizes headphones according to hairstyle, if you're wearing glasses, a hat. If you change your hairstyle or take off your glasses, re-optimize.
- Atmospheric Pressure Optimizing
- Sound position control
- Analyzing Ear shape
- Sound quality mode
Overall I highly recommend these headphones, also a great way to get into high quality audio streaming!
On the flip side there are a few issues:
* Very rarely, the headset just starts to pass-through amplified background noise. Recalibration always helps.
* Bluetooth connection with my Macs/iPhones is fairly reliable. However, if I use BT dongle on Linux boxes it tends to drop from time to time.
* Microphone(s) is not suitable for voice recording. Hence you may sound very quiet or illegibly on conference calls. But your software may be able to fix that, so mileage may differ.
* Music playback is not very colourful due to the noise cancellation design and limitations of Bluetooth connection. But that to be expected.
* They look brittle and will likely break in hands of a not careful owner.
In general, I am fairly happy with the purchase as the drawbacks are either fixable by software updates or due to prerequisite of noise cancellation.
He is a very happy 17 year old :-)