The Sony WF-1000XM3 are premium TWS earphones with active noise cancellation and represent the current best from Sony. They were first introduced globally in 2019 but only made it to India last month for a price of Rs. 19,990.
These earbuds connect with Sony’s Headphone Connect app and should be appealing to frequent travelers, frequent flyers, or people who often find themselves in a situation where they need to block out interference from ambient noise and immerse themselves in music.
Sony WF-1000XM3 are still the reigning flagship from the company and we were quite excited to test how well these headphones perform. Should you buy the Sony WF-1000xm3 in 2020? Let’s answer such questions in our detailed review.
Sony WF-1000XM3 Price and Specifications
|Driver||6 mm, dome type (CCAW Voice coil)|
|Bluetooth||Bluetooth 5.0 (SBC, AAC)|
|Weight||8.5g (each bud), 77 grams (case)|
|Battery||Buds – 6 hours (NC On)/ 8 hours (NC Off)Case – 12 hoursUSB Type-C charging port|
Sony WF-1000XM3 Review: Design and comfort
These earbuds definitely look the part. To start with, the two-tone case with a soft matte finish feels extremely premium. It’s chunky and you might not be able to adjust it in your pants pocket as comfortably, but in the current pandemic situation, we never had to face any such inconvenience.
The LED indicator glows bright red and underlines the arch in the case lid. This is also where the NFC connector resides. The lid clings magnetically and is easy to lift and open using a single hand and it also shuts with a gratifying snap. The buds tightly cling to the case and to pull them out you need to place your thumb in the empty space between the two.
The Type-C charging port is positioned in a groove on the back, adjacent to the rounded bottom such that you’d be able to plug WF-1000XM3 irrespective of which side is up. We have the silver color variant with us which is more like beige and frankly looks more elegant than black ones.
Sony is using good quality plastic and in about 3 weeks of usage, the case has successfully resisted scuff marks and daily wear and tear. Sony WF-1000XM3, however, don’t support wireless charging
Now coming to the individual buds. These are again fairly large, but also look extremely elegant. The buds are again entirely made of plastic, which helps keep them light. The touch controls are well implemented and easy to reach and operate. The companion Headphone Connect app lets you disable tap gestures for left and right buds and this is particularly useful in avoiding accidental triggers when we wear them lying in our bed.
These headphones fit very comfortably in my ears. However, the fit isn’t secure enough for workouts and the WF-1000xm3 do not have any sort of water resistance rating either.
The Headphone Connect app recommends that you twist them and align them parallel to the floor for a more secure fit. This twisting worked but caused a bit of discomfort over long duration usage. We’d recommend that when you are on the move, wear them as advised by the company.
Sony bundles extra silicon and foam tips in the box and we think most users would be able to customize these for a comfortable fit. Choosing the right tips is also imperative for effective noise cancellation.
Also Read: Sony WF-XB700 Review
Sony WF-1000XM3 Review: Software and Functions
Pairing the Sony WF-1000XM3 is extremely convenient. These headphones support Google Fast Pair and Android users will get a pop-up for direct pairing. Or they could simply tap and pair with phones that have NFC connectivity.
Out of the box, these headphones are in pairing mode. To connect to a different device, you may tap and hold both the earbuds simultaneously for 5 to 7 seconds to put these in pairing mode.
The Sony Headphone Connect companion app has several useful customization options and an effective equalizer.
By default, the left touch control is assigned for Ambient sound/ noise cancellation toggle and the left one for music playback control. Using the app, users may assign different functions to left and right touchpads, including Assistant control, or disable them altogether (useful when wearing them to bed). Sony has also added Volume control option
The app also has Adaptive Sound Control that automatically adjusts the sound that gets through based on location and ‘action’ like running, walking, etc.
There’s also Sony’s DSEE HX sound enhancements, but they don’t make any noticeable difference to audio.
One interesting feature is 360-degree audio, a format for wider surround sound audio. The app scans images of your ears to improve HRTF algorithms for 360-degree audio. However, 360-degree music in itself is very rare.
Sony WF-1000XM3 Review: Performance and Audio
Sony WF-1000XM3 have 6mm dynamic drivers and connect via Bluetooth 5.0 over SBC or AAC. LDAC or aptX are not supported. Of course, the tuning matters more than the codecs used and this is one area where Sony excels. The sound stage is very wide and these earphones can pick nuances in spacious audio very well. The signature isn’t neutral, but it delightfully favors bass without going overboard.
Sound from gentle instruments is reproduced faithfully and vocals are clear even when bass kicks in and multiple instruments pitch in.
The equalizer in the Headphone Connect app can be used to align WF-1000XM3 to your individual taste.
Noise cancellation, which is the USB of these TWS headphones, works remarkably well. It could successfully keep out regular household noises and that made listening so much more pleasing. We did face an annoying fizzle in windy conditions though.
So, yes, when it comes to audio quality, you are definitely getting your money’s worth here.
The call quality was also pretty good. Mostly. We did face some issues in noisy ambiance and the Google Assistant couldn’t grasp our commands well via the WF-1000XM3 microphone, but we used them to attend numerous conference calls and virtual meetings without any complaint whatsoever.
The connection was mostly stable in the close range, but we did notice glitches on several occasions. Audio latency while gaming is fairly low as well.
Sony WF-1000XM3 Review: Battery life
Sony claims 6 hours of battery mileage with noise-cancellation turned on and 8 hours with noise cancellation disabled. During our testing, the buds lasted between 4 to 8 hours with noise cancellation turned on.
The bundled case can charge these twice over and it takes around 1.5 hours for a full charge. The case takes more than 3 hours for a full charge.
Sony WF-1000XM3 Review: Verdict
If you haven’t inferred already, we are quite happy with the experience Sony WF-1000XM3 offer. The attractive design, comfortable fit, decent noise cancellation, spacious audio, and a number of useful customization options make them an easy recommendation. These are perhaps the best available options if you want both noise cancellation and TWS convenience.
On the downside, they are some glaring omissions like wireless charging, IP rating, and aptX support that audiophiles do expect at this price point.
- Decent noise cancellation
- Excellent design and fit
- Great battery backup
- Sony Headphone Connect app useful customization options
- Well implemented touch controls
- No wireless charging
- No aptX or LDAC support
- Not water resistant
Sony WF-1000XM3 FAQ
No, they only support AAC and SBC.
Are WF-1000XM3 compatible with Sony’s Headphone Connect app?
Yes, they are.
Yes, they do.
Very. These are the best available options if you want both noise cancellation and TWS convenience.
Battery mileage is excellent. These buds can comfortably last for up to 10 hours on a single charge.
No. However, function buttons are very reliable and are easily accessible.