Sony WH-1000XM3 Review

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Sony has been strengthening its position in the premium consumer tech segment for the last couple of years and now has a series of top-notch mirrorless cameras, OLED TVs, and audio-equipments to its credit. One such marvel in its kitty is Sony WH-1000XM3. These headphones made an instant splash with their debut and have been dominant in the segment for more than a year. 

At the time of launch, Sony India priced its flagship active noise-canceling headphones at Rs 29,999. However, these cans are now offered under hefty discounts. But, is the Sony WH-1000XM3 worth buying in 2020?

Let’s answer that and other such pertinent questions in this Sony WH-1000XM3 review.

Sony WH-1000XM3 Unboxing: What’s in the box?

  • Sony WH-1000XM3 headphones
  • Audio cable
  • USB-C charging cable
  • Airline adapter
  • User manual
  • Carrying case

Sony followed a minimalistic approach with the WH-1000XM3 box packaging. The highlight here is the hard carry case that keeps them secure. The case itself is compact and doesn’t take too much space in our travel gear.

Sony WH-1000XM3 Review: Design and Fit

By the looks of it, the Sony WH – 1000XM3 doesn’t try to make any swanky statements. The Japanese tech marvel has kept things close to a generic theme including hues – black and grey colours. In these third-generation 1000X-series headphones, Sony made major improvements in ergonomics and fit.

Sony switched from metal to hard plastic which ensures 1000XM3 feel light and offers a firm fit. Tweaks were also made in the headband design which now has more oblong shape ensuring an excellent fit. Padding on the headband also has been substantially improved.

The 1000XM3 have excellent soft ears pads that evenly handle all the pressure while isolating noise. These improvements ensure that they are extremely comfortable to use even when you have been wearing them for a 5-6 hour stretch. The Swivel structure allows you to dangle them around your neck or comfortably fold them in the given compact case to carry. 

Sony WH-1000XM3 Review: Controls and Connectivity

The Sony WH -1000 offers touch controls. There is a touch-sensitive right ear cup with an embedded NFC chip for effortless paring. The power button and Ambient / Noise Cancelling button also finds a place on the right ear cup.

There’s USB-C charging port on the left cup (Thankfully) and a 3.5mm jack is there on the right one. These headphones pair via Bluetooth 4.2. Once connected, we didn’t face any signal drop issue.

Touch controls work flawlessly. One can double-tap on the touch panel to play or pause or answer a call. Swiping left or right can change tracks while swiping up or down can adjust volume levels. If you touch and hold the touch panel, noise cancellation is temporarily disabled (more on that later.)

It is worth pointing out that these touch gestures don’t work when you plugin aux cable in the headphones. One other issue I have with these headphones is the missing auto pause and play support.

Earlier some users living in cold regions reported that WH-1000XM3’s touch controls don’t work properly in sub-zero temperatures. Sony seems to have patched that issue, though. In our testing, we used them in Delhi winters where the temperature gets down to 4-5°C but we didn’t notice any phantom touches.

There’s also a connect app that adds several handy customization options. With this app, one can choose an EQ preset, set sleep timers, and optimize noise cancellation with Adaptive Sound control.

Sony WH-1000XM3 Review: Sound and Noise Cancellation

The Sony WH-1000XM3 is right up there with the best when it comes to sound quality and noise cancellation. The review is based on our assessment of the WH-1000 with equalizer settings set to default (flat-line).

These Sony headphones produce rich dynamic sound while being very pleasing to our ears. Improvements are noticeable when compared to the predecessor. Sony has made changes in sound profiling. While the audio still leans towards lows, the vocals and highs are more pronounced and well textured. 

Details on the sounds are near perfect with good separations. Rich and deep bass in some really bass-heavy tracks led to a slight vibration, but WH-1000XM3 never went overboard like Skullcandy Method ANC (review).

When you are spending that much on headphones than you want the best noise cancellation and Sony WH-1000XM3 really outshines other noise cans in that aspect. Sony’s QN1 chip does some sort of sorcery to block almost everything from the outside world when turned on.

The noise cancellation worked brilliantly and helped preserve my sanity during a very noisy flight. These cans can even deftly cancel out keyboard sounds when we are working. All in all, the noise cancellation is the best that we have experienced so far. 

Sony WH-1000XM3 Review: Battery and Charging

Battery life is another aspect where the WH-1000XM3 impress. These headphones honestly go on and on even with hardcore uses. The presence of USB Type-C port further simplifies life as all you need is to carry one Type-C charger with which you can charge your phone, laptop and headphones.

Sony WH-1000XM3 Review Verdict

Sony’s WH-1000XM3 are headphones that we can recommend without any hesitation. They deliver stellar sound performance and continues to be undisputed noise cancellation champions even in 2020. Bose QC 35 ll and Bose QC 700 are close but not better than WH-1000XM3.

If you are an audio buff, these should definitely be in your wishlist. Keep an eye on occasional deals that Sony offers during festive and other sales.


  • Sound awesome
  • Comfortable to use
  • Best at noise cancellation
  • Stellar battery life
  • Type-C charging port


  • Latency in games

Sony WH-1000XM3 FAQ Answered

Q: How much time is required Sony WH-1000XM3 to fully charge?

A: The Sony WH-1000XM3 takes 3-hours to go from zero to hundred.

Q: What’s the Bluetooth version supported on Sony WH-1000XM3?

A: Its Bluetooth 4.2.

Q: What are the audio Codecs Sony WH-1000XM3 supports?

A: Sony WH-1000XM3 supports SBC, AAC, aptX, aptX HD and LDAC Codecs through an A2DP connection.

Deepak RajawatDeepak Rajawat
Experienced technology journalist with over 7-years of experience. Before embracing online journalism, he has worked with several legacy publications including print editions at Hindustan Times and The Statesman. He also has a keen interest in Sports, which he used to cover with equal enthusiasm in his early career.

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