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Sony WH-1000XM3

Over-ear Bluetooth® wireless noise-canceling headphones (Black)

27 Reviews | 1 question - 2 answers

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Overview

Our take on the Sony WH-1000XM3

I was so high on last year's Sony WH-1000XM2 headphones, I thought there was little room for improvement... But then Sony's latest flagship noise-cancelers, the WH-1000XM3, arrived on my desk. I've had very little time with these headphones as I write this, but wow, what a first impression. 

Inside case

The stellar Sony WH-1000XM3 wireless noise-canceling headphones fold up neatly for travel.

Sony's best noise-cancelers are now — somehow — even better

I was so high on last year's Sony WH-1000XM2 headphones, I thought there was little room for improvement... But then Sony's latest flagship noise-cancelers, the WH-1000XM3, arrived on my desk. I've had very little time with these headphones as I write this, but wow, what a first impression. 

This model keeps all the features that make the WH-1000XM2 so great, and adds these key updates:

  • More comfortable: The previous version was already super-comfortable. This year's '1000XM3 is even a little lighter with a more form-fitting headband, and roomier inside the earcups.

  • Better noise-cancellation thanks to a new processor chip from Sony. It easily knocked out the loud, constant hum of the industrial fans we have going up here on the top floor of Crutchfield HQ (our department's A/C unit is on the fritz). High-frequency noise-cancellation now works better, too. It helped silence the crowd of crickets and cicadas who were holding a meeting right beside my porch last night.

  • Faster charging thanks to the new USB-C connection. You get 30 hours of wireless use (with noise-canceling) on a full charge, and recharging for 10 minutes gives you up to five hours of use. 

  • Redesigned drivers: These headphones use strong, ultra-light aluminum diaphragms that start and stop quickly. I've only begun to put them through their paces, but so far I like what I hear. Stronger bass response than the previous model, but not at the expense of the midrange clarity and high frequency detail.  

Completely personalized noise cancellation

Sony has used adaptive noise cancellation for a while now, and I've always found the circuitry very effective. It takes your surroundings into account, then adjusts the level of noise cancellation. But their "next-gen" circuitry goes one step further.

The WH-1000XM3 includes special on-ear sensors that can detect whether you are moving or standing still — and even if you're wearing glasses or not. Another sensor monitors barometric pressure. So now Sony can serve up noise cancellation that's optimized to the height of your in-flight plane.

Plus, you can download Sony's Headphones Connect mobile app for direct control over what noises you let in or keep out. 

A convenient way to hear others 

You can even choose to let in important ambient noise or voices. Temporarily turn off the noise-canceling technology by simply placing your hand over the right earcup. Tiny built-in mics will pick up external sounds and voices.

Earcup controls

When you need to hear others, just put your hand over the right earcup.

The right earcup also has a snappy touch-sensitive panel. You control music, volume, and calls with a simple tap or swipe of your finger.

Higher-quality streaming

Music plays wirelessly from your Bluetooth-equipped phone or portable player. Sony's included an advanced form of audio coding called "aptX-HD®," for improved sound quality with devices that support this technology.

And for the best in wireless sound, you can use these headphones together with a Sony High-res Walkman. This pairing takes advantage of Sony's LDAC technology, which allows the wireless signal to retain all the musical detail that gives a song personality.

Product Highlights:

  • closed-back, over-the-ear headphones
  • dynamic 40mm drivers with an aluminum-coated, Liquid Crystal Polymer diaphragm
  • tuned for clear, detailed mids and highs with punchy bass
  • Bluetooth 4.2 connectivity for wireless music listening and phone calls with compatible smartphone
    • aptX-HD® and AAC decoding provides high-quality music streaming from compatible devices
    • LDAC Hi-Fidelity wireless music streaming from compatible sources
  • form-fitting headband with relaxed, breathable earcups
    • generous cushioning on headband and earpads
Adaptive Noise Cancellation:
  • includes Sony's sophisticated HD Noise Cancelling Processor QN1 chip
    • strengthens noise cancellation for human voices and other higher-frequency sounds
    • keeps noise-cancelling circuitry from interfering with audio circuitry
  • active noise cancellation circuitry adjusts to the level of external sound
  • free Sony Headphones Connect app for Apple® and Android™ lets you adjust settings
    • customize the sound and manually choose the level of noise cancellation
  • Adaptive Sound Control uses movement sensors to adapt noise cancellation
    • detects whether you're running, walking, standing still, or riding in a car (app required)
  • barometric pressure sensor
    • optimizes noise-canceling and sound to your altitude when in flight
Easy Controls:
  • dedicated earcup button summons Google Assistant or Siri® on your smartphone or tablet
    • ask questions, dictate texts, and control music by voice
    • available for Apple® and Android™
    • must repurpose the on-ear Noise Cancellation button using the Headphone Connect app
  • NFC-compatible for one-touch Bluetooth pairing with compatible devices
  • earcup touch controls let you answer calls, play/pause music, skip tracks, and control volume
  • quickly turn off noise-canceling by covering the right earcup with your hand
  • built-in microphone for making calls with a smartphone
    • three-mic system filters out background noise for clearer calls
General Info and Specs:
  • built-in rechargeable battery offers up to 30 hours of wireless use with noise cancellation
    • 10 minutes of recharging provides enough power for 5 hours of listening
  • includes USB-C cable for charging
  • 47" audio cable with 3.5mm plug for wired use
    • airline adapter included for in-flight entertainment systems
  • portable folding design with carrying case included
  • frequency response: 4-40,000 Hz (wired), 20-40,000 Hz (wireless)
  • weight: 9 oz.
  • warranty: 1 year
  • Our 60-day money-back guarantee

What's in the Box:

  • Over-ear wireless headphones (black)
  • 48" Audio cable (straight 3.5mm plug on one end and right-angled 3.5mm plug on other end)
  • Airline adapter (single 3.5mm jack-to-dual 3.5mm plugs)
  • 9" USB charging cable (Type A USB on one end and USB-C on other end)
  • Zippered hard storage case
  • Reference Guide
  • Operating Instructions
  • Limited Warranty sheet

Featured Video

HUGE improvement over my earlier Bose. I always thought that the Bose were very good, but these new Sonys are in another class. MUCH quieter. The bigger ear cup was also a nice plus for me. We'll see how they hold up, but so far, they get an "A".

Bob W., Elyria, OH

Reviews

Sony WH-1000XM3 Reviews

Average Customer Review(s):

(27 Reviews)
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Details

Hands-on research

Features and Specs

General
Fit Style Over-the-ear
Earcup Type Closed
Earcup Width x Height 3.153" x 4.023"
Noise-canceling Yes
Mic For Taking Calls Yes
iPhone Control Yes
Lightning Connector No
Android Control Yes
Frequency Response 4-40k Hz
Sensitivity 104 dB
Impedance 47 Ohms
Weight 9.0 ounces
Cord Length 48"
1/4-inch Adapter Included No
Storage Case
Charging Case No
Volume Control Yes
Parts Warranty 1 Year
Labor Warranty 1 Year

Product Research

Features

Overview: The Sony WH-1000XM3 Wireless Noise Canceling Headphones have all of the latest features in wireless headphones for the best experience in personal listening. With Digital Noise Cancellation, Adaptive Sound Control, and Touch Sensors on the ear cups, the headphones make it easy to get the sound you want from your digital music files. The headphones include an audio cable for wired listening, an airline audio adapter, a USB charging cable, and a zippered storage case.

Bluetooth/NFC: The 1000XM3 has Bluetooth 4.2 for wireless listening from your smartphone, tablet, or Bluetooth music player. Compatible profiles include A2DP, AVRCP, HFP, and HSP, with SBC, AAC, LDAC, aptX, and aptX HD codecs. LDAC transmits approximately three times more data than conventional Bluetooth, with a maximum transfer rate of 990 kbps for exceptional sound quality. For NFC-enabled devices, you can easily pair to the headphones by simply touching the device to the N-mark on the left ear cup of the headphones.

Digital Noise Cancellation: The WH-1000XM3's over-ear design naturally blocks much of the ambient noise. These headphones feature a new HD Noise-Canceling Processor (QN1) to greatly enhances the noise canceling power. The headphones are equipped with built-in microphones on the top of the ear cup that capture outside noise and send an equal-but-opposite canceling signal to the unit. You'll be able to hear more of your music and less of the outside distractions. The Sony Headphones Connect app has a Noise Canceling Optimizer that takes into account the shape of your face, whether or not you wear eyeglasses, even the atmospheric pressure, to make the noise canceling effect even better.

Adaptive Sound Control: Sony's Adaptive Sound Control can detect your activity and adjust the sound settings to you. When traveling, you can immerse yourself in your music with the highest level of noise cancellation. If you're walking, the noise cancellation adapts so you can stay aware of your surroundings while listening to music. While waiting, such as in an airport or train station, the noise cancellation is reduced so you can hear important announcements. These settings can be customized to your personal tastes in the Sony Headphones Connect app.

Sony Headphones Connect App: The Sony Headphones Connect app gives you control over the sound of your headphones right on your smartphone or tablet. In addition to Adaptive Sound Control and Noise Canceling Optimizer (mentioned above), the app's Sound Position Control lets you choose the direction from which you hear your music (Front, Front Right, Front Left, Rear Right, or Rear Left). You can select from available presets for the Surround VPT and Equalizer features, control your music (play/pause, skip forward/backward, fast forward/backward), and set the Clear Bass and DSEE HX (high range compensation for compressed music files) levels. The Sony Headphones Connect app is compatible with iOS devices (iOS 10.0 or later) and Android devices (Android 5.0 and up).

Google Assistant: The Sony Headphones Connect app now gives you access to Google Assistant. To set up the Google Assistant, you will need to use the app to change the function of the NC/Ambient button on the left ear cup from Ambient Sound Control to Google Assistant. To use Google Assistant, just press and hold the NC/Ambient button and speak. You can ask it to play music, dial and answer calls, reply to messages, find out the weather forecast, and remind you about appointments, birthdays, anniversaries, and when to pay bills.

Touch Controls: Using the touch-sensitive panel on the outside of the right ear cup, you can easily control all your music and calls. Volume is controlled with up or down swiping motions, while music/call controls utilize tapping and forward or backward swipes. The Quick Attention feature lets you instantly mute the audio by placing your hand over the touch pad so you can hear an announcement or conduct a conversation without removing your headphones.

High Resolution Audio: The headphones are compatible with Hi-Res Audio, allowing you to hear all of the subtle details of your music. They have powerful 40mm aluminum-coated Liquid Crystal Polymer diaphragms that can reproduce low bass notes and ultrasonic highs up to 40kHz. For true Hi-Res audio reproduction, the included 5' audio cable must be used in a wired connection to your Hi-Res-capable playback device.

Rechargeable Battery: The Sony WH-1000XM3 over-ear headphones are equipped with a 3.7-volt Lithium-Ion rechargeable battery to power the Bluetooth and ANC functions. The battery fully charges in approximately 3 hours via USB using the included USB-C cable. With a 10-minute Quick Charge, you can get about 5 hours of music playback. (See battery life estimates below in Specifications.)

Specifications:

  • Frequency Response:
    • Wired: 4Hz to 40kHz (with or without NC)
    • Wireless: 20Hz to 20kHz (44.1kHz sampling); 20Hz to 40kHz (LDAC 96kHz sampling, 990 kbps)
  • Sensitivity: 104dB/mW (wired, NC on); 101dB/mW (wired, NC off)
  • Impedance: 47Ω (wired, NC on); 16Ω (wired, NC off)
  • Full Charging Time: approx. 3 hours
  • Battery Life (estimated):
    • Music Playback: 30 hours (NC on), 22 hours (Ambient Sound Mode), 38 hours (NC off)
    • Communications: 24 hours (NC on), 18 hours (Ambient Sound Mode), 30 hours (NC off)
    • Standby: 30 hours (NC on), 22 hours (Ambient Sound Mode), 200 hours (NC off)
    • Noise Canceling with Headphone Cable Connected: 36 hours
  • Dimensions:
    • Ear cups: Width 3.153" Height 4.023" Depth 2.152"
    • Headband: Width 0.941"
  • Weight: 9.0 ounces (w/o cable)

Our Product Research Team

At Crutchfield, you'll get detailed, accurate information that's hard to find elsewhere. That's because we have our own in-house Product Research team. They verify what’s in the box, check the owner's manual, and record dimensions, features and specs. We stay on top of new products and technologies to help people make informed choices.

Staff Reviews

Product reviews from the Crutchfield Labs

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Q & A

Customer Q&A

Crutchfield asked  
Why did you buy this?

Great reviews, great features. [ John  Nov 14, 2018 ]
These have the highest rating in noise cancellation. [ Jeffrey  Nov 10, 2018 ]
A gift [ MARGARET  Nov 01, 2018 ]
None to be had around [ Edgar  Oct 26, 2018 ]
It had fantastic reviews through various online outlets. [ Michael  Sep 24, 2018 ]
Tried them on at a store and liked them better than the Bose QC35 II in terms of style, noise-cancelling and back-end features. Time will tell if I made the correct choice for me. Hopefully the lack of physical command buttons will not be an issue. [ David  Sep 24, 2018 ]
best noise cancelling headphones and great features [ Vinay  Sep 24, 2018 ]
Crutchfield review. [ Hoa  Sep 24, 2018 ]
For noise canceling and reviews of the sound quality. [ Aaron  Sep 23, 2018 ]

1 question already asked

Although I am using it with an IOS device, I have also used it with other bluetooth devices connected to a TV. I do not see any reason it should not work with an Android. [ Gabriel  Oct 31, 2018 ]
I have Android 7.0 and they're working. [ Patryk  Oct 30, 2018 ]
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