Sony WH-1000XM3 review

In the ranks of fullsize noise canceling headphones, a new star was lit up – the Sony WH-1000, which collected a large number of positive reviews from customers. We managed to test only the third incarnation of this wonderful model, and it completely lived up to all the expectations placed on it, surprising us with its fantastic noise reduction capabilities and the flexibility of their settings. Probably, for the first time we came across headphones, the capabilities of which cannot be exaggerated.

For the first time, the Sony QN1 processor, designed specifically for such tasks, is used for noise reduction. Using the proprietary application Sony Headphones Connect (available for Android and iOS), you can control the noise reduction system, including using adaptive settings that automatically change depending on the sound environment (at home, on the street, in a noisy store).

We already came across this app when using the Sony WF-SP700N headphone. Its settings for 1000XM3 are even wider, and now allow you to take into account even things like atmospheric pressure (for example, it can be useful when flying in an airplane), not to mention such simple things as managing equalizer profiles or sound position. But about everything in order.

Accessories & Packaging

The kit of the Sony WH-1000XM3 can be called standard for headphones of this class: a hard carrying case, USB charging (thanks Sony, for USB-C), an audio cable 1.2 meters long for connecting headphones to “Wired” mode (with the headphones turned on, noise reduction works the same way, only a little longer) and a splitter for connecting headphones to the aircraft’s entertainment system.

Also would like to say a few good words about the case. Very prudently put a bookmark in it with the layout of the headphones in the folded state. This greatly simplifies the life of a novice user and saves time (and nerves). An external pocket with an elastic band will also not be out of place on a trip.


Sony WH-1000XM3 are made perfectly, all the materials are matte, in our opinion glossy plastic would not suit them.

On the left earphone there is a jack for connecting a cable, two control buttons (power and assignable button – it launches Google Assistant or switches noise reduction modes) and an NFC tag, on the right there is a USB-C charging connector and a touch external surface.

The control gestures are extremely simple – moving your finger up and down to control the volume, left and right – next / previous song, double tapping with your finger – answer a call / put the phone down or stop / resume playing music. Cover the entire surface with your palm – muffle the sound to a barely audible and add an external sound. To return to the original music playback, you just need to remove your hand. Brilliant and simple.

Apparently fauxleather earpads are very soft. At the top of both headphones are additional microphones used to analyze external noise and participating in noise reduction and adaptive sound control algorithms.

Headphones have several degrees for rotation and folding. All this allows not only to compactly put everything in a case, taking up a minimum of space, but also to stand on your head according to all the principles of ergonomics. Weight of 255g is not felt, while sound insulation (including noise reduction) is the best we have seen.

Thanks to NFC, pairing with a smartphone via Bluetooth is quick and easy. You just need to follow the instructions of the application. And then the technomagy begins. Unlike most applications for working with smart headsets, this application gives maximum settings and uses all the technological potential of technologies and algorithms created by Sony.

The application does not have any special sections of the menu – everything is displayed on one long screen (which is correct and convenient) in the form of lists that are opened if necessary. You can activate adaptive sound control, change the acoustic image so that sound can come from some point (there are six in total). Or choose a surround option (this Sony technology is called VPT) – an arena, a club, an open stage, a concert hall.


Perhaps these are the first wireless headphones that begin to show magic immediately after turning on. Activated noise reduction literally immediately puts the listener in a dull, enclosed room. On the street, the effect, of course, is less noticeable, but indoors, the background noise is reduced to almost zero. We began to listen WH-1000XM3 from a laptop, and at first we did not have enough sound depth or volume margin.

After connecting to a smartphone, the situation has changed dramatically thanks to the equalizer settings and experiments with sound profiles. And volume control from the touch panel added sound (it is additionally regulated from the phone’s volume settings). We strongly recommend turning on the DSEE HX mode – it’s quite real to notice the difference in sound. And do not forget to switch the priority mode of sound quality at home, this also significantly affects the enjoyment.

It is slightly disappointing that all these riches are available only in a smartphone, but you can survive this misfortune. Moreover, we could not connect the headphones to the laptop and smartphone at the same time, which inevitably leads to the risk of a missed call, so it is better to listen to these headphones on the phone in every sense. The acoustic picture is not only beautiful, it can still change noticeably depending on the tastes and preferences of the user. Perhaps this is the best sound control in headphones that we have met. Separately, a good word deserves the quality of the telephone conversation. Perhaps such a good sound is generally difficult to expect from a telephone conversation, but, nevertheless, everything was just that – at a high level.

The claimed battery life with noise canceling enabled and in wireless mode is 30 hours, with a wire connected – 38 hours. In practice, we charged the headset every 4-5 days, listening to music for almost the entire working time. What attracts excellent, if not record-breaking results, even by the standards of large headphones.


Sony WH-1000XM3 fully justify their reputation and their price. These are some of the best wireless headphones (which easily turn into wired headphones if necessary) with noise reduction on the market. They come with a convenient hard case, are foldable and support wireless charging. They will be of great help to those who regularly fly, and will be able to enjoy great sound on the plane.

Customizable options for noise reduction profiles make it easy to switch between them (up to automatic adaptive mode) and choose a complete immersion in music or the ability to simultaneously hear the outside world. The record breaking battery life even by the standards of large headphones is worthy of praise, supplemented by fast charging (10 minutes of charging provide 5 hours of operation, although we did not encounter such fast performance, although we tried several charges, the results were simpler, although pleasant).

The simple function “Quick attention” turned out to be very useful, allowing you to talk with the interlocutor without removing the headphones to ask him a quick question or conversely, give a quick answer. This is a great buy even in 2020.


WeightApprox. 8.99 oz
Impedance ( Ohm )47 ohm (1 kHz) (when connecting via the headphone cable with the unit turned on), 16 ohm (1 kHz) (when connecting via the headphone cable with the unit turned off)
Frequency Response4 Hz-40,000 Hz
Cord LengthHeadphone cable (approx. 3.94 ft, OFC strands, gold-plated stereo mini plug)
Sensitivities104.5 dB / mW (1 kHz) (when connecting via the headphone cable with the unit turned on), 101 dB / mW (1 kHz) (when connecting via the headphone cable with the unit turned off)
Battery ChargeApprox. 3 Hours (Full charge)
Battery Life ( Music Listening )Max. 30 hours (NC ON), Max. 38 hours (NC OFF)
Bluetooth Effective RangeLine of sight approx. 30 ft (10 m)