Sony WH-1000XM3: Best wireless noise-cancelling headphones yet?

Has the Bose QC35 met its match?
Sony WH-1000XM3

At IFA 2018, Sony unveiled the WH-1000XM3, its third-generation flagship 1000X series of wireless noise-cancelling headphones. Basting a new HD Noise-Cancelling Processor, the new model boasts four times greater noise-cancelling performance compared to its predecessor.

Where the 1000X series leads in noise-cancelling performance, its greatest rival – Bose’s QuietComfort QC35 has always had the upper hand in the comfort department.

But apparently, not anymore with the WH-1000XM3. Sony trimmed off a little weight (now 254g), improved the headband design and has made the ear cups softer and more plush for improved comfort.

Another area where the Sony gets a upper hand is the adoption of USB Type-C for charging, as opposed to micro-USB on the previous iteration. The new quick-charge feature gives you five hours of juice from just 10 minutes of charging. Sony claims 30 hours of battery life at moderate volume levels, this with Bluetooth and noise-cancelling on, which is mighty impressive.

Sony WH-1000XM3The all-new dedicated HD Noise-Cancelling Processor QN1 keep unwanted noise at bay – including voices, background sounds, and especially the annoying drone of an airplane engine. Speaking of airplanes, the headphone has a unique Atmospheric Pressure Optimising feature that delivers optimal sound at high altitude.

The QN1 processor isn’t just for noise-cancelling. It realises best-in-class signal-to-noise ratio and low distortion and delivers exceptional sound quality. It has powerful 1.57-inch drivers with Liquid Crystal Polymer (LCP) diaphragms to handle heavy beats and can reproduce frequencies up to 40Hz.

Sony WH-1000XM3The headphones have something called Sense Engine, which automatically detects your activity like walking, traveling or waiting. It then adjusts ambient sound settings to suit.

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It literally lets you tune in and tune out of your music at a touch. Using Quick Attention, simply place your hand over the housing to turn the volume down for instant conversation.

There’s plenty more to love including the support for LDAC which transmits three times more data than conventional Bluetooth wireless audio. This means you can enjoy High-Resolution Audio, even without a wired connection.

It also supports voice assistants like Google Assistant.

Sony WH-1000XM3 Specs at a glance

  • DRIVER UNIT 1.57 “, dome type (CCAW Voice coil)
  • DSEE HX Yes
  • INPUT(S) Stereo Mini Jack
  • FREQUENCY RESPONSE 4 Hz-40,000 Hz
  • FREQUENCY RESPONSE (BLUETOOTH® COMMUNICATION) 20 Hz–20,000 Hz (44.1 kHz Sampling)/20 Hz–40,000 Hz (LDAC 96 kHz Sampling, 990 kbps)
  • FREQUENCY RESPONSE (ACTIVE OPERATION) 4 Hz-40,000 Hz
  • PASSIVE OPERATION Yes
  • NFC Yes
  • CORD LENGTH Headphone cable (approx. 3.94 ft, OFC strands, gold-plated stereo mini plug)

Sony WH-1000XM3 pricing and availability

The Sony WH-1000MX3 retails for USD349 (MYR1,449), the same price of the MX2 at launch. It is available in September in Black or Platinum Silver.

The Bose QuietComfort QC35 may have finally met its match this time round. It has taken three iterations, but it looks like Sony may have just pulled it off. The QC35 is due for an upgrade for sure; let’s hope Bose is cooking up something good right now.

For more information, visit the official Sony WH-1000MX3 page.

Initial thoughts

Having used both the QC35 and WH-1000X (and WH-1000XM2), I’ve always had the opinion that Bose’s was more comfortable and plush. The Sony’s on the other hand, offered a fuller sound, punchier bass overall.

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The latest WH-1000MX3 may be the best yet, and I can’t wait to try them out.

What do you think?

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