Sony WH-1000XM3 Headphones Review – The Best ANC Bluetooth Headphones Under $300

Sony WH-1000XM3 Headphone

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Release Date
August 30, 2018
Price
$175.97
Model:
WH1000XM3/B
Weight
9 oz
Size
7.31 x 2.94 x 10.44 in

If you love music and hate the hassle of cabled headphones, then you may find wireless ones quite pleasant.

With so much of the consumer market veiled in advertising and hype, searching online for great Bluetooth headphones won’t really lead you to find the perfect set. 

But this review may help you with your search.

Whether you’re a student or someone who goes to the office or someone that just wants to find great-sounding Bluetooth headphones, the Sony WH-1000XM3 may be just what you’re looking for. 

It offers impressive sound quality and active noise-canceling, so you can relax and focus on your music without all the background noise in your environment.

Editor’s Pick

Sony WH-1000XM3

Bluetooth headphones with impressive sound and probably the best noise-canceling technology.

4.5/5
Price Range: $$$
Brand: Sony
Sony WH-1000XM3 with Plug Adaptor

TL:DR;

The Sony WH-1000XM3 rules the sub-$300 headphone bracket without much competition.

If you’re in the market for great-sounding, noise-canceling wireless headphones with long battery life, then look no further.

These headphones look sleek and are packed with features, making them an excellent choice for headphones at this price point.

The Specs

  • Battery Life (ANC Off):  44 hours
  • Battery Life (ANC On):  36 hours
  • Driver Size:  116mm
  • Frequency Response:  4 Hz-40,000 Hz
  • Bluetooth Range:  ~10m
  • Time to Charge:  ~3hours
  • Active Noise-Cancellation:  -45dB

What’s in the Box?

  • Sony 1000-XM3 Bluetooth Headphones
  • Carrying case
  • Plug adaptor for in-flight use
  • Headphone cable (approx. 47 1/4″ or 1.2 m)
  • USB cable: Type-C (approx. 7 7/8″ or 20 cm)

Stuff I like

  • Build quality and aesthetics
  • Sound quality
  • Battery life
  • Packed with features
  • Comes with a dedicated mobile app

Stuff I like less

  • None

Comparable products to consider

Sony WH-1000XM5
Sony WH-1000XM5

Features a new sound processor to deliver more accurate, high-resolution sound

Build Quality

Out of the box, the Sony WH-1000XM3 Bluetooth headphones ooze a premium feel. 

These headphones come in a smooth black matte finish with tasteful copper highlights on each of the cups. 

The inner headband is made of metal while the outer headband is made of high-quality plastic that makes the set feel light to wear. 

Battery Life

The Sony WH-1000XM3 is known for its long battery life. 

With active noise canceling (ANC) on, these headphones can last for about 36 hours on standby and with ANC off, they can last for up to 44 hours on standby.

Realistically though, they only have 30 hours of battery life when coursing through a normal use session.

I was pleasantly surprised that I’ve found myself not charging the WH-1000XM3 too often. I’ve been able to repeatedly take them out, use them, and put them in the case without charging them after every use. 

Sony WH-1000XM3 Finish
Sleek black matte finish | Make Life Click

How long the battery lasts is simply mind-blowing. 

If you run out of juice, a quick 10-minute charge can give you 5 hours of use. That’s a game changer when you are stuck somewhere and bored out of your mind. 

On a normal charge cycle, it only takes about 3 hours to charge them from zero to a hundred, which is just phenomenal.

Fit and Comfort 

The Sony WH-1000XM3 has got to be the most comfortable pair of headphones I’ve used. 

They have an adjustable headband suitable for small to bigger-sized heads, so they fit snugly. They also have real soft cushioning on the top of the headband and at the side that sits over the ears. 

I’ve found no discomfort during the times I’ve worn them, not even when I’ve practically worn them for a whole day. 

Sound Quality

The Sony WH-1000XM3 Bluetooth headphones are characterized by their warm sound signature, forward mids, and lively treble presentation. 

To put it bluntly, they can handle just about any genre you throw at them. 

Maybe the best thing I realized while using these headphones is that the bass is so good because of the active noise cancellation. I realized this while fidgeting with the different noise-cancellation modes. 

Sony WH-1000XM3 Driver
Powerful 40mm drivers, with Liquid Crystal Polymer (LCP) diaphragms | Make Life Click

Just like with IEMs, getting a better seal improves the bass. In a way, the proverbial seal of over-the-ear Bluetooth headphones with ANC is their ability to isolate and cancel noise around them. 

Genres including, but not limited to, pop, electronic music, K-pop, and rock, sound really good on the WH-1000XM3, and in terms of musicality and music enjoyment, these headphones get flying colors from me.

Bass

The bass is not a focused laser kind of tuning though, like most Bluetooth headphones. It’s tuned in a way that it’s present in almost every track you listen to. 

This does not present any problems regarding bass bleed as the mids remain unadulterated. 

The sub-bass has a massive presence, but the mid-bass isn’t something to scoff at as it delivers a satisfying punch to your tracks

Mids

The mids are very articulate and forward, and the singers in the tracks will be heard centerstage.

Overall, the midrange is pretty enjoyable and does not sound shouty at all.

Treble

The treble on the Sony WH-1000XM3 is lively and quite engaging. 

I suppose the bite and attack of the treble will satisfy almost anyone, but what the treble fails to do for me is really grab those really elusive micro details that can make a track more enjoyable.

The details are good overall, and this is just a nitpick on my end.

Sony WH-1000XM3 - Foldable Structure
Swivel foldable structure | Make Life Click

Test Tracks

  • Futon (Pop) – The playback is very engaging and you can really hear the bass textures under the rumble. The mids are clear and the details like the chimes and the snare drum are clearly heard. 
  • Perfume (Alternative/Indie) – This is the perfect track to test the WH-1000XM3 on. The bass makes you bop your head, and the reverb in the mix benefits from the noise-canceling seal. It gives off the feeling of a spacious sound stage. 
  • Emulation mode: totonee (J-Pop) – I love how the bass gives character to the whole mix, coloring it in a way. The vocals are very tender and the details like small chimes are audible. The midrange is fast and transparent, and it’s made enjoyable by the combination of the vocals, electric guitar, and a general sense of rhythm.
  • As It Was (Synth Pop) – The constant snare hits and the kick drum really build up this track’s rhythm and again, I love how the reverb is replayed here. The vocals are very holographic. The synth instruments come across as very mellow yet they’re strangely present just beneath the vocals in the track. 

Microphone Quality

I wouldn’t say the Sony WH-1000XM3 Bluetooth headphones have the best mic quality but I’d say that it’s decent. 

You can clearly hear the person you’re talking to and they can hear you just fine. Plus they can also hear everything around you. 

So all in all, I rate the mic quality 7 out of 10.

Sony WH-1000XM3 - Carrying Case
Comes with a carrying case
Sony WH-1000XM3-Plug Adaptor
Detail inside the carrying case

Features

As mentioned earlier in this review, the Sony WH-1000XM3 Bluetooth headphones are packed with features.

They have a touch-sensitive panel that you can use to skip forward, backward, or pause. This panel also lets you control the volume. 

You can press the tangible buttons on the base so you can check its battery status, toggle between the three noise-cancellation modes, and talk to Google Assistant or Siri. 

If you want to talk to someone briefly, you can put your hand on the right earcup and activate Quick Attention mode. It feels surreal how clearly you can hear everything with this feature. It’s almost like you’re not wearing any headphones. 

LEARN MORE ABOUT THIS ONE?
Sony WH1000XM3 Noise Cancelling Headphones, Wireless Bluetooth Over the Ear Headset – Black (2018 Version)
Sony WH-1000XM3 ANC Headphone

If you’re on a flight, there’s also this feature called Atmospheric Pressure Optimizer that changes the ear pressure to enhance the noise-canceling and performance while you’re at a high altitude. 

The Sony WH-1000XM3 headphones also come with a mobile app that you can download. This lets you access more features like tuning presets, EQ, sound position control, and adaptive sound control. 

Conclusion 

The Sony WH-1000XM3 Bluetooth headphones are probably the best noise-canceling headphones in the market, dethroned only by the Sony WH-1000XM4

One difference between the two is that the newer model is multipoint. This means that it can connect to multiple devices at once. Another difference is that the WH-1000XM4 has improved mic clarity. 

But basically, everything is the same. 

Sony WH-1000XM3 - Accessories
Sony WH-1000XM3 accessories | Make Life Click

So if you don’t really need to connect to multiple devices at once and don’t mind the mic specs too much, then the Sony WH-1000XM3 is the perfect model for you. 

I’ve personally used it in school, gym, and on clutch situations where I needed to get in some reading for a test. It’s truly the perfect everyday carry. 

All in all, you’re getting elegant-looking and comfy wireless headphones that sound great for music, games, and movies. It also has the best noise-canceling technology in the market. 

For under $300, the Sony WH-1000XM3 is definitely a no-brainer.

Sony WH-1000XM3 Finish
Sony WH-1000XM3
Sound Quality
Active Noise-Cancelation
Build Quality
Comfort & Fit
Battery Life
Reader Rating0 Votes
5

Gavin is a college student who has a lot going on. From collecting IEMs and modding mechanical keyboards, to different hobbies like digital drawing, music mastering and cooking. It is safe to say he is a complete multi-faceted geek (and he's kinda cool too)

This post was last updated on 2024-04-14 / Some images from Amazon Product API & some links may be affiliate links which may earn us a commission from purchases.


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