- Fantastic ANC
- Good Sound Quality
- Good Battery Life
- USB-C Port for Charging
- Inclusion of Foam Tips
- Costs a Pretty Penny
- Lacks Sweat Resistant
Last week, we saw one of the best Sony headphones ever made for the consumer market – the WH-1000XM3 – which you can read the review here. Now, we are taking a look at their successor to the very first Sony True Wireless in-ears, meet the WF-1000XM3 – which claims to have superior audio quality in a nifty little package with Active Noise Cancelling capabilities – but does it live up to what Sony claims? Here’s our final verdict on the WF-1000XM3.
Looks and Feel
We have come across so many True Wireless Earbuds in the recent time and the Sony WF-1000XM3 stands out for various reason. Starting off with the way it looks and feels. The WF-1000XM3 comes in this pretty big enclosure with a matte finish along with a bronze trimming up top for a little finesse. It actually looks pretty gorgeous. Although time and time, I do wonder how it would look if everything was matte finish. The texture on the headphones feel rich to the touch and it has the similar texture to the WH-1000XM3 which we reviewed recently. On the top, the bronze finish top – is where it opens up and gives you access to the in-ears. The cover is extremely snappy and doesn’t have that loose feeling over the time.
The earbuds are definitely bigger than one you’d think but personally, it follows a very thoughtful design. It has a little matte texture going on along side with the glossy circular touch pad. The ear tip is where the interesting bit happens. It has a little bump to it and the reason why Sony included on to their headphones is because to make sure that it has a secure fit and it does not fall from your ear. Honestly, it did take me a while to get used to but in about 3 to 4 hours later, I got the hand of it just fine. Another thing Sony did here which I have to give them credits: it includes the usual silicon tips and foam tips which is definitely a pretty good inclusion.
Only drawback – it’s not Sweat or water resistant, honestly wish it was. Another thing I’d suggest is getting a silicon case because the top part of the Sony headphones is a little prone to scratches.
Connectivity and Features
The WF-1000XM3 is a True Wireless Earbuds and connects via Bluetooth only. They have opted in for Bluetooth 5.0 for better connectivity and as far as we have tried to far, products with BT 5.0 happens to offer better connectivity overall and consumes low power – which is pretty good. The earbuds go into the case and connects to the pogo pins to charge. As for the case, it uses the amazingly versatile USB-C Port to charge.
In terms of features the WF-1000XM3, Sony did their best to cram in as much as features possible because it’s an extremely small in-ears. The earbuds alone offer battery life up to 8 hours and the case offers another 32 hours of battery life. It takes about 1 and a half hours to charge completely. If you were to charge it for just 10 minutes, you can get about 90 minutes of play time. The WF offers support for Google Assistant for better voice control and as for the audio side of things – it has features like DSEE HX, DANC, Sense Engine. As for audio profile, it only supports A2DP, AVRCP, HFP, HSP – leaving Qualcomm AptX HD out of the picture.
Despite having a very little space to maneuver on the earbuds, controlling the music or even task on the earbuds is really simple and very responsive. They have included a touch sensor on both the earpiece, and you can control your music anyway and customize it as well. There are 4 options to choose from: Switching Modes, Voice Assistant, Music Control and None. As for music control, its as simple as tapping for pause/play, double tap for next song and triple tap for previous song. Tapping and holding down both the earbuds for 7 seconds lets you switch to pairing mode.
Simple and effective.
The App: Headphones Connect
In order to take the complete advantage of the headphones, you will have to use the Headphones Connect app which you can find it in the App Store and Play Store. Now, just like how the WH-1000XM3 where you get to control the ANC, Sense Engine and EQ – it works the same way as well. Relatively straightforward and any one can get the app up and running. To go along with that, if you use an Android smartphone, your phone will prompt to finish setting up Google Assistant – which I think is really cool.
I have used countless number of in-ears in the past and if I were to add True Wireless earbuds – the list goes on. With that said, I took this time to put my WH-1000XM3 for rest and take the WH for everything instead. Its relatively smaller and fits in any compartment in your bag. With the case I had, I latched it on to my belt hook for easy access to my earbuds which is pretty convenient. During my time using it, I spent a lot of time during my commute, at workspaces, café, working and gym as well – paired to my Galaxy Note8 and ROG Phone 2.
Despite the Sony WF-1000XM3 coming in a very small form factor – the in-ear features a 6mm driver on both the sides for a good audio experience and since its an in-ear design, it sits nice and well in your ears. These are a dome type CCAW Voice Coil drivers that uses Neodymium magnets to drive the audio out of the earpiece. Making things interesting, they included their Signature Sony QN1e, which a miniature version of the similar audio chip which we saw with the WH-1000XM3 – and this helps with the Active Noise Cancelling and Sense Engine.
During our time testing this little puppy, we took it for a spin with a lot of music – starting with Tove Lo’s new album, Sunshine Kitty, followed by our The Adventures of Vesper Playlist which has some of the few songs we normally use to test our headphones. We tested these with Spotify with the tracks downloaded offline at High Quality. To our surprise, the in-ears kicked the DSEE HX and amplified the audio quality as close to a high-fidelity audio experience with much clearer audio listening experience compared with a mode where it doesn’t take advantage of it. For an in-ear, it offers better clarity – really sharp and clear vocals topped with the music itself. I did try to tinker around with the EQ to see how much bass it can handle, and to my surprise the WF-1000XM3 sure can handle it well. Though it may not be the heaviest, but Sony’s Bass Boost was more of a sweet spot for bass because not only it gave a thumping feel but also gave a nice balance to the other components of the music – such as the vocals and voice.
We did try the in-ears with one of my favorites – Lana Del Ray’s Young and Beautiful in FLAC. Sadly, the WF-1000XM3 does not support LDAC but for what it’s worth, it gave the best experience for a true wireless in-ears – definitely sets a whole new benchmark for what a True-wireless earbud should sound like.
If you are getting the WF-1000XM3, you are not just getting it for the sound quality but for the feature everyone is excited for – Active Noise Cancelling. I’ll be very honest – I have not seen a good in-ear Noise Cancelling headphones in the market that takes complete advantage of the music experience, but Sony did it again. There aren’t any options to tune the ANC to your environment because it’s a small earbud and it would need more battery and more room for components to make that happen. The difference of listening with ANC and without is a Night and Day difference – the moment you toggle it off, you can definitely tell that is not ANC.
As it’s an in-ear that uses a foam or silicon based tip, depending on what your preference is – it does a smart way of sealing your canal from external noise and the moment you toggle the ANC on, it uses the dual noise sensor technology to catch enough audio around you and either cancel out or as an input for Ambient Mode. With no music playing, the only thing I was able to hear was the train or PSA at the stations and other sounds like the train moving were completely toned down by a lot. Start playing your music, you will not hear a single thing around you, and you will be immersed in a world where its just you and the music. By the way, don’t compare it with the WH-1000XM3 because these two products are in a league of its own and does best on its own – something that you really should keep your mind on.
During my time using, I had to charge it once a week – making it the best headphones I could rely on without being able to charge it either every two to three days.
The Sony WF-1000XM3 ANC True Wireless Headphones – just as much as mouthful the name is, it sure does give an earful of amazing music listening experience. For the price of RM 949, it’s a pretty penny to pay but if audio quality and ANC matters to you, you can’t go wrong with it. Here’s why. There isn’t a single product in the market that can come close as these and Sony has definitely set a benchmark that I am sure the other contenders are going to have a challenging time competing for it.