Sony WH-1000XM3 Review: The Best Noise Canceling Headphones

You know that Sony’s 1000X line of wireless headphones have become the market leader for noise-canceling headsets, and this year at IFA 2018, the company has announced the latest (and greatest) model: Sony WH-the 1000X M3, which offer better noise canceling, an updated design, USB-C, and more.

I’ve been using the 1000X M3s for a few days, including a long seven-hour flight, and in short, they’re the real deal. It was a high bar to clear since the original 1000Xs were already some of the best noise-canceling headphones out there, and the 1000X M2 improved on that even more. But the new 1000X M3s are the best pair of noise-canceling headphones that Sony has made yet, thanks to a host of improvements both big and small. We haven’t had time to put them through their paces for a full review yet, but they’re possibly the best noise-canceling headphones on the market.

They’re minor annoyances, though, and they fade when compared with Sony’s incredible noise-cancelation and eminently enjoyable music performance. At $348 they’re not inexpensive, but I feel more confident recommending them than I do Bose’s Quiet Comfort 35, which in comparison are now showing their age. Sony just does a better job at isolating you from the annoyances of the outside world.
That has obvious appeal if you’re a frequent traveler, but I found it also pays dividends if you’re simply listening to music more normally.

Several times, taking the WH-1000XM3’s off, I was surprised at just how much ambient sound there was – even if, beforehand, the room had seemed relatively quiet. Being able to shut a virtual door and step into your own imaginary music room, and have the comfort and battery life to enjoy that for hours on end, makes Sony’s headphones a winning combination.

Industry-leading noise canceling: Sony’s proprietary HD Noise Canceling Processor QN1 brings the WH-1000XM3 to the pinnacle of noise cancellation

Premium Sound: The 40mm drivers with Liquid Crystal Polymer (LCP) diaphragms are Hi-Res Audio compatible, reproducing a full range of frequencies

All-day listening with quick charging: Listen all day with up to 30 hours of playback and quick charging that gives five hours of playback with just 10 minutes of charge time

Smart Listening: Smart Listening by Adaptive Sound Control automatically detects your activity and balances noise canceling levels accordingly

Sony has also tweaked the design on an aesthetic level. The buttons are nicer with a new gloss finish, the faux-leather texture has been axed, and there are new copper-tone highlights for an overall more polished look.

The 1000X M3s are set to cost $349.99 when they launch in September. In fact, they’re available on Amazon already with immediate shipping. The price is on par with what competitors like Bose’s QC35 IIs cost, but if you’re someone who just spent $300 on a pair of M2s last year, you’ll likely be displeased at the thought of shelling out for an upgrade so soon.

And as the saying goes: silence is golden. What’re a few extra bucks compared to that?

It’s only music. Nothing else. Sony’s industry-leading noise cancellation evolves to further immerse you in your music with a proprietary noise cancellation processor, quick charge capabilities, and an updated comfortable design.

You can listen all day with up to 30 hours of battery life.
Quick charging gives five hours of playback with just a 10-minute charge.

The reviewer has been compensated in the form of a Best Buy Gift Card and/or received the product/service at a reduced price or for free.