Sony WF-1000XM3 Review
The Sony WF-1000XM3 was at the forefront of the in-ears market launch. However, with the AirPods Pro and now also Sony’s new XM4, the competition is growing. So can the XM3 still keep up in 2021?
- Very convenient
- Great sound
- Long-lasting battery
- High price
The Sony WF-1000XM3 are among the best true wireless headphones on the market. With a great sound, high battery performance, and a comfortable fit, they are in the upper price segment at 249 euros (RRP), but they offer really strong performance.
In the meantime, we also have the official XM3 successors that can test the Sony WF-1000XM4. Our detailed review will tell you where the differences are, what Sony has improved, and whether the extra charge for the newer model is worthwhile.
The Sony WF-1000XM3 are popular true wireless headphones from the Japanese technology group. The in-ears rely on a wireless Bluetooth connection and reduced ambient noise via active noise canceling. We took a close look at the Sony WF-1000XM3 – can it be just as convincing in the true wireless segment as its big brother in the ANC area, the Sony WH-1000XM4? You can find our results here in this review.
The sound – The sound of the WF-1000XM3
The sound of the WF-1000XM3 is quite impressive. The first thing you notice is the very strong and melodic bass for true wireless headphones. The bass at the beginning of our test song Prays For Me by The Weeknd, and Kendrick Lamar is very impressive without covering the vocal part.
With Don’t Stop Me Now by Queen, bass, piano, and electric guitar provide an opulent sound. Here, too, the Sony WF-1000XM3 manages to reproduce the mids and highs very well in addition to the rich bass tones, and the sound is still quite detailed. In Jonny Cashs Hurt, the true wireless headphones ensure a nice sound for the guitars and an overall good overall picture.
Spoken content such as audiobooks or podcasts still sounds very pleasant even at high volume. In terms of sound, the Sonys are among the top models on the market and are especially suitable for looking for good sound with strong bass. With the 6-band equalizer, the sound can be adjusted to your preferences via the app.
Practice – Daily use of the Sony WF-1000XM3
In everyday use, battery life is of immense importance. Once fully charged, the True Wireless headphones allow up to six hours of music playback with Noise-canceling and up to eight hours with noise cancellation switched off. In addition, the portable charging case allows up to three additional charges.
It takes 1.5 hours for the headphones to be fully charged. If you call the Sonys, the battery life is reduced by approx. 25 percent. Overall, the True Wireless headphones do an excellent job battery life and are very suitable for long trips without a power supply.
Speaking of the charging case: Compared to the competition, the box is rather large. So if you like to carry headphones in a tight pocket, you could get into trouble with the Sonys. On the other hand, the wearing comfort of the earplugs is much more comfortable. The in-ears sit very firmly and comfortably in the ear and do not attract uncomfortable pressure even after several hours of use.
The quality of the microphone for calls and voice messages is just as good. What is said remains understandable even with a bit of ambient noise. However, if you want to use the headphones for important phone calls, you should move to a quieter place without strong wind. The Sonys are also not protected against splash water. If you place special value on outdoor use, such as jogging, you should consider the Sony WF-SP800N sports earphones, which are better protected against sweat and rain.
Operation – Setting options of the Sony WF-1000XM3
Sony relies on a touch field to operate the headphones. Playback can be started and stopped with one click, while double-tapping skips the song. Pressing and holding the button for a longer time activates the voice assistant. Again, Sony relies on Google Assistant for this. The noise suppression can also be switched on and off using the plugs. The button reacts to touch, so you don’t have to push the headphones into your ear to press the button. The operation on the Sony WF-1000XM3 works very well in the test.
The assignments of the commands can also be changed and individually adapted for the right and left plug. This can be done using the app specially offered for Sony headphones. There you can also rename the headphones, analyze the ear shape and check the charge level of the headphones and the case.
In addition, you can set the equalizer of the Sony WF-1000XM3 individually so that you can adapt the music enjoyment to your preferences. Various modes are offered for this purpose, with titles such as “light” and “dark” giving technical laypeople a good impression. The headphones should appeal to both acoustic novices and experts.
Bluetooth – how good is the connection with the Sony True Wireless headphones?
Sony relies on Bluetooth 5.0 with the WF-1000XM3. This means that the connection is very stable and acoustically high-quality. There were no problems whatsoever when pairing with the device. The only thing that is not easy to change is when you are already connected to a device. The connected device must first be disconnected. This can be annoying, especially if the headphones always pair with the old device immediately and you have to deactivate Bluetooth on the first device completely.
Active noise Canceling – the noise suppression of the Sony WF-1000XM3 in the test
The headphones from Sony offer active Noise-canceling and thus make it possible to suppress ambient noise during use. Due to the design of the headphones, of course, they do not manage to shield the noise as much as over-ear headphones can. Still, the Sony WF-1000XM3 does a good job.
So if you listen to music on the go with the ANC switched on, car noise or the environment in the train can be wonderfully switched off. However, if you listen to an audiobook or a podcast, these noises are significantly quieter, but they can not be completely suppressed. So another so-called transparency mode allows a lot of ambient noise to pass through to remain attentive to the environment during use.
Design – how good do Sony headphones look?
Sony uses a characteristic design for the WF-1000XM3. The plugs are not as bulky as most competition, but you have a design with the earpiece in the middle. The design is a matter of taste, but they are more elegant and less noticeable than many competitors once in the ear.
The charging case is not that successful in terms of design. As mentioned before, it is quite large, and the color scheme doesn’t have to appeal to everyone. However, the quality is extremely high quality and stable.
Our test result for the Sony WF-1000XM3
The Sony WF-1000XM3 is rightly considered the big competitor to the Apple AirPods Pro. With a detailed and clear sound carried by the strong but not too dominant bass, a good fit, and strong Noise-canceling, the true wireless headphones from Sony are undoubtedly among the best on the market. The battery life is also impressive. Unfortunately, the in-ear plugs are not protected against splash water, and the charging case could be a bit too big for one or the other trouser pocket. Otherwise, you can’t go wrong with the Sony WF-1000XM3.
The recommended retail price is 249 euros. This makes the Sony WF-1000XM3 one of the more expensive true wireless headphones on the market. The recommended retail price of the new XM4 is another 30 euros higher. The current street price of the XM3 is usually less than 150 euros, so they currently have an incredibly good price/performance ratio. Yes, the XM4 has advantages, but you currently pay almost twice as much at the checkout! From our point of view, the Sony WF-1000XM3 is an absolute buy recommendation at current prices.