Sony WH-1000XM3 – Wireless Noise Cancelling Headphones – Review 2020

The Sony WH-1000XM3 are a pair of Noise-Cancelling Wireless Bluetooth headphones with a few big features.

Sony WH-1000XM3

They connect via Bluetooth to pretty much any device and have a touchpad on the right side of the headphones for audio control.


  • Excellent Sound Quality

  • Comfortable

  • Battery Life

  • USB-C charge port

  • The best noise-cancelling out there

  • 3.5mm aux port


  • Ears can get a little warm inside the ear cups  

  • Can only be paired with one device at a time

  • Average Call Quality

The Sony WH-1000XM3 are advertised to have a total of 30 hours of battery life.

They also have a 3.5-millimetre audio jack so that you can have a wired connection without needing a charged battery.

These active noise-cancelling headphones can take calls, activate virtual assistants like Siri and Google Assistant.

They also have a lot of different settings that can be controlled via an app on your mobile device including a fully adjustable noise cancelling profile that will allow you to do everything from single out human voices and almost completely block out aeroplane engine noise.

Sony WH-1000XM3

Overall the Sony WH-1000XM3s does not disappoint when it comes to build quality.

They have very comfortable earpads with awesome padding for comfort.

They are also able to be adjusted in terms of length and could be swivelled slightly depending on your particular head size and head shape.

While wearing the Sony WH-1000XM3 headphones, we haven’t personally noticed any kind of ear fatigue. No kind of discomfort after long periods of time of listening to music with these on.

And the nice final little touch that we love about these active noise-cancelling headphones, of course, is that padding you get on the top of the headband as well that comfort on that contact point on the top when you are wearing these headphones on your head.

How well is the appearance of Sony WH-1000XM3?

In terms of appearance, the Sony WH-1000XM3 active noise cancelling wireless Bluetooth headphones are pretty sharp-looking pair of headphones.

Actually, a little minimalistic, there is definitely a minimal vibe about them. 

Especially when it comes to the ports, it’s actually only two inputs on the headphones. One on the right earcup and one on the left earcup. 

One for USB-C charging and the other one for an actual hard-wired connection if you wanted to listen with these headphones hard-wired with that 3.5-millimetre audio input.

In terms of buttons, the Sony WH-1000XM3 has only two physical buttons on the left earcup. 

All we have on buttons is just a power button and a function button. 

But don’t let that scare you. We still do have gesture controls. There are still ways to control the volume, the tracks, your voice assistant, all that built into these headphones.

With all that being mentioned, it’s pretty easy to see why this is a pretty good looking pair of headphones that is rather stylish like we said minimalistic.

The Sony WH-1000XM3 is available with two different colours black and silver. We think both colours look pretty damn good.

They feel and look great even if you’re just wearing them around the house or if you are travelling with them. They are pretty good for that too.

In the travel case, there is actually a travel adapter which for aeroplane in-flight entertainment systems. So, if you wanted to use your own pair of headphones with those, you got an adapter for it.

The Sony WH-1000XM3 wireless headphones also come with atmospheric pressure optimization so that these are gonna sound good even when you’re miles high in the sky.

But for whatever reason, you are not wearing these headphones when you are travelling and you just want to take them along with you somewhere as we mentioned earlier, the swivel design and collapsible design makes them pretty darn portable and easy to bring with you wherever you are going.

You just collapse them and then they will easily fit into the actual travel case that came with your purchase.

How well are Sony WH-1000XM3’s Gesture Controls?

Sony WH-1000XM3

But back to something that’s arguably one of the best important features of any pair of Bluetooth Headphones these days is the gesture controls that you get built-in.

The Sony WH-1000XM3 do come with gesture controls built-in. Despite being no physical buttons to control them.

So, how does that work? How do you change the volume? How do you do any of that if there are no physical buttons?

Well, let us explain.

There is actually a touch control interface on the backside of the right earcup. 

What this means is with that touch control, you could skip songs, turn the volume up or turn the volume down, play or pause your music, answer or hang up phone calls and even connect your phone’s voice assistance simply with just a few taps or swipes.

Gotta be honest, after using them for a while, kind of love them.

Whether you swipe and tap, the controls are quick, responsive and accurate and even connecting the Siri, as simple as just a press and a hold on the right earcup and you are connected to her.

If you’re wondering about the voice assistance by the way you do have a way of also connecting Alexa and Google Assistant to these headphones as well.

You could program that through the function button on the left earcup so therefore if you want to talk to Siri, it’s just a press and hold on that right ear cup or just tapping on that function button on the left earcup to bring up Alexa.

You can set all that up through the Sony Companion App that actually allows you to do a whole bunch of different things with these headphones outside what they come with just out of the box.

And again you get all that built into the Sony WH-1000XM3 with minimal buttons, minimal branding, just a very sleek, easy to use a pair of wireless headphones with some awesome tech built-in.

Sony WH-1000 XM3 - Quick Attention Mode

Sony WH-1000 XM3

When you’re in Active Noise Cancelling mode and wondering how to get into transparency mode or pass-through mode? 

Sony actually calls it Quick Attention Mode and it makes sense because usually when you wanted a feature like that you need to quickly pay attention to something, hence the name and how you activate that on Sony WH-1000XM3?

Well, its pretty simple. All you gotta do is just take your right hand and place it over the right earcup. Again using that touch control feature on that right earcup, now you are in Quick Attention Mode.

You can hear everything that’s going on.

So, all that gesture controls on Sony WH-1000XM3 are just awesome.

You do hear a little feedback, a little beep feedback in your ear when you’re actually doing a gesture control.

So, if you are turning the volume up, turning it down, you can know that the headphones are actually recognizing that control because you hear that little feedback beep in your ear.

And all in all, it’s very simple to use. We will say there’s a slight learning curve, potentially with the gesture controls on Sony WH-1000XM3.

And that’s mostly just because of the touchpad based gesture controls you have, it will take like an hour or so to kind of build-up that muscle memory to actually know where the swipes are and how to actually tap.

But after an hour of use, it becomes seamless and you will know how to use it right away and we think you will gonna love it.

In case you’re wondering if you don’t like those gesture controls if you’re messing them up too frequently or if they are just not working for you, you do have a way of disabling those.

Within again the Sony Headphone Companion App, you will be able to use in conjunction with your headphones.

With all this tech built-in, lets quickly touch on battery life. Kind of important.

Battery Life of Sony WH-1000XM3

Sony WH-1000XM3

The Sony WH-1000XM3 actually allow up to a whopping 30 hours of audio or music playback and are also quick charge compatible.

So, if your battery is depleted, you are in a pinch, you want to charge these things up really quickly, you do have a quick charge feature.

At 0% battery life, just a 10-minute charge will give you 5 hours of playback on the Sony WH-1000XM3 ANC wireless Bluetooth headphones. That is insane!

So, on a full charge, 30 hours of playback and on no charge just 10 minutes gives you 5 hours of playback time.

That is above average actually when you compare it to other headphones and earbuds in the market.

In case you are wondering how to actually charge the Sony WH-1000XM3 headphones as we mentioned earlier, there is a USB-C port on the bottom of the right earcup.

Little USB-C cord comes with your purchase. You just plug it into that port on the bottom of the right earcup USB-C and then you just plug into the wall adapter and its good to go.

How well do the Sony WH-1000XM3 cancel noise?

Sony WH-1000XM3

But now, let’s get more into the nitty-gritty of these active noise-cancelling headphones.

Most of the people are now at a time where they pretty much need active noise-cancellation no matter what pair of headphones or earbuds they’re using.

It totally changes the audio or music experience and pretty much must-have in many people’s book.

Basically, when you have a pair of active noise-cancelling headphones or earbuds, there are microphones built-in. 

They will listen to the noise environment around you and detect different frequency levels for ambient noises.

Then basically without getting too much technical, the headphones will play a reverse of that frequency which theoretically cancels out that frequency which you perceive as silence when you have these pair of active noise-cancelling headphones on.

That, therefore, results in you hearing less of the ambient noise around you. 

More of your music or your audio which therefore provides a better listening experience in a healthier listening experience because you don’t have to actually crank up the volume like you usually have to do to overcome ambient noises on a non-ANC pair of headphones or earbuds.

If you have never experienced Active Noise-Cancelling before, you are really missing out. It is an absolute game-changer.

So, when it comes to Active Noise-Cancellation on the Sony WH-1000XM3, the ANC does not disappoint.

Sony actually says that the XM3s have industry-leading Active Noise Cancelling.

And honestly, we think they could back up that claim.

The Sony WH-1000XM3 has some of the best Active Noise-Cancellation we have ever heard.

Even the passive noise cancellation, without even turning these headphones on, pretty darn incredible.

You pair that up with Active Noise- Cancellation and honestly, incredible!

Pretty much all ambient noises that could be cancelled out through Active Noise-Cancellation or cancelled out on the Sony WH-1000XM3s and especially so when you are listening to audio or music, you will not hear anything outside of these headphones.

And the cool thing about the Active Noise-Cancellation on the Sony WH-1000XM3 is that there are different levels of noise cancellation that you could actually implement.

Sometimes you don’t want full active noise cancellation turned on, sometimes you want to hear some of the ambient noises around you.

There are options to customizing the ambient sound control in the Sony WH-1000XM3 wireless Bluetooth headphones to change that level of noise cancellation that you are experiencing.

There is actually 20 different levels of ambient sound control.

That’s basically 20 different Active Noise-Cancellation levels that will allow you to seriously fine-tune how much of the ambient noise is around you, you are actually hearing even with active noise cancellation turned on.

That’s programmable again through the Companion Sony Headphones App.

Sony WH-1000XM3 - Adaptive Sound Control

Sony WH-1000XM3

There is also an option to fully automate that process. There is a technology built into these Sony WH-1000XM3s called Adaptive Sound Control.

What this Adaptive Sound Control can do is actually detect what you’re doing.

So, whether you are staying still, walking, running or in transit, the app paired with your Sony WH-1000XM3 headphones could detect that and change the ambient sound control as a result.

Basically, the Sony WH-1000XM3 ANC Wireless Bluetooth headphones could detect what you are doing and change the level of Active Noise-Cancelling and again all this is fully customizable within that Sony Headphones Companion App.

You could also use the Sony Headphones Companion App to change the EQ settings.

If you wanted to fine-tune EQ settings on the Sony WH-1000XM3s, you could do all that within the app as well.

So, a lot of goodies packed away in that App that you’re definitely gonna want to check out.

How do the Sony WH-1000XM3 sound?

sony-wh1000xm3-wireless-noise-canceling-headphones (1)

But at the end of the day, you can have all that tech and none of that really matters if you don’t have good sound quality.

So, when it comes to potentially the most important feature of the Sony WH-1000XM3s, how is the sound quality of the headphones?

Well, Sony WH-1000XM3’s sound quality is absolutely incredible!

The soundstage of these wireless headphones is so darn good.

Easily one of the best sounding pair of headphones we have ever reviewed and that is especially important considering the pretty fair price of these Wireless Bluetooth headphones sell for.

There is bass, there is mids, there are highs and they are all great.

All sound good but they don’t crowd one another. It’s so well balanced. The bass packs a punch without overtaking the mids and the highs.

Then the mids and the highs hold their own with their clarity and detail.

Overall, we are so darn impressed with the sound quality of the Sony WH-1000XM3 ANC Wireless Bluetooth Headphones.

You will receive the awesome sound out of these ANC headphones even over Bluetooth.

We have tested some headphones that sound good but just kind of have an aggressive approach to how it delivers the bass and the mids and the highs.

On these Sony WH-1000XM3s, it just seems so well-orchestrated to give such a great sound, phenomenal EQ balance that again you can tweak yourself if you wanted to within the App.

The Sony WH-1000XM3 Active Noise-Cancelling Wireless Bluetooth headphones are technically high res audio capable through Bluetooth.

They sound even more incredible which we didn’t even think was possible nut they do when listening to hard-wired to a hi-fi music system.

Should you buy the Sony WH-1000XM3?

Sony WH-1000XM3

So, all in all, we think it’s safe to say that Sony WH-1000XM3 Active Noise-Cancelling Wireless Bluetooth Headphones is probably our favourite pair of headphones right now.

They look good, they feel good and they sound amazing.

If you are looking for a solid pair of high-res capable Bluetooth Active Noise-Cancelling headphones with phenomenal battery life, you pretty much have found your answer.

The Sony WH-1000XM3 delivers the most realistic, balanced and dynamic audio experience out of all the headphones we have tested in the last few months.

We think that they are every bit worth the investment. Worth every single penny!

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