The WF-1000XM3 headphones offer solid sound and battery life, fit for all-day comfort and long listening hours
Japanese company Sony has been one of the foremost innovators for decades, transforming the consumer electronics category with products such as the Walkman music player and PlayStation game console. Many of us still recall the Sony TV commercials of the 80s and 90s with the simple tagline “It’s a Sony” that spoke volumes about the brand’s values and promises.
Not many of us know it was Sony that first designed the noise cancelling headphones. Designed with travel in mind, the MDR-NC10 reduced outside noise by 70%. Cut to present. It’s raining wireless earbuds these days and the hi-fi veteran (Sony) is enticing the serious audiophile with its new generation truly wireless headphones. We are talking about the WF-1000XM3 wireless noise cancelling stereo headset. Much of the consumer audio market is driven by the promise of convenience; listeners want fewer wires, better sound and minimal components to wrestle with. This WF-1000XM3 ticks all the boxes right, you can enjoy premium, high quality sound on these buds and listen to your music the way that the artist intended.
There’s a whole lot of high-end technology integrated into the new device. Sony’s industry-leading noise cancellation is improved further with the HD Noise Cancelling Processor QN1e chip and Dual Noise Sensor Technology which enables you to hear the music and nothing else. There’s built-in voice assistant Alexa, Google Assistant and Siri; you can enjoy entertainment, connect with friends, get information, listen to music and notifications, set reminders and more. Let us take a deep dive into finer nuances of this hi-tech device.
The WF-1000XM3 is available in two colours—Black (our trials unit) and Silver, at an introductory price of `17,990. It comes with specially designed ergonomic fit for all-day comfort. The placement of the headphones’ Bluetooth antenna has been optimised to ensure a wider coverage. This helps keep the signal strong for uninterrupted streaming. Its new Bluetooth chip and optimised antenna design provide a stable connection for high-quality wireless streaming with Bluetooth Version 5.0.
The WF-1000XM3 headphones feature intuitive touch control settings—for example, tap on the left earbud to change from Noise Cancelling to Ambient Sound, or double tap on the right to skip to the next track. Placing your finger over the earbud turns the volume down and lets in ambient sound so you can instantly chat with someone without taking your headphones off.
To get started, one needs to download the Sony Headphones Connect app from Google Play or Apple App Store. I synced the WF-1000XM3 first with my Android phone and later on with the laptop and Sony Bravia TV set that supports Bluetooth. I listened to Jagjit Singh ghazals, AR Rahman compositions, English love songs from the 90s on Spotify app, watched quite a few Prime Video movies and more—the advanced wireless connection on the WF-1000XM3 syncs what you see on screen precisely with what you hear on your headphones for more enjoyable viewing.
Technical-speak, the WF-1000XM3 headphones feature Dual Noise Sensor technology that works with the new HD Noise Cancelling Processor QN1e to catch and cancel noise respectively, so that all attention is on your music. Thanks to Dual Noise Sensor technology, the WF-1000XM3 lends a personalised and a virtual soundproof experience. It not only cancels more noise across almost all frequencies but also uses less power. A proximity sensor in each earbud can detect whether you’re wearing one or both and adapts playback accordingly. For instance, take out one earbud and the music automatically pauses on both sides.
The WF-1000XM3 headphones feature impressive battery life upto 32 hours without noise cancellation and 24 hours with noise cancellation and quick charge function. On a full charge, the headphones offer six hours of power and the handy charging case provides a further 3x charges to keep you going throughout the day. That’s up to 24 hours of noise-free listening. With noise cancelling off, it’s even longer. Eight hours of power from the ear buds and a further 3x charge from the charging case makes it 32 hours of play time. Sometimes your headphones are running low on power, with the quick charge function a 10-minute quick charge in the charging case gives you up to 90 minutes of play time.
In summary, I reckon that the WF-1000XM3 are the perfect travel buddies with solid sound, great battery life and wearing comfort for long hours. Yes, these are pricey but are among the best out there and hence find a strong recommendation.
Headphone type: Closed, dynamic
Direction of microphone: All direction
Effective frequency of microphone: 50 Hz-8,000 Hz
Interface: A2DP, AVRCP, HFP, HSP
Battery life (with NC): 24 hours, battery life (w/o NC): 32 hours
Estimated street price: `17,990 (introductory offer)