Sony has seriously stepped up its headphone game over the pas few years. Headphones like the Sony WH-1000XM3 noise-cancelling headphones seem to get most of the attention, but the company also offers a range of true wireless headphones — like the Sony WF-1000XM3 headphones.
The headphones offer a slightly different take on true wireless headphones, especially when compared to Apple’s AirPods. They’re also a little expensive, coming in at $230 retail — though you can find them for cheaper online. Are they worth the cash? I’ve been testing the headphones to find out.
The Sony WF-1000XM3 headphones are clearly true wireless headphones, but their design is slightly different from others. For starters, the headphones overall offer an oval shape, with an arm that extends into the ears. It’s not a bad look. The headphones are also available in two different color-schemes — a black-and-gold model, and a silver model, and a black-and-gold model. We’re reviewing the black-and-gold model, and it looks great.
On the face of each of the earbuds, you’ll get a touch-sensitive surface that you’ll use to control playback, volume, and so on. It’s nice to see touch controls instead of actual buttons here, especially considering the fact that buttons usually require you to push the buds into your ears to control the headphones, which can get uncomfortable.
The buds are relatively big, and definitely more noticeable than some other options out there — but they don’t look bad when you’re wearing them, and the larger size does help Sony pack more features into the buds — like a larger battery, noise cancellation, and so on.
The charging case is well-designed too, but it’s a little bigger than some others. The result is that can feel a little bulky in the pocket, but you’ll get used to it. The earbuds slot into the case with a satisfying magnetic click, though you will find at times that you have to push them into the case a little to get them to charge. On the bottom of the bottom of the case, you’ll get a USB-C port.
In the box, apart from the headphones and the charging case, you’ll get a USB-C charging cable and an impressive seven pairs of ear tips, including three pairs of foam tips, which may be more comfortable and better at keeping the buds in the ears for some.
As mentioned, the earbuds are a little bigger than some other true wireless headphones, but thankfully they’re easy to slot into the ears, and they’re not heavy enough to where they fall out all the time. That said, these aren’t the headphones to go for if you’re looking for sports headphones — I found that they weren’t the best at staying in during heavy movement. It’s also worth experimenting with the different ear tip sizes.
Apart from that, however, the headphones are generally comfortable to wear, and will be easy to wear for hours on end without getting overly uncomfortable.
Of course, ultimately, the sound quality is perhaps the most important thing to consider — and as you would expect from a pair of Sony headphones, the. WF-1000XM3 headphones sound great.
The bass response, for starters, is excellent, Kick drums are punchy and tight, and never really strayed into muddy territory. Fans of ultra boosted bass may want to keep looking, though you can also tweak the EQ of the headphones using the Sony Headphones Connect app.
The mid range is very well-tuned too. You’ll get a warm low-mid response, along with clear high-mids that seem to be slightly scooped.
The highs are clear and detailed, and while you won’t get the same clarity that you get on wired headphones, these headphones perform excellently for wireless headphones.
As mentioned, you can tweak the frequency response through the EQ in the app, and there are a range of presets that you can start with. Thankfully, you can go beyond those too, and customize your own frequency response.
These headphones also have noise cancellation built into them, and it’s pretty good. Sony arguably offers the best noise cancellation tech through its WH-1000XM3 headphones, and while the noise cancellation tech isn’t quite as impressive here, it’s still pretty amazing.
The Sony WF-1000XM3 headphones connect to your listening device through Bluetooth 5.0, and we found that the offered a strong connection throughout testing.
The battery life on the headphones comes in at six hours on a charge which is good, but not amazing. True wireless headphones currently range from around three hours on the low end, up to around ten hours on the high end. The charging case gives the buds three extra charges, bringing the total listening time to 24 hours — which isn’t bad.
The Sony WF-1000XM3 headphones are among the best true wireless headphones out there. They’re not perfect — they could offer a longer battery life, and they’re a little big — but with an excellent sound-quality, great noise cancellation, and a classy design, if you’re looking for awesome true wireless headphones under $250 these are a solid option.
Of course, they’re not the only choice out there — and there’s some serious competition out there. For example, you could get the Master & Dynamic MW07 Go headphones, though you’ll forego the noise cancellation. Alternatively, you could get the Sol Republic Amps Air+ true wireless headphones, though there’s not as much customization on offer.
Still, considering their excellent sound quality, we’re awarding these headphones the Headphone Review Silver Medal.
|Frequency response||20Hz – 20kHz||Active noise cancellation||Yes|
|Driver size||6mm||Noise attenuation||Unknown|
|Driver type||Dynamic||On-ear controls||Yes|
|Sensitivity||Unknown||Ear tip material||Silicone, foam|
|Rated impedance||Unknown||Magnet material||Neodymium|
|Total harmonic distortion||Unknown||Water resistance||No|
|Rated input power||Unknown||Battery life||6 Hours (+18 Hours)|
|Maximum input power||Unknown||Wireless distance||10m (33ft)|
|Wireless connection||Bluetooth 5.0||Cable length||N/A|
|Wired connection||No||Case type||Charging case|