For the previous couple of years, Sony has been sizzling on the heels of rival Bose, working onerous to create the last word noise-canceling headphone. And with the WH-1000XM3 — priced at $350, £330 or $AU499 — it is lastly executed it.
In growing this third-generation mannequin, it appears as if Sony’s engineers went via Proinertech’s assessment of final yr’s WH-1000MX2 and corrected every small challenge I had with it.
The most important design change is to the form of the headscarf and padding on the ear cups. The headscarf is now extra contoured to your head, and the headphone has shaved off 20 grams of weight. The padding on the ear cups can also be just a little softer.
The top result’s a headphone that is clearly extra comfy than its predecessor.
Sony has modified the form of the headscarf. The WH-1000MX2 (left) has a extra rounded form whereas the WH-1000MX3 (proper) has a extra oval form.
The Bose QuietComfort 35 II continues to be lighter at 235 grams versus 254 grams for this. However Sony is now neck-and-neck with Bose by way of consolation, which had been one in every of Bose’s benefits.
The opposite huge change is that Sony has moved from Micro-USB to USB-C charging. As a part of the swap, there is a new quick-charge function that provides you 5 hours of use from a 10-minute cost. That is fairly spectacular — and the 30 hours of battery life at reasonable quantity ranges can also be nice.
I used to be just a little important of the headset efficiency in my assessment of the sooner 1000X fashions. For the WH-1000XM3, the engineers shifted to a brand new multimicrophone array system that filters out background noise whereas selecting up your voice throughout calls. I made a number of calls, and headset efficiency positively has improved and has now develop into extra of a power than a weak spot.
There are a couple of different beauty adjustments. The outside end on the ear cups, the place you will discover the contact controls, is smoother. And the carrying case is barely completely different. It reserves a spot for the brief USB-C cable in addition to the included headphone cable — sure, you should utilize this as a wired headphone, nice for the airplane’s in-flight leisure system — and it sounds nice in wired mode.
Sony reps instructed me this mannequin has the identical drivers as its glorious MDR-1AM2 headphone, and I believe this sounds higher than the Bose QuietComfort 35 II: it sounds extra pure with just a little higher definition, readability and powerful, punchy bass. There may be some bass push — I discovered myself desirous to decrease the quantity on one our take a look at bass tracks, Alt-J’s 3WW, to tone issues down a bit. However the bass does not get boomy, it is simply muscular. General, the headphone may be very clear sounding for a Bluetooth headphone and sounds good and open (for a closed-back headphone anyway).
I gave the headphone to Steve Guttenberg, who writes Proinertech’s The Audiophiliac column, for a pay attention. Steve could be onerous on Bluetooth headphones however had very optimistic issues to say concerning the WH-1000XM3: Good treble, heat, pure midrange and bass that was deep but in addition outlined. He did not have any actual complaints concerning the sound.
The headphone can also be accessible in silver and is provided with a USB-C charging port.
Sony has up to date the chips contained in the headphone, upgrading the noise canceling and sound processing. It says its new HD Noise Canceling Processor QN1 affords 4 instances the efficiency of its predecessor and works not just for noise canceling, “but in addition realizes gorgeous excessive sound high quality with 32-bit audio sign processing and the mixture of DAC with amplifier performance.”