Sony WH-1000XM3 Hands-On

So far the BOSE Quietcomfort 25 were the ANC headphones of my choice. Unfortunately a loose contact crept in: after 5 years of use time for a new model.

The choice fell on the Sony WH-1000XM3which, according to other tests, are currently among the best active-noise-canceling headphones. The BOSE QC35II and the Beyerdynamic Lagoon ANC Explorer to choose from - I wanted to get away from BOSE, the Beyerdynamic are even more expensive with 400 Euro.

sony WH 1000XM3 1 1
Sony WH-1000XM3

Unlike the BOSE QC25 the Sony WH-1000XM3 are Bluetooth headphones that also work without cables. To avoid problems in airplanes (where ANC headphones are most useful)

Charging is via USB-C, which should be a matter of course nowadays. Unfortunately, you can't listen to music while charging - maybe Sony didn't trust the battery technology enough and wanted to keep the Li-Ion battery as far away from the owner's head as possible in case of a battery defect.

Sony WH-1000XM3: Control via App

sony headset app 1

Sony provides an app for both Android and iOS, with which the WH-1000XM3 can be better adjusted. A user account doesn't have to be created, but for some functions the location has to be released - for example the adaptive noise control, which tries to detect where the wearer is currently located.

The app can also be used to optimize noise suppression and adjust it to the current air pressure - a function I'll try out on my next flight. Furthermore, the noise suppression can be adjusted in detail, including the possibility to give priority to voices, so that you can hear the announcements on the train, for example.


If the ANC is activated and no music is heard, there is a quiet, constant background noise. As soon as you start playback, you won't hear any of it anymore. The tuning of the headphones is relatively neutral - studio quality can be achieved through extensive intervention in the sound to achieve the ANC effect, which is controlled by the Antisound is generated, do not expect it.

For further individual settings you can configure an equalizer via the app. These settings are retained even if the headphones are supplied from another source, e.g. via a 3.5mm jack cable in an airplane.

For my personal taste in music with a focus on techno, trance and hands-up, the headphones are a good choice - in the end, you have to test listen and decide for yourself.

Battery life & charging

With activated ANC, one battery charge should be enough for up to 30 hours of playback - after a day in the office (without Bluetooth, with ANC) I can't make a more precise statement about this. The charging process is done via USB-C as already described, unfortunately the included cable is very short. Continue listening to music while using the WH-1000XM3 Unfortunately, it is not possible to charge the battery, nor can the USB-C connection be used to connect to the PC. But the charging process is quite fast: 10 minutes on the charger should be enough for 5 hours of playback.


sony WH 1000XM3 3

Sony has placed two buttons on the left headphone: one that turns the headphones on and off and starts the Bluetooth pairing. Another one, with which either the ANC can be set or the configured voice assistant can be started.

The right earphone is equipped with a touch field: by means of various gestures, for example, the next song can be started, the volume can be adjusted or a call can be accepted or rejected. If you place your hand completely over the right earphone, the pass-through mode is activated, in which the music is turned down and the outside noise is directed inwards via the microphones - very practical if you want to hear a short announcement in more detail.

price/performance ratio

After Sony has probably already presented its successor at the IFA 2019 in the form of the WH-1000XM4 (if you keep the name scheme), you can get the current model for a good 290,- EURO in both colours. The price comparison for SONY WH-1000XM3 silver and SONY WH-1000XM3 black lists offer a good 100,- EURO below the previous year's price.

The BOSE QC35II are a bit cheaper to get - after these are supposed to do slightly worse in noise cancelling, the price for the Sony model is quite justified. The new model from BOSE (the Headphones 700) is clearly more expensive with 390,- EURO.

Ultimately, you have to decide for yourself what active noise cancelling is worth to you - I personally like the SONY WH-1000XM3 both in terms of features and sound.

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