Review: Sony WH-1000 XM3 Wireless Noise Cancelling Headphones

I’ve had my eyes on the Sony noise canceling headphones ever since their first generation was launched a few years ago, then last year I was tempted to get their second generation (the XM2’s), but never ended up pulling the trigger. Then, a few months ago, Sony surprised everyone by launching their third generation XM3 headphones and they instantly became a huge hit. Many were calling it the best wireless noise canceling headphones you can buy and most of the reviewers agreed that they were miles ahead of the popular BOSE QC35 II. I decided I wanted one.

Since the headphones had just been released a couple of months back and were super popular, they were sold out at every US and UK retailer I checked from Amazon, to BestBuy to Currys. Even on eBay they were being sold at ridiculous prices. After a week of searching, I finally found a retailer in Australia that was selling them at retail price and I ended up ordering my pair from there and shipping them to my Australian Shop&Ship address. Surprisingly, Aramex were pretty quick with the shipping and I managed to get my pair delivered this past Thursday just before I traveled to Dubai. After using them while working out of Arabica and then again on the plane, I’m in shock at how good these are.

For those of you who’ve been reading my blog for years, you probably know I have an obsession with headphones. I actually just found a list of some of the headphones (and earphones) I’ve owned:

Bang & Olufsen A8
Bang & Olufsen H5
Beats by Dre
BeyerDynamic DT770 600ohm
Sennheiser Adidas PMX 680i
Sennheiser IE80
Sennheiser PX100
Sennheiser PX100-II
Sennheiser PXC250
Shure E2
Shure SE210
Shure SE215
Sony MDR-XB500
UE 5 Pro
UE Triple.Fi 10 Pro

So I’ve used a lot of headphones over the years but my current go-to pair when traveling were the fantastic Sennheiser IE80. They sounded terrific and because they were wired, it meant they never ran out of batteries. But they had two issues, the first being they were wired, wireless is more practical of course especially on a plane. The second issue I had was with the comfort, the IE80’s are in-earphones so on long trips my ears would get really warm and sweaty. I wanted a new travel pair and these Sony’s solved all my issues.

Firstly, the Sony’s are wireless, but they also have a 30-hour battery life which means even on my longest flight to LA, I’d be able to use the headphones on the plane, during transit and still get to LA with lots of battery left. Secondly, the Sony’s are super comfortable. I haven’t used them yet for more than 2-3 hours at one go, but so far they’ve been extremely comfy. The Sony’s fit around my ears so they aren’t applying any pressure on them and the padding is super soft. The most important aspect of these Sony’s and what really makes them so great is the noise cancelation abilities. I haven’t used a lot of noise-canceling headphones but people who have say these are the best ones you can buy right now. I’m going to believe them because based on my experience this past weekend, they work like magic. On the plane, they COMPLETELY cancel out the lound rumbling engine sound, my flight to Dubai and back was extremely quiet and peaceful. Every time I took the headphones off I was actually in shock at how loud the plane was without them. I actually feel that way whenever I take the headphones off after using them anywhere. We are surrounded by so much sound everywhere we go and we don’t tend to realize it because we’re so used to it. These headphones really transport you into a quiet space, so you’ll get the library silence wherever you are. They aren’t perfect, while using them at Arabica, if I didn’t have any music playing I could still kinda hear people chattering.

The headphones have a lot of cool features and can even be connected to an app that allows you to control the amount of ambient sound they let in, but, I’m not going to go into too many details since you could watch or read more comprehensive reviews online. What I will say is this, these Sony’s sound great, are super comfortable and kill the sound around you so good that you won’t believe it.

If you’re interested in a pair I couldn’t find any place locally to get them and they’re still hard to get online. BUT, while I was at the Duty Free in Dubai I spotted them being sold there and for around KD110. So if you have a trip to Dubai planned or know someone traveling, let them get you a pair. Here is a link to them on Amazon but they’re out of stock as of this post [Link]

14 replies on “Review: Sony WH-1000 XM3 Wireless Noise Cancelling Headphones”

In a world where there are tons of choices, and most of them we never get to know about, we constantly surprise ourselves I guess. I went on a similar journey but narrowed down three – all of which I purchased recently and they are great for different uses and price points.

Surface headphones
Bose Soundsport
Jaybird X3

I have the QC35 and have been tempted to buy the Sony XM series since they were introduced, but the M3 is the one I will definitely pull the trigger. 110KD is a great price.

I don’t have all of them now, I just have the following:

Bang & Olufsen H5
Sennheiser Adidas PMX 680i
Sennheiser IE80
Sennheiser PX100-II
Shure SE215
UE Triple.Fi 10 Pro

Plus the Sony’s

I don’t use all of them, the B&O H5 is for when i need earphones on me when i head to a coffee shop or when i go get a manicure. The shure 215’s is for when i ride my bicycle or go running, the Sony’s XM3’s for when I travel. Actually just noticed I missed the Sony MDR-XB500 on the list above, should add it now since they’re my office headphones. The rest I’ve kinda stopped using. Before the Sony XM3’s for example, the IE80’s were my travel earphones.

surprised that Shure’s SE846 isn’t on your list. also, please do give chord mojo a listen… it’ll transform the way you listen to music upside down.

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