The Sony WF-1000XM3 follows up a couple of years after the original WF-1000X, but clearly, the time has been spent well in the Sony offices. The Sony WF-1000XM3 lands with a feature set that is quite unmatched among the rivals, noise cancellation that could very well be the best there is among wireless earbuds and battery life that wouldn’t require you to be bothered about charging these up often.
Design and build
Starting with the case, it is not the most compact case we’ve seen (still going with Jabra 75t Elite Active for that) but it does have a ‘stealth’ kind of look to it. There’s no usual LED indicator but a rather sleek bar that goes Red when the earphones or the case is being charged and it looks quite good. We got the Black/Gold color variant, which we think looks better than the Off-White/Gold combination and is easier to maintain. It has a USB Type-C charging port at the bottom as well. In addition, like the SP800N you get a magnetic lid.
The quality of the earbuds is good, and you get tap gestures too. However, the gesture recognition area is just a circle and not the entire surface – something that makes you think twice before precisely tapping inside the circle and not anywhere else. If you compare it with others, they do look a bit out of style since you have more compact buds these days that don’t stick out from your ears as much.
There are LED indicators and the buds themselves are light enough to not fall out from your ears even without the arches that SP800N has. However, they won’t hurt even if you have it on for a few hours straight. , SP800N is IP55 rated, which last year’s 1000XM3 is not. Now, that’s something which is not expected from ‘flagship’ grade earbuds.
Audio performance and features
You get the usual tap gestures to control the audio, pick up calls, and activate voice assistants. These are also customizable from the Sony Headphones Connect app. Yes, there’s a bit of latency between the time you tap and it shows in the source device but it’s not a deal-breaker in any way. , like with SP800N, you do get audio tap alerts in 1000XM3 as well, which is helpful and reassures that a command is given. And since the earbuds can control the audio, calls, and assistant, we didn’t feel the need to touch our handset for quite some time during working hours. And it plays well with iPhones too.
The WF-1000XM3 is not made for gaming or even workout purposes. Sony is, instead, pitching it as earbuds that simply exist to make your listening experience better as it goes heavy on bass and delivers top of the line noise-canceling tech. We would’ve loved to see Sony add fast pairing and quick switch in its flagship earbuds but unfortunately, you don’t get it. Like in the case of SP800N, earbuds connect to the device they were paired with first.
Sony WF-1000XM3 gets a thumbs up in the battery segment. We were able to run these earphones for close to 5 hours on average. Now, that’s including Noise Cancellation switched on at all times and at full volume. And adding to this is roughly 15-16 hours of juice more via the charging case. In total, we were able to get around 18-20 hours of playtime, which is really good compared to what most rivals are offering right now.
Of course, there are ways to extend battery life. The most common way is to disable noise cancellation, which may give you a few hours more (possibly more than 25 hours+ at a stretch). , you don’t necessarily want to keep the volume cranked up to full all the time.
The 1000XM3 will take more than an hour and a half to charge up if fully drained. However, the quick charging tech in this one is indeed impressive. Although Sony says 10 minutes of charge can deliver up to 90 mins of music playback time. While we were able to stretch it to over an hour without Noise Cancellation and were not able to reach 90 minutes, it still gets full marks.
The Sony WF-1000XM3 wireless earbuds are priced at Rs 19,990 though there is an introductory offer in place which makes this the best buy price of Rs 17,990. This means the Sony WF-1000XM3 has a competition spectrum which is wider than most earbuds have to contend with. The price of the Sony WF-1000XM3 pegs it close to the very good Jabra Elite Active 75t but those don’t have noise cancellation. At the same time, the feature set that Sony has given the WF-1000XM3 means much more expensive wireless earbuds must be worried too. At least they should be if they aren’t already. Those would include the Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 2, which is priced around Rs 24,990, and I had really appreciated the performance it delivers, including the very good noise cancellation. Yet, with this big a price difference, it will be natural for a potential buyer to pause for a moment and take stock of the competition. Bose, mind you, will now have a tough job on their hands when their noise-canceling earbuds finally land in the next few months.