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SONY WH-1000XM3 Wireless Noise canceling Stereo Headset(International Version/Seller Warrant) (Silver)
|Headphones Form Factor||Over Ear|
About this item
- Smart Listening by SENSE ENGINE
- Quick Attention Mode for effortless conversations without taking your headphones off
- In the box: WH1000XM3 / Carry Case / Charging Cable USB-C / Audio Cable for Wired Connection
- Industry-leading noise canceling brings Only Music, Nothing Else
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Top reviews from the United States
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First, the positives: Noise-cancelling:
This is top of its class, absolutely wonderful. I tried to switch from Bose QC 35 IIs to this, and the difference in noise reduction is absolutely detectable and almost uncanny. It seems to be much better at filtering lower sounds as well, so while dull rumbles with the QC35 will be quieter, with this Sony they are practically gonezo.
Audio Playback/Sound Quality:
Again, this is a great pair of cans. Reasonable bass, excellent highs and mids. For a non-audiophile, this will likely be one of the best sounding headphones you can own. Compared to the Bose QC35 IIs, it's not a huge difference in my common scenarios (sadly I didn't always get to make the best use of the DAC stuff built into the Sony which clearly wins by a mile), but if you listen with noise cancelling enabled, the superior reduction in background noise makes the audio seem even clearer.
Now for my negatives: Controlling the unit (compared to my trusty Bose):
- It takes 2 full seconds of holding the power button to turn the system on or off
There is this nifty little feature where you can cover your right earpiece with your hand and it will turn off noise cancelling and lower the audio playback volume so you can hear the external world. This works well enough, but usually it looks a little strange and isn't typically what I would use. I tend to either be in a context where I'm listening with no need to interrupt, or I need to turn it off immediately for extended periods. Having to awkwardly hold the power button is cumbersome, but because the ear-holding doesn't pause the playback any sufficiently long interaction will require pausing, which is also not good...
- Play/Pause requires a double tap of the the ear phone
The issues with this are pretty straightforward. I'd say I only had this "gesture" work for me the first time I attempt it about 66% of the time. If you're too low or too high it's not recognized, if you're slow or too fast it's not recognized, if you're too light or too heavy it's not recognized. And repeatedly tapping hard on your own head both looks silly and sounds unpleasant. Way too unreliable for how critical the function is.
- Volume and playback controls are entirely touch based
Swiping up and down on the ear controls volume. If you want any semblance of precision you have to do one quick swipe at a time to go up or down one "tick". If you're too slow it will register them as multiple swipes which can lead to quickly having undesired low or high volumes.
- Skip forward/backward are swiping forward and backward
The same issues for volume apply here as well, generally.
--- There are two aspects of all this touch-based control that I despise
1. The orientation of the swipes is static, and precise. Meaning, if you're lying down trying to skip forwards, you need to swipe from the surface you're on towards the ceiling, or else you'd accidentally adjust volume, and vice-versa. Also, if you're setup such that you're lying on a side, you basically can't interact with the controls if the right ear is covered.
2. The precision required on getting the right part of the earphone with the right part of your finger at the right speeds/pressures is a totally unhelpful and unneeded abstraction from simple buttons. If your gesture doesn't work, there's no feedback to understand what you did wrong.
- The "multi" device syncing:
This may not be as big an issue for other users, but this headphone does NOT support synchronous device pairing/playback. Meaning that you have to manually disconnect from say, your phone, and then manually connect to your laptop or other device. You don't have to re-sync the Bluetooth, but you have to go into menus and fiddle. My Bose QC 35s connect to both my phone and PC at once, and switch between them based on audio-playback-priority. I can be listening to YouTube on my laptop, and if I get a phone call it switches audio to my phone automatically. No such behavior from the Sonys. This feature is the main make/break for me.
- Wind noise-cancelling:
Although the actual level of cancelling is better, the handling of high speed wind is atrocious. Sadly this effect my commute quick often as I take an open ferry most mornings.
- Long-term comfort:
I suspect this would improve with more break in time, but on multiple occasions, a session of 45+ minutes started to get a little painful, and loosening the headband led to it slipping off more than reducing discomfort.
Overall, it's clearly a high quality item, and it does the jobs it does very well, but for my workflow and usecases, it falls quite short.
I love the sound of these headphones. They sound amazing. Accurate sound music and even calls.
The noise cancelling I love. (Warning) Once you take these off, everything sounds a bit loud, but I think that's a good thing. I was used to having everything be quiet.
I was on call with the gf, and she said the microphone was good, and she didnt really pick up on back ground noise. I think the reason why people say the mic is so bad is because when you have ambient noise ON, the microphone tries it's best to pick up all the noise you would hear (background noise) and play that in the headphones. I would see why they do that. The passive noise proof ear muffs do such a good job at keeping noise out that they have to play sound back through the microphones.
That isnt the minor thing that bugs me. It's that after long periods of time, the top of your head gets sore from the headphones. The cushion that contacts the top of my head is really soft, but it still gets to me. So if you have a long flight, you might have to adjust these to keep the soreness low on the top of your head.
The catch is that they are a pain to setup and manage. Sony's software for Macbook and iOS is *very* basic and there is no getting around it. You cannot rename the device in Sony's application, you cannot lock it to stop other users from trying to pair with it (which is more likely, since the names cannot be changed) and the iOS app feels very Kindergarten clunky - not something I'd expect for a $330 product from a major company like Sony.
I'm still going to keep them, because I think that the benefits outweigh the costs and I'm not so concerned about having my headphones hijacked by my coworkers and fellow passengers. I do think it's worth noting that this feels like an incomplete product due to the poor design of its supporting software and given the cost of the product I think it is an unacceptable standard.
Edit: Starting with the most prominent flaw - depending where you live. The first day I wore these was March 26th in Pennsylvania and the touch controls went crazy in 32-35 degree weather with a little wind. It makes the controls unusable, and since I know no way to disable them temporarily, you have to shut the headset off because the cold will create random commands to pause, adjust volume, or skip songs. Buyer beware these are well known to malfunction like this in cold environments. I would hope SONY provides a simple toggle function for the touch controls - if you could turn them off in cold weather and control the playback from your phone, they'd be fine. Still not ideal, but usable at least. That said...
I have limited experience with headphones, and have never had noise-cancelling cans before. I think the noise-cancellation on these is like magic. I'm sure that utilizing the sony app I can find the EQ settings that get the most out of these. The battery life and charge time is phenomenal. The build is not as premium-feeling as you'd expect, but this headset is lightweight and comfortable.
What I mean by my tagline is that compared to a very much more affordable pair of JBL on-the-ears, out of the box to the average user I don't think the sound is INSANELY different. My point is this: If you're an audiophile you'd probably be willing to pay $500 for these, but if you're not in total need of baller noise-cancellation and the other features, a cheaper headset - $200 or less - could definitely do all that you want. If you have the money to spend, get these, and you'll likely never need to upgrade.
Top reviews from other countries
If it helps the headphones are supplied with the following...
A reasonably solid case - don't buy an extra one until you've tried it out, as I think it's pretty good.
A very short charging adapter.
A lead that will connect them to a device. It is about a meter long so will reach an entertainment system on a plane.
An adapter so you can use them on a plane (ie with the two prongs).
Hope that's helpful
- The ANC is insane. I wear these in the office, and at 30% volume cannot hear conversations next to me.
- Extremely comfortable and lightweight. I get Cervicogenic headaches, and heavy headsets will trigger these headaches. I can wear these for hours without any pain at all.
- The audio quality is good. Not amazing, and on the default profile, the bass is a little heavy. The bright/excited preset is the best for me I've found.
- The battery life is amazing
- The microphone leaves a lot to desire. Muffled and hard to hear in high ambient noise scenarios.
- The accompanying app needs some work - not as feature rich as one would hope, although is certainly enough to configure headphones.
- The headphones does not have smart Bluetooth; you can only connect to one device at once. What? Is it 2010?
Overall, the cons of these headphones are far outweighed by the pros. I would buy these again in a heartbeat.