2 years after the first active noise cancelling true wireless earphones were launched, Sony delivers the first next generation model, the WF-1000XM3, and has upped the ante in the true wireless audio market. In case you are wondering, there is no “Mark 2”. Sony skipped a number to sync up with the ANC headphone series, since the WF-1000XM3 uses an improved noise-cancelling technology based on the WH-1000XM3 headphones.
The WF-1000XM3 is more capable in active noise cancellation than the previous generation. It works brilliantly in removing ambient noise and allow the listener to immerse in the music even in noisy public transport. Just like the WH-1000XM3 headphones, I can enjoy musical details in public areas. I have no problems picking up the echoes of the sound stage setting for each audio track.
And speaking of audio, the sound quality is typical Sony signature: the treble offers sufficient transparency to enjoy the intimate details, while the bass is close and roomy without excessive boom to muddy up the mix. The balance should confidently appeal to the mass.
Besides the ANC capability, there are other features that makes the WF-1000XM3 a worthy buy. Like other 1000X series, the earphones allow personalised features through the Sony Headphones Connect app, for instance, apply EQ, or adjust the ambient sound level in 20 steps. I tried bumping up the bass and it delivers without distortion, and that should please any EDM fan. And despite transmitting via SBC audio codec, the sound quality is clean without audible compression deficiencies. Similarly, the ambient sound lets in environmental noise without sounding too harsh, allowing the listener to be constantly aware of any public announcements at the airport or on the train.
The WF-1000XM3 also offers several unique features that most other earbuds do not support. The music auto pauses when earbuds are removed, so you do not have to worry about stopping music from the phone. The earbuds operate by touch instead of physical buttons so you don’t have to go through discomfort when pressing the buttons against the ear canals. Finally, the Quick Attention feature works by holding the sensor to enable ambient sound quickly, allowing brief conversations.
If I were to nit pick, I find that the case and earbuds are too bulky, an unfortunate consequence of a product overladen with tech. The 6-hour battery life should keep your ears occupied long enough though it is not as stellar as some of the latest TWS. Also, the earbuds are not IP-rated, and without ear stabilizers, I would not recommend wearing them for intense workouts.
The Sony WF-1000XM3 has produced a stellar true wireless earbuds full of features at an attractive price, and an effective digital noise cancelling that kills noise.