Sony's Wireless Noise Cancelling Headphones: Six Months Later

I have no explanation for this. Image: Tegan Jones/Gizmodo Australia

I was really excited when Sony's 1000XM3 headphones showed up on my desk last year. I was a big fan of the M2s and was curious about what improvements could be made to such high quality cans, especially when the price on the previous gen were still consistently high.

Some shops were even still selling them at the same price.

After living with these for the past few months, I have some opinions.

Sony MH-1000XM3

WHAT IS IT?

Sony's 2018 Wireless noise-cancelling headphones

PRICE

$499.95

LIKE

Improved noise cancellation, all-day comfort, quick charge

NO LIKE

Expensive

What's Good About Them?

Sweet cans. Image: Tegan Jones/Gizmodo Australia

USB-C Port

I like being able to use my laptop charger for literally everything. Happy days.


Quick-Charge

One of the biggest differences between the M3 and M2s is the addition of quick charging. These bad boys can get 5 hours of playback from 10 minutes charge.

I feel like this feature was included personally victimise my laziness, and I'm into it.

I'm terrible at life and have too many damn devices to charge anyway, so I would consistently forget to charge my M2s. But I also wanted to listen to music or a podcast for commute. More often than not I would leave them at gome and revert to wired earbuds out of sheer convenience/laziness.

Now, when I forget to charge the M3s overnight, I can do it in the ten minutes that I'm running around the house trying to find a bra and a "clean enough" top.


Noise-Cancellation

I'm happy to report that there is definitely an improvement in how much noise is getting blocked out in the M3s compared to the M2s.

Arguably the best in market, the M3s do a lot more than block out office conversations about the latest episode of My Kitchen Rules. I put my set through its paces on the streets of Sydney, long-haul flights and (in what was perhaps the greatest test of all) the South Coast Train Line.

I was delighted to find that for the most part, I couldn't hear a damn thing.

I was particularly impressed with how good a job it did on planes - drowning out both the constant hum of the engines as well as whinging children. It was glorious.

Of course, having your auditory sense blocked isn't always the safest thing to do while wandering the streets. Whether you're concerned about silencing oncoming traffic or being accosted by a stranger (something that is a particularly real fear for women) - you have options.

You can control the level of noise cancellation and ambiance in Sonys Headphone App, as well as the surround, personal optimisation and atmospheric pressure.

I didn't bother messing with most of these. I just don't want that much pressure from a device that I'm mostly using to play that song from Russian Doll on repeat.

But when I did want to enjoy my questionable music choices while also being aware of my surroundings, I popped it into Ambient Mode via a button on the left ear cup.

If you find that the button is triggering Google Assistant instead, you can change the functionality over in the app. I did this immediately, because I really don't need a piece of tech that I use for work flow and relaxation to be talking at me.


Comfortable

These have clearly been living lovingly on my ears for awhile. Image: Tegan Jones/Gizmodo Australia

It's incredibly trite to say that I value comfort in headphones, but I value comfort in headphones.

Probably more than sounds quality, to be honest.

My music taste is trash, so I prefer something that I can wear all day where the sound is fine than something that has an incredible depth of sound but isn't as comfy - especially when that quality is being wasted on 90s power ballads and murder podcasts.

So I appreciate that Sony improved on the comfort of the previous gen by making the cups a little bigger and the headband cushier while also maintaining a sleek aesthetic. They're also really light for how hardcore they are at around 275g.

I can wear these for hours on end without any earaches or the oppressive feeling that can come from relatively large headphones.


What's Not So Good About Them?

USB-C port glory. Image: Tegan Jones/Gizmodo Australia

$$$

Even six months after release the official RRP is still $499.95. That's a big investment, even for a superb set of headphones.

I really like these things, but it's a sticking point.


Lack Of Audio Improvement

While the noise cancelling was improved on the latest WH-1000x model, the audio quality itself remains the same as the 2017 model. While I don't personally care about this (they still sound great), some people will - especially if they're considering dropping this much money on a product.

Should You Buy Them?

You can still cord these up if you can't wait ten minutes for them sweet jams. Image: Tegan Jones/Gizmodo Australia

At $499.95 these are some damn expensive headphones. But god damn they're nice.

If you're happy to drop fat stacks on audio, they're probably worth it. If you're apprehensive about the price, I recommend shopping around a little and to keep an eye out for price drops during sales periods.

You could also consider buying the MH-1000M2s, instead. They're still a great set of headphones, but you'll be missing out of some really cool features that make the M3s that extra bit special.

Keep in mind that between the sound and cancellation quality and USB-C quick charge, these things are future-proofed for a few years. So if you decide to bite the bullet, at least your money would be going into a long-term piece of equipment.

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