You probably know Sony for the Playstation – one of the 2 console giants (the other being Microsoft’s Xbox). However, Sony has also been making pretty good audio products, and the WH-1000XM3s from 2019 unseated the Bose QC35ii as the best noise-canceling headphones at the time. So following the success of the headphones, they decided to make an earphone version: the Sony WF-1000XM3. These originally came out in 2019, and since then, many other companies have made their own noise-canceling earphones. So amongst all these new faces, let’s see how this 2-year-old stacks up.

Preliminary Verdict

In case you do not have time to read the entire article, I’ll sum it up briefly here. Even after 2 years, these earphones are still one of the best options out there. They sound better than the Airpods Pro, offer great creature comforts like touch controls and adaptive ANC (active noise cancelling), and last decently long. Sony made a winner 2 years ago, and even now with new competition, these do more than just hold their own.

Even with new competition from the likes of Bose and Jabra, the 2 year old WF-1000XM3 doesn’t just go toe to toe, it actually beats them.

Out the Box

Taking these out the box, you immediately feel how nice they are. Matte black high quality plastic with copper accents, satisfying magnetic hinge. The build on these is amazing. You also get the pairing instructions (which are very easy to follow), and digging further in you will find a load of changeable eartips. There are so many options that I believe that most people will be able to find a great fit for their ears.

Build quality is superb. Setting these up is super easy, and finding the right fit will be easy as well.

Look and Fit

Let’s first talk about looks. The XM3s come in 2 colors: matte black and some sort of cream(?). Both have copper accents and I think they look great. They are not as low profile as the Airpod Pros, but they look clean and professional in my opinion.

They also fit really nicely. I found the eartips that fit me pretty quickly and it has been a comfortable experience. The earphones fit snug in my ear and I don’t get fatigued after long hours. I even wore them to sleep multiple times.

They look clean, and they fit really comfortably.

Sound

Ok. So everything seems good so far, but the million dollar question is: How do they sound?

Great. These sound really good. Straight out the box, they are really well-balanced. Bass is tight with sub-bass being well-controlled. Mids (where most instruments and vocals are) are well represented are highs are not shrill. I don’t think any detail is lost here and they provide a very nice listening experience. Couple that with the ANC that shuts out ambient noise and what we have here are a very enjoyable pair of earphones.

The Headphones App allows you to fine-tune the sound profile (through the equalizer) to your liking which is a plus, and I am sure that with a bit of tweaking (if you want), you can get these to sound exactly how you want.

They are well-detailed and well-balanced. They sound great out the box and give you the option of fine-tuning them to your liking.

Addressing some loose ends

Before I get to my final verdict, I would like to quickly address some loose ends. The XM3s have great creature comforts in the Headphones App. Adaptive ANC detects what you’re doing and adapts the ANC strength accordingly; customizable touch controls are well implemented and easy to use; equalizer in the app to fine tune the sound profile etc. Battery life is great as well, 6 hours with ANC on with 3 more charges with the case, making for a claimed total of 24 hours (which they do hit).

Terrible Name, Excellent Earphones

You might be wondering at this point in time: wait, everything has been positive so far, so what are your complaints?

I have two. 1: the case is a little big for my liking. But they are still pocketable, and that is good enough for me. 2: Sony, you need to fire your naming department. That’s it.

Jokes aside, I think this really speaks to how good a product the XM3s are. They sound really good, they look clean and professional, and they have class-leading noise-cancellation. Yes, they are 2 years old. And some say they don’t have water resistance. But you don’t buy the XM3s for that. You buy these to shut out the world. You buy these to lose yourself in your music. You buy these to smile to yourself, every time you press play. These are the most enjoyable earphones I have used in a long long time, and for that, I love them. I really, really love them.

These are the most enjoyable earphones I have used in a really long time, and I am in love with them.

Sony WF-1000XM3 is available in Singapore for S$349, and as of writing are on sale for S$219 (Challenger members).


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