Sony’s WF-1000XM3 fully wireless in-ear headphones sound great, even if they don’t have much in common with Sony’s WH-1000XM3 closed-back model, in our opinion. The WF-1000XM3 has a very clear sound with rich, but not hypertrophied bass.
I really liked the reproduction of both medium and high frequencies. The voices seem close to the listener, bright and natural, although there is some hint of harshness. The high frequencies are cleaner than the closed model and provide a detailed sound picture. The bass area is also clearly defined. In a head-to-head comparison, we liked the sonic performance of the WF-1000XM3 in-ear even slightly better than the WH-1000XM3 outdoor. But in the end, it’s the sound of both models that brings pleasure.
Stylish charging case is as convenient as possible, although a little bulky
While we see the clarity of the WF-1000XM3 as an advantage over the closed model, it also comes with a downside: the in-ear XM3s don’t play as relaxed as the larger model or other fully wireless Bose Soundsport Free competitors, which we find sounding better than any of these headphones. High frequencies, although they dominate and do not “bite”, but in the WF-1000XM3 they still have a little more energy for our taste. This can be heard, for example, in the playing of string instruments, which sound intense and sparkling, but should have a little more sensuality. In these cases, the XM3 earbuds don’t capture the dynamics of the music as well as the softer Bose ones.
As another disadvantage, we consider a narrower sound stage. The Bose Soundsport Free are more open and spacious, while the Sony instruments are «closer» to each other. And while it may actually be a matter of taste what kind of sound the user prefers, we still see a slight Bose advantage here. However, the sound quality of the WF-1000XM3 for true wireless can be attributed to the highest level. We could listen to music of various genres for a long period of time with pleasure. Through the Sony Equalizer app, the sound can be even better adapted to suit your personal tastes.
Fit, swing, have play: XM3 wireless sit firmly in the ear and do not press
We couldn’t fault the wearing comfort of the WF-1000XM3. Sony includes a variety of attachments in the package, among which the user can choose the one that best suits him. In-ear headphones are pressed into the ear canal and rotated slightly for a snug fit. From the «flaps» for a better hold in the ear, Sony refuses, but it does not matter. The WF-1000XM3 sits securely without slipping and, very importantly, does not exert unpleasant pressure. Some competing models cover the ear noticeably, resulting in pressure and sound distortion when moving. It doesn’t exist here.
It might be interesting:
While the Sony WF-1000XM3 are not waterproof. The manufacturer sees them primarily as travel headphones. In our opinion, they are still suitable for sports, but those who want to run in the rain are better off with waterproof models such as the Jabra Elite Active 65t or the Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless.
Sony Attaches a whole arsenal of nozzles to the headphones. In this case, it is almost impossible that this model will not suit you.
Thanks to its Active Noise Cancellation (ANC) system, the WF-1000XM3 masked ambient noise as effectively as a closed model during testing. A particularly deep rumble was almost erased, but high-pitched sounds and voices were still audible. We’ve tested the XM3 in-ears with the enclosed XM3 in flight and can testify to excellent noise cancellation. At least, if even quiet music is playing, the noise of the aircraft becomes completely inaudible. In such situations, ANC is a truly valuable feature.
The background noise found in many ANC headphones is practically not noticed here. You can disable signal processing if you wish. In addition, there is a mode of passing ambient noise, so as not to miss announcements at the station or to carry on a conversation. And who is outdoors in windy weather, he will find an opportunity to reduce wind noise. If you once set up the so-called Ambient mode in the Sony headphone app, you can then activate it with a single tap on the device. Instead of loud wind noise, you will hear only a slight whistle. However, this reduces the effectiveness of the suppression of other noise. In our opinion, the XM3-outdoor’s active noise cancellation works more noticeably in this mode.
Despite the presence of ANC and the absence of a battery in the neck strap, the headphones can last a long time
In terms of equipment, Sony misses almost nothing. While the charging case could have been a little more compact, it feels solidly built, supports NFC for quick pairing, and holds the earbuds securely with magnets. As expected, when removed from the case, the device turns on automatically. If the headphones are removed from the ear, music playback is paused (this works with one or both halves). If you put the earbuds back into the case, they turn off and start charging. In this regard, the management works without problems.
In principle, we also find touch control to be good, as these fully wireless headphones are easier to control with touch. Users can switch between ANC and Ambient modes, change tracks and pause them, and call their voice assistant. Alas, it turned out to be impossible to adjust the volume on the headphones, which, in our opinion, is the biggest drawback of this almost perfect model. For this you need a phone.
The battery life here is also outstanding. During our test runs, the WF-1000XM3 lasted over 9 hours on a single charge without active noise cancellation — with occasional charging in the case, you get a very good total runtime of 38 hours. Those who use the active noise reduction system can enjoy more than seven hours of music enjoyment without and 26 hours with recharging from the case. Plus, after just 15 minutes of charging in the case, the WF-1000XM3 will be ready to go for up to four hours. A full charge of the earbuds and case lasts more than three hours. Thus, in-channel XM3s are indeed suitable for all application scenarios, including long flights.
If you’re looking for compact, good-sounding, and durable headphones for travel, you can’t go wrong with the WF-1000XM3. However, the initial cost of 180$ cannot be called low.
The sound quality for a fully wireless device is excellent, the battery life is also excellent, and the equipment, plus the wearing comfort, can be considered remarkable. The noise reduction system is effective here. But we lack volume control. In addition, the price of this model is quite high.
Volume can only be adjusted through the app
In the face of QCY T1C, you can get decent fully wireless in-ear headphones for only 20$. Even though the Sony WF-1000XM3 is inferior in every single discipline, the sound is still decent and will satisfy many users who are looking for a simple and inexpensive device for sports and travel.