And Are They Worth The Purchase?
Released in early August 2019 at a price of £220 ($230), are these almost 3-year-old earbuds still relevant today? We’re going to find that out in this article.
I’ve had the opportunity to try out many wireless earbuds this year. I’ve tested some ultra-budget options as well as some premium ones. If you haven’t checked out any of my reviews, I highly recommend heading over to my YouTube channel.
I’ve been using the Sony WF-1000XM3s on an on-and-off basis for at least 3 months now, and I seem to have a strange relationship with them.
For starters, I think that they offer an amazing sound quality, even with it being quite an old model.
I managed to pick these bad boys up at £99 on Amazon and for that price, I honestly think you’re getting a lot, not to mention that they seem to be going down in price even further!
- Amazing sound quality
- Amazing active noise cancelling (ANC) for earbuds
- Very good app
- Stable wireless connection
- Excellent battery life
- Very stylish
- No Wireless charging
- USB-C port in an awkward position, doesn’t work with thicker cables
- Awkward fit, tend to slide out when walking breaking the ANC seal
- Not suitable for sports
- Large charging case
- No sweat or water-resistant ratings
- Poor model naming convention
One of the first things I wanted to talk about is the unnecessarily large model name. I’ve always been a huge fan of Sony products, their audio products in particular, but one thing I never understood was those unnecessarily long model names.
When I show off a product to my friends, I want to be able to remember the model’s name, not having to check every time somebody asks.
Inside The Box
The Sony WF-1000XM3 come boxed in a pretty nice-looking box making the product stand out. Inside the box, you get a charging case, earbuds, 12 ear tips, a short charging cable as well as a mountain of paperwork.
I really like the fact that Sony decided to include 12 ear tips as it gives us a lot of choices, particularly as the earbuds are actually quite big in size.
One of the first things that you see inside of the box is the size of the charging case. It’s frankly massive compared to other alternatives on the market. Just take a look at the case vs the AirPods Pro case.
In terms of fit, once you’ve chosen the correct ear tip, they fit pretty well and are surprisingly comfortable to wear.
The sound quality is very good, it feels full and complete at the same time. You’re treated with that full, clear sound along with a good level of bass.
To summarise my first impressions, I thought that the earbuds were decent, particularly due to the sound quality. However, I wasn’t so sure about the size of the case as it’s quite large.
Starting With The Price
This price is a real treat amongst bargain hunters because you’re actually getting a lot for the price, particularly when it comes to the ANC and overall sound quality.
At the time of writing this article, they were available on Amazon for an astonishing £94 ($111.43) which considering the original price of £220 ($230) is actually pretty good and I highly recommend getting a pair before they become unavailable for good!
I know I’ve complained about the size of the case and actual earbuds, but the truth of the matter is that they look absolutely stunning! I’m not sure what it is but that black and gold makes them look premium.
The bottom part of the case is black and is made of rubber whereas the top of the case is gold and made out of plastic. One thing that I have noticed is that whilst the rubber part doesn’t scratch easily, the plastic part does. In fact, during my first couple of uses, a scratch appeared leaving me a bit heartbroken.
Staying on with the case, I think that the placement of the USB-C port is poor as not all cables fit.
I was left devastated when the USB-C cable included with my power bank didn’t fit leaving me on a 2-hour train ride without any earbuds. But hey these things happen and I learned a valuable lesson to always make sure my earbuds a charged!
Moving on to the actual earbuds, they too look stylish, but at the same time are massive and because of their size, it feels uncomfortable when walking as they do tend to slide out of your ears.
This can become a real problem for me as I like to listen to podcasts and audiobooks on the go, so that includes whilst I walk or do any form of sports.
To add to that I also catch the train to work and whenever I’m on any form of public transport, I like to use active noise cancelling earbuds, so walking to and from the train station I do find it annoying that the earbuds are sliding out.
Overall, whilst they look stunning in design, the one thing I would ask is for Sony to redesign the earbuds and make them fit better inside of your ears.
Luckily, this is something that has already been done with the newer WF-1000XM4s.
Based on my personal experience, I can’t recommend these for any form of sports, particularly because they don’t have an IPX waterproof/sweat resistance rating. They seem to slide out even when just walking.
These are best for commuting or for using at home.
Moving on to the sound quality, that’s an area where these excel, they are a joy to listen to! They are also possibly the best-sounding earbuds I tried to date!
It’s important to remember that everyone has their own preferences on sound, I prefer clean, crisp sound combined with a decent level of bass.
The Sony WF-1000XM3 sound fit my taste very well, even at default settings. The sound is very clear and the bass is very punchy. If we combine that with some of the EQ settings available in the app, the sound is arguably the best I ever heard coming out of earbuds.
What really makes them stand out from the crowd is their dynamism. Not only do they deliver a powerful sound, but they also offer amazing instrument separation.
The quality doesn’t disappoint when it comes to the vocals, which tend to be clean with an element of bass depending on how deep the voice is.
The active noise cancellation (ANC) is extremely good on these, I have yet to find better ANC on earbuds. I was comfortably able to block out people talking on the train and in a cafe. When it comes to the louder sounds such as a diesel train starting up, which is quite loud! These tend to cope really well with the noise.
Considering the fact that the model is now a few years old, they still perform incredibly well compared to models of a similar price. In fact, I would go as far as saying that they’re the best performers for under £100!
Unfortunately, I haven’t yet had a chance to compare these against a 2022 model in the over £200 price range, so I can’t compare them to the XM4 or any other earbuds at a similar price range.
The battery is decent with them lasting around 6 hours with ANC enabled. This is perfect for most train or coach journeys as well as for work.
The charging case on the other hand can comfortably provide you with around 17 hours.
We can all agree that one of the most annoying things about wireless earbuds and headphones is when they get a poor connection.
This is another area where the WF-1000XM3 excel because the connection is always really good and I have yet to experience any interference.
Moving on to the magic happens, these feature a very well-designed app, which not only works well, is easy to use.
My only complaint about the app is that the app icon looks dated.
The app is where you control these bad boys to get an ultimate experience. Starting with the Adaptive Sound control, which if enabled will automatically switch settings such as how much ambient sound to take in.
If you prefer to manually change the settings, you will not be disappointed as the sound menu allows you to select the level of ambient noise. There’s even an option for the earbuds to focus on voice!
The app also features a well-built equaliser with several presents being available.
If you like your 360 audio, you will also find an option to analyse your ears and help you find an app that is compatible with 360 audio such as Tidal.
To summarise my review of the Sony WF-1000XM3s, I think that these are a brilliant set of truly wireless earbuds. Not only are they the best-sounding earbuds I tested this year, but they are also the best ANC earbuds I tested this year.
Who are these for?
I’ve thought about this a lot and I think that they are perfect for someone who commutes to work via public transport or for taking with you to work. They block out the noise extremely well and at the same time sound excellent.
I would not recommend these for anyone who plans to use them for any form of sports as they don’t even have an IPX sweatproof rating, not to mention the fact that these tend to even slide out during a walk.
But Are They Relevant in 2022?
I definitely think that these are still relevant in 2022! I mean maybe the design is now slightly dated, but for under £100, you are honestly getting a lot. I think that you will find it very difficult to find an alternative product that sounds this good in that price range.