Sony WH-1000XM3 Wireless Noise Cancelling Headphones
Category: Audio > Headphones

Sony WH-1000XM3 Wireless Noise Cancelling Headphones Review

The Swift Summary



  • Superior noise cancellation thanks to Sony’s new QN1 processor
  • Deeper, softer ear pads than its predecessor
  • Excellent battery life
  • Quick charge function
  • No multi-device pairing

Features list for the Sony WH-1000XM3 headphones

  • Industry leading noise cancellation
  • Gesture controls
  • Quick Attention mode (to quickly listen to people/voices)
  • Downloadable app for extra management settings
  • Closed back over ear cup design
  • Folding Design
  • Integrated microphone
  • Available in black or silver
  • 30 hour battery life
  • 5 hours playback from 10 minutes of charging battery
  • Built-in Google Assistant, Alexa, Siri
  • Adjustable padded head strap
  • 1 year manufacturers’ warranty

Swift Thoughts


The Sony WH-1000XM3’s have a very clean, minimal design much like their predecessor. There’s one main colour, which is used throughout, plus small copper accents. With gesture controls for playback functions there’s fewer ugly buttons around the ear cups. Nice job, Sony!

Audio Performance

The audio quality of the Sony WH-1000XM3’s are exceptional. There is an excellent range from high to low frequencies and the improved noise cancelling technology makes the audio experience very immersive, especially when you’re commuting to work.

In early generations of noise cancelling headphones there was always a small but perceptible dip in audio performance with noise cancelling turned on. For the WH1000-MX3, Sony have developed a new, more powerful, noise cancelling processor called the QN1. With this dedicated NC processor I couldn’t hear any audio compromise – impressive stuff!

I recommend you also download the app. It allows you to choose your ambient sounds and music style – useful if you like extra bass!

Build Quality

Initial impressions are overall excellent. Whilst the materials used are plastic and synthetic leather, you’ll be thankful for the their weight saving properties.


The WH-1000XM3 headphones are very comfortable even after wearing for long periods of time. The padding on the ear cups and headband is extremely soft and doesn’t apply too much pressure, even for someone who wears glasses. The WH-1000XM3’s are the lightest of the 1000X line-up and that certainly makes a significant difference.


As I’ve said before the noise cancelling features on these headphones is exceptional. With intelligent sensors, the NC function adapts to your situation, whether you’re travelling by train/bus/plane, walking or waiting. When you place your hand over the ear cup you activate Quick Attention mode to be able to hear people talking to you without removing the headphones.

Smoother feeling gesture control areas are a nice improvement from its predecessor.

The only downside I’ve noticed is the lack of multi-pairing. Being able to pair the headphones to multiple devices at the same time means you don’t need to disconnect from one device in order to use them with another.

Swift Scores

Audio Performance
Build Quality
Battery Life


Q: Can I use them with my TV?
A: Yes, if the device supports Bluetooth version 4.2 and profiles A2DP, AVRCP, HFP and HSP

Q: Can I turn off noise cancelling?
A: Yes. (it’s called passive operation)

Q: Do they come with an adapter to connect to flight entertainment?
A: Yes.

Q: Can you disable the voice assistant features?
A: Yes, via the app.

Q: Can I connect to a device by touching it (NFC)?
A: Yes.

Q: Does the noise cancelling still work when using a wired connection?
A: Yes, as long as the headphones are switched on with some battery life remaining.

Q: Is there any noticeable audio lag when using them wirelessly?
A: No delay nor lip sync issues that I’ve noticed.

Q: How long does it take to fully recharge the batteries?
A: A full charge can take up to 3 hours.

Q: Are they water / sweat resistant?
A: No.

What’s in the box?

  • Sony WH-1000MX3 Headphones
  • Zipped hard carry case
  • 3.5mm audio cable (1.5 metres)
  • In-flight adapter
  • USB charging cable
  • Instructions

You want it? We’ve found it.

The Sony WH-1000MX3 headphones are available in silver and black.

Sony WH-1000MX3 Silver Wireless Noise Cancelling Headphones
Sony WH-1000MX3 Silver
Sony WH-1000MX3 Black Wireless Noise Cancelling Headphones
Sony WH-1000MX3 Black

Tech Talk

Quick Attention mode – what is it and how does it work?

Place your hand over one ear cup and noise cancelling will be temporarily paused so you can listen to people talking to you or announcements whilst commuting.

What’s DSEE HX?

The Sony WH-1000MX3 noise cancelling headphones utilise a technology called DSEE HX, which stands for Digital Sound Enhancement Engine. Essentially it upscales compressed digital music files making them sound closer to the quality of High-Resolution audio. It does this by restoring the high-range sounds that are lost during compression, giving your music richer clarity.

What does NFC touch pairing mean and how does it work?

NFC stands for Near Field Communication which is a short-range wireless technology in which pairing starts by simply touching the two devices to each other.

To pair your QC35’s to your device, first make sure your device has Bluetooth and NFC connectivity switched on. Then turn your headphones on. Next, touch your NFC-compatible device to the left underside on the headphones. Once connected you’ll hear a voice prompt stating “Connected to …” and the indicator light will glow solid white.

Download the Sony WH-1000MX3 User Manual

If you’re interested you can download the Sony WH-1000MX3 User Manual in PDF format. Just look directly underneath the ‘Product Details’ section header. It’s called ‘User Manual’. There are also links here for a quick user guide, specifications and pairing instructions.

Alternative headphones

A good alternative to the Sony WH-1000MX3’s are the Bower and Wilkins PX headphones. They provide similar performance with adaptive noise cancelling technology.