5.0 out of 5 stars | Bose has been decisively dethroned (Update)
I currently own about 30 headphones of various brands and types. I have tried many Bluetooth headphones and own the Bose QC35 II and Bowers and Wilkins PX. I bought both the Sony WH-1000x MKI & MKII but returned them after weighing the shortcomings vs the cost, my main complaints being comfort and sound (the ANC was always good). My portable-everyday-beat-them-up headphones were the Bose QC 35 II. I liked them primarily for the comfort and ANC. The sound on the Bose can best be described as adequate but generally lifeless. Always in search of something better I read a couple of “First Look” articles about the Sony WH-MX1000M3 and decided to pull the plug on the first day that they were available on Amazon. When I received the Sony’s I was pleased to see that the case was similar to the Bose QC 35, a little bigger but shaped well enough to fit comfortably in my backpack. When I removed the headphones and put them on my head I realized immediately that these would be as comfortable as the Bose. Good job Sony. After charging for a couple of hours I paired them to my phone and went to my headphone test playlist on Spotify. My main complaint with the previous Sony model's sound was that they had very little soundstage (defined as perceived distance between your ears and the music) and little definition (defined as the clarity and separation of the various instruments in a piece of music). The M3 sounded better than the previous Sony’s and better than the Bose, but the highs appeared to be quite subdued and overwhelmed by the bass. This was disappointing. But, Sony has a phone app that allows for EQ so I go download the app. Frustration. The app did not recognize the MK3. Patience. I figure that Sony has not updated the app yet. So I wait a day and see that the Sony app has automatically updated on my phone. I open and hurray! It is recognizing the MK3 now. Now I can play with EQ: -1 on 400 Hz. +1 on 1K. +2 on 2.5K. +3 on 6K. +4 on 16K and “Clear Bass” remains at 0. Play music and now were talking! I’m not going to say that these sound nearly as good as most of my wired headphones, but for everyday-on-the-go-beat-them-up-with-ANC these are exciting. They blow the Bose away. The Bowers and Wilkins PX which weigh about three times more than the Sony’s have decent BT sound when the ANC is off but the sound changes considerably and not for the better when you apply one of three ANC modes. They PX is OK for about an hour of no ANC listening while sitting at home, but after that my ears and the top of my head hurt. The noise cancellation of the Sony is a generation ahead of Bose. There, I said it. Most reviewers crown the Bose as the best ANC you can get. Well, Sony has just showed Bose that they are the new big boy on the block. I did some A/B comparisons with both headphones and realized that the Sony not only cancels steady noise like jet engines or the sound of the air conditioning intake in my condo, but it does a great job of virtually eliminating all other sounds, including television voices and even other people, as my wife can attest to when she had to stand in front of me and wave her hands to get my attention because I could not hear her talking (so, if you want to block out your wife’s talking… LOL!). And this is without even messing with the settings in the app. Others reviewer here have not had the same experience, stating that it does not cancel voices. I frankly did not expect it to cancel voices, but I must say that the Sony comes as close as anything I have ever not heard. So, if you want very comfortable headphones with the best sound and Active Noise Cancelling that you can expect with wireless Bluetooth in 2018 get these. They will not sound as good as wired closed back or open back headphones, but “you can’t always get what you want”, “nothing is perfect”, and “everybody is different”. In addition to the Sony WH-1000XM3 during this review period I used: Bose QC 35 II Bowers & Wilkins PX Bang and Olufsen H6 (wired) Sennheiser HD650 (wired) AKG 7KXX (wired) Spotify Flac files on phone and desktop computer UPDATE 2018-09-21: I did experience an issue with phone calls where people at the other end were hearing an echo of their voice. I tested the headphones with three different phones and the problem occurred with all three. So I replaced them through Amazon. I am glad to say that the new pair does not have the issue. After some tests with phone calls I will say that Sony still needs to do some work on the call quality at the other end of the call (the call sounds fine in the Sony itself). In this regard, the Bose QC 35 is better. I think the call quality is really with the sound processing that Sony has implemented and not the hardware. Hopefully this will be improved in future firmware upgrades. Another minor con that the Bose handles better is the support for multiple BT sources. But this is a minor annoyance and I only use the Sony's for my phone anyway, so I am not constantly switching sources. Small price to pay for better ANC and musical sound.
Reviewed in the United States on September 6, 2018 by Deep Spaceus
5.0 out of 5 stars | Excellent noise canceling and sound quality, along with a very good mobile application.
The noise canceling on these is noticeably improved over the previous generation. The sound quality is excellent, and if you use the Headphones app you can change the base and other EQ settings. The base is good and strong, especially when you turn it up. When you enable noise canceling and run the optimizer, it is phenomenal! Voices are not completely canceled, but in most cases they will be muffled and hard to understand. Play music on top of noise canceling, and you won’t really hear anything at all. I attempted to use these in the dining room which was very loud, and I would say about 90% of the sound was canceled out without playing any music. I’m not sure how these will handle in the car, but I suspect they should be fine. Wind noise might be the only issue, which isn’t that big of a deal. They are extremely comfortable as well. Maybe not quite as good as the QC 35 headphones, but very close. They are a clear step up from last year‘s noise canceling headphones! Update. The headband is covered in leather and has more Patty. I have not heard of any cracking issues, and the headband feels slightly stronger to me. Also, the swivel pointst feel stronger as well.
Reviewed in the United States on September 3, 2018 by Justin
4.0 out of 5 stars | So far so good!
I was in NYC last week on a biz trip and after a few drinks at dinner decided I had to have a pair of ANC headphones.....I walked into Best Buy and picked up the Sony 1000xM2 headphones as id heard great things about them apart from some of the well known build quality issues. I was able to use them for a few hours that night and on my flight home the next day. When I got home I saw in my newsfeed that the M3 was just announced with new features like USB C, new processor, better design etc. I returned the M2 and saw on amazon they already were selling the M3. I was shocked as nowhere else seemed to even have them listed on their site yet for sale. I ordered them assuming it was a mistake and they would not show up. Well, they did show up on time.....:) NIce surprise. I will say by impressions after using them for a few days compared to the M2: -WAY better design, more comfy, lighter weight, more padding on top, better larger earcups and overall quality seems better than the M2. The changes are subtle but if you look closely you will see them. -Battery life is incredible on both M2 and M3 but now with USBC its even a better experience. I literally put them on the charger for like 15 or 20 minutes and they were at 90%. Sony states that a 10 min charge will get 5 hours of playback. -Sony claims that the noise reduction is 4x better than before. This is where I think I disagree. the M2's had exceptional ANC and these are much the same. You can still hear things going on around you with ANC on and its certainly not 4x better than before. The one area I notice is better is when you cup your hand over the right ear to allow the external microphones to let in noise going on around you, its not as loud and hissy as it was on the M2. IT still lets in the external sound but in a MUCH cleaner way without all the blown out noise around it. Well Done. -I constantly read on how the M2's and M3's are terrible for use making phone calls. Reviewers mentioned how people complained of echos, terrible mic quality etc,. I was expecting the worst. I called my wife yesterday while she was in her car to try this out for the first time on a call. We spoke for about 20 minutes. She said that my voice was loud and clear and she would not have known I wasn't speaking directly into my phone, but rather the headset. She was in her car which usually would make it even worse so I was nicely surprised. I could hear her well on my end via the M3s so was happy there. I wonder whether this was fixed in these new gen M3s as my call experience was fantastic. My wife usually hates when I call her from a speakerphone etc and often complains that I need to speak into the phone etc so for the M3 to pass her test was pretty incredible. -I am Happy they finally made a carry case that fits the headphones AND the cables that come with it.....M2 was stupid that only the headphones fit in the case but none of the cords....lol.....really? -The Sony App is the key here too in that is allows for great customization of the sound on the M3 so i highly recommend using it. THe strange thing is that it supports super high quality sound like LDAC but if you make any change via the app to the EQ settings etc it makes you default to lesser quality codec......weird.....not sure why. -I have heard some people say they are a bit Bass heavy but really with the app you can tailor however you like. That said i like bass and man these things can put out in a clean way where the bass isnt distracting at all. THese are very clean headphones and the sound to me is better than Bose QC35....... All in all, very happy with them and i presume over time Sony will keep pushing updates to them via the app. For instance now they allow Google Assistant and Siri. Ive been using Google assistant on them and its pretty great albeit with a bit of latency to the responses. Let's not forget how great it is to have touch gestures built into the right earcup too. Man I can't imagine not being able to do this now on every headphone. It's kinda like when your on a buddy's PC and you go to swipe or pinch the screen only to find their PC isn't touchscreen. Lol. Yeah the m3 is that cool. Love using gestures for volume, play, pause, skip, activating Google assistant etc. All in all these are a great experience. Hope this helps if you are on the fence.
Reviewed in the United States on September 9, 2018 by Eric Feuerstein