Since the first true wireless earphones launched in 2014, many more have appeared in the marketplace – including models by big players like Apple and recent additions from Phiaton and Cambridge Audio. But most only offer passive isolation from the world around you. Sony's upcoming WF-1000XM3 earphones rock the company's excellent active noise cancellation tech so that you can focus on the music.
We have to admit to being impressed by the noise cancellation prowess of other members of the 1000X family, including the MDR-1000X cabled over-ear headphones and the WH-1000XM3 wireless cans. Where others in the space manage to cut down rumble and hum from aircraft engines and rolling tires, the 1000X ANC headphones we've tried have also significantly reduced background chatter and other higher frequency ambient sounds.
Sony has squeezed the latest QN1e HD Noise Canceling Processor into its WF-1000XM3 true wireless earphones as part of its Dual Noise Sensor technology. There are two microphones in play here to detect more sounds around the wearer – one feed-forward and one feed-back. The QN1e processor creates an inverted sound to offset any detected sounds across almost all frequencies, leaving the user with just the music.
As you might expect, Sony is promising top notch audio quality from these earphones, thanks to the inclusion of 24-bit signal processing and a DAC/amp combination. And compressed digital music files such as MP3 are given a quality bump by the Digital Sound Enhancement Engine HX.
The wireless earphones feature Bluetooth 5.0 with AAC codec support, up to 30 ft (10 m) of range and an optimized antenna structure for connection stability. Sony says that improved latency should also allow users to enjoy movie watching without the video falling behind the audio.
With the noise cancellation circuitry active, listeners can enjoy up to six hours of continuous playback from the earphones, which can then be popped in the included charging case for a top up. All in, the setup caters for 24 hours of cable-free music enjoyment before a user will need to seek out a wall outlet.
Unlike the Melomania earphones we reviewed recently, Sony's plugs include a Quick Attention mode that allows folks to let the outside world's noise in without removing an earphone – useful when chatting to friends or listening for announcements at a transport hub.
You can of course take calls using the earphones and communicate with Google Assistant, and the earphones can be tweaked and controlled using Sony's Headphones Connect app.
Finally, each earbud is held in place by an ergonomic tri-hold structure that's been designed for improved comfort and stability, and the WF-1000XM3s come with two types of tips to ensure a good fit.
Sony's new true wireless ANC earphones will be available in the coming weeks for US$229.99. The video below has more.
Product page: WF-1000XM3
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