I’ve got a 16-hour flight coming up in about a week, so I’m hoping our review units come through before then. For now, my time with the WF-1000XM3 has been limited to a few minutes in a conference room, but so far I like what I’ve heard. The sound on Sony’s new fully wireless earbuds is quite sharp and noise canceling is impressive given the form factor.
Honestly, these things seem custom-built for long flights. With the carrying case factored in, they promise 24 hours of life on a charge with noise canceling on and 36 with it off. That’s almost enough to forgive the downright massive carrying case here.
What they’re not designed for, however, are workouts. For that reason, these are more AirPods than PowerBeats competitors. There’s no waterproof rating for sweat, and the buds don’t have any built-in mechanism for staying in place when going for a run. The headphone industry seems pretty content on keeping travel and exercise headphones in two distinct baskets.
Sony’s targeting frequent travelers here — the target audience that’s traditionally gone in for products like Bose’s QC or its own over-ear headphones. At $230, they’re pricier than AirPods, but there are a fair number of amenities on board, including things like the Quick Attention feature, which lowers the volume and lets more ambient noise in with a tap.
All in all (and in spite of Sony’s traditionally clunky naming conventions), the WF-1000XM3 look to be a pretty solid high-end addition to the increasingly crowded world of Bluetooth earbuds. They’re up for pre-order now and will be shipping next month.