Gadgets

Sony’s new noise-canceling headphones are great traveling companions

I will admit that I fell in the hype of Bose. I wore Bose Sony WH-1000XM3, a pair of wireless / wired cans that really give everything I tried to make a bad name.

These $ 349 earbuds come with a USB cable, an audio cable, an international audio adapter, and a compact case that contains everything in a compact package. The headset also supports Bluetooth and automatically switches to wired mode when you insert the headphone cable. The WH-1000XM3 supports total noise suppression that turns even the noisiest situation into a happy escape. An Ambient Audio feature allows you to listen to external sounds by simply pressing a key. There is even a "Quick Attention" feature that instantly turns off the headphones when you need to talk to someone. Sony claims 30 hours of battery life with a single charge, an assertion that I will not refute because I have not recharged these devices after several flights and they continue to operate.

In short, these things are great.

Sony loves to market all its features and these headphones are no exception. The enclosures contain a "QN1 HD Noise Processor" that runs two 1.57 "drivers that can handle up to 40 kHz. A system called SENSE ENGINE notices what you do – walk, sit, talk – and automatically changes the noise reduction and audio. Finally, the headphones offer several styles, including scenes, clubs and outdoor scenes. I doubt that many users are using or noticing these features, but it's good to have these features.

How do they sound? First, understand that they are not audiophile headphones. You get a nice separation, a good sound stage and a high-quality sound, but you will hear mostly wireless music on your phone or the terrible sound coming out of the entertainment system in your seat. Put the garbage, as they say, and you get out. That said, I found these headphones superior to almost every other model I've tested recently, including my Bose QuietComfort 35 II. The Sony models were clear and crisp and sounded good with noise suppression turned on or off. I've also tested the headset in noisy environments, including in cafes and at home, with lots of ambient audio play. The ambient sound immediately disappeared when I activated the noise suppression, leaving only the best sound possible.

They charge via USB and easily pair with any Bluetooth device instantly.

Now let's move on to some problems. The WH-1000XM3 does not have a physical power switch, which allows you to make sure your headphones are completely turned off. This unique feature could make the difference between a good flight and a bad flight. Plus, the power button is right next to and the same size as the noise canceling button. It is difficult to press this button if you wear the helmet.

Fortunately, headphones work when they are off, a feature that is lacking in many low-end noise canceling models. This means that you can still listen to headphones if the battery is dead. I've also noticed a slight heaviness in the bass of the WH-1000XM3, but it could be a relic of prolonged use of the Bose headphones.

The headphones also feature quite cryptic tactile features on the right cup, including a call pause feature and music that works when you tap the sensitive surface. You can scroll through the songs and increase or decrease the audio, and then change the sound scene with a small button located next to the power button.

Sony manufactures excellent audio products and these are no exception. I fly almost every week these days and I find myself looking for these headphones before all that I have in my vast collection of tests. Time will tell if these cans will survive the rigors of the trip, but considering the price and quality of manufacturing, I would not be surprised if these headphones get stuck in my backpack for years. Now, I just have to break up with my Bose and I just know that there will be a drama.

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