The rise of wireless earphones has been dramatic as technology and particularly Bluetooth connections have improved, meaning cutting cables no longer results in a lower quality audio experience.
One of the leaders in wireless audio is Sony, and the Japanese firm’s latest cable-free earphones, which come with advanced noise-cancelling technology, are a major step forward for in-ear audio.
The WF-1000XM3 are not only comfortable, but they also come with excellent battery life – boosted by their portable charging case – and are loaded for technology, with a touch panel on the left bud allowing users to play, pause and skip songs with a tap.
The earphones each contain individual sensors which automatically pause the audio when one is removed from your ear, restarting it once it is replaced – which comes in handy should you quickly need to respond to someone on public transport.
But if you want to keep both earpieces in, you can tap and hold on the left bud to activate the ambient sound control, which reduces music volume and lets in background noise, which is ideal to hear a transport announcement for example.
However, all this tech means these earphones are not the smallest or the most discreet, but they are well balanced enough to stay comfortable and come with a wide range of different sized tips.
They are also missing one obvious control on their touchpads – volume – which means users have to adjust their audio volume via their smartphone, which is a less seamless experience than the latest over-ear version of the 1000X, on which volume can be controlled from the touch panel.
But when you’re not playing with volume or listening out for news on when the next train will arrive, the WF-1000XM3 are among the best wireless earphones you can buy.
Sound quality is excellent across the board, offering great clarity as well as powerful bass which brings new life to your music.
One notable exception was wind noise, however, which is noticeable when outside and particularly when exercising or moving anywhere above a slow walking speed.
Generally, the noise-cancelling too is very good, cutting out the vast majority of background sound no matter the environment, allowing users to focus on their music or podcast.
The Sony audio companion app also enables users to customise various aspects of the audio settings to suit them, but crucially, these earphones sound great straight out of the box, making them ideal for any level of audiophile.
When you’re not using the earphones, they rest and recharge in a smart carry case, which offers around three full charges of the earphones for one full charge of the case.
In testing, this was enough to get through an entire week of commuting on a single charge, making them well suited to the “grab and go” lifestyle many of us lead, and lowers the chances of the earphones dying on the way to work, mid-way through your latest true crime podcast.
On the downside, the carry case for the earphones is too bulky to keep in a pocket, which can cut into how keen you are to use them when heading out without a bag to store the case in.
The price too will be off-putting for some – £220 is a lot of money for a pair of wireless earphones, but it is not a stretch to say these earphones are worth the price.
Comfortable, with a long-lasting battery and high-quality sound backed up by industry-leading noise cancelling, the WF-1000XM3 make a compelling case to be the best wireless earphones on sale today.