Sony’s WH-1000XM3 turns your crowded commute into a silent retreat

In a show dominated by 8K TVs from the likes of LG and Samsung, Sony has a slightly different announcement for its IFA 2018 appearance – one that will be hard to keep quiet once the cans are out of the bag. 

Earlier today, Sony unveiled its new WH-1000XM3 noise-cancelling headphones, the sequel to the Sony WH-1000XM2, and the heir apparent to the highest seat in the noise-cancelling headphone kingdom.

The reason Sony stole the hearts and ears with the 1000XM3’s predecessor was its excellent noise-cancellation modes, Quick Attention Mode and aptX/aptX HD support, all of which will be available again in the 1000XM3. 

Like last year, you can expect a 30-hour battery that should easily get you across the Atlantic and back.

What’s improving this year, according to Sony, is the introduction of multiple microphones that will help calls come through cleaner and a switch from a microUSB port to a USB Type-C port along the earcup of the headphone. Along with that a Quick Charging function that provides up to 5 hours of wireless playback after just 10 minutes of being connected to a power source.

The sound of silence

In a brief demo with the 1000XM3 headphones ahead of IFA, we noticed a substantial improvement on noise-cancellation from last year’s 1000XM2 to this year’s 1000XM3 – even if the audio sounded relatively similar year-over-year. 

If you look at the bridge of the headphones, you’ll also notice a change in the padding which, along with the reduced weight, should make them more comfortable to wear during extended flights. (Hong Kong here we come!) 

Powering the 1000XM3’s noise-cancellation prowess is Sony’s new QN1 processor that’s faster than last year and offers more powerful processing, too – things we couldn't tell from our time with the headphones but a neat upgrade all the same.

The Sony WH-1000XM3 will be available starting in September for $349.99 (around £270, AU$479). 

  • IFA 2018 is Europe's biggest tech show. The TechRadar team is in Berlin to bring you all the breaking news and hands-on first impressions of new phones, watches and other tech as they're announced. 
Nick Pino

Nick Pino is Managing Editor, TV and AV for TechRadar's sister site, Tom's Guide. Previously, he was the Senior Editor of Home Entertainment at TechRadar, covering TVs, headphones, speakers, video games, VR and streaming devices. He's also written for GamesRadar+, Official Xbox Magazine, PC Gamer and other outlets over the last decade, and he has a degree in computer science he's not using if anyone wants it.