The WH-1000XM3s were our favorite wireless ANC headphones since they launched back in 2018. They earned a score of 94 from us for their best-in-class noise cancellation, great sound quality and generous battery life. The QN1 chip inside these cans produces four times better active noise-cancellation than previous models, ensuring that any and all commotion around you gets reduced to a low hum when ANC is turned on. You can customize that experience with Sony’s companion mobile app, which lets you adjust ANC strength to your liking and even let some voice noise in when you need to.
These headphones get about 30 hours of battery life before they need to be recharged, and they have a USB-C port for that task. Not only will you rarely have to take them off, but when you do, you’ll be able to charge the WH-1000XM3s with a USB-C cable that you have lying around already (and they come with their own, too). We also like the overall design of the WH-1000XM3s — they fold down into a compact shape that’s easy to travel with and their soft headband and earcups make them comfortable to wear on long-haul flights or all day while you’re working.
But these headphones are two years old at this point and you’re probably wondering what $350 gets you in the updated WH-1000XM4s. Sony’s latest headphones have a more matte exterior that makes them feel a bit more premium, and they have a slightly better fit thanks to a slimmed-down headband and larger earcups. Sound quality and ANC are just as good, but Sony added a few advanced features to the WH-1000XM4s including wear detection and multi-device connectivity. The former automatically pauses audio when you take the headphones off and the latter lets you pair two devices with the WH-1000XM4s for seamless switching. They also have a nifty feature called Speak-to-Chat, which automatically pauses audio as soon as the headphones detect that you’re speaking.
While those are great additions to the WH-1000XM4s, the WH-1000XM3s remain fantastic wireless headphones. If you simply must have all of the latest features, you’ll have to spend $350 on the WH-1000XM4s — but if you can live without those extras, you’ll get all of the same core features in the WH-1000XM3s for much less.
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