Monday, November 12, 2018

Dad's Review - SONY 1000XM3 Noise Cancelling Headphone

After more than two years my Bose QC25 left speaker eventually went "kaput" without any reasons at all. In reality, I have used this headphone for around two months only if I would count the actual hours it has been in use. I bought it for 20,000 pesos in the Philippines hence I was extremely disappointed as if I have thrown my hard earned money down the drain considering that this unit was refused for repair by Eleksis marketing, the distributor of Bose products in Philippines.

So I started scouting for a new and sturdier noise cancelling headphone in the net, Bose was definitely out of the picture though I must admit that I was quite happy with the sound reproduction and the noise cancelling function of my previous QC25.

Read my post about my Bose QC25: Avoid Bose Quiet Comfort 25

It was pretty easy to find several techreview sites that give a list of 2018 best noise cancelling headphone and unexpectedly I found SONY 1000XM3 at the top of the list. Several years back, all the lists were dominated by Bose QC25 and SONY was relegated further down but this year it is a completely different story. Almost if not all tech reviewers are in one in saying that SONY 1000XM3 is the best noise cancelling headphone while Bose latest product QC 35II is far behind; yes folks, far behind. Aside from that, SONY's price is comparable to other headphone brands latest products.

As for me, I bought this unit because of two main reasons:

1. Obviously because of good reviews.
2. Bang for the buck because for the same price with its nearest competitor Bose QC35II, I got extra features such as touch control functions, more battery juice, better active noise cancelling, better sound and mobile app.

So now we go to my actual experience but I won't delve on technical aspects since you'll easily find them in many tech review sites.

I used my new headgear on my way back to my work in Africa. I am very picky in selecting a noise cancelling headphone in order to have a comfortable trip to my work site in Africa otherwise I would be reporting for duty like shit.

From Manila, my first flight to Bangkok lasts almost 4 hours. My second flight to Addis Ababa is around 8 hours while travelling to N'djamena City will consume more than 3 hours and finally another hour of local flight. I have to add another two hours land travel by bus. Lay overs at different airports are not included.

During those times, I find it annoying using the touch control. When I wanted to manipulate the volume, by mistake I was pressing the next song and vice versa. You need time and practice to familiarize yourself with this feature but once you have perfected the "techie move" then you'll be thankful that such feature has been added to your gear. However, this feature works only in Bluetooth. By the way, when the flight stewardess asks you "chicken or beef?" You don't need to remove you gear, just cover your right ear cup with your hand allowing you to have a conversation since the music will tone down while the external mic will pick up the ambient sound.

On my trip to Addis Ababa, I noticed that my old Bose QC25 was a bit comfy than my SONY, I mean the ear pad of Bose is slightly softer and thicker or probably because I have been accustomed with my previous Bose since I've been using during my travel for the past two years. Also, SONY's speakers housing is a finger print magnet compared with Bose; it's like comparing a glossy finish against matte and to be honest I prefer matte, even with my car decals. However, this is understandable due to touch sensor imbeded in the housing.

When I tried my new SONY headgear at home, intially I wasn't too satisfied since when I connected it to my Walkman, the original equalizer setting "Heavy" which was perfect for my Bose became "bassy" so I need to modify it. But when I downloaded the mobile app and fine-tuned all parameters including the noise cancelling optimizer it became a blissful experience to listen to my favorite songs. I am not an audiophile but I know when my favorite songs from the 80s can fully satisfy my senses or not. And I am telling you guys, SONY's bass is definitely better and with a lot of oomph compared with my old QC25.

It is normal that when you have a new toy you play with it whenever possible so while on-duty in Africa, I used my new head gear before I go to sleep. I noticed that without playing any music my gear was producing a slight pressure or a a very minimal but distinguishable hissing sound. I didn't remember hearing this before while using it inside a plane. Using the mobile app I optimized the noise cancelling function. That was it! The slight pressure or hissing sound disappeared. Like magic, lol. More so, while listening to music and decided to play some video, my track automatically goes to pause mode and continue after I stopped watching the video.

There are several sound enhancement modes that can be utilized using the mobile app such as the surround mode, equalizer and so on. I am not a fan of Spotify since its downloadable music produces a so-so quality especially when transmitted wirelessly but now with my SONY's head gear plus the mobile app I started to download my favorite songs; my ever reliable SONY Walkman is now accumulating dust inside my locker. What more if you're listening to high resolution tracks? You would simply feel fantastic. Moreover, I am now a new believer of Bluetooth connectivity because of my new headphone. It is perfect with my Iphone 6S Plus.

In one instance when I was traveling in Africa by bus, I noticed that the "adaptive control" function was constantly shifting from "Bus" to "Walk" thus I could hear faint ambient sound. For safety reasons, when you are in "walk" mode, you can hear faint but audible ambient sound to be aware about your surrounding. I just simply turned off the "ambient control" function to avoid external sounds from disturbing me.

During my flight, I run the optimizer first before playing my playlist in order to adapt to cabin pressure. Trust me, this little guy can accurately measure the cabin pressure and adjust the speaker output. It was able to measure 0.8 Atm inside my long haul flight while for my domestic flight it was able to measure a 0.9 Atm. Doing this, the pressure build-up inside the headphone will compensate on the surrounding pressure to ensure a comfy listening atmosphere; there is a technical explanation about this aspect but I won't delve into that.

To shorten this, SONY 1000XM3 is definitely bang for the buck if you compare its price to other brands. You get loads of extra features while enjoying a superb sound reproduction and enhancement using the mobile app.

Updated on January 03, 2019

Updated on November 23.

Updated on December 05


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