There have been so many amazing audio products released in the last 12 months, it's hard to pick one that absolutely everyone agrees is the best in its field, but Sony's WH1000XM3 probably fits that description. There was even talk of making it Gadget of the Year at the 2019 T3 Awards judging meeting. Hopefully I'm not spoiling it for anyone when I say that ultimately it did not win that, but when it came to choosing the winner of the Best Noise-cancelling Headphones prize, it was both an easy choice and, clearly, a correct one.
We have to give a hat-tip to Bose for kickstarting the current craze for incredibly well-made, great-sounding, premium noise-cancelling headphones. Its QuietComfort 35 II is still probably the biggest seller in the sector, too, but in terms of sheer quality it can't beat Sony's WH-1000X series of headphones. The original was excellent, the M2 was brilliant and the M3 is… a bit better still.
Sony has nailed absolutely everything here. The 1000XM3 is incredibly comfortable yet feels bullet-proof, the quality of the noise-cancelling is quite unbelievable at times, yet the sound of it is musical and natural – quite the achievement when you consider how purely digital and 'unnatural' the process of getting it to your ears is.
Various sound modes let you tailor the WH-1000XM3 to your surroundings – there's even a sensor that supposedly adapts the audio to the air pressure in your aeroplane, during flights – but what stands out is the consistent splendidness of the results, whether on trains, planes, automobiles or sat in your office surrounded by noisy people and air-conditioning.
They look the bee's knees, too.
Sony might not have invented the premium, wireless noise-cancelling headphone market but, with the WH-1000XM3 they seem to have perfected it.