Sony's WH-1000X.M3 are the greatest noise-cancelling headphones you can buy

And arguably the best headphones you can buy, period

T3 Awards 2019: Best noise cancelling headphones

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. 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. Now the Bose Noise Cancelling 700 is here (we're reviewing it for this weekend), we've revisited the WH-1000XM3 – and it still rocks.

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.

Duncan Bell

Duncan is the former lifestyle editor of T3 and has been writing about tech for almost 15 years. He has covered everything from smartphones to headphones, TV to AC and air fryers to the movies of James Bond and obscure anime. His current brief is everything to do with the home and kitchen, which is good because he is an excellent cook, if he says so himself. He also covers cycling and ebikes – like over-using italics, this is another passion of his. In his long and varied lifestyle-tech career he is one of the few people to have been a fitness editor despite being unfit and a cars editor for not one but two websites, despite being unable to drive. He also has about 400 vacuum cleaners, and is possibly the UK's leading expert on cordless vacuum cleaners, despite being decidedly messy. A cricket fan for over 30 years, he also recently become T3's cricket editor, writing about how to stream obscure T20 tournaments, and turning out some typically no-nonsense opinions on the world's top teams and players.

Before T3, Duncan was a music and film reviewer, worked for a magazine about gambling that employed a surprisingly large number of convicted criminals, and then a magazine called Bizarre that was essentially like a cross between Reddit and DeviantArt, before the invention of the internet. There was also a lengthy period where he essentially wrote all of T3 magazine every month for about 3 years. 

A broadcaster, raconteur and public speaker, Duncan used to be on telly loads, but an unfortunate incident put a stop to that, so he now largely contents himself with telling people, "I used to be on the TV, you know."