Sony WH-1000XM3 Noise Canceling Headphones Supports Fast Charging with USB-C
As the industry has moved to USB Type-C connectors, so has noise canceling headphones.
The Sony WH-1000XM3 was the first headphones from Sony to advertise getting 10 minutes of charging for 5 hours of power over a USB Type-C connector from a USB charger using 1.5A. 1.5A is supported by the USB BC 1.2 spec and doesn't require USB Power Delivery. However, since many USB Power Delivery chargers also support BC 1.2, you should be able to use USB Power Delivery chargers to charge the Sony WH-1000XM3. USB ports on PC's and Mac's also often support BC 1.2 1.5A charging. The Sony WH-1000XM3 does not support USB Power Delivery so is limited to just 7.5W of charging.
The Sony WH-1000XM3 also claims max 30 hours of use with Noise Cancellation or max 38 hours of use without Noise Cancellation using continuous music playback time. Without any music playback, Noise Cancellation could still last for 30 hours. Full charging can be achieved in around 3 hours.
However, we did find that the Sony WH-1000XM3 needed to be recharged every night and wasn't able to last for 30 hours straight.
Bluetooth 4.2 is supported with a standard range of 10 meters but unfortunately during charging, Bluetooth is turned off meaning you can't monitor the headphone battery charge percentage, update the headphone software or adjust the settings.
The Sony WH-1000XM3 packaging makes it easy to find the Sony Headphones Connect App.
The case is nice and protective but can be too big to easily fit into stuffed backpacks or handbags. It can be tricky to figure out how to fold the headphones into the case.
The Sony WH-1000XM3 also supports touch based NFC on the left headphone cup, which allows the user to easily connect the headphones to smartphones and Sony speakers. The right headphone cup supports touch based control for volume and playback.
There are only 2 buttons, both on the left headphone cup- one for power/Bluetooth and the other for Noise Cancellation control. The two buttons have different sizes making it easier to differentiate them with your fingers while the headphones are being worn.
Overall the Sony WH-1000XM3 is very light and comfortable to wear despite its bulkier appearance. It also supports the latest integration with Amazon Alexa, Apple Siri and Google voice assistants as well as immersive 360 degree music through third party apps like Tidal. Sony also provides a lot of ways to calibrate the headphones depending on your environment and uses AI to try and recognize your environment and choose the optimal settings for that environment.
To better understand the fast charging performance of the Sony WH-1000XM3 and its competitor the Bose Noise Canceling Headphones 700, we used the GRL-C2 USB PD Tester and GRL-PSP Power Analyzer software from Granite River Labs. Click here to see that fast charging performance analysis.
Note the Sony WH-1000XM4 has the same charging behavior as the Sony WH-1000XM3 but provides more advanced noise cancellation.