Gadget Enthusiast

I Put Sony’s Latest Earbuds To The Test Against The Popular Apple Airpods, Here’s What Won

  • The Sony WF-1000XM3 is priced at RM949 / SGD349, while the Apple Airpods is priced at RM699 / SGD239.
  • Both feature wireless earphones with a charging case that can last up to a total of 24 hours.

When it comes to audio accessories, there are not many brands out there that have a repertoire as large as Sony. One of their latest products, the Sony WF-1000XM3 landed on my desk this month.

Admittedly, Sony could have definitely done better with the naming as they have a pair of wireless headphones named the Sony WH-1000XM3.

I must also say that I am not an audiophile by any means, but I do own quite a few pairs of headphones and earphones.

So, for this VP Verdict, I’ve decided to challenge the WF-1000XM3 against the Apple Airpods V2. Everyone knows how famous the Airpods are—they’re copied by OEM manufacturers and everyone wants a pair of them.

Black is a much better look.

I’ll be comparing it to a few scenarios, namely in Sound Quality, Noise Cancellation, Comfort, Call Quality, Battery Life and Platform Compatibility.

Sound Quality

The sound quality for the WF-1000XM3 is quite admirable and easily triumphs over the Airpods. While I personally listen to a rainbow’s variety of music, my mainstays are usually R&B or Rap.

The vocals are clear and the bass is hearty and thumpy on these earphones. It does lack a little in the sound stage department, but they are wireless earphones and not fully-fledged headphones.

Changing the settings on the WF-1000XM3 is easily done via the Sony Headphones app

Going through the equaliser and manually configuring the sound is easy if you know what you’re doing, otherwise, stick with the presets.

Personally, the Sony earphones are one of the best I’ve tried when it comes to wireless earphones.

Compared to the Airpods, the sound quality of the WF-1000XM3s is fuller and richer to my ears.

Noise Cancellation

The WF-1000XM3 comes with ANC (Active Noise Cancelling) and Ambient Sound modes.

But be warned, when ANC is on without any music playing, so you might feel like your ears are being sucked inwards, which is normal. The feeling does go away when music is playing.

Noise cancelling is superb on these earphones. With a proper ear tip fit, you’ll be able to easily block out your noisy co-workers without any issues.

Using the app, you can also toggle the Ambient Sound mode. You can choose to just block off wind noise or set it to listen in to what the other people are talking about while listening to music at the same time.

Also, if you hold a finger on the left earbud, you can toggle a “listen-in” mode, allowing you to talk to people without needing to take off your earphones.

Yet, it’s faster to just take them off to talk to your colleagues. The music pauses and plays back within a second of plugging them back in. But the advantage of using the finger trick? You’ll feel like a secret agent.

Focused on receiving my secret message

The Airpods don’t come packaged with Noise Cancellation, but I’m sure some people will say to just put on the music louder and that’ll just be like noise cancelling.

Sony wins in this category hands-down.

Comfort

Comfortability on a pair of earphones can be affected by a few things, mainly weight and ear tips. Some people detest having in-ears because they feel uncomfortable with it, or the ear tips are too big for their ears.

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The Sony earphones are on the heavier side compared to the Airpods, but I’ve not encountered any issues with it throughout my daily use.

The Airpods are definitely one of the lightest of the bunch and they weigh close to nothing.

Both of them are not meant to be used for sporting activities, so do bear this in mind if you encounter issues during them.

While I prefer the Sony earphones and they’re not too heavy to me, some people can’t use in-ears. So this is a draw, as it depends on personal preferences.

Call Quality

In the world of endless business, sometimes you just have to make important calls while on the move.

In terms of quality, the Airpods sound natural, as if you’re talking on the phone (tested on a Samsung device), and the Sony earphones are not too far behind.

No matter which device, when you’re in a busy surrounding, it’ll still be difficult to pick your voice out clearly.

However, the Airpods prevail in this category based on how clear the calls were.

Battery Life

The battery life of both devices is quite admirable, with the Airpods claiming to last 5 hours from a full charge, with an additional 24 hours with in-case charging.

As for the Sony earphones, they come with 6 hours on the earphones and 18 hours on the charging case.

Depending on your listening modes or other actions, the battery life will be affected. If I had to give it a score, I’d say its a draw.

Compatibility

Initially, I thought it would be a pain in the ass to connect non-Apple devices to the Airpods, but it turns out it pairs fairly easily. All I had to do was hold the button on the back of the charging case and it can be connected via Bluetooth.

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The Sony earphones paired easily to my phone too. Sadly, unpairing was its downfall.

If you’re trying to connect to another device without removing it from your current device, it might take you a few minutes of fiddling with the controls, trying to connect it to another device.

Puzzlingly, I did encounter a weird issue with the Airpods. It’ll sometimes automatically connect to my phone without me using it or even touching the case.

It was a weird experience to witness my music being cut-out while I was driving to realise that it got connected to the Airpods.

Do note that you will have to download a third-party app on Google Play if you want to change the settings of the Airpods on Android devices.

Verdict

With all these points considered, I personally think the Sony WF-1000XM3 wins this showdown against the Apple Airpods.

Nonetheless, if you’re someone that absolutely requires their calls to be clear or despise in-ears, then the Airpods can be a good alternative.

The charging case is pretty nice looking if you ask me.

At the end of the day, what the WF-1000XM3 offers is a comfortable pair of in-ears with good battery life and top-notch sound quality for a pair of wireless earphones.

CategorySony WF-1000XM3Apple Airpods
Sound QualityWinner
Noise CancellationWinner
ComfortDraw Draw
Call QualityWinner
Battery Life DrawDraw
CompatibilityWinner

P.S.: On October 28, 2019, Apple announced their new Apple Airpods Pro, an alternative to the Airpods that offer ANC and a new in-ear design (which might turn some people off), but it was definitely something people have been clamouring for.

If you’re an Apple user, these might now appeal to you, considering how seamless it is to pair Apple devices together. But, it is also priced higher than the Sony earphones.

VP Verdict is a series where we personally try and test out products, services, fads, and apps. Want to suggest something else for us to try? Leave a comment here or send the suggestion into our Facebook page.

  • Find out more about the Sony WF-1000XM3 here.
  • Read our other VP Verdicts here.

 

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