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Sony WH-1000XM3 Hands-on: As good as advertised

The hype is real

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As far as updates go, the Sony WH-1000XM3 came pretty quickly following the hype surrounding its predecessor. The Sony WH-1000XM2 were already fantastic noise-cancelling over-ear headphones, and the little improvements here and there on the M3 definitely made it better.

Before we jump in any further, I’d like to clarify again that I am by no means an audio expert. Just sharing with you my time with the WH-1000XM3 just as I did with the WH-1000XM2.

The noise-cancelling hype is real

If you want headphones that will truly help shut out your surroundings, you can’t go wrong with the WH-1000XM3. We played it as a gag in this short video, but it truly works.

Putting these on really gives you a feeling of being isolated from your surroundings. That’s perfect for when you really want to zone in on whatever you’re working on or if you simply don’t want to be bothered.

The Sony WH-1000XM3 is the perfect companion for when you don’t want to be bothered

I have had several instances when my workmates had to tap my shoulder or wave like crazy in front me just to get my attention. That’s pretty intense noise-cancelling.

A nifty feature is that I don’t have to take off the headphones just to hear what they’re saying. Putting my hand over the right earcup turns off the noise-cancelling and lets me hear my surroundings. This can also be done using the ambient button located on the left earcup.

Pretending I’m laughing at someone’s jokes but I’m really just laughing at myself

Sound quality is clean AF

The WH-1000XM3 is perfect for all kinds of audio activities that involve precision. When video editing, it’s easier to detect any stray audio or tell if your music is too soft or loud.

It’s great for video editing, among other things

Playing games with these on offer an immersive experience. I couldn’t help but tear up again during the emotional parts of Marvel’s Spider-Man for PS4 especially when you hear everything that’s happening in the game so close to your ear.

I used it extensively for listening to music. I got hooked to K-Pop (okay, mostly just Twice) recently and while I’ve always admired the production value of the music videos, I found that their music is just as well-produced.

Just walking around looking fly while listening to Twice

There are several layers to each track and you definitely hear them better when listening with the WH-1000XM3. Sharing with you this playlist in case you want to give it a go.

It’s important to note that if you’re the type who likes to hear and feel a lot of bass from your headphones, you probably shouldn’t get this. The WH-1000XM3 offers a more balanced sound experience — that, sure, you can tweak a little — but it ultimately sounds smooth, clean, and is never too soft or too loud.

Touch controls and other features

Pausing, skipping tracks, and volume control are all pretty easy. Moving your finger clockwise or counterclockwise while going around the right earcup adjusts the volume.

To pause, you simply have to tap the middle of the right earcup. To skip tracks, just swipe from the center of the right earcup heading towards either edge.

Touch controls make things easy

The WH-1000XM3 also has a Google Assistant integration. This means you can send commands through the headphones among other things. There’s also an option to have Google Assistant read your most recent messages so you can listen instead of pulling your phone out to read them.

If I had any issue with the headphones, it’s probably the Bluetooth pairing. I had an easier time moving from phone to laptop and vice versa on the WH-1000XM2 over the WH-1000XM3. I’m not particularly sure if that’s my laptop acting up, but I have had to unpair and re-pair quite a few times which was a bit of a pain.

Comfort and durability

The longest I’ve had the headphones on is probably close to eight hours. That’s honestly too long. My recommendation has always been to keep it on for around four hours max and to take it off for a while after that.

It’s generally comfortable and can be worn for hours

The material used is much more flexible than the one on its predecessor. You can literally stretch and bend it and it would not break — perfect for someone like myself who has the tendency to break things.

It’s super flexible!

Final thoughts

I’m honestly dying to try other noise-cancelling headphones to know how the experience stacks up against the WH-1000XM3. As far as sound quality and noise-cancelling go, these Sony headphones are absolutely top-notch. All the hype this has generated is justified.

One last pose, just because

I also didn’t find myself charging the device too much. In a week with moderate to heavy use, I needed to juice up only during weekends. And it now comes with a USB-C port, so that’s a plus for future-proofing.

If you’re coming from the WH-1000XM2, it might be too much to jump to the WH-1000XM3. However, if you’re looking to splurge to upgrade your audio-consumption experience, go right ahead and grab these. It’s light, durable, and you get the kind of audio that Sony promises.

The Sony WH-1000XM3 headphones are available for US$ 350. It currently retails in Singapore for SG$ 549 and PhP 20,000 in the Philippines.

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Huawei Sound X with hi-end audio launches

Will work seamlessly with the P40 series

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Huawei is slowly but surely venturing out into more and more devices. After wearables, the company is now showing off a hi-end speaker — the Huawei Sound X.

It’s never easy to describe sound on text but Huawei claims the Sound X “will revolutionize high-end acoustic technology with sonorous audio that leaves an enduring, life-altering impression on the listener.”

It was made in collaboration with Devialet — a global audio brand known for its High-Fidelity products.

It’s not a smart speaker in the way that there’s a voice assistant integrated like the Google Home or the Amazon Echo, but it does have some ‘smart’ qualities.

For instance, it will work seamlessly with your Huawei P40 series phone. Gently tapping your phone against the Sound X transmits audio to the speaker.

The audio, Huawei says, is lossless and low-latency and can be tweaked thanks to a proprietary EMUI 10.1 multi-device control panel. Think of like Huawei’s own version of Apple’s AirPlay.

Another thing that Huawei is proud of about the Sound X is how compact it is compared to other speakers that promise to deliver the same level of hi-end audio. It’s able to deliver 60W of bass despite being relatively smaller than other speakers with the same capability.

The company says the “exterior design was inspired by the golden dome of the black, glazed surface hints at the robust sound that seems to emanate from a bottomless well.” But it really just reminds of Darth Vader from Star Wars.

The press photos even have the Sound X in this red room of sorts. Screams Sith to me.

Imagine playing the “Imperial Death March” on this thing! Whether you see the resemblance or not, it does kind of look cool.

SEE ALSO: Huawei P40 Series with ‘visionary photography’ now official

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Qualcomm’s new chipset could bring noise-cancellation to budget earbuds

Expect affordable earbuds soon

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Qualcomm unveiled two new Bluetooth audio chipsets intended for use in truly wireless headphones. For the end consumer, this could provide active noise cancellation (ANC), voice assistant support, and more.

It has unveiled two new chipsets — QCC514X (premium tier) and QCC304X (entry-level line). Both shall support Qualcomm’s TrueWireless Mirroring technology that requires connecting via Bluetooth to just one of the earbud. It’s useful as it will allow either earbud to be used alone without interruptions.

The new chipsets will also produce better battery life – offering up to 13 hours of playback based on a 65mAh battery, according to Qualcomm. Usually, active noise cancellation consumes more battery power.

The dedicated noise cancellation hardware integrated into the chipset enables super-low latency leak-through of the outside environment. It enables genuinely natural awareness of the surroundings. It’ll also come handy when you’re onboard a flight or trying to concentrate in an office environment where ambient noise is higher than usual.

The chips also bring voice assistant support with them, but the premium QCC514X features always-on voice support. Meaning you won’t have to manually long-press a button to summon the virtual assistant. With direct support in the entry-level chipset as well, it’ll make this feature more widely available in affordable earbuds as well.

Qualcomm has also promised “premium wireless sound and voice quality.” The smartphone industry started omitting the 3.5mm headphone jack in favor of USB-C or wireless earphones. The wireless options have often been quite expensive, and with wired ones, you either have the opportunity to charge your phone, or listen to music or watch a movie. More affordable options should automatically start solving this dilemma.

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5 reasons why you should stick to wired earphones

You don’t have to give up comfort and familiarity!

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Photo by Daniel Fontenele

The advent of wireless earbuds has become gospel among my friends — techie and geeks alike. It’s like everyone’s preaching about switching to wireless like it’s some mandatory rite of passage for adults who’ve been in the workforce for god knows how long.

Though I have my own pair of wireless earbuds, I still have my trusty wired earphones — one that has a 3.5mm jack for my laptop, and one that comes in USB-C for my phone that has no headphone jack. Even before, wired earphones were my savior — from strangers and familiar people approaching me, to keep me entertained in between idle moments, and for being a companion in trying times.

Just like most people, I’m still having a hard time letting go of wired earphones. People had been asking me to stop using one, but I still stand to a few reasons why it’s perfectly okay to stick to the familiar.

You’re a plug-and-play person

A lot of times, I find myself having trouble with pairing my smartphones to my wireless earbuds. To ensure seamless pairing, you must be using top-of-the-line and/or premium earbuds. Imagine the time you spent trying to connect so you can listen to music when you can just plug your wired earphones to a headphone jack, play your music, and enjoy.

You love the feeling of being connected

I thrive in connections — whether it’s people, conversations, or earphones. I feel most reassured when I know I’m connected, and the tangibility of my earphones’ connection to my smartphone is comforting — especially when I’m commuting. I’ll know right away where my phone is, and having a wired connection makes my loving smartphone safe.

On certain occasions, my smartphone was saved from falling because of my wired earphones. It’s these prevented tragedies that reassure me a tangible connection is still a good choice.

You’re practical about your choices

Let’s admit it: wireless earbuds are expensive. As someone who follows a strict budget, wired earphones are a tad cheaper and is more accessible to most of us. There are plenty of us can’t live without music, and wired earphones sometimes become a necessity to keep us from falling apart in between trying times.

On the other hand, wireless earbuds are considered a luxury — a want, not a need. Imagine losing a pair, or even misplacing it when a pair of wireless earbuds is priced around US$ 100. I don’t have the money to replace it easily even with access to a credit card.

You find comfort in familiarity

Some people aren’t comfortable with change. Most are hesitant, and even resistant to it — even with the advent of functional and bang-for-the-buck wireless earbuds. If you find comfort in familiarity a.k.a. choosing wired earphones because you’ve been using it for a long time, that’s absolutely fine.

You don’t have to change your preferences in life just because someone asked you to do so. Stay unique and love your individuality!

You haven’t felt the urge to switch

Lastly, there comes a time in every modern individual where they need to switch to a wireless lifestyle. It could be for convenience, for more flexibility, or for safety during a commute. Whatever it is, you’ll always feel the urge to switch and when you do, heed the call.

When you feel like you’re being called to the other side, that’s when you take a leap of faith. If you’re still content with using wired earphones, just enjoy it and stop caring what the world thinks. You have your music with you, just keep playing!

SEE ALSO: 6 reasons why you should switch to wireless earbuds

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