Apple caught plenty of flak forditching the headphone jackand made audio enthusiasts livid with the first and second-generation AirPods design. The Apple AirPods Pro is what happens when a company yields to customers ’priority. They’re a massive upgrade from the original design. There’s no doubt that the AirPods Pro is great for iPhone users, but what about the rest of us?
We’re pitting Apple against the Sony WF – (XM3 to settle which true wireless earbuds command the noise-cancelling market.)
Fit and hardware
First thing’s first, how does theAirPods Proconstruction contrast theSony WF – 1000 XM3? Well, the former features an all-white exterior with a minimalist design philosophy. Sony takes a more sophisticated swing at total wireless earbuds: black dominates the earbuds and case, and is complemented by copper accents. Both are plastic but only Apple went the extra mile by getting the AirPods ProIPX4– certified , which gives users the option toexercisein them without worrying about voiding the warranty.
The AirPods Pro has been completely overhauled from the original andsophomore AirPods, meaning the case is shorter, stouter, and the earbuds are outfitted with nozzles that create an honest seal to the ear canal. Not only does this passivelyisolateyou from noisy surroundings, but it’s the reason noise-canceling functions at all. The nozzles aren’t angled as aggressively as the Sony WF – 1000 XM3, but whether this is a pro or con depends on your ear anatomy. Apple designers certainly did their homework when creating the silicone ear tips: rather than sliding each earbud collar over a plastic nozzle, you slide it into a moat-live divot surrounding the nozzle. This makes for a more secure hold while also making it easier to remove and re-place ear tips.
If you intend to use your earbuds during intense workouts, play it safe by getting the AirPods Pro.
Sony does have Apple beat on the diverse ear tip array it provides listeners. While Apple provides standard small, medium, and large ear tips, Sony supplies an array of options that vary in size, density, and material (e.g. memory foam and silicone). You’re more likely to find aproper fitwith Sony’s earbuds. ****************************** On-board controls
Both headsets offer touch controls, but operation is different. The Apple AirPods Pro use force-sensitive stems to register stem squeezes. Sony’s true wireless earbuds sport glossy panels that require a combination of taps to control playback or cycle through listening modes. Both noise-cancelling units house proximity sensors for auto-ear detection. The AirPods Pro automatic ear detection functionality is confined to iOS devices, while Sony’s works across the board.
The AirPods Pro case supports wireless charging
Despite the wholeApple AirPower debacle, the AirPods Pro supports wireless charging withQi-certified matsand includes a wireless charging case to boot. That’s right: you don’t have to choose which AirPods package you’re going to get, nor do you have to pay an extra $ 40 for a feature we’ve seen baked into cheaper options, such as theSamsung Galaxy Buds. If you don’t care for wireless charging, you’re limited to Apple’s Lightning cable; the Sony WF – 1000 XM3 charge by USB- C cable only.
This is one of the more subjective portions of the Apple AirPods Pro and Sony WF – 1000 XM3 comparison, so many of you are bound to feel differently about our decision. Since the Sony total wireless earbuds feature an elegant color palette, more natural control mechanism, and vast assemblage of ear tips, we’re giving the first round to Sony.
Winner: Sony WF – (XM3)
Apple has repeatedly impressed us with itsheadset microphone qualityand the Apple AirPods Pro microphones are something to be proud of. Voices are reproduced slightly more accurately across the frequency range of the human voice when compared to Sony’s integrated mics. Apple’s beam-forming microphones work in conjunction with a speech-detecting accelerometer to filter out ambient noise more effectively than most earbuds.
Just because Apple’s mics are great doesn’t prevent Sony from also having great microphone quality. In fact, the Sony WF – 1000 XM3 are great for personal andprofessional callsalike, but the AirPods Pro are better equipped to neutralize background noise and accurately relay your voice to the person on the other line. Either mic system is better than a standard phone but the AirPods Pro outdo the Sony WF – 1000 XM3 here.
(Winner: Apple AirPods Pro)
Connection strength and Bluetooth codecs
Both headsets use Bluetooth 5.0 firmware and support one high-qualityBluetooth codec: AA C, which is great foriPhoneowners, not so great for us Android fans. It makes sense that the AirPods Pro don’t supportaptX, but remains frustrating that Sony’s don’t. They do, however, have a QN1e chip and DSEE HX processing, which allow for24 – bit audiosignal processing, which benefits any platform. Apple uses its proprietaryH1 chip, limiting benefits to iOS users like hands-free Siri access, instantaneous autoconnect, and energy efficiency.
) Winner: Draw
This category is the easiest toMeasure. The Apple AirPods Pro supplies 5. 1125 hours of listening from a single charge (noise-cancelling on), while the Sony WF – 1000 XM3 provides just 4. 76 hours of listening (noise-cancelling on). Both are impressive given how tiny the battery cells are but the AirPods Pro is the clear winner. Plus, Apple’s charging case affords more battery life when out and about: 24 hours total compared to Sony’s 19 hours total. If you need to recharge in a pinch, you can do so with either charging case
Winner: Apple AirPods Pro
The Sony WF – 1000 XM3 have the best noise canceling
The Apple AirPods Pro are undoubtedly the best AirPods to date, but they still can’t outshine the Sony WF – 1000 XM3 when consideringnoise-cancellingeffectiveness.
What are the best noise-cancelling headphones?
There’s nothing worse than bein g flanked by coughing neighbors and crying babies during an international flight. Fortunately, there are enough active noise-cancelling (ANC) headphones on the market to hush your surroundings. We’ve put together a…
Each chart depicts the frequency response of either the Apple or Sony true wireless earbuds. The higher up a line, the more that certain frequency range is cancelled out. By juxtaposing the charts, it’s obvious how well the Sony earbuds attenuate low-frequency noises like airplane engines and distracting street traffic. When flying from Atlanta to San Francisco, the Sony WF – 1000 XM3 made my two-legged trip a quiet one: extremely low (sub – 60 Hz) frequencies are rendered one-quarter as loud with Sony’s ANC technology as opposed to without it.
Both earbuds offer different listening modes: noise-cancelling, Ambient Aware (or Transparency for Apple), and off. Ambient aware is useful for when you’re awaiting a train announcement or need to quickly respond to something. Regardless of which earbuds you go with, noise-cancelling protects our ears fromnoise-induced hearing lossby making us less inclined to increase volume as a means of drowning out background noise. If you want the best of whatnoise-cancelling true wireless earbudshave to offer, get the Sony WF – 1000 XM3.
Winner: Sony WF – 1000 XM3
There are plenty of horns each headset toots when it comes to their respective feature sets, but ultimately, we’re comparing one pair of earbuds to another. Both Sony and Apple’s headsets are expensive, so you want to make sure you’re getting thebest bang for your buckwhen it comes to sound quality, too.
As with the previous section, we have some charts to help illustrate SoundGuys’ collected data. When it comes tofrequency responses, the closer the line is to the red dotted 0dB SPL marker, the more accurate music reproduction sounds across the frequency spectrum. The Sony WF – 1000 XM3 elevate bass notes with tempered emphasis to mids. This low-end amplification gives your music some oomph or “punch” to it. The response isn’t neutral by any stretch of the imagination, but that can quickly be remedied via the Sony | Headphones Connect app, which lets users make granularEQadjustments for a completely customized sound.
Android users don’t benefit from the AirPods Pro’s H1 chip, but all platforms benefit from Sony’s Q1ne chip and DSEE HX processing.
The closer a line hugs the dotted 0dB SPL mark, the more accurate music reproduction sounds. Let’s look at the Sony earbuds first: bass frequencies are elevated most with some emphasis to midrange notes. This low-end boost is what gives your songs that extraoomph. It’s by no means neutral but this response, and the AirPods, which we’ll see in a moment, plays well topopular music genressuch as pop, hip-hop, and rap. If you’re into electronic music, you may want even more bass to your sound, in which case, this can be adjusted via the Sony | Headphones Connect app.
The Apple AirPods Pro also exaggerate low notes, but not as intensely as Sony’s ‘buds do. Upper midrange and treble frequencies do receive a substantial, 10 dB boost, rendering them twice as loud as midrange frequencies (200 – 1500 Hz), which is where most instrumentalfundamental frequenciesfall.
) On the whole, vocals sound really good with either headset. If you want a boomier sound, get the Sony earbuds and if you want more accurate vocals and to be able to perceive more detail from high notes, get the AirPods Pro.
This comes down to personal preference, but our objective measurements award the Sony (9.5 sound quality rating) a higher score, giving them a slight 0.3 point edge over the AirPods (9.2 sound quality rating).
Winner: Sony WF- 1000 XM3
UnlikeSoundGuys‘Apple AirPods Pro vs. AirPods 2019)head-to- head, it’s not a matter of one headset absolutely defeating the other. The fact of the matter is thattrue wirelesstechnology has improved immensely over the past few years and both the Apple AirPods Pro and Sony WF – 1000 XM3 are standout true wireless options. While the Sony WF – 1000 XM3 are better than the Apple AirPods Pro on paper, it comes down to what you prioritize most as a listener.
I’m more drawn to the Sony WF – 1000 XM3 design and on-board control operation. Plus, I thoroughly appreciate the low-end noise attenuation when flying or traveling by subway. That said, if you mainly need ANC to block out loud cubicle neighbors, the Apple AirPods Pro will prove more effective as they quiet sounds from 100 Hz-1kHz more effectively. Perhaps your decision has nothing to do with noise-cancelling but rather with where you’ve already spent your money. Anyone beholden to Apple’s ecosystem will be more inclined to save for the AirPods Pro, which makes sense: they’re designed to work flawlessly with iOS products.
(If the Sony WF – XM3 and Apple AirPods Pro aren’t for you
There are plenty of viableApple AirPods alternativesflitting about; if your budget is more limited, there also exist fabulous and cheap true wireless earbuds. Budget buyers should mull over theCreative Outlier Air, because it costs just $ 79, includes a USB-C charging case, and the earbuds provide nearly eight hours of playback on a single charge. If you’re an iPhone user who wants something that fits even better than the Apple AirPods Pro and don’t mind committing to a $ 250 budget, consider theBeats Powerbeats Profor their ear hook design and 10 – hour battery life. You sacrifice noise-cancelling but it may be worth it forathleteslooking to seriously invest inworkout earbuds.