Ever since the modern earbuds have appeared, they have taken the world by storm. Believe it or not, earbuds are not as groundbreaking as we think. The first ones we know of were released in 1926! But it took more than 80 years for them to become popular and widely used.
A new trend
Today, there are many companies that have their own version of earbuds. Bose, JBL, Samsung, Xiaomi, Phillips, Sony, etc. But it´s not until Apple redesigned their headphones into wireless earbuds that they gained such prominence.
At first, the subject of many jokes and memes, AirPods and wireless earbuds, in general, became the new normal and even a symbol of forward-thinking tech gadgets lovers.
Even though it seems like AirPods Pro rule the market, which they do, they are not the only earbuds worth considering.
Player 2 - Sony WF-1000XM3
Appearing on the market of headphones as a part of the Sony´s 1000X acclaimed series in August 2019, they were seen as the AirPods Pro main competitor and called by some as the ˝top true wireless headphones˝.
The ancient Romans were wise when they said De gustibus non est disputandum meaning that in the matters of taste, there should not be disputes. But when it comes to technology, it´s not just about taste.
There are features and characteristics that make one device more advanced than the other one. But this still doesn´t have the biggest effect on popularity and sales. There are many factors to consider.
The war between giants – AirPods Pro vs Sony WF-1000XM3
If you´re deliberating which one of these truly high-quality earbuds should be your next faithful companion, you have a difficult task on hand.
To make this process easier for you, we compared step by step the most important characteristics of both of these two amazing earbuds, from the design and pricing to sound quality and bonus features.
So, let´s begin!
This is something that you need to decide for yourself because this depends entirely on personal taste. Since AirPods Pro and Sony WF-1000XM3 look completely different, it shouldn´t be that difficult to pick a favorite.
Both incredibly small and lightweight, AirPods Pro are characterized by their signature sleek, minimalistic design in traditional white color while Sony’s are more subtle, classy, and less recognizable in black or silver with copper accents.
The oval shape of their charging cases is almost exactly the same, though Sony’s are a bit larger with an aluminum lid, which might provide better protection from damage but could also be more difficult to slip into your pocket.
The difference in price is minor - $249 for AirPods Pro vs $228 for Sony’s. So this probably wouldn´t be a decisive factor.
One of the most important features of an earbud is how comfortable they are.
Taking into account critiques of the previous models, AirPods designers abandoned the one-size-fits-all and introduced 3 sizes of silicone tips (S, M, and L) for a customizable and therefore more comfortable fit. They offer a tight, snug feel with a tight seal that keeps them in place.
Sony went a step further providing a wide array of ear tips sizes, to satisfy almost everyone´s needs. Some find their elongated form feeling snug and pretty comfortable, while others complain they slip out easily. For those more fashion aware, the fact they´re sticking out might be problematic.
Since this is also a question of subjective feeling, you would have to try on both of them to compare. But let´s be honest – earbuds are not the most comfortable gadget in general.
This is one of the features that vary the most between AirPods Pro and Sony WF-1000XM3.
It seems that Apple struggles the most in this department. With the release of new models, everyone expects at least a slight improvement in terms of battery life. With AirPods Pro, it was the opposite. In comparison with the previous 2nd generation, the Pro gen has half-hour lower duration.
That´s 4.5 hours of continuous use or 5 hours with Active Noise Cancellation turned on, and 3 hours of talking time. With multiple chargings, AirPods Pro can be used for 24 hours. Thanks to its H1 chip, 5 minutes of charging equals 1 hour of battery life so 30 minutes of charging= 100% charged battery. It doesn´t sound bad at all.
Sony has surpassed all of his rivals with impressive 8 hours of continuous listening time or 6 hours if you turn on Active Noise Cancellation. Its charging case provides three additional charges, with total of 32 or 24 hours of listening time. A 10-minute charge provides 90 minutes of playback.
An advantage of AirPods Pro is that they can be charged both with cable and wirelessly, which is a feature that Sony´s doesn´t offer.
Since wireless earbuds have no cables with remote controls, they support touch-sensitive controls, which most users find a bit difficult to get used to. Apple and Sony have different approaches.
With AirPods Pro, tap gestures were replaced with pinches. At the bottom of each stem, a haptic force sensor is placed, marked by a small indentation, which produces a click sound when pinched. There are several different commands to learn which don´t take too long to get used to.
Sony uses the ˝old˝ touch technology through circular touch panels with different touch combinations controlling playback or toggle, which can be customized to your needs.
Both earbuds provide on-ear detection so when either of your earbuds is removed, the music pauses and vice-versa (when you put them back it resumes).
What both of them lack is on-board volume control. This means that the volume needs to be adjusted manually on your audio device. However, Apple allows control customization in order to access a volume slider.
For many, this is the most important factor in choosing earphones. These are audio products after all. But it seems that this is also a very subjective category, believe it or not.
There are many supporters on both sides. The good news is that both AirPods Pro and Sony´s can boast with impressive high sound quality.
Some claim that Sony´s QN1e chip is no match for Apple´s H1, giving it a sonic edge with strong bass, exceptionally balanced low end, and amazing clarity. However, others say that they struggle ANC enabled, so the overall treble feels recessed.
AirPods Pro have much improved, featuring a neutral, airy, and flat sound in general.
It all comes down to personal preference. If you enjoy a boomier sound, then Sony´s are the right choice. If you look for more accurate vocals and details from high notes, AirPods Pro are the ones for you.
All in all, the difference in sound quality is negligible so you won´t regret whichever you choose.
Another feature where it is very difficult to decide which one takes the lead because both AirPods Pro and Sony WF 1000-XM3 do a great job in this department.
AirPods Pro follow a more natural frequency response, filtering ambient noise to really focus on your voice while transmitting it.
Sony´s don´t fall short, but it is maybe a bit less effective in blocking background noise, suffering from the proximity effect.
Again, when it comes to ANC, there is no definitive winner because these are amazing noise-canceling earbuds.
Both can block out almost all low-end to mid-range noises and both struggle quite a lot with treble noises. However, it seems that Sony´s can block out a bit more low-end noise while the AirPods are overall more consistent.
The only aspect Apple outperforms Sony is in wind noise reduction.
Just like any other device in the Apple universe, AirPods Pro work the best when paired with another Apple device. Some features, like immediate pairing, hands-free Siri access, auto-connect, overall usage, and energy efficiency are limited to iOS.
iPhone users can really take advantage of the ˝Hey Siri˝ feature which works flawlessly, while music can be shared between two pairs of AirPods.
On the other hand, Sony´s can´t connect to more than one device at the time but can connect to both iOS and Android devices.
There are some features that Apple provides while Sony doesn´t, and vice versa, which some users might find attractive.
Unlike Sony´s, AirPods Pro are water-resistant. This means that if you get soaking wet while running from a rain shower or you get super sweaty during your workout or run, you don´t need to worry about your earbuds.
They also have a super useful ˝Find My AirPods˝ feature since being so small and lightweight, AirPods Pro can be easily lost or misplaced. This could help you track them if that happens.
Sony WF 1000-XM3 offers an important extra feature for audio geeks – custom EQ. It allows you to create different sound profiles or presets which cater to different genres and ameliorates the quality of the sound.
Furthermore, you can choose which you find more important at a given moment – the quality of the sound or connectivity via Sound Quality mode.
Both AirPods Pro and Sony WF-1000XM3 have a hear-through listening mode (Transparency mode/Ambient Sound Control) which works great.
So have we helped at all?
Well maybe not because both AirPods Pro and Sony WF-1000XM3 are amazing earbuds, probably the best on the market at the moment for that price.
But if you are an Apple lover and already own an iOS device, then it would be a shame not to choose AirPods Pro and have access to all those amazing extra features as well as the best audio quality they can provide.
And on the plus side, you can have a lot of fun choosing among a huge variety of AirPods Pro protective cases!
Let us know in the comments below if we helped you make your decision and which one did you choose!
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