Best Alternatives to Sony WH1000XM3 Android Central 2020
Sony's WH1000XM3 over-ear headphones are incredibly popular for travelers, and with good reason: they offer a near-perfect blend of great sound quality, battery life, and of course, active noise canceling. But they're expensive, and they're far from your only option in this increasingly popular field. Whether you're after better comfort or just don't like the capacitive controls, some of these alternatives may be a better fit for you.
- Best overall: Bose 700
- Superior audio: B&O Beoplay H9i
- Dial controls: Microsoft Surface Headphones
- Better comfort: Bose QC35 II
- Budget pick: TaoTronics Active Noise-Canceling Headphones
- Something different: Jabra Elite 65t
Bose's 700-series headphones go a step above the QC35s, with better sound quality and a much sleeker design that feels incredibly comfortable on your head. Of course, you still get excellent noise cancellation, USB-C, and even Alexa built in. Consider the Bose 700 your all-over upgrade pick.
Bang & Olufsen delivers some of the best audio around, even on its Bluetooth headphones. The H9i has adjustable noise canceling, dual device pairing, and the ability to selectively filter in background sounds with a quick swipe gesture. There's also a proximity sensor that pauses music when you're not wearing the headphones.
The Surface Headphones use a rotating dial along the right cup for most controls, and like the 1000XM3, feature adjustable noise canceling. Of course, being a Microsoft product you get access to Cortana rather than Google Assistant or Siri, and the Surface Headphones can be recharged over USB-C.
Bose's QC35 headphones are possibly the only ANC cans more recognizable than Sony's. The QC35 IIs are compact, comfortable enough to wear all day, and use physical buttons for playback controls. They can also connect to two devices at once — tackling one of Sony's biggest drawbacks.
While a bit cheap-feeling, TaoTronics' headphones have been updated for 2019 with surprisingly good sound and comfort. They last for 30 hours on a single charge, and you can get two hours of use with just a five-minute charge (though, again, that's over Micro-USB). You can't ask for much more for such an affordable headset.
True wireless earbuds typically don't sound as good as over-ear cans, but they're far more convenient for everyday use. The Jabra Elite 65t can fit in your pocket, they sound fantastic, and they even have good passive isolation that makes up for the lack of ANC. The only downside? You'll need to charge them with Micro-USB.
You have plenty of great-sounding options
There are plenty of great noise-canceling headphones to choose from, and these days you can find something good within virtually any budget. The Bose 700s are an incredibly high-end, luxurious alternative to the 1000XM3s, but other headphones like the Bang & Olufsen H9i are equally great options.
I still use my WH1000XM3s almost daily, and they're an absolutely essential part of my bag whenever I'm traveling or even just working out of a loud coffee shop, but I'm surprised by how much I've also been using true wireless earbuds lately. The Jabra Elite 65t earbuds are more convenient and portable than any pair of over-ear headphones, and they sound shockingly good. If you already have a good set of noise-canceling headphones, you might want to consider these instead of upgraded cans!
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