Sony WF-SP800N vs. WF-1000XM3: Which should you buy?

Sony WF-SP800N Earbuds
Sony WF-SP800N Earbuds (Image credit: Sony)

Sony WF-SP800N

Sony WF SP800N Earbuds

The WF-SP800N are your new workout companion. They feature IP55 dust and water resistant with active noise cancelation (ANC) and nine hours of battery life.

Sony WF-SP800N

Water resistant

Long battery life
Great sound with EXTRA BASS
Compact charging case
IP55 dust and water resistant
Lacks wireless charging
Middle of the road ANC performance

Sony WF-1000XM3

Sony WF-1000XM3 render

The WF-1000XM3 feature some of the best ANC performance from a set of true wireless earbuds. They also have a more balanced sound compared to the WF-SP800N but have a much larger charging case.

Sony WF-1000XM3

Class-leading ANC

Great, balanced sound
Long battery life
Excellent comfort
Class-leading ANC performance
Large charging case
Lacks wireless charging case

The WF-SP800N's main focus is fitness with their IP55 dust and water resistance. This makes them the perfect companion for your morning runs. On the other hand, the WF-1000XM3 are your perfect traveling companion thanks to their excellent active noise canceling (ANC) performance. Which one you choose will come down to what you need a new pair of wireless earbuds for.

Striking the right balance

Sony wireless earbuds

Source: Android Central (Image credit: Source: Android Central)

The WF-SP800N's biggest advantage over the WF-1000XM3 is dust and water resistance. The WF-SP800N feature IP55 dust and water resistance, which makes them suitable for most workouts (aside from full submersion workouts such as swimming). The WF-1000XM3, on the other hand, do not feature dust or water resistance of any kind.

However, an area that the WF-1000XM3 excels in is active noise cancelation (ANC). They compete with the market leaders such as the AirPods Pro and Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 2 when it comes to ANC performance. The WF-SP800N's ANC is worse than the WF-1000XM3 but that doesn't mean they're terrible. The WF-SP800N's ANC is good enough for their intended purpose — working out. You'll still be able to hear what's around you, but it'll be a bit muffled. With the WF-1000XM3, you won't hear much of anything beyond what you're listening to.

Building on top of the idea that the WF-SP800N are for working out, the earbuds last quite a bit longer than the WF-1000XM3 at nine hours versus six hours, giving them 33% more battery. However, the WF-1000XM3 net you more total listening time with their charging case, which adds 19 hours, giving the WF-1000XM3 a total of 24 hours. Meanwhile, the WF-SP800N case simply doubles the battery life, giving them a total of 18 hours between the buds and the case.

Both the WF-SP800N and the WF-1000XM3 feature USB-C for wired charging, but lack wireless charging of any sort. This is disappointing, especially considering their respective prices. The charging case for the WF-1000XM3 can only be described as "massive," making them really annoying to carry around, especially if you plan on having more than just you earbuds in your pocket. The WF-SP800N's charging case is smaller but still quite large compared to other true wireless earbuds cases such as the AirPods Pro and the Jabra Elite 75t.

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Header Cell - Column 0 WF-SP800NWF-1000XM3
Battery life (buds)9 hours6 hours
Battery life (case)9 hours19 hours
Water resistanceIP55N/A
Extra bassYesNo
Wireless charging caseNoNo

Sony WF-1000XM3 headphones

Source: Jason England / Android Central (Image credit: Source: Jason England / Android Central)

Let's move on to sound quality. Of course, a set of earbuds that advertises Extra Bass will pack a ton of bass, and that remains true with the WF-SP800N. The midrange and treble are slightly recessed but still present and detailed.

The WF-1000XM3 are relatively balanced. They have a slight bass boost that makes them exciting and fun to listen to, but the bass isn't overbearing or muddy. The midrange and high notes are quite balanced with little to no boosts or recessions. However, both sets of earbuds support Sony's companion smartphone app, so you can adjust them to sound how you like with a fairly basic and intuitive five-band equalizer.

In terms of comfort, both sets of earbuds are rather large in size and have a bit of heft to them. You'll definitely feel them in your ear and people will definitely know that you're wearing earbuds, even from a distance. Despite this, both sets of earbuds are relatively comfortable, even after long periods of time. It's unlikely that you'll experience any sort of discomfort or fatiguing while listening to either set.

In the end, the decision is pretty obvious, depending on what you're planning to use your earbuds for. If you plan on doing a lot of exercising with your earbuds, the WF-SP800N are the right choice for you. Heck, if you don't really care all that much for ANC, they'll be great for you too thanks to the longer battery life.

On the other hand, if you're itching for the best ANC performance in the smallest form factor possible, the WF-1000XM3 should be on your radar. They might not get the best battery life, but their ANC performance is worth it. They're also really great if you're looking for a balanced sound and really don't want to adjust them within the app.

Peter Cao