Why Purchase Noise Cancelling Headphones (When You Have Other Head/Earphones Like AirPods)
Firstly, it’s winter in New York. It’s fucking cold. You need to cover your ears. Why not cover it with cool tech that bumps awesome music and melts the world away. I also have never had noise cancelling headphones. I was never a fan of not being conscious of my surroundings, but things change. I’m getting older. Instead on dealing with the world, I just want it to go away. Basically, I want more peace and the constant, ambient aural trash that is the entire world (but mostly New York) has some adverse effects to your soul. I also came across a couple of extra digital bucks (refunds) and after scouring the online marketplace, eBay had the a black Sony 1000XM3 refurbished so I only had to add a couple of extra bucks. I would have preferred to buy brand new through Amazon for the ease of return/exchange, but in this particular instance, beggars can’t be choosers.
What’s In the Box
Transportation and storage: Hard case with one side with an outer mesh net that can be used for holding other things.
Connectivity: 35mm cord if you want to a wired connection to your audio device/phone, an airline adapter (I don’t think this is still needed), a short USB/USB-C cord for [fast] charging (tests mentions 10 minutes of charge can produce 5 hours of use… we shall see), and bluetooth this baby for everything else!
Documentation: The usual instruction manuals, warranties and the like that we all never read.
How I Usually Pick My Gear/ Steps in Spending Money
Watch a lot of YouTube reviews. Whenever you are purchasing something, there will be inevitably an expert, website or retailer somewhere that has dissected each aspect of it and from there you can layer on your own preference or experience. I do the usual “best (insert product here) 2018/2017” on the search bar then I look at the channels with the most subscribers and comments and watch those. On this case, I searched “best over ear headphones 2018” and watched these: Unbox Therapy, CNET, Digital Trends, Incredibles! and few more, but those should suffice.
Look at comparison details and customer reviews on Amazon. Full disclosure, I work for Amazon, but we don’t get any deals so this doesn’t affect my picking, reviewing or sharing process. This online retailer giant is not the world’s best for nothing. They have killer algorithms that determine which products should be showcased more than others. They also do a good job of doing putting the most apt competitor product side by side with what you are searching. When buying new gear, electronics or anything non-household related, I always check the Compare with Similar Items and see the other products in its category. When I was looking for headphones, I thought I was just going for the Bose QueitComfort 35 (Series II), but results showed the Sony WH-1000XM3 when I looked at the comparison chart and now we are here.
Ask friends that have it and maybe even try them on. Nothing beats holding and testing the product you are looking to purchase with your own hands. Maybe one of your friends have it and you can borrow it for a bit. They will also have first-hand experience on the item you are buying so they might have layman insights that can sometimes be more valuable than an expert’s. If you don’t have access to the product in your personal or work life, best is still go to a store and test it there. I know the next statement will ruffle feathers, but I usually just try stuff on in-store, but scour online for the best deal (usually Amazon and on occasion eBay).
Ultimately, pick the one you feel is right. If you go for looks, go for looks! If you go for function, go with what you feel. If you just want to cheaper/cheapest option, that’s cool too! It’s your money, spend it with confidence.
Why I Picked the Sony WH-1000XM3 over Bose quietcomfort 35 (Series II)
Looks. Too be honest, I like the overall Bose look slightly better than the Sony’s. Bose has this older-school look and Sony is too sleek and futuristic, but that might appeal to some people. What swayed me on the look is the copper trim on some of the vents (I don’t know what they are formally called) and on the Sony logo. That’s boss.
Function. Both the Sony and Bose noise-cancelling and audio quality is top notch. My ears won’t be able to discern the fine differences in sound anyway so I trust the reviews when they say you can’t go wrong with either in terms of sound.
Support/App. This is where the Sony shines. From the videos I saw, Bose is simple and straight forward (basic low, medium and high noise-cancelling modes) while Sony in the few days I have had my 1000XM3 has an extensive adaptive sound control (where you can control the ambience depending on your situation). There are a lot more configurations that you can do, but I will not do it justice. Watch the videos I shared and you’ll see that Sony just left Bose in the dust here.
Price. Both headphones are expensive. The only reason I was able to afford to get one of these is because I had a $120 eBay refund and I bought a refurbished unit. Both Sony and Bose were at $350 brand new so price being equal, the slight pluses on the Sony made me pick it.
Ears-on (Instead of Hands-on) Review
I did a very scientific review of this machine, which is basically just wearing it the entire day for a few days and here are the results:
Test 0: Warmth. A main reason I need over ear headphones is because ear muffs are not cool. And it has been super cold the past few days and what do you know, it does keep my ears warm!
Test 1: Commuting. Holy shit! I never realized how noisy New York is until now. Having the noise-cancelling on for only 30 minutes during my train ride to work then taking it off, I realized how loud the sound of the tracks, the train itself, and all the people around can be. The cool thing is, voice/speech is still picked up so if you need to listen train announcements (like which stop you are at), that is still picked up. Important if you are a space cowboy like myself.
Test 2: Wearability. I wore the headphones the entire day, from my commute to the office, all day in the office, commute to errands, then home and my head did not ache like it usually does with my other headphones.
Test 3: Endurance and recharge. After the whole day of use, I wanted to check this fast charge and what do you know, it does charge a bunch with only few minutes of charging. I was pretty impressed that my headphones were still 50% after over 12 hours of use. I charged for exactly 10 minutes it was back at 100%! Cool. Documentation says it can run for 30 hours of noise cancelling on a single full charge, but I do not foresee being apart from a charging source longer than that.