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Sony WH-1000XM3 (2018)
Sony WH-1000XM2 (2017)
See Top Ranked Over-Ear Headphones

Sony WH-1000XM3 (2018) vs Sony WH-1000XM2 (2017)

Analysis:

These two options dominate the market at the $240 budget range. There are virtually no better Over-Ear Headphones at this price point than the Sony WH-1000XM3 (2018) and the Sony WH-1000XM2 (2017).

The Sony WH-1000XM3 (2018) managed to impress reviewers from many of the internet's most highly trusted sources, including Rtings, CNET, Laptop Mag, SoundGuys, and Tom's Guide. It performed really well in their Over-Ear Headphone roundups - it was named "Best Headphones For Bass" by Rtings, "Best all around" by CNET, and "The best-sounding wireless headphones" by Laptop Mag. That's high praise coming from sources that conduct in-depth hands-on testing.

As for our Sony WH-1000XM2 (2017) analysis - two highly trusted sources that perform well-thought-out hands-on testing have found it to be a great product - it earned the "Best Active Noise-Cancelling" and "Ranked 3 out of 10" awards from SoundGuys and Tom's Guide, respectively, which is quite an impressive feat.

For a direct Sony WH-1000XM3 (2018) vs. Sony WH-1000XM2 (2017) comparison, we took a look at sources that tested both and found that the Sony WH-1000XM3 (2018) got reviewed better by SoundGuys, PCmag, The Verge, CNET, and Rtings, whereas the reviewers at Techradar and Head-fi preferred the Sony WH-1000XM2 (2017). Reviewers at Pocket-lint, T3, What Hi-Fi?, and TechHive haven't shown a preference for either.

We also took a look at which sources liked these two products the most. We found that the Sony WH-1000XM3 (2018) received its best, 10, rating from Tech Advisor, while the Sony WH-1000XM2 (2017) got its highest score of 10 from Pocket-lint.

Finally, we also compared their review scores to the rest of their competition - the Sony WH-1000XM3 (2018) earned an average review score of 9.0 out of 10 points and the Sony WH-1000XM2 (2017) received an average of 9.1, compared to the 7.5 average of Over-Ear Headphones in general.

Comparison of expert ratings
Highly Recommended
Recommended
Mentioned
Not Mentioned
Rtings
Tom's Guide
CNET
SoundGuys
Laptop Mag
TechGearLab
PCmag
The Master Switch
Wirecutter (NYTimes)
Digital Camera World
Tech. Specs Comparison
Sony WH-1000XM3 (2018)
$244
Sony WH-1000XM2 (2017)
$279
Noise-cancelling
Yes
Yes
Wireless
Yes
Yes
Higher than average expert review score
Significantly higher than average expert review score
Highly recommended by trusted experts
Rtings
Highly Trusted Source
Depth of
analysis
Yes
In-house
Testing
Best Overall
in “The 6 Best Bass Headphones - Fall 2020” 
Last updated: 15 Sep 2020
CNET
Highly Trusted Source
Depth of
analysis
Yes
In-house
Testing
Best Overall
in “Best over-ear headphones for 2020: Sony, Bose and more” 
Last updated: 5 Sep 2020
Tom's Guide
Highly Trusted Source
Depth of
analysis
Yes
In-house
Testing
Best Overall
in “Best Sony headphones 2020: Top wireless and wired Picks” 
Last updated: 21 Aug 2019
SoundGuys
Highly Trusted Source
Depth of
analysis
Yes
In-house
Testing
Best Overall
in “Best back to school headphones 2019” 
Last updated: 13 Aug 2019
Digital Camera World
Highly Trusted Source
Depth of
analysis
Yes
In-house
Testing
Ranked #8 out of 8
in “The best headphones for video editing in 2020” 
Last updated: 9 Jul 2020
Reviewed
Trusted Source
Depth of
analysis
Yes
In-house
Testing
Best Overall
in “The Best Headphones on Amazon of 2020” 
Last updated: 11 Aug 2020
Android Central
Trusted Source
Depth of
analysis
Yes
In-house
Testing
Best Overall
in “Best Sony Headphones in 2020” 
Last updated: 29 Jul 2020
TechSpot
Trusted Source
Depth of
analysis
Yes
In-house
Testing
Best Overall
in “The Best Headphones 2020” 
Last updated: 5 Jan 2020
Techradar
Trusted Source
Depth of
analysis
Yes
In-house
Testing
Best Overall
in “Best audio gadgets you can buy this Christmas” 
Last updated: 14 Dec 2018
What Hi-Fi?
Trusted Source
Depth of
analysis
Yes
In-house
Testing
Runner Up
in “Best headphones 2020” 
Last updated: 7 days ago
Askgeorge.com
Trusted Source
-
Depth of
analysis
No
In-house
Testing
Runner Up
in “Noise Cancelling Headphone review” 
Last updated: 18 Mar 2020
Expert Reviews
Trusted Source
Depth of
analysis
Yes
In-house
Testing
Ranked #3 out of 10
in “Best travel gadgets 2020: The tech you need for the perfect trip” 
Last updated: 9 Jan 2020
Gadget Review
Depth of
analysis
Yes
In-house
Testing
Runner Up
in “Best Headphones in 2020 (October Reviews)” 
Rtings
Highly Trusted Source
Depth of
analysis
Yes
In-house
Testing
Best Overall
in “The 6 Best Headphones For Music - Fall 2020” 
Last updated: 15 Sep 2020
SoundGuys
Highly Trusted Source
Depth of
analysis
Yes
In-house
Testing
Runner Up
in “Best aptX Bluetooth headphones” 
Last updated: 2 Sep 2020
Tom's Guide
Highly Trusted Source
Depth of
analysis
Yes
In-house
Testing
Runner Up
in “Best music gifts - treats for audiophiles” 
Last updated: 16 Dec 2019
CNET
Highly Trusted Source
Depth of
analysis
Yes
In-house
Testing
Best of previous generation
in “The best headphone gifts for the holidays” 
Last updated: a month ago
Reviewed
Trusted Source
Depth of
analysis
Yes
In-house
Testing
Best Overall
in “The Best Wireless Headphones of 2020” 
Last updated: 5 Aug 2020
Android Central
Trusted Source
Depth of
analysis
Yes
In-house
Testing
Best Overall
in “Best Headphones for Best Buy Curbside Pickup in 2020” 
Last updated: 24 Mar 2020
Techradar
Trusted Source
Depth of
analysis
Yes
In-house
Testing
Runner Up
in “The best Sony headphones 2020: 10 models to appeal to your inner audiophile ” 
Last updated: 14 Jul 2020
Rtings
Highly Trusted Source
Depth of
analysis
Yes
In-house
Testing
Runner Up
in “The 5 Best Closed-Back Headphones - Fall 2020” 
Last updated: 15 Sep 2020
CNET
Highly Trusted Source
Depth of
analysis
Yes
In-house
Testing
Best of previous generation
in “Best wireless headphones for 2020” 
Last updated: 8 Sep 2020
Tom's Guide
Highly Trusted Source
Depth of
analysis
Yes
In-house
Testing
Rated 9.0 out of 10
in “The best headphones in 2020” 
Last updated: 7 days ago
Reviewed
Trusted Source
Depth of
analysis
Yes
In-house
Testing
Best Overall
in “The Best On-Ear and Over-Ear Wireless Headphones of 2020” 
Last updated: 4 Aug 2020
Android Central
Trusted Source
Depth of
analysis
Yes
In-house
Testing
Best Overall
in “Best of 2018 Awards — The Best Headphones” 
Last updated: 28 Dec 2018
Techradar
Trusted Source
Depth of
analysis
Yes
In-house
Testing
The best noise-cancelling headphones in the world, two years running
in “Best gadgets 2020: the top tech you can buy right now” 
Last updated: 16 Jan 2020
Rtings
Highly Trusted Source
Depth of
analysis
Yes
In-house
Testing
Runner Up
in “The 7 Best Office Headphones - Fall 2020” 
Last updated: 15 Sep 2020
CNET
Highly Trusted Source
Depth of
analysis
Yes
In-house
Testing
Best of previous generation
in “Best noise-canceling headphones of 2020” 
Last updated: 4 Sep 2020
Tom's Guide
Highly Trusted Source
Depth of
analysis
Yes
In-house
Testing
Rated 9.0 out of 10
in “The best noise cancelling headphones in 2020” 
Last updated: 12 days ago
Reviewed
Trusted Source
Depth of
analysis
Yes
In-house
Testing
Best Overall
in “These are the best tech products of 2019” 
Last updated: 4 Nov 2019
Android Central
Trusted Source
Depth of
analysis
Yes
In-house
Testing
Runner Up
in “Best Headphones with Amazon Alexa Support in 2020” 
Last updated: 17 Aug 2020
Techradar
Trusted Source
Depth of
analysis
Yes
In-house
Testing
Ranked #3 out of 6
in “IFA 2018 audio roundup: the best headphones, smart speakers and more” 
Last updated: 3 Sep 2018
Tom's Guide
Highly Trusted Source
Depth of
analysis
Yes
In-house
Testing
Rated 9.0 out of 10
in “The best wireless headphones in 2020” 
Last updated: 17 days ago
Reviewed
Trusted Source
Depth of
analysis
Yes
In-house
Testing
Runner Up
in “The Best Noise Canceling Headphones of 2020” 
Last updated: 2 Sep 2020
Android Central
Trusted Source
Depth of
analysis
Yes
In-house
Testing
Runner Up
in “Best Wireless Headphones for the Google Pixel 2” 
Last updated: 30 Jun 2020
Android Central
Trusted Source
Depth of
analysis
Yes
In-house
Testing
Runner Up
in “Best Wireless Headphones for Samsung Galaxy S20 in 2020” 
Last updated: 27 Jun 2020
Reviewed
Trusted Source
Depth of
analysis
Yes
In-house
Testing
Best Wireless Headphones
in “The Best Tech Products for Back-to-School of 2020” 
Last updated: 17 Jul 2020
Android Central
Trusted Source
Depth of
analysis
Yes
In-house
Testing
Runner Up
in “Best Bluetooth Headphones for OnePlus 6T” 
Last updated: 14 Apr 2019
Reviewed
Trusted Source
Depth of
analysis
Yes
In-house
Testing
Ranked #5 out of 11
in “The Best Headphones of 2020” 
Last updated: 22 days ago
Android Central
Trusted Source
Depth of
analysis
Yes
In-house
Testing
Best Noise Canceling Assistant
in “Best Headphones That Support Google Assistant in 2020” 
Last updated: 10 Aug 2020
Android Central
Trusted Source
Depth of
analysis
Yes
In-house
Testing
Upgrade Pick
in “Best Wireless Headphones for Pixel 4 in 2020” 
Last updated: 28 Jun 2020
Android Central
Trusted Source
Depth of
analysis
Yes
In-house
Testing
Best Over-Ear
in “Best Wireless Headphones for Note 10 and Note 10+ in 2020” 
Last updated: 11 Jun 2020
Android Central
Trusted Source
Depth of
analysis
Yes
In-house
Testing
The Best Headphones
in “Best of 2018 Awards — All The Winners” 
Last updated: 28 Dec 2018
Wirecutter (NYTimes)
Highly Trusted Source
Depth of
analysis
Yes
In-house
Testing
Mentioned
in “The Best Noise-Cancelling Headphones” 
Last updated: 21 days ago
Gear Patrol
Trusted Source
-
Depth of
analysis
No
In-house
Testing
Mentioned
in “The Best Gifts for the Techie” 
Last updated: 14 Nov 2018
Wirecutter (NYTimes)
Highly Trusted Source
Depth of
analysis
Yes
In-house
Testing
Mentioned
in “The Best Bluetooth Wireless Headphones” 
Last updated: 21 days ago
Windows Central
Trusted Source
Depth of
analysis
Yes
In-house
Testing
Mentioned
in “Best Spotify Accessories in 2020” 
Last updated: 6 Jan 2020
Laptop Mag
Highly Trusted Source
Depth of
analysis
Yes
In-house
Testing
Mentioned
in “The Best Gifts for Business Travelers” 
Last updated: 26 Nov 2018
Rtings
Highly Trusted Source
Depth of
analysis
Yes
In-house
Testing
Mentioned
in “The 5 Best Over-Ear Headphones For Working Out - Fall 2020” 
Last updated: 6 days ago
CNET
Highly Trusted Source
Depth of
analysis
Yes
In-house
Testing
Mentioned
in “The best headphones of 2020” 
Last updated: 26 Sep 2020
Techradar
Trusted Source
Depth of
analysis
Yes
In-house
Testing
Mentioned
in “The best noise-cancelling headphones of 2020, whatever your budget” 
Last updated: 11 days ago
New York Magazine
Depth of
analysis
No
In-house
Testing
Mentioned
in “For co-working time” 
Last updated: 19 Mar 2020
Rtings
Highly Trusted Source
Depth of
analysis
Yes
In-house
Testing
Mentioned
in “The 7 Best Over-Ear Headphones - Fall 2020” 
Last updated: 18 days ago
CNET
Highly Trusted Source
Depth of
analysis
Yes
In-house
Testing
Mentioned
in “Best headphones for dads from $50 to $400” 
Last updated: 26 May 2020
Tom's Guide
Highly Trusted Source
Depth of
analysis
Yes
In-house
Testing
Mentioned
in “Best after Christmas sales of 2019” 
Last updated: 26 Dec 2019
Techradar
Trusted Source
Depth of
analysis
Yes
In-house
Testing
Mentioned
in “The best gifts for audiophiles and music lovers for all budgets” 
Last updated: 10 Dec 2018
Rtings
Highly Trusted Source
Depth of
analysis
Yes
In-house
Testing
Mentioned
in “The 8 Best Headphones - Fall 2020” 
Last updated: 18 days ago
CNET
Highly Trusted Source
Depth of
analysis
Yes
In-house
Testing
Mentioned
in “Best travel gifts for 2020” 
Last updated: 14 Mar 2020
Rtings
Highly Trusted Source
Depth of
analysis
Yes
In-house
Testing
Mentioned
in “The 6 Best Noise Cancelling Headphones - Fall 2020” 
Last updated: 25 days ago
Rtings
Highly Trusted Source
Depth of
analysis
Yes
In-house
Testing
Mentioned
in “The 6 Best Travel Headphones - Fall 2020” 
Last updated: a month ago
Rtings
Highly Trusted Source
Depth of
analysis
Yes
In-house
Testing
Mentioned
in “The 6 Best Bluetooth Headsets For Phone Calls - Fall 2020” 
Last updated: 15 Sep 2020
Android Central
Trusted Source
Depth of
analysis
Yes
In-house
Testing
Mentioned
in “Best Bluetooth Headphones for Samsung Galaxy S10 in 2020” 
Last updated: 28 Jun 2020
Android Central
Trusted Source
Depth of
analysis
Yes
In-house
Testing
Mentioned
in “Best Galaxy Note 10 Accessories in 2020” 
Last updated: 8 Jan 2020
Android Central
Trusted Source
Depth of
analysis
Yes
In-house
Testing
Mentioned
in “Best Samsung Galaxy S9 Accessories in 2020” 
Last updated: 5 Jan 2020
Android Central
Trusted Source
Depth of
analysis
Yes
In-house
Testing
Mentioned
in “Best Accessories for the Samsung Galaxy Note 9” 
Last updated: 19 Apr 2019
Recommended by trusted experts
SoundGuys
Highly Trusted Source
Depth of
analysis
Yes
In-house
Testing
Best Overall
in “Best headphones at Target: Trust the red polo shirts” 
Last updated: 17 Oct 2018
Tom's Guide
Highly Trusted Source
Depth of
analysis
Yes
In-house
Testing
Rated 8.0 out of 10
in “Best Sony headphones 2020: Top wireless and wired Picks” 
Last updated: 21 Aug 2019
Android Central
Trusted Source
Depth of
analysis
Yes
In-house
Testing
Best Neckbuds
in “Best Wireless Headphones 2020” 
Last updated: 9 Sep 2020
Techradar
Trusted Source
Depth of
analysis
Yes
In-house
Testing
The best headphones
in “Headphones, speakers, and soundbars: the best audio tech we heard at IFA 2019” 
Last updated: 7 Sep 2019
Android Authority
Trusted Source
Depth of
analysis
Yes
In-house
Testing
Ranked #5 out of 8
in “The best Sony headphones you can buy” 
Last updated: 16 days ago
BestReviews
Depth of
analysis
Yes
In-house
Testing
Best Overall
in “Best Sony Headphones” 
Last updated: a day ago
SoundGuys
Highly Trusted Source
Depth of
analysis
Yes
In-house
Testing
Best Overall
in “Best audio gifts for grads 2018” 
Last updated: 5 May 2018
Techradar
Trusted Source
Depth of
analysis
Yes
In-house
Testing
Best Headphones
in “TechRadar Middle East Awards – honoring the best from 2017” 
Last updated: 6 Feb 2018
Techradar
Trusted Source
Depth of
analysis
Yes
In-house
Testing
Ranked #4 out of 10
in “The best Sony headphones 2020: 10 models to appeal to your inner audiophile ” 
Last updated: 14 Jul 2020

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