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Sony WF-1000XM3 Review: From A Runner’s Perspective

I’ve had the Sony WF-1000XM3 for over half a year now. As a big fan of Sony headphone gear, as you can tell from my unboxing of the Sony WH-1000XM4 and also how I managed to get those headphones for £105 cheaper than anywhere else, I am really putting Sony’s top product lines to the test.

Since there are already so many reviews out there for these headphones, I thought I’d give my perspective based on how I use it mostly. I generally ever only use these headphones for running as my XM4’s definitely would not be as ideal — given they cover your ears entirely and therefore would build up condensation quite quickly.

The cost of the Sony WF-1000XM3s generally range these days at around £150 (correct as of 10/01/2021) on Amazon (vs £220 on Sony directly), though there are deals online where you can get the headphones for as little as £128 *checkout techinthebasket.com.

Here’s what you need to know.

Design

Sony’s WF-1000XM3 wireless noise headphones look sleek, designed for business and generally I think they make you look good when wearing them. I’d give the design a 10/10 versus what’s out there in the market.

It comes with a battery pack which does kind of represent the Duracell battery colours with the nice sheen of rose gold and black, of course if you go with these colours. It’s really lightweight and packs a punch in charging capability too without compromising on design or weight.


However, one thing I’ve found is that the material on the face of the case is really, really easy to scratch. Be sure not to put the case and your keys in the same pocket; otherwise, you’ll end up with scratches all over the surface.

Key Features

  • Noise cancelling
  • Headphones have 6 hours of battery time, and the charging case offers an additional 24 hours. With noise cancelling off, you get about 32 hours of airtime
  • Hands-free calling
  • 360 reality audio
  • Bluetooth to connect to your phone or laptop

Running

Here is where you can run into problems. Exercising and running with these on can be problematic. When I’ve done my 5Ks, I’ve generally had to constantly push the earphones in to ensure they don’t fall out after a couple minutes of running. They will fall out. Coupled with the fact that by touching the earphones in a certain way, you also stop any music you’re playing and you typically have to constantly tap your earphones until the music comes back. It can be really annoying.

I’m not too much a fan of Apple’s approach to their latest wireless headphones, but I know they work well functionally when running as my partner wears them whilst running. This is not to say that you can’t run with the XM3 on, but it might just be a little problematic. So I’d go as far as not recommending them for running.

At The Gym

Since the lock down, it’s been fairly difficult to go to the gym, but I can say for sure that these will work in a gym setting where your movement isn’t as heavy. Unless you’re doing Zumba classes where your movement levels can be quite high — having these on whilst doing bench presses, arm curls or any of the machines will not be a problem.

Call Quality & Mic

The call quality is very good — and I have no issues with anyone that I speak to and I always have come across clear. It does a great job, and the ambient sound is great and removing any background noise. Whilst I have not had issues, it does seem those on the official Sony forum have had issues:

I called Sony Support today and they kept asking me to repeat myself because they couldn’t hear me when I was using their earbuds

Final Thoughts

I really like the earbuds, and they work really well on walks out, low level exercise (they don’t unfortunately pass the ‘jump test’), but they are definitely great for all intents and purposes anything business related or for personal use with friends.

For a runner, I’d go with another pair of wireless earbuds that are purpose built for exercise, and that are waterproof too.

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Sony WH-1000XM4: Unboxing & Initial Thoughts

I was recently quite naughty and bought myself a new pair of headphones, the new Sony WH-1000XM4. You can read my article on why I bought it, and where I found the best deal ever online for the Sony WH-1000XM4 headphones at a cost of £244 – at a time where they cost about £350 on Amazon & other reputable sites.

I got the price wrong in the unboxing video below; also should have turned the phone around to get the full landscape view, so a couple of fails there.

Unboxing The Sony WH-1000XM4

My initial thoughts? I’ve not used the headphones much yet, but I’ve been easily able to hook it up to my laptop and my phone. It’s fairly similar to the XM3 in all honesty, from what I can tell initially. It’s hard to point to any real difference between the two the two headphones, but nonetheless I’m happy with the purchase and it’ll help with the Zoom calls I’ll undoubtedly be on for 2021.

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Sony WH-1000XM4: Cheapest Place To Buy Online & How I Saved £105!

Sony WH-1000XM4

A gift to myself just came through the post today. The new Sony WH-1000XM4 headphones.

I had actually broken my Sony WH-1000XM3 which I had only purchased at the start of 2020. They weren’t cheap when I bought them, so I was bitterly upset when they completely stopped working.

However, this was all through my own fault when moving house, and unfortunately I had dropped some heavy things on it and a crack formed on one side of the headphones which, eventually, led to its death after a couple months.

I had actually written an article on here at the start of December saying that I would NOT purchase the new Sony WH-1000XM4 headphones unless the price dropped to sub £300. This was basically due to the cost aspect as well as the WH-1000XM3 that I did have still was in working order and the difference between the two headphones was marginal in my opinion.

Then, I found a site online where I could buy it for a much cheaper price than on Amazon or directly through Sony (usually direct is the most expensive way). I was highly sceptical of the site, but the independent reviews I read were good. I did a bit of research on the site/business itself, and it all seemed legit.

Finding The Cheapest Deals Online For The Sony WH-1000XM4

For only £244 I was able to purchase brand new model headphones which retail at £350. I did some research online and did all of the searches on Google and Amazon to try to find the best deal. You’ll even see that on TechRadar’s ‘The best Sony WH-1000XM4 deals, sales and prices for December 2020‘ page they list ‘Today’s best deals’ which all show prices well above £300 and what I’d be willing to pay.

As you can see on the left, TechRadar’s widget for ‘best Sony WH-1000XM4 deals’ contains prices for the new headphones way above what I paid at £244.

Amazon selling at £349, SevenOaks – £349, and at Currys £349.

Read on, and you’ll see how I saved £105 by identifying a cheaper site to buy on.

So where exactly did I get this amazing deal?

The site that I got this from is a site called ‘Tech In The Basket’. Admittedly the site layout & design wasn’t convincing at first, but the price for sure was and I had to give it a go. I had my fears at first that it was not legitimate.

What really triggered me to buy was the fact they had the option to pay via PayPal. If I could pay via PayPal then I’d have pretty good buyer protection in the event that I didn’t receive what I ordered. I was thinking that I might get a piece of paper with the headphones printed on them for the fantastic & bargain price of £244.

Sony WH1000XM4 Cheapest Deal

NOTE: I have NO affiliation with this company whatsoever and my recommendation to use them is purely based on my own purchase of these headphones via them.

I took the plunge and purchased. The headphones, in my excitement, arrived today and they were all what I had expected of them to be. Legit, original headphones from Sony via Tech In The Basket.

What was shipping like and how quickly did it arrive?


I put the order in with the ‘Free Saver Shopping’ option at no cost, and the headphones arrived today. The order went in on the 24th of December, so it took about 8 days to arrive or 6 business days via Royal Mail:


Final thoughts

It then got me thinking, despite all the major sites like Amazon, TechRadar, and Tom’s Guide were all showing prices way above the price on Tech In The Basket. It pays to do further research in finding the actual best deals you can find on the internet rather than blindly following what sites are saying that have the best deal. So far, this is the cheapest site I’ve found for these headphones on and I’m sure they have other products too which are much, much cheaper than anywhere else too.

Update: I’ve just posted my unboxing video for these headphones.

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Sony’s WH1000-MX3 vs WH1000-XM4 Wireless Headphones

Sony WH1000-XM2

Are you looking for new wireless headphones? Then perhaps checkout the Sony WH1000-MX3. Whilst Sony have come out with the upgraded WH1000-MX4 (Released in August 2020), the MX3 is almost the same in terms of design and output, but with a much smaller price tag.

Price: WH1000-MX3 vs WH1000-MX4

As of today, you can buy the Sony WH1000-MX3 for a cool £219, whilst the latest model, the WH1000-MX3 costs £349 – a price difference of about £130. So is the later model worth the extra cash?

 

 

 

 

 

Design: WH1000-MX3 vs WH1000-MX3

As you can see from the pictures above, the design itself doesn’t look too different. In fact they are almost identical if not the same. If we look back to the XM2, there are what I’d say are notable differences in look & feel from the XM3. Sony’s taken the decision to keep with a very similar design to the XM3.

Having used the XM3 for over a year now, I can say that the quality of the headphones is sharp and is truly a well and tested set of wireless headphones. It is comfortable, has great sound quality, and is stylish. It’s an easy buy if you are willing to shell out £219 for one of the best wireless headphones on the market.

Should you look to future proof and get the XM4? 

In order for us to be able to identify any benefits of the XM4, we must first list the differences with Sony’s latest flagship wireless headphone model vs the XM3. From there, it’s up to you as the reader and consumer to decide whether the ‘upgrade’ to the XM4 is worth the additional £130.

XM4 differences

New Features in the XM4

  • Wearing Detection: automatic pause, helps prolong battery life despite the XM3 & XM4 matching equally with 30 hours of battery life on full charge. Wearing detection is proven to help prolong battery life. But with 30 hours of battery life, can you go wrong with the XM3?
  • The XM4 is slightly lighter than the XM3, with the XM3 weighing in at 255g and the XM4 weighing a gram lighter at 254g.
  • The XM4’s earpads are 10% larger the XM3’s, a difference because the XM4s are touted to be more comfortable.
  • The XM4 has Sony’s latest and greatest technology, the DSEE Extreme. The XM3s feature the DSEE HX chip. Both are excellent, but Sony’s latest technology features the Edge-AI artificial intelligence package which allows for much more accurate sound.
  • Speak to chat feature: The XM4 features a new feature which recognises your voice and lowers the volume automatically. There’s also improved call quality offered in the latest model.

Verdict: I won’t be upgrading to the XM4, and am fairly satisfied with the XM3. The new features above don’t really do enough for me to be able to put down my current XM3s. However, I will consider the XM4s in the future once the price drops to £250-£300 range, though given it was only just released in August 2020, it might be a while before we see any price drops.

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Top 5 Benefits to Using Ceiling Speakers with Sonos

Ceiling Speaker Benefits

Traditionally we are used to speakers mounted to the wall or positioned on a floor stand, where the sound is coming from the sides. Now with the growing popularity of wireless speakers, more people are looking to install Sonos ceiling speakers to use as part of a home theatre system.

The problem with floor stands and built-in speakers is that they take up valuable space. For ultimate surround sound experience, you need a minimum of five speakers. So having all of these positioned around a small room can be unpractical and positioning many floor stands in different corners of the room is not going to deliver the best sound quality.

A popular solution is to use a combination of floor stands and in-ceiling speakers as the front and rear left and right speakers.

As ceilings are free of obstacles they can be a great place to install speakers. The best position for your ceiling speakers will depend on the ceiling architecture. We would recommend looking at your primary seating position first, making sure the front and rear speakers are positioned at equal distances from where you sit.

Our top 5 ceiling speaker benefits

Here are the top reasons to consider installing ceiling speakers with your Sonos:

  1. Not as expensive as you might think Most cheap ceiling speakers offer both great sound quality and value for money. Installing a set of brand new ceiling speakers in your living room will certainly not break the bank.
  2. Impressive sound quality Despite the small size ceiling speakers are capable of delivering richly detailed sound from up above.
  3. Great space saver When there is no space for floor stands to position your wireless speakers, or you just want to be free of clutter… Then ceiling speakers are the perfect space-saving solution.
  4. Visually pleasing The aesthetics are visually pleasing to look at with no visible cables just flush ceiling speaker grilles. Best of all your speakers are completely safe up in the ceiling so they will not get damaged by kids.
  5. Easy to install We find ceiling speakers are much easier to install than in-wall speakers. Wiring cables and cutting holes in the ceiling is a simple DIY task. In-wall speakers can be a little more tricky, as you will need to run the cables down the inside wall cavity.

Ceiling speakers can also be used just for listening to music and do not have to be part of a home cinema surround.

Things to consider before buying a ceiling speaker

When buying a ceiling speaker you should first consider what room it will be used in and what type of ceiling speaker is required. If you only need a speaker to stream music in a small bedroom or kitchen, you might not need to install more than two low power ceiling speakers.

For home theatre then you would need something more powerful. You may also need moisture-proof speakers for playing music in the bathroom. More expensive ceiling speakers have adjustable tweeters so you can get the best direction for bass and treble.

Read our complete guide to Sonos in-ceiling speakers for more information.

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Sonos PLAY:1 vs Bose Soundtouch 10 – Which is best?

Sonos PLAY1 vs Bose Soundtouch 10

The way we listen to our music at home has evolved over the years. Alongside innovations in streaming services and travel-friendly portable devices, the multi-room wireless speaker industry is ever-developing to meet customer demand.

Two such products designed in response to this are the PLAY:1 by Sonos, and the Soundtouch 10 by Bose. These wireless speakers both offer an affordable and convenient music player for your home. With the option to add further speakers in other rooms to create a multi-room setup.

Despite their fundamental similarities, both items have strengths and weaknesses that could make either ideal or unsuitable depending on your needs. In this post, we will be looking at what distinguishes each product, how they measure up against each other and ultimately determine which one is right for you.

Design

Both the Sonos PLAY:1 and the Bose SoundTouch 10 are compact pieces of gear, designed for aesthetic appeal and offering far more than their diminutive size would suggest.

The PLAY:1 is the smallest and cheapest speaker in the Sonos range, offering an affordable yet sleekly designed multi-room option. The plastic top and bottom serve mainly as functional bookends to the thick one-piece metal grille that curves smoothly around the centre. This gives the PLAY:1 the same visual appeal as its more expensive siblings in the Sonos range.

Standing at a modest 16cm tall, the PLAY:1 will fit snugly in most places. This makes it ideal for placing on a bookshelf, the corner of a desk, or even left somewhere convenient in the kitchen. Its timeless and robust design will suit most homes, and it packs the kind of weight that lets you know you own a high-quality piece of kit. The PLAY:1 also comes in black or white, allowing you to pick the one that suits you best.

The Bose Soundtouch 10 is a Sonos alternative that carries certain similarities to the PLAY:1 in its design. It too comes in black or white, and whilst it is marginally larger than the PLAY:1 it is still certainly compact enough to fit in your living space. It is also narrower than the PLAY:1, allowing you to place it wherever you like.

This classic design may be very functional but it fails to capture the visual appeal of the PLAY:1. It is worth remembering, however, that this is a music player and its appearance should not be given undue or excessive importance.

Functions

It is here that we start to see how the PLAY:1 and Soundtouch 10 really differ. While both are fundamentally music speakers, the different features they offer may be what influences your decision to purchase one over the other.

The Sonos PLAY:1 is simple to set up and sports an easy-to-use app that allows you to connect and stream music through services such as Spotify, Soundcloud and Napster, as well as the content stored on your phone and computer. Notably, however, at the time of writing, there is no iTunes Radio or Airplay streaming option. Neither is there an official Sonos Windows Phone app, effectively meaning that owners of Windows phones have their options severely limited with the PLAY:1.

There is likewise no aux input or even a Bluetooth connectivity option, with all streaming being done via the internal PLAY:1 wifi system that devices will connect to. This means that an internet connection is constantly needed to make use of the speaker, which obviously may be an issue if your internet service provider is not the most reliable or you live in an area with poor signal. You can purchase a Sonos Boost to remedy signal problems but this is a pricey solution to an already pricey speaker.

For those happy to fully embrace wireless streaming, however, the PLAY:1 offers a simple yet beautifully effective hardware setup. There is only an Ethernet socket, play/pause button, and volume rocker, making this a streamlined listening experience. The Play:1 and Sonos speaker range has a wide selection of Sonos accessories such as Sonos floor stands available from different suppliers and manufacturers. Flexson is an online company who build high-quality wall mounts and other useful accessories made specifically for the Sonos speaker range.

The Bose Soundtouch 10, meanwhile, likewise offers wifi connectivity but supports only Spotify, Deezer and internet radio. However, with its Bluetooth functionality, it can be used to, connect various audio sources as long as the streaming device stays within range. It also thankfully has a 3.5mm input which makes more traditional connectivity possible.

There are control buttons on the speaker along with a remote control which makes interacting with the Soundtouch 10 simple and easy. This is combined with the optional presets that makes it arguably more versatile than the PLAY:1.

Sound Quality

For all the differences between the PLAY:1 and Soundtouch 10, many will find the actual audio quality to be the most important factor in deciding which to purchase.

The Sonos PLAY 1 has one driver for the mid and bass frequencies and another for the treble. This is typical of bookshelf speakers, though the PLAY:1 has a modified design that allows it more internal cone movement than normal. Consequently, the Play:1 delivers an extraordinary level of audio quality for such a small speaker.

This new design also allows the sound to fill out a room much better, making the PLAY 1 punch well above its weight. Bass frequencies are full and deep, the mid-range is defined and weighty, while the treble is clear and devoid of the scratchiness you find in cheaper speakers.

Unfortunately the same cannot be said about the Bose Soundtouch 10, which trails behind the PLAY1 in sound quality. While both are mono speakers, the Soundtouch 10 lacks the impressive performance that makes the PLAY:1 a joy to own

The Soundtouch 10 is very warm in its audio delivery, which may suit certain styles of music. For most genres, however, this warmth results in the music sounding muddy and poorly defined. Lower mids are swallowed up by overenthusiastic bass frequencies, and this is only made worse by the distortion that becomes evident as the volume increases.

Less discerning listeners may not notice the shortcoming in the sound quality of the Soundtouch 10, but few could honestly call its performance much more than adequate.

So which is best?

The Sonos PLAY:1 and Bose Soundtouch 10 both offer advantages and disadvantages depending on where your priorities lie. The PLAY:1 gives superior sound and aesthetic appeal, while the Soundtouch 10 offers more input options and convenience through its remote control.

Ultimately, however, this is a music player and many will base their decision primarily on the quality of the audio output. In this regard, for those happy to exclusively use its streaming functions, the Sonos PLAY 1 presents a clear winner. Those more concerned with having an aux input and greater ease of use may prefer the Soundtouch 10, but for many, this will not be a sufficient substitute for the superior audio quality of the PLAY:1.