Sony WF-SP800N vs WF-1000XM3 (2020): Which Are the Better Noise-Canceling Earbuds?

The globally-famous Japanese tech giant Sony just unveiled its newest noise-canceling earbuds, the Sony WF-SP800N. Apart from the new earbuds being water-resistant, how else are they different from the similarly-priced Sony WF-1000XM3 noise-canceling earbuds? We review their specs and features to find out which wireless earbuds are the better buy in 2020. 

Sony WF-SP800N vs WF-1000XM3 Wireless Earbuds Comparison Chart

ModelSony WF-SP800NSony WF-1000XM3
 Sony WF-SP800N Truly Wireless Sports in-Ear Noise Canceling Headphones with mic for Phone Call, Blue  Sony WF-1000XM3 Industry Leading Noise Canceling Truly Wireless Earbuds Headset/Headphones with...
PriceCheck Price on Amazon  Check Price on Amazon
Charging Case Dimensions75 x 48 x 20 mm80.7 x 40 x29.2 mm
Special FeaturesActive Noise Cancellation, Waterproof, EXTRA BASSActive Noise Cancellation with HD noise-canceling
ANC Levels33
Customizable EQYesYes

Up to 9 hours

Additional 9 hours more from the charging case with ANC on

Up to 26 hours with ANC off

Up to 6 hours

Additional 18 hours more from the charging case

Quick Charging10 minutes for up to 1 hour more10 minutes for up to 90 minutes more
Water ResistanceIP55N/A
BluetoothVersion 5.0Version 5.0
Extra BassYesNo
Audio CodecsSBC, AACSBC, AAC
Touch ControlsYesYes
Voice ControlsYesYes
App ControlSony Headphones ConnectSony Headphones Connect
NFC PairingYesYes

Color Options

Blue, Black, Orange, White (varies by region)Black, Silver



Design and Build

While they have similar profiles and high-quality build, the WF-Sp800Ns look more robust than the sleek WF-1000XM3s

design and build quality
The Sony WF-SP800Ns (left) have ear hooks that provide a more secure fit 

Both the WF-Sp800N and the WF-1000XM3s are designed with Sony’s Ergonomic Tri-hold structure that’s typical in in-ear headphones. However, these noise-canceling earbuds are marketed towards different types of users, and their design and build reflect that. The WF-1000XM3s and their matte finish look more sleek and elegant, but the WF-SP800Ns sport a more robust build.  Designed with active users in mind, the new Sony SP800Ns are equipped with ear hooks to ensure a more secure fit. The WF-1000XM3s also fit snugly but may need adjustment from time to time when working out, running, or training. 

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Both the Sony WF-SP800N and the WF-1000XM3s have a responsive touch panel on each earbud for touch controls. Their cases are compact and can fit most pockets, but the WF-SP800N’s is slightly smaller. When it comes to colors, the new WF-SP800Ns come in more vibrant colors like orange and blue. Meanwhile, the WF-1000XM3s are available in black and silver.

Noise Cancellation

Both Sony wireless headphones offer active noise cancellation, but the WF-1000XM3s work slightly better  

noise cancelation
The WF-Sp800N (left) and the WF-1000XM3 (right) can block out ambient noise effectively

Both the WF-Sp800N and the WF-1000XM3 wireless headphones are equipped with Sony’s top-notch noise-canceling essentials. These include the following:

  • digital noise-canceling 
  • Adaptive Sound Control that can detect your activity and adjust noise-cancellation and ambient settings automatically
  • Ambient Sound Mode for instances where you need to hear your surroundings
  • Quick Attention feature which lets in ambient sound or turns the volume down so you can talk to someone with a tap of a finger

While they both feature digital noise-cancellation, the WF-1000XM3’s is slightly better as they are equipped with Sony’s HD Noise-Canceling Processor QN1e and Dual Noise Sensor Technology. With that said, both work well with blocking out external noise. When it comes to audio calls, their ANC can work wonders for the call quality. This makes your voice sound clearer for the person on the other line. 

Audio Quality

The Sony WF-SP800Ns boast EXTRA BASS whereas the WF-1000XM3s deliver a cleaner, neutral profile

audio quality sony wf
These wireless noise-canceling headphones produce clear, undistorted sound

The Sony WF-SP800N earbuds come packed with special features, and Sony’s EXTRA BASS is one of them. Expect deep, punchy bass that is perfect for headphone users who often listen to pop, EDM, or rap music. Even with deep bottom-ends, their highs and are sharp and undistorted.  In contrast, the Sony WF-1000XM3s offer a more neutral profile that may appeal to a wider range of listeners. Where the WF-1000XM3s shine is in their crisp vocals and clear sound separation. 

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Whatever your preferred sound profile is, both Sony noise-canceling earbuds let you customize their EQ settings through the Sony Headphones Connect app. You can choose from EQ presets or play with the EQ settings to achieve the sound profile that best suits your taste.  

Set up and Controls

Both the Sony WF-SP800N and the WF-1000XM3s use Bluetooth 5.0 and offer touch, voice, and app controls

quick attention mode sony wf-sp800n vs wf-1000xm3 (4)
A gentle tap on the touch panel lets you hear ambient sound, a handy feature when you need to talk to someone

Equipped with Bluetooth 5.0, both the Sony WF-SP800N and the WF-1000XM3 have solid and stable connectivity. Unlike most wireless earbuds that have master and slave connection, the WF-SP800N and the WF-1000XM3 simultaneously send the sound to both left and right earbuds. This allows for a more reliable connection and better audio latency performance. Furthermore, they have NFC connectivity, which makes pairing to any iOS or Android device a breeze. 

Both the WF-SP800N and the WF-1000XM3s can be set up with smart voice assistants such as Amazon Alexa, Siri, or Google Assistant. They can further be controlled through touch features on each earbud or through the Sony app. Should you have your preferred touch features, you can customize them on the Sony app as well. 

Battery Life and Additional Features

With ANC on, the Sony WF-SP800Ns offer up to 18 hours of battery life whereas the WF-1000XM3s give up to 24 hours of playtime; the WF-SP800Ns are splash and dust-resistant 

water-resistant sony wf-sp800n
The Sony WF-SP800Ns are IP55-rated

The Sony WF-SP800N wireless earbuds can run for 9 hours with ANC on and their charging case adds 9 hours of extra juice. A quick 10-minute charge will give you 60 minutes of runtime. Meanwhile, the WF-1000XM3 wireless earbuds deliver up to 6 hours of battery life, but their charging case packs 18 hours more of battery life. You’ll get an extra 90 minutes of playtime when you charge the 1000XM3s for 10 minutes. 

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For users who live an active lifestyle and love the outdoors, the IP55-rated WF-SP800Ns are the better fit. The WF-SP800Ns are dust and water-resistant, so you can wash them under the sink or get drenched under the rain while wearing them. In contrast, the WF-1000XM3s are not water-resistant and are more for home, office, or travel use. 



The Sony WF-SP800N are more versatile than the WF-1000XM3s, but the latter has slightly better ANC

With water and dust-resistance, extra bass, and digital noise-cancellation, the Sony WF-SP800Ns are packed with more features than the WF-1000XM3s, which means the former SP800Ns offer better value for your money. If you plan on using your wireless noise-canceling earbuds for workouts, the WF-SP800Ns are a no-brainer. However, if you only want to use them for casual use at work, home, or during commutes, then the WF-1000XM3s and their slightly better noise-cancellation are the better fit for you. 

Last update on 2020-05-26 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Rhodaline Escala-Phelps
Rhodaline Escala-Phelps

Managing Editor and Team Leader at Compare Before Buying. Writer and researcher passionate about people, product comparisons, culture, and current events.