ANC Test: Apple AirPods Pro vs Sony WF-1000XM3

Apple has recently introduced its latest AirPods Pro with built-in active noise cancellation (ANC) technology, that currently only have one direct competitor i.e. Sony’s WF-1000XM3 ANC Truly Wireless Earphones.

In addition to being both wireless and featuring Active Noise Cancellation, both also support Bluetooth 5.0 connectivity. The AirPods Pro, however, don’t support NFC, but do have Apple’s latest H1 chip that makes it a breeze to pair with iOS devices and also quick connectivity to iCloud devices. The new AirPods also have an IPX4 sweat and water resistance rating, not found in Sony’s earbuds.

But the big question is, which of the two earbuds offers better active noise cancellation. According to one test shared on Reddit, it seems the AirPods offer equal or slightly better noise cancellation than WF’s under 1.5KHz, although it gets worse above it, possibly due to subpar passive isolation.

The chart was from French website Clubic performing the ANC test. The chart seen above is a modified version shared by a Redditor, adding labels to the lines.

As for what the graph means, the vertical axis shows decibels, while the horizontal axis represents frequencies from 20-20000 hertz. The red line is the reference line, meaning sound without headphones or earbuds. The AirPods Pro in dark green falls below the red line with its ANC. Being lower from the red line represents noise cancelling.

The above graph shows the ANC performance of AirPods Pro in green and Sony’s in Blue, while the red line is the reference. The orange line in the graph, which clearly shows the best performance by a decent margin, reflects the ANC capability of Sony’s WH-1000XM3 over-ear headphones.

In other news, has anyone figured out why Sony has the most confusing model names for its headphones?

Apple’s AirPods Pro cost $329 in Canada, available on and authorized retailers.