Bose and Sony make two of the best over-ear noise-canceling (ANC) headphones on the consumer market. ANC is a feature that uses anti-sound waves to create a silent room between your ears and can nearly eliminate jet engine noise on a flight for example. Until now though the tech to make ANC work was bulky, limiting it to full size headphones. With the new releases of the Sony WF-1000XM3 and Bose QuietComfort Earbuds, ANC has made its way into portable buds with varying results.

You can see the difference between the Bose QC Earbuds and Sony WF-1000XM3 in the video above but here’s a hint: if you value sound quality and good ANC, you’re going to have to pay for it.

Bose QC, Clunky King

The QC are function over design… sort of. The function isn’t all that great (my full review here) except when it comes to two features you may have guessed. It’s hard to compare the Bose QC to the Sony WF-1000XM3 in terms of sound quality and ANC since Bose has brought the over-ear quality to their earbuds. Just about everything else with the physical design could be refined, the touch controls improved, and the Bose Music app enhanced. But for those of you who really care about ANC – frequent flyers especially – the Bose are a class ahead of the WF-1000XM3.

bose quietcomfort earbuds

Sony’s Slimming Down

On the other hand, the Sony WF-1000XM3 are what you wish Bose’s headphones looked like. They are earbuds are smaller and the charging case is slimmer, more pocket-able, and gives you 18 hours of additional charge (versus 12 for the Bose). You can watch my full review of the Sony WF-1000XM3 in the video below.

How To Decide

With the Sony now floating on sale to prices half that of the Bose QC (just keep watching for discounts) they’re a much more attractive option. Unless you’re looking to completely replace your over-ear headphones, fly frequently, or place a high value on premium sound quality and are willing to pay for it, the Sony WF-1000XM3 have a lot to offer. A lot to offer when they’re on sale for significantly less than the Bose QC.