Why it matters: Sony is introducing a new, more compact version of its excellent WH-1000XM3 noise-canceling headphones. Rather than being an over-ear model, the WF-1000XM3 are wireless earbuds that offer improvements over their big brother.

The WH-1000XM3’s noise-canceling abilities, audio performance, and many features made the $348 headphones one of our IFA 2018 top picks and a category winner in our Best of Headphones feature.

The earbud version boasts a HD Noise Cancelling Processor QN1e chip—a step up from the QN1 chip found in the WH-1000XM3. This is used to cancel ambient sound captured by the pair of microphones placed on each bud.

The chip is what gives the WF-1000XM3 its incredible sound, thanks to 24-bit audio signal processing and DAC with amplifier. You also get Sony’s Digital Sound Enhancement Engine HX, which upscales compressed digital music files to improve their quality.

Sony says the buds come with a newly developed Bluetooth chip, which offers precise left and right syncing. When teamed with the new optimized antenna structure, users get a highly stable connection along with improved latency.

Better efficiency is another feature of the QN1e chip. The WF-1000XM3 buds have six hours of battery life, while the accompanying charging case can power them three times for a total of 24 hours listening time. They also have a quick-charge function, meaning you can get 90 minutes of use from a 10-minute charge.

While walking around with noise-canceling earbuds can be dangerous, the Quick Attention mode lets you quickly lower the volume and allows the ambient noise in, just by placing a finger over the left bud—helpful when you're crossing a road.

The Sony WF-1000XM3 will be available in black and platinum silver and launch in mid-August, priced at $230.

Those looking for a pair of WH-1000XM3 over-ear headphones can get a free pair if they pre-order Sony’s Xperia 1 handset.