Sony WF-1000XM4 Review

Real cordless earbud market sprung into life in 2016, and also arguably no-brand has channelled its focus as much as Sony.

Sony WF-1000XM4 Review

Sony’s very first earbuds gotten here in 2017 in the WF-1000X. They divorced themselves from the safety-first approach of first-gen devices with a sound-first mindset. In spite of some problems the WF-1000X were, mostly, successful.

The WF-1000XM3 showed up two years later, enhancing the original. It was a second-gen device that felt as if true cordless earbuds were meeting their potential.

Now the WF-1000XM4 have shown up as the marketplace enters a more mature stage. There’s less of a feeling of the unknown as well as less concession, too. True wireless earbuds are pushing versus their full-sized equivalents in terms of features, as well as the audio is getting to high degrees of quality.

So let’s get it out of the way. The WF-1000XM4 are Sony’s finest real wireless pair yet. The inquiry given the boost in competitors as well as top quality is whether the WF-1000XM4 are the best true wireless earbuds offered?

The Sony WF-1000XM4 takes place sale June 2021 for a price of ₤ 250/ EUR280. For those regions that’s a ₤ 30/ EUR30 rise on to the WF-1000XM3.

They do match other costly earbuds from Apple as well as Bose but are still listed below devices from Bang & Olufsen (₤ 399) or Bowers & Wilkins for (₤ 349).

Aesthetically the WF-1000XM4 notes a change in type. They’re shaped extra like the majority of earbuds, embracing the ‘ear trombone’ look that’s less ornate than the WF-1000XM3.

It’s an adjustment that makes them extra compact 10% less quantity and also while that appears small, the earbuds now rest within the ear rather than bulge out.

They do not produce the oily really feeling the WF-1000XM3 could now and then. The more ergonomic form fits the contours of the ear better, and also the XM4 really feel much more stable than the already rather strong XM3.

As soon as the best position has actually been located, they remain planted. Would I advise them for workouts? I’ve not taken them for a run, but potentially yes, as well as unlike their predecessor these earbuds don’t need pushes after the reality to keep them seated.

There is, I find, a settling in period though. With my ear form, they’ll slot in, and after that comes a period where you discover their presence. When that passes, they’re great. If anything, the longer I used them, the much more comfortable they were.

The fit is assisted by brand-new polyurethane noise seclusion ear-tips. With little as well as huge options along with default tool, the ear-tips feature hundreds of little bubbles that dissipate noise, and also in addition, mould themselves to the contours of the ear for a tighter fit.

I could also listen to the bubbles ‘fizz’ in my left ear as I pressed the earbud in (which I visualize could freak some out). You might source various other ear-tips, yet the sound isolation would be hampered. You can likewise switch sizes for every ear (they’re color coded) for a better fit.

The matte black (or platinum silver) finish is not as alluring as the previous versions, though those gold accents, especially on the outside microphone, make them unique. I simulate what Sony has actually performed with the ‘real feel’ of the touch control location. The rubbery facet provides a responsive feeling of interaction, and like the PI7, the impact is refined but enhances the link in between you as well as earbuds.

The controls are receptive, with a variety of alternatives that consists of turning on noise cancelling/ambient sound/Quick Focus, playback (a combination of faucets for play/pause, avoiding and a lengthy press for voice aid), and also volume control.

Which function is appointed to which earbud can be configured in the Headphones application. You will certainly need to choose between the 3 choices (one for each and every side), which suggests you will have to fish your smart device bent on complete among those activities. A mild trouble.

The charging instance has actually been minimized in dimension as well as is all the much better for it. Where the WF-1000X and also WF-1000XM3 situations were chunky, the WF-1000XM4’s situation is among the pocketable, and also petite around. It makes them a lot more hassle-free for transportation.

Sony WF-1000XM4

The product packaging for the earbuds has actually also been fine-tuned, lowered in size and also made from lasting resources. It’s not quite what you would certainly expect from a premium pair of earbuds, but it is an extra responsible method.


New, much more reliable V1 processor.
Improved battery life.
Comprehensive line up of features.
The factor Sony avoided the WF-1000XM2 was to show the full-sized and also real wireless XM3 designs were of the very same family tree. If the XM3 were close, after that the XM4 designs are linked. Feature-wise, whatever on the full-sized XM4 is available right here.

The XM4 family members no more shares a cpu like the XM3s did, though. The WF-1000XM4 bids farewell to the HD Sound Cancelling Processor QN1e chip, and also hi to the V1 cpu. The V1 integrates the noise cancelling processing and also Bluetooth SoC (System on Chip) where previously they were different, and that has actually created efficiencies across the feature set.

One such effectiveness is battery life. With sound cancelling on, the number priced estimate is the same. But the battery pack is smaller sized (40% much less volume), so Sony has extracted the exact same quantity of endurance as a result of the V1’s power performance.

Otherwise, the Sony WF-1000XM4 quotes 8 hrs per earbud, a boost of two from WF-1000XM3. While I’ve refrained from doing any kind of sort of battery drainpipe, that appears around the ballpark with basic usage. If you use them constantly, it does feel like the battery life is a little less.

With noise terminating off, battery life is quoted at 12 hours. The case supplies 3 charges (rather than four), but the optimum the WF-1000XM4 can hit is 36 hours, 4 much better than WF-1000XM3. Those are strong gains, however you consider it.

Sony states the XM4 reduces better than the XM3, as well as I would certainly agree. The WF-1000XM4 stifles audios with more accuracy. Sony also asserts the XM4’s sound termination is sector leading. I’m not exactly sure I ‘d agree with that.

That’s not to say the XM4’s sound cancelling is not one of one of the most emphatic. However, to my ears, the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds suppress noises with even more effect. We could be talking fractions of decibels (if that’s a point).

Give them both a shipment bike, the sight of which has become very typical, and also the Sony eliminates sound to leave the bike’s engine spluttering. The Bose do similar, but they provide the bike’s engine as if it’s developed a sickly splutter and also is bordering closer to the scrapyard.

So while the XM4 are indisputably impressive, extra so than (nearly) any type of earbud I’ve stumbled upon, I do not believe they are quite as pious in their sound cancelling praise as the Bose. I’ll concede that there’s not much in it, and much more testing may change issues.

The Sony dissipates big vehicles like vehicles and also buses effortlessly, squashes fire engines to the point where the alarm handles a dull tone. Variety Rovers are transformed right into Prius autos, close-by discussions in purchasing isles come to be murmurs, and the sound of tyres on wet roads simply evaporates.

Wind noise is smoothed out (far better than the Bose), though I have actually yet to experience it in gusting conditions. The fryer in a fish and also chip shop is neutralised totally, and also in general, the world dies down to the point where taking the earbuds out, everything ends up being so loud. The WF-1000XM4’s noise cancelling is widely remarkable, no doubt.

Equally as excellent is the earbuds’ Ambient Mode, which lets audio infiltrate as if you’re not wearing them in any way. It’s extremely clear, and also offers an excellent situational recognition.

The only mild issue with both sound cancelling as well as ambient setting, is that they seem a little conscious some things passing by. It provides this feeling of the sound cancelling or passthrough broadening or lowering ever so slightly.

Sony is highlighting an upgraded version of its Headphone app after the WF-1000XM4 announcement. There’s no change in look, but there are some notable new functions.

There’s a test that figures out whether the ear-tips are firmly in place, with the friend app playing an audio that measures how air-tight the seal is. My left ear always appeared to be a problem, yet then that’s the factor it’s good to know where you can optimise.

It’s visibility, nevertheless, is an additional reason that I ‘d give Bose the side. With the XM4 you do need to adjust and measure to get that excellent fit. The Bose functions right out of the billing situation.

The Ambient Audio Control can be modified, so you can toggle in between sound cancelling, ambient setting or Off. You can adjust the EQ settings, make it possible for the Flexible Sound Control so the headphones recognise frequent haunts and instantly adjusts the noise cancelling account among many more customisations. It’s extremely detailed.

Various other features include Speak to Conversation, which a) promptly detects when you’re talking as well as stops songs as well as works as meant. Quick Interest Mode accomplishes a similar impact, but nudges the quantity down and also maintains songs going. Wear discovery quits as well as restarts music when the earbuds are obtained.

Voice assistants (Google and Alexa) can be triggered by a wake word, as well as you can assign the earbuds to dial up whatever general voice aide attributes on the device.

Fast-pairing with Android gadgets makes new pairing fast as well as easy. You can watch battery alerts for the earbuds and charging instance on display, as well as the Sony WF-1000XM4 likewise sustains the ‘Locate My’ attribute. In case they go missing, you can sound them or check for their last recognized place.

Sony’s premium earbuds lastly (finally!) have an IPX4 water resistance. I’ve yet to take them for a run, however including this makes XM4 an option for exercises and runs.

Where wireless connectivity is concerned, simultaneous transmission is the order of the day (audio is sent to both left as well as best earbuds at the same time). The effectiveness of the V1 cpu likewise declares to present an extra steady link and fewer audio skips. I have actually only run into a few minor spots in the week and also a little screening, without sustained dropouts or questionable connections until now.

An additional location Sony claims they’ve improved is call quality The XM4’s microphones as well as sensors consisting of that gold ‘smoke shaft’ outside are created to grab voices with beamforming and bone transmission.

Does it work? On an active highway the individual on the various other end claimed it was tough to recognize my voice from the history noise, as if I “was battling versus it”. A move to a quieter roadway and also my voice came through “perfectly” with crystal clear clearness. That recommends that the WF-1000XM4’s are still sensitive to history sound, specifically in very loud areas.

Are you as worn down as I am? Well, there are a couple of even more things. Bluetooth is the 5.2 variation, and also codec support ranges from SBC, AAC and LDAC. LDAC opens the link pipeline, enabling better music to be channelled through.

I was under the impact that Sony headphones picked the codec depending on the high quality of music. What in fact happens (for those unaware) is the WF-1000XM4 selects the finest codec available and maintains it.

So regardless of whether it’s a bitrate starved Spotify stream, Tidal Master or high-res Qobuz track, if your mobile phone supports LDAC, the Sony WF-1000XM4 establishes an LDAC connection for all those streams. And also with the DSEE Extreme toggled on, Sony declares the XM4 upscales lower top quality streams to near high-res top quality.

If you haven’t got the message yet, Sony WF-1000XM4 can do a whole lot. While I’m uncertain if the noise cancelling is truly the market gold standard, I have no qualms regarding just how reliable it is. I can not think of any other real wireless that uses a dish as full as the XM4. I’m feeling instead stuffed.

Sound high quality.
Music, natural, well balanced presentation
Versatile performance
So the WF-1000XM4’s layout is an enhancement, the attribute collection is as full as ever before and also the sound termination stands out. However what of the sound?

The WF-1000XM4 are the finest-sounding earbuds I’ve heard. They are as good, if not far better, as a large swathe of full-sized earphones.

Like the WF-1000XM3, they’re flexible, communicating any type of music genre you like.

It’s instead challenging to define their sound besides I couldn’t think of how tracks can appear any different. Instruments have an all-natural quality to them an excellent sense of integrity to the point where it sounds like you’re amongst the band itself.

Neglect spatial noise with Dolby Atmos and even Sony’s 360 Reality Audio (sustained below too), the WF-1000XM4 submerse purely on the stamina of their presentation.

They’re energised when required, substantial in other regards as well as subtle when asked for. The mid-range is exceptional, while high frequency notes are dramatically made and bracingly clear in a track.

Bass is whatever you like: huge, taut, punchy, the Sonys seemingly skilled with all kinds. Tonal equilibrium is remarkably naturalistic. It seems rather pointless applying descriptors like heat, neutrality or brightness– every little thing sounds as it needs to among the WF-1000XM4.

Compare them to the B&W PI7, a wireless earbud that’s all about high fidelity– as well as there’s an extra marked feeling of dynamism, circulation as well as size to the WF-1000XM4’s method.

Voices are explained with feeling. With the Sony’s more determined feeling of dynamism. Voices are drawn ahead and also fill in the soundstage.

Their character and tone is not different to the WF-1000XM3, which still stand up. But the XM4 squeeze out more dynamism where the XM3 appear a little heavy-handed. There’s a surer sense of bass handling, even more focus and also far better organisation. I could sum up the difference as crashing cymbals have ‘tsk’ noise on the XM4 rather than the XM3’s ‘tch’. It’s a finer, subtler and all round more fantastic efficiency.

The WF-1000XM4 doesn’t end up making the XM3 noise crude as the over-ear XM4 did to its precursor, but the renovations boost Sony’s true cordless series to a greater level.

Much as I have commented in the WF-1000XM3 evaluation, the Sony WF-1000XM4’s presentation is similarly measured, balanced as well as highly music however even more so. They’re downplayed, as well as stand up to laying a heavy hand on music, using a significant quantity of subtlety.


Sony’s WF-1000XM4 boosts over their predecessor in terms of layout as well as comfort, the attribute collection is comprehensive, the noise cancellation once again is impressive, and also there’s no finer-sounding real wireless on the market than the Sony. They sound definitely superb.

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