Sony WH-1000XM4 Review: A Stellar Upgrade in Noise-Canceling Headphones
Written By Ramiz Haider
Ramiz Haider is a dedicated tech enthusiast with a passion for exploring the latest trends in mobile phones, accessories, home appliances, kitchen appliances, and laptops.
Through his insightful writings, he aims to provide readers with valuable information and guidance in the ever-evolving world of technology.
Trust his expertise to stay informed and make smart tech decisions.
Let me introduce you to a symphony of sound that has left an indelible mark on my auditory senses—the Sony WH-1000XM4. As a passionate listener of good music and an expert in cutting-edge technology, I truly was captivated by what these Sony headphones offered.
I believe these are the best noise-canceling headphones by Sony to date. What makes them different from its predecessor, the WH-1000XM3, and its competitors, like Bose NC 700 and AirPods Max? Well, I could go on and on, but I’ll let you read my review!
Design of Sony WH-1000XM4: Aesthetic Enhancements that Impress
The WH-1000XM4 features some notable aesthetic changes enhancing the overall design. The improvements are subtle and impactful, be it the slimmer cushioning on the headband or the redesigned ear pads that provide more surface area for a better fit.
One major difference that caught my attention was the soft rubberized finish on the WH-1000XM4, giving it a premium and durable feel compared to its predecessor’s plastic chassis. This change not only adds to the headphones‘ longevity but also eliminates the worry of stains and scratches that I encountered when using the WH-1000XM3.
I appreciate that Sony has retained the elements that worked well in the previous model, such as the copper accents, embossed logos, and convenient swivel mechanisms for easy storage. The number of buttons and their placement remain unchanged, ensuring a familiar and intuitive user experience.
Sony brings improvement with each of its product launches and it continues with WH-1000XM4. Despite being lighter and thinner than the WH-1000XM3, these headphones feel lighter than the Bose 700.
I experienced no discomfort during my extended use, thanks to the soft headband and plush cushioning on the earpads. The wider cutouts allow for better ventilation, preventing moisture buildup during long listening sessions.
Features and Controls of Sony WH-1000XM4: Intuitive and Responsive
Sony has kept the same touch panels and gestures that made the previous model so user-friendly, and I’m glad they did. The control scheme is simple and easy to operate, allowing seamless playback control, volume adjustment, and call management. What impressed me was the ability to fast-forward or rewind a song by performing the respective swipe gesture while leaving a finger on the touch panel, showcasing the headphones’ intuitive and responsive touch controls.
The WH-1000XM4 also introduces smart controls that further enhance the user experience. The on-ear detection feature automatically pauses or resumes playback when I remove or wear the headphones, adding convenience to my daily usage. The Quick Attention feature, triggered by placing my hand over the right earcup, allows me to have quick conversations without removing the headphones.
Additionally, the speak-to-chat feature intelligently pauses the music when I speak, thanks to the built-in mics and advanced signal processing. These features worked flawlessly, with minimal latency and impressive performance. Sony’s “Precise Voice Pickup” technology and built-in microphones ensure crystal-clear voice recognition and response. I found the headphones to excel in accurately registering voice commands and interacting with digital assistants such as Alexa, Google Assistant, and Siri.
Noise-Canceling and Ambient Sound of Sony WH-1000XM4: Immersive and Aware
The brand has spared no expense in enhancing the WH-1000XM4’s noise-cancellation capabilities. With two feedforward microphones and the proprietary Dual Noise Sensor technology powered by the HD Noise Cancelling Processor QN1 chip, these headphones effectively analyze and filter out ambient sounds. While I noticed minimal differences in noise neutralization compared to the WH-1000XM3, the overall results were still remarkable.
The WH-1000XM4 includes features like NC Optimizer, which tailors the listening experience based on head size, and Atmospheric Pressure Optimization, which adjusts pressure based on altitude. Although I couldn’t test these features personally, as I could not travel to different altitudes during my testing period, I appreciate Sony’s commitment to providing a customized and optimized listening experience for users in various environments.
What is it like to use the ambient sound mode of the Sony WH-1000XM4?
The Ambient Sound mode sets the WH-1000XM4 apart. This mode allows me to adjust the level of external sound I want to let in, letting me stay aware of my surroundings. The accessory offers different levels of ambient sound control, from fully blocking external noise to allowing specific sounds, such as voices or transportation announcements, to come through. This feature is particularly useful when I need to be aware of my surroundings, such as when walking on busy streets or commuting.
Audio Quality of Sony WH-1000XM4: Rich and Immersive
The WH-1000XM4 delivers an impressive audio experience, building upon the success of its predecessors. These headphones provide a loud and dynamic soundstage with excellent bass performance. The thumping beats and intricate details of hip-hop tracks come through with clarity and impact. The full-range sound reproduction shines when listening to jazz recordings, perfectly showcasing the subtle nuances and instrument separation.
The midrange frequencies are well-balanced, reproducing vocals and acoustic instruments accurately. The treble is crisp and detailed, offering an immersive listening experience across various genres. Sony’s Digital Sound Enhancement Engine HX (DSEE HX) upscaling technology further enhances the audio quality, restoring compressed audio files to near-high-resolution quality.
Battery Life of Sony WH-1000XM4: All-Day Listening
Sony claims a battery life of up to 30 hours with ANC enabled, which aligns with my testing. During my real-world usage, the WH-1000XM4 lasted multiple days on a single charge, even with several hours of continuous use each day. And when I disabled the ANC, it lasted around 38-40 hours.
The fast charging capability is another standout feature, offering five hours of playback with just a 10-minute charge. Additionally, the headphones support wired listening via the included audio cable, which is useful when you’re running low on battery or prefer a wired connection for audiophile-grade audio.
Connectivity of Sony WH-1000XM4: Seamless and Reliable
Sony has equipped the WH-1000XM4 with Bluetooth 5.0 technology, ensuring a stable and reliable wireless connection. During my testing, I experienced no issues with connectivity, and the headphones maintained a strong connection even when moving around my house or office.
The headphones also support multipoint pairing, allowing me to connect to two devices simultaneously, such as my smartphone and laptop, and seamlessly switch between them. This feature is incredibly convenient for those who need to stay connected across different devices throughout the day.
About the Brand
Sony is a leading brand, manufacturing tech products and providing other services for decades now. It is one of the most premium brands in the world.
Conclusion: A Worthy Successor
The Sony WH-1000XM4 undoubtedly raises the bar for noise-canceling headphones. Its sleek design, comfortable fit, intuitive controls, and stellar noise-canceling performance make it a top contender in the market. The audio quality is exceptional, providing a rich and immersive listening experience.
Sony’s attention to detail and the incorporation of advanced features like speak-to-chat and Quick Attention further enhance the user experience. While the WH-1000XM4 may face tough competition from the Bose 700, its impressive battery life, customizable sound, and overall value make it a highly recommended choice for audiophiles and frequent travelers alike.