Date of release 8/18/2020
Price $248 USD
Dimensions 1.2m (cable)
Weight 251 grams
Model Number WH-1000XM4
Waterproof No
Positives Negatives
Great noise cancelling The price is still high
Excellent sound quality Double-tap to pause did not always work
Bluetooth multipoint is extremely convenient Some bloatware is available
Multiple Bluetooth codecs supported (SBC, AAC, LDAC) The WH-1000XM3 is slightly more comfortable than the WH-1100XM3.
Bluetooth 5.0 The battery life has been reduced from the previous version
Battery life is excellent You can customize the button to control either the Assistant or noise cancellation
Comfortable, with hinges that allow for folding
When you take them off, auto-pause

The Sony WH1000XM4 headphones are finally available. The predecessor, the Sony WH1000XM3 headphones stole the crown from Bose when they were released in 2018, and we have waited for a successor ever since. Sony now has a new headset, which adds multipoint connectivity to the expense of aptX. Is it sufficient to compete with the crowded field active noise cancelling (ANC), headphones?

Who should buy the Sony WH1000XM4

Anyone. I don’t know anyone who wouldn’t love to own these. These headphones are worth the investment if you have the money.

For people who are looking for the best active noise cancellation (ANC) headphones. The HTML-1000XM3 was already an excellent pair of active noise cancelling headphones. Now the WH–1000XM4 is even better.

Commuters and jet-setters will appreciate the battery life and noise cancelling, sound quality, and that they don’t have to choose between them.

How does the Sony WH1000XM4 feel?

The WH-1000XM4 headphones look almost identical to their predecessors, but there are new features hidden inside. Bluetooth multipoint makes it even more practical for everyday use, allowing you to connect to two devices simultaneously (more details later). This allows you to easily switch between listening to music at work and watching YouTube videos on your phone. All this without having to open your Bluetooth settings. This was a major complaint with the WH1000XM3, so having it in the Sony WH1000XM4 will make many people happy. However, there is one caveat. Multipoint requires that both connected devices use the AAC Bluetooth Codec.

Apart from the ability to connect to two devices simultaneously, there are a few additional features that only the Sony HeadphonesConnect app can access, including the talk to chat functionality. This will turn on the microphone to pause music when you speak. It works well, but it is not perfect. This is especially true when you consider how sensitive the detection.

The headphones stopped the podcast when I laughed at a joke, for example. The headphones will pause your music every time you make a strange sound. While it might be useful for some, many people will just switch it off.

The auto-pause feature is also available, which stops the music when the headphones are removed. A small sensor is located inside the left earcup. It detects whether you are wearing headphones and stops playback when the headphones are removed. It’s a great feature, but is it essential? It’s not a must-have feature, but it’s subtle enough to be expected from headphones that cost $350. Sony has it right here.

The actual earcups themselves are slightly thicker than the last pair. This results in better isolation, even with noise cancelling turned off. The headband is thinner and has a bit less padding. I must say that I was impressed with the difference. These are very comfortable. However, the pressure at my crown was always there. This only got worse as I listened for longer periods.

Ambient mode activates immediately when you place your left hand on the left earcup.

The controls of the headphones have not changed in any significant way. The controls for the headphones are touch-sensitive. You can control playback using a series taps or swipes. The double-tap to pause function is only functional for a small percentage of users. Although you can swipe to adjust volume or skip between songs, it is not possible to tap the headphones. Sometimes, it is easier and faster to just take the headphones off and let the headphones auto-pause. For me, the pause function worked about 25% of the times.

The ambient mode can be activated by placing your hand on the left earcup. It is still one my favourite features. This reduces the volume and makes use of the microphones in the headphones to hear what’s happening around you. This is not a big deal if you are still at home, but it can be useful if your commute requires you to catch the announcements from the train conductor or pilot .

Can the Sony WH1000XM4 cancel sound?

These are going to make your very happy if you wanted an improvement in noise cancellation. Sony has made the ANC even more amazing.

These plots give an idea of the noise cancellation across the audible spectrum between 20Hz-20kHZ (the limit of human hearing). The chart below shows that more noise is removed when there are higher peaks. While the WH-1000XM3 has a good ANC rating, the Sony WH1000XM4 does a better job at reducing lower-frequency sounds such as the constant rumble from a jet engine or the low hum of an AC conditioner.

How can you pair the Sony WH1000XM4 with your Sony WH-1000XM4

Simply tap your smartphone to the Sony WH1000XM4’s NFC logo at the left earcup, and follow the prompts on your smartphone to pair. You can pair your smartphone using Bluetooth settings if it doesn’t support NFC.

  1. Hold down the power button to turn on your headphones
  2. If this is your first time doing it, the headphones will automatically go into pairing mode.
  3. Next, navigate to your Bluetooth settings. In the following list, search for WH-1000XM4.
  4. To connect, tap them.

It’s the same process to pair a second device. However, headphones won’t automatically go into pairing mode when they turn on because they are already paired with another device.

Pair to a second device

  1. Turn off your headphones
  2. As before, press the power button to turn on the headphones. But this time, don’t release the button until the pairing chime or the LED light flashing rapidly blue.
  3. Navigate to Bluetooth settings for your second device.
  4. To connect, click on the WH-1100XM4.

The Sony WH1000XM4 have Bluetooth 5.0 and Bluetooth multipoint. They also support SBC, AAC and Sony’s LDAC. This allows for the best streaming quality, even if it means you have to work with a less stable connection. If your device is not compatible with these codecs, it will default to SBC. This is the basic codec used by all Bluetooth audio devices. Bluetooth-enabled devices that don’t support Bluetooth can still be connected via the included 3.5mm cable.

Multipoint capability can only be achieved if you are using AAC and not LDAC/SBC. It might be worthwhile depending on your purpose. However, it is not something I use as a result.

My apartment is a two-bedroom apartment of average size. I tested the headphones and found no issues with range. My entire apartment was accessible while the headphones were connected to my laptop. My Pixel 3 smartphone, which was also connected to my laptop, did the same. It worked regardless of what pocket it was.

You will need to download the Sony Headphones Connect app to get the best out of your WH-1000XM4 headphones. You can take the headphones out of their box and use them as they are, but you will not be able customize them or access some of the cool new features without the app. The second button can be used to activate the assistant or turn off noise cancellation.

You can’t have them both. Downloading the app is your only option. These can be used with the Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa, so you can choose which one you like.

The app also has noise cancelling optimization and 360 degree sound. The app allows you to adjust the noise cancellation for any situation and air pressure. The app allows you to adjust the amount of ambient sound being sent through your headphones to your ears, so that you can hear the world around you. You can also place your hand on the right earcup for a complete passthrough. This allows you to order a cardboard-tasting meal from the friendly flight attendants in economy class.

The app also allows you to adjust the volume of your headphones to make them sound the way you want. Although this isn’t a new feature in the app, it is worth downloading to get access.

Access to Sony’s 360 Reality Audio, which is only available through the app, makes it a cool feature. This is a brand new way to master music that Sony has been pushing, and it’s quite amazing. It can only be streamed on premium music services such as Deezer or Amazon Music HD. If you are already a subscriber, these will be even more appealing. However, if you are not on Spotify, you will miss out.

You can customize the headphones to activate your phone’s assistant or turn on/off noise cancelling, but not both.

These batteries are claimed to last 30 hours with constant playback, which is the same battery life as the WH-1000XM3. We tested the battery life by playing music at a constant output 75dB9SPL), with ANC turned on, and found that they last just 19 hours, 59 mins (sorry Sony!

Although it is still an excellent unit and should be sufficient for most people, I find it strange that this lasts as long as the predecessor which lasted about 24 hours. As the unit was pre-production, it’s possible that there are still software issues. We’ll update this review when the production unit arrives.

The Sony WH1000XM4 can be charged via USB-C. The quick charge feature of the Sony WH1000XM4 will give you 5 hours of playtime in just 10 minutes. This is great if you are running late for the train or bus.

The sound quality of the Sony WH1000XM4 has been improved by Sony over the previous model. The XM3 does not sound terrible, but it sounds fantastic. However, the older model has a more user-friendly bump at the low end.

A more neutral-leaning frequency range in lows results in a sound that doesn’t get as much bass boost than other headphones. It isn’t for everyone but most people (except bassheads), won’t have any problems with it. You can easily adjust the EQ preset to increase the low-end focus in the app.

You can make your headphones sound even better by using the Sony Headphones Connect App or a PC-based solution such as Equalizer APO or Roon. The following chart can be used as a guideline for making adjustments to improve the sound to fit our house curve. You can then boost or cut specific bands to achieve the desired effect.

It is important to avoid using equalizers too often, as they have a tendency to diminish in value. In apps with narrow bands, you may not be able get the level of detail that you need to adjust this type of adjustment. You’ll be fine if you take it slow and have a gentle hand.

The microphone of the Sony WH1000XM3 is excellent. Although it isn’t uncommon for Bluetooth headphones to have a drop in frequency response below 150-200Hz, it is more noticeable than the previous model. This is likely to prevent the proximity effects from making some podcasts or other recordings too bassy. You should be able to make it through all your Zoom meetings and phone calls.

The Sony WH-1000XM4 Bluetooth headphones are the best. The Sony WH-1000XM4 is now available for $248 USD. This makes it a great bargain. Sony improved the WH-1000XM3 headphones. It is still a top pick. This is a great Bluetooth multipoint option that makes it even more convenient. There are subtle improvements in the sound quality and noise cancellation, making this an attractive purchase.

The Sony WH-1000XM3 is fine if you already own it. These headphones are great for anyone looking to buy their first pair of noise cancelling headphones.

Listeners with limited space may be interested in the SonyWF-1000XM4 true wireless noise cancelling headphones that are comparable to the Apple AirPods Pro or the Sony WF-1100XM3.

Lows, middles, and highs

The bass can be used for subtle performances such as Bach’s Violin Partita No. 2 in D minor by Hilary Hahn, with the low notes hitting at the right volume. Also, the rumbles that begin Pixel Empire are great. You can also hear the variations in these rumbles throughout. The mids are also treated with the same care.

The Constellations lyrics by Darwin Deez can be clearly heard throughout the song, regardless of what is happening. The slight increase in volume also benefits the claps and shakers that are heard throughout the song. These sound fantastic.

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