Since the start of the pandemic, many of us have had to work at home, unable to avoid the noise of everyday life. With this need to focus, noise-cancelling headphones are the new big thing, and everyone wants a piece of the action. While there are many options on the market, none sound as good or work quite as well as the Sony WF-1000XM4, their latest wireless earbuds, replacing the 1000XM3.
While I loved what the 1000XM3 offered when they hit the market, Sony has outdone themselves with this update. The MX4 earbuds look better, sound better, and cancel noise in a much more complete way. The WF-1000XM4 has also been noticeably changed, and delivers a new, more stylish look that should set you apart from the crowd all wearing the latest from Apple.
The WF-1000XM4 earbuds look unique and feel fantastic when worn. It feels as if Sony has taken notes from many of the top earbuds on the market, delivering a sleeker, more modern look all around. How Sony managed to fit everything the WF-1000XM4 offers inside the relatively compact package is beyond me, but they managed it and the competition needs to take note.
If I had any gripe, it would simply be the weight. While not heavy, at nearly 2 grams, these are some of the heftiest earbuds we have tested in a while. Once you get used to it, they feel very natural in the ears, but I could see people with smaller ears, or just not used to how these sorts of headphones feel, could find them a bit much, especially for longer wear sessions.
“The buds deliver a solid seven and a half hours of battery life in testing between charging…”
Like most modern wireless earbuds, the WF-1000XM4 fit snugly inside their little caring case. This case not only stores the headphones, but will keep them charged while they are not in use. The buds deliver a solid seven and a half hours of battery life in testing between charging, with the case boasting another 24 hours worth of charge between needing to be plugged in. While not mind-blowing, they feel on par with the competition, especially with the sheer number of features Sony has packed in. They also managed to deliver IPX4 water resistance, for people that want to enjoy their latest music on a run or other outdoor endeavours.
What is mind-blowing, is the noise-cancelling the Sony WF-1000XM4 offer. While there have been plenty of earphones that push the limits on what active noise-cancelling can offer, few managed it quite as well as these earbuds. That comes from two major aspects, the excellent signal processing Sony has inside the MX4, and the included foam ear tips that fit perfectly in your ear channel. It is astounding how well it works. If you are someone who finds complete silence frustrating, these may not be the headphones for you, at least without the hear-through functionality, since the silence can be impactful of how well it blocks out the outside world.
The WF-1000XM4 buds feel akin to ear plugs that also happen to pump out high quality audio. They manage to block out most ambient noise, with a few exceptions, such as the low hum of an HVAC system or fan seeping through, but everything is greatly reduced, especially when you actually play a podcast or your favourite music from Spotify. When testing, it was not until a track ended that I actually noticed the AC was on, something I find very hard to drown out with most headphones, especially earbuds.
“The WF-1000XM4 deliver a clean, clear low end, without ever feeling like they’re overpowering other aspects of the audio.”
Thankfully, the audio quality these little headphones deliver is also superb, making them a pleasure to use and enjoy your favourite music. The WF-1000XM4 deliver a clean, clear low end, without ever feeling like they’re overpowering other aspects of the audio. The highs and mids also felt very clear, making even vocals or jazz a joy to experience. I was not expecting this complexity of sound in such small headphones, but somehow Sony managed it, and I am a fan.
From some old school metal, to peaceful jazz (yes I have eclectic taste, I have come to terms with this fact), the WF-1000XM4 made it sound good, clear and fantastic to listen to. Even when I changed things up, and threw on some podcasts, the headphones delivered sound that always felt enjoyable, clear and, overall, some of the best I have heard from wireless in-ear audio.
No matter what you are listening to, Sony has ensured the WF-1000XM4 deliver a clean, flat audio experience. While many headphones on the market will push the bass to make the sound feel “fuller” or more “impactful”, Sony has chosen to follow what they have done in the past and present the audio as it was meant to be heard.
As with any modern headphones, Sony gives you all the tools to adjust the EQ should you want to push the limits on what these headphones can do. The Sony Headphones app is easy to use and works perfectly once you set everything up. In fact, when you first pair the headphones, you will be presented with the option to download the app from the respective app store and should be ready to enjoy the music how you want.
“I can’t say enough good things about the WF-1000XM4, Sony has outdone themselves with these headphones.”
There are also options to adjust the touch controls in the app, along with many other aspects, such as view battery life, adjust how the noise-cancelling works, and to turn on the talk-to-pause feature that will listen to your voice and pause the music, so you can hear what someone’s response is (for ordering at a café, or talking to your wife). It all works well, and Sony has done a great job laying out the important features.
I can’t say enough good things about the WF-1000XM4, Sony has outdone themselves with these headphones. While one of the more expensive options on the market, if you demand great audio, and want the best noise-cancelling earbuds we have ever tested, few can compare to the WF-1000XM4. For people that want everything from their audio, Sony has delivered; I look forward to seeing what they do next.