Sony WH-1000XM4 Review: 2020

So, this is it. The product we have all been waiting for, the Sony WH-1000XM4. These over-ear headphones are available in colours like black and platinum silver. Let’s go ahead for the Sony WH-1000XM4 Review.

Sony WH-1000XM4 Review.

                     PROS

  • Improved voice calling

  • Smart controls

  • Best noise-cancelling capabilities 

  • Battery life

  • More Comfortable

  • Multi-point Bluetooth

  • Plenty of useful features 

                        CONS

  • Pricey

  • No design changes, looks almost the same as the previous model

These best noise-cancelling headphones got up to 30 hours of battery life with Noise-Cancelling, supports voice-assistant like Alexa and Google Assistant.

Also, they have got App support from the Sony headphones Connect App. So, it’s possible to enjoy software updates over the ear as well as deeper customization of the headphones themselves.

In many ways, the Sony WH-1000XM4 is quite similar to the Sony WH-1000XM3s except that they have got some new features that we have all been asking for a long time.

Now, they have got multipoint pairing, Bluetooth 5.0 and they promise to have better phone call quality and better noise-cancelling performance than the Sony WH-1000XM3.

Because they have now got 5 microphones in the ear cups compared to the XM3’s 4 microphones.

That extra microphone is specifically used for voice pickup. So, it’s gonna be interesting to see how they compare to the Sony WH-1000XM3 in terms of performance.

Some other features include Speak-to-chat. So, if you want to talk to somebody in front of you, you don’t have to manually have to activate Transparency Mode anymore.

The headphones will automatically detect that you are speaking and switch Transparency Mode for you.

And finally, they support a new and powerful audio upscaler called DSEE Extreme. So, they’re gonna do a much better job at upscaling your lower resolution music files to get them to sound more high-res.

The Sony WH-1000XM4 comes in a nice fabric case which has a nice netting on the back where you can put additional cables or anything that you want to bring with your headphones.

On the inside, you have your Sony WH-1000XM4 and they look exactly the same as the XM3s.

And on the bottom, there is like a cardboard piece which tells you how to fold them back up. You can remove this if you want.

Then in the triangular area, you have an airline adapter, 3.5-millimetre cable or headphone jack cable if your phone still has that then you can use it.

And down at the very bottom, is a slot for a USB-C cable. However, we are very disappointed with the size of this cable as this is very tiny.

Design and Comfort - Sony WH-1000XM4

Sony WH-1000XM4

The Sony WH-1000XM4 does fold both ways. So, the earcups can have a hinge on both of them so they can fold either way.

They also swivel on both ends as well which is exactly the same as the XM3s does.

On the outside, you have the microphones and there are markings for right and left as well. So, they are directional.

On the top, you have the model name which says WH-1000XM4 that shows up on both sides.

So, visually, the Sony WH-1000XM4 are almost indistinguishable besides the logo from the Sony WH-1000XM3. But if you look on the inside, there is actually a proximity sensor.

So, if you put your headphones on, this will detect that headphones are on your head and it will either resume playback or if you take them off and it will automatically pause your music and after a certain period, it will actually turn off your headphones altogether.

Another difference on the Sony WH-1000XM4 compared to Sony WH-1000XM3 is the material in the earpiece area on the ear cups. The earpieces feel very soft which almost feel like memory foam. 

The headband is also very soft but it’s not as soft as the ear cups and the top of the headband also has cushioning which we guess is for handling comfort rather than for wearing comfort.

Because these best wireless headphones are lightweight and feature plenty of padding, they are super comfortable. 

We were able to wear these best ANC headphones for hours on end without them getting uncomfortable. And that’s perfect for day to day use and for longer travels.

Where you might use the headphones for more than 10 hours or more.

The clamp is good and there is a good amount of padding. So, you should have no problems with wearing these best over-ear headphones. 

Controls - Sony WH-1000XM4

Now, on the right earcup, you still get the touch panel which is the same as the XM3s. You can do swipe gestures to go forward and backwards.

If you swipe up, it will basically increase the volume and swipe down to decrease. A double-tap will play/ pause your music and also you can answer phone calls.

On the left earcup, you get an NFC logo. So, it’s like a quick pairing option if you do have an Android phone, you just hold it up against it and it will automatically initiate the pairing.

Apart from the touch input, you also have some regular inputs. So, on the bottom of these top wireless headphones, you have a power button. So, if you press that it will obviously turn the headphones on. 

There is also a Custom Button. So, on Android, this can become the Google Assistant button. If you press that it will activate the Google Assistant and you can give it queries by your voice.

There is also a 3.5-millimetre headphone jack which you can connect using the cable to your smartphone.

A USB-C port is also available at the bottom which you use to charge the headphones. There is a charging light indicator as well which turns red when it’s charging.

Connectivity - Sony WH-1000XM4

Sony WH-1000XM4

The Sony WH-1000XM4 can be paired up to 2 devices at the same time. So, if you enable the “Connect to 2 Devices Automatically” feature in the app, you can connect 2 devices simultaneously.

So, enable that and then they will stay connected to say your laptop and your phone. So, if you do get a phone call come in, it will automatically switch to your phone and let you take that call.

Speak-to-Chat - Sony WH-1000XM4

Sony WH-1000XM4

Another new feature on the Sony WH-1000XM4 is something called Speak-to-chat.

So, on the Sony WH-1000XM3s, if you wanted to temporarily turn off the music, you have to put your hand over the right ear cup over the touch controls and then it would basically turn down the music and let you speak to other people on the outside.

Now, with this Speak-to-chat, all you have to do is start talking and it will detect that you are talking and automatically pause your music and let you speak to the outside world.

You can enable this feature in the Samsung Headphone Connect App. Also, you can customise how long it will stop the music for you.

So, if you click on the gear icon in the Samsung Headphone Connect App, it will say time until the mode closes. By default, it is actually 30 seconds.

You can adjust that time as if you are just ordering a coffee, for example, we think 15 seconds is more than enough.

There are a range of other features that are worth digging through. For example, you can have different modes automatically activate based on your location or based on your positioning like whether you are sitting, walking, running and so on.

Other Features - Sony WH-1000XM4

The Sony WH-1000XM4 are definitely some of the smartest headphones out there.

And while some might find some of the features to be kind of gimmicks, you can turn the features on or off depending on what you actually want to use.

For example, if you are a bit of a stickler about handing out your location. So, you don’t have the location tracking feature enabled but you can enjoy other features.

Sound Quality - Sony WH-1000XM4

Sony WH-1000XM4

Now, let’s talk about the sound quality of the Sony WH-1000XM4 best wireless headphones.

The sound on the Sony WH-1000XM4 is just amazing. The bass on these is quite incredible and you will have no complaints on this.

There is plenty of bass response, a well-tuned mid-range with warm low mids and present high mids and plenty of clarity in the high end. 

Even better is the fact that the Sony Headphones Connect App has built-in EQs. So, you can tweak the sound to best match what you like from a pair of headphones.

There are a bunch of presets in the app and you can create your own preset if you so choose.

These best over-ear headphones have even improved upon their Bluetooth upscaling and it sounds awesome. Details are clear and even audiophiles will love what’s on offer here.

The Sony WH-1000XM4 has a 3D audio algorithm that is aimed at making music sounds like it is live and it works pretty good. 

If you like to listen to music with a lot of different instruments inside, if you focus on the background, hear a more defined sound from these headphones.

You will be about to focus on the background and listen to all the other instruments that are kind of playing in the background of these best wireless headphones.

The Sony WH-1000XM4 sounds very detailed and their bass extension, bass impact, mids, highs and track separation are perfectly balanced just like we experienced on the Sony WH-1000XM3s as well.

Noise-Cancellation - Sony WH-1000XM4

In terms of noise-cancellation, Sony has again done a great job with these wireless over-ear headphones.

The Sony WH-1000XM4 are going to do a better job at cancelling human voices. 

But in terms of low-frequency noises like the rumbling of a Subway Train, the droning of a plane’s engine, these headphones are gonna do just about as well because they seem to be equally as effective in terms of low-frequency noise-cancellation.

Mic Quality - Sony WH-1000XM4

Sony WH-1000XM4

So, another improvement over the Sony WH-1000XM3s is better microphones.

When you wear these noise-cancelling headphones, to your ear it will sound like you are far away from the microphones even though the headphones are on your head.

So, they must be doing some sort of noise-cancelling to try and collect the voice as best as it can but what we can tell is it seems like just having a regular inline microphone is actually better than the in-built microphones in these headphones.

Other Quirks - Sony WH-1000XM4

Sony WH-1000XM4

Now, apart from sound quality, the mics and from the headphones themselves, there are few things that you should be aware of.

The first thing is when you use the 3.5-millimetre headphone jack, the Bluetooth will just turn off. 

Another thing is when you are charging the Sony’s headphones, they also turn off. So, you can’t actually charge them and listen to them at the same time.

Which kind of sucks but we guess it’s not that bad because these things have rapid charging. Therefore you don’t have to wait long to use them back again.

Battery Life - Sony WH-1000XM4

Sony WH-1000XM4

The battery life on the Sony WH-1000XM4 is pretty good. 

You get 30 hours of listening time with noise-cancellation on and a hefty 38 hours of listening with the noise-cancellation turned off.

That’s great and it means that the headphones should last at least a few weeks of normal use.

Even better is the fact that if you charge the headphones for 10 minutes, you will get a massive 5 hours of use from them.

Our Verdict - Sony WH-1000XM4

So, should you buy the Sony WH-1000XM4?

Well, yes you should. These are the best noise-cancelling headphones on the market.

They are well designed, offer a ton of awesome features and they sound great. They also are very comfortable to wear for a longer time and have great battery life as well.

They are not necessarily worth upgrading to if you already have the Sony WH-1000XM3 model.

But if you are in the market for a new pair of headphones and don’t mind the price tag, these are the way to go.

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