Sony WH-1000XM3, launched back in 2018, was widely considered amongst the best wireless noise-canceling headphones in the market. In 2020, with the ever-improving competition, Sony WH-1000XM3 looks a bit outdated. However, things have changed for Sony with the release of their much-anticipated Sony WH-1000XM4.
Priced at just ₹29,990 in India, Sony WH-1000XM4 is the new flagship of the Japanese company’s wireless headphone range. It looks largely the same as WH-1000XM3 at first glance but there are tons of improvements, both, on the surface and under the hood.
So is Sony WH-1000XM4 the best noise-canceling wireless headphone you can find in the market today? Let’s find out in this detailed review!
Sony WH-1000XM4 Design
Though Sony has added a bunch of new components inside the headphones, there isn’t a major difference between these and its predecessors in terms of aesthetics. In fact, if you put them next two each other, you might have a hard time figuring out one from the other.
The new model is supposed to be slimmer, but it is only in terms of “millimeters”. Nothing wrong with that but the design of 1000XM3 was already well polished. The choice of materials is top-notch too, with supply faux leather on the inside and high-quality polycarbonate on the outside. The padding is so nice that you won’t have any problems wearing them over your glasses.
Around the outside of the earcups, you will find two physically controllable buttons for power/pairing and another button that’ll cycle between ambient sound and noise-canceling. There is also a 3.5mm AUX jack and a USB-C charging port. The right earcup’s outer part acts as a touch-capacitive control panel that you can use to play/pause or skip music and raise/lower the volume.
Sony WH-1000XM4 Audio Quality
Sony used the same 40mm drivers in the 1000XM4 as it had used in its predecessor, so in terms of tonality and mix, there isn’t much to separate them. It offers a warm, well-balanced sound that does great to offer a wide soundstage and detail that pierces through a powerful bass performance.
When talking about noise-canceling, Sony is using its Dual Noise Sensor Tech to offer quality services. It makes use of two mics in the ear cups to suck in the sound and analyze it using the QN1 noise-canceling processor. This will allow the headphones to adjust the noise cancelation response quickly, at more than 700 times a second.
While the aptX HD support would have been a welcome addition, Sony’s LDAC Codec present in these headphones do a great job, pushing lots of details wirelessly. DSEE Extreme (Digital sound enhancement engine) is a great introduction too. This AI-driven process looks to restore details from lossy compressed formats and does well to bring clarity to the low-quality formats you throw at the 1000XM4.
Sony WH-1000XM4 Battery
While Sony WH-1000XM4 didn’t really get a major boost in battery life as compared to its predecessors, it can still deliver a substantial 30 hours of playback with noise-canceling turned on and 38 hours of playback with noise-canceling turned off.
The reason for battery specs not being improved could be put down to the headphones adding speech detection, new sensors, and a new SoC and algorithm, In fact, it is pretty impressive that the battery backup is still 30+ hours even after a host of additions.
If you’re still looking for a hack to improve battery, you can use the automatic play/pause button as it’ll deliver better battery usage in real-life usage. It is a massive plus point for people who forget to turn off the headphones after using them, only to come back and find them discharged the next day.
The 30-hour battery backup would be enough for a few movies, workout sessions, multiple flights, and more. You could always charge it if you need it since it comes with fast charging. In fact, Sony states that you can get five hours of charge from a 10-min charging. Charging it to 100% will take it close to three hours.
Highlights of Sony WH-1000XM4
- Voice assistant – Google Assistant, Alexa, and Siri enabled for voice access to music. You can activate it easily with a simple touch
- Digital noise-canceling – Uses Industry’s leading Active Noise Cancelation (ANC) technology to offer personalized, virtually soundproof experience
- Wearing detection – Two acceleration sensors and a proximity sensor in the headphones can easily detect if they’re being used or not, and adapt playback accordingly to save battery power
- Speak to chat – The smart technologies used will create a seamless, hands-free music listening experience
- Smart listening – They adjust the ambient sound to offer you the best noise-cancelation
- Quick attention mode – Turn down music for instant, easy conversation by covering the right earcup with your palm
- Long-lasting battery life – A single charging will offer up to 30 hours of playtime with noise cancelation turned on