Sony WF-1000XM4 Wireless Earbuds Review: Meet The New Boss

The Sony WF-1000XM4 must be mentioned among the top models if you’re looking for the greatest true wireless headphones. Although it has flaws, it is perhaps the most capable attempt at a genuine wireless design with ANC. The cost is still challenging to overcome.

Design and comfort

The WF-1000XM4 carry on Sony’s legacy of earbuds with unusual shapes. They have an odd spherical shape with microphone vents in steampunk gold. You must judge whether it is attractive, but it is undoubtedly distinctive.
Large touch-sensitive regions for motions can be found on the earbuds’ exterior shell. They only take a light touch to activate the gestures, which is far more convenient than poking your ears like most other earbuds do.
The optical proximity sensors that determine whether the earbuds are in your ears and play/pause the audio appropriately are located on the inside side of the earphones. In that vein, is anyone interested in watching a magic trick?

Indeed, the sensors are placed on the back in such a way that if the earbuds are positioned on a surface in a specific way, the sensor will be blocked and the earbuds will believe they are back inside your ears. Even though I wasn’t wearing the earbuds, I’ve frequently returned to find the audio still playing after taking them out and setting them on the desk. Undoubtedly a mistake on Sony’s part.

Sony WF-1000XM4: cost and availability

  • Available now, released June 8, 2021
  • $279.99 / £250 / AU$449.95

The Sony WF-1000XM4 are currently available at $279.99 / £250 / AU$449.95, which sounds reasonable when you consider that the outgoing WF-1000XM3 originally launched at a negligible $230 / £220 / AU$399 back in 2019, with the final few pairs currently being offered for around $170 / £150 / AU$200.
Comparing the WF-1000XM4 to comparable designs from manufacturers like Bose, Grado, and Sennheiser, as well as to Bowers & Wilkins’ excellent (and exorbitantly expensive) PI7, the latter model compares quite favorably.
Noise cancellation and audio performance of the Sony WF-1000XM4

The WF-1000XM4 require some tricky insertion and feel like they should fit deeper in the ear than they actually do, but once you have them in the right position, you can customize the touch controls, the EQ levels, and the plethora of other settings to your preferences. All done? Good. It’s time to turn on the music.
The WF-1000XM4 pleased us right away when we started our testing with a Tidal Masters file of Burner by Ross from Friends. They don’t let rhythms or tempos linger, they don’t give any part of the frequency range undue emphasis, and they don’t ignore any details. Their presentation has vigor and enthusiasm, yet it is restrained by unquestionable control.
The bass sounds in the lower range of the earphones have solidity, texture, and an absolute mountain of detail. There is plenty of drive and momentum here, but the WF-1000XM4 never lose their composure; there is a matching level of poise. Clean and distinct entry and departure points for bass notes help avoid the bottom end from blending into the midrange.

Sony WF-1000XM4: connection and battery life

There is a lot more activity than before, even inside the WF-1000XM4’s new and smaller physical dimensions. The new Bluetooth 5.2 standard allows for simultaneous transmission to the left and right earbuds as well as Hi-Res Audio Wireless certification when Sony’s custom LDAC codec is used.
But, the best-case real-world scenario of 24 hours (between eight and 12 in the earbuds, depending on whether active noise cancelling is on or off, plus another couple of charges in the case) is actually nothing extraordinary. Bluetooth 5.2 should, in principle, also result in longer battery life. Even so, the WF-1000XM4 at least supports Qi charging, and a further hour of use may be obtained after five minutes of being connected into an outlet.

The WF-1000XM4 supports SBC and AAC codecs in addition to LDAC, but none of the aptX variants are present. In case you believe in an algorithm that claims to be able to extract high-resolution sound from a standard-definition digital audio file (we’ve never been completely convinced), they also have DSEE Extreme functionality.
Battery life With ANC enabled for music playing, the WF-1000XM4 is rated to have a battery life of up to 8 hours. That might be true for SBC or AAC, but when I tested the more demanding LDAC set to 990kbps, I was only able to get 6 hours of nonstop plays. That’s not too bad in comparison to competing items, but it differs significantly from Sony’s promise.
The earphones lasted 2 hours at the same settings when I tested their endurance on a short 10-minute charge from flat.


The Sony WF-1000XM4 has captured our attention. It must have been really difficult to get these wireless earphones just perfect with all the design modifications and new capabilities they contain. Sony, though, has nailed it. The headphones offer a pleasurable user experience, a battery life that leads the industry, some of the greatest noise cancellation we’ve heard in this price range, and just excellent sound quality.

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button