The Sony WH-1000X headphones series has become almost legendary in 4 years. In the previous versions of the 1000X series progress showed itself gradually. It became a little lighter, slightly smarter, worked longer autonomously, and sounded a little better, then in the fourth generation, Sony made a leap forward. Hopefully, this Sony WH-1000XM4 Review 2021 will help you to understand why Sony WH-1000XM4 is the best noise-canceling headphones 2021.
In recent years, Sony headphones have been widely recognized in the sector for offering the best noise cancellation on the market. In this analysis, we are going to check if the new WH-1000XM4 is still the best in this section and even if they go one step further than the previous version. Our editorial staff also reviewed the previous versions: WH-1000XM2 Review and WH-1000XM3 Review.
Next, we are going to explain all the news that these headphones bring, how it behaves in noise-cancellation, sound quality, comfort, and connectivity. We are also going to compare them with the previous version so that you know if it is worth jumping to this new version.
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If you are looking for headphones to avoid distractions while studying or traveling, and concentrate on what you listen to, do not miss our review of the Sony WH-1000XM4 noise-canceling wireless headphones. Here you will know our opinion and why it is one of the most recommended headphones. Check the best price for 1000-XM4 on Amazon.
Sony WH-1000X headphones series includes excellent headphones such as Sony WH-1000XM2, Sony WH-1000XM3, Sony WH-1000XM4, etc. There is a short comparison in these models. Before buying Sony WH-1000XM4, you may learn Headphone Tech Specs.
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Sony WH-1000XM4 design
We started the review, reviewing the design of the new Sony WH-1000XM4. We can really say that their predecessor in the WH-1000XM3 is identical. There is practically no difference between the new version and the old one. Regarding the colors available, there are still two versions for sale, one in black and the other in gray.
In the box, there is a carrying case plus a USB cable, an analog audio cable, and an airplane travel adapter. It should be noted that the USB cable for charging the headphones is really ridiculous and will only be about 10 cm long.
Where there has been a change in this case for the better, is in comfort. Now it uses 10% larger urethane foam padding for extra softness while relieving pressure and distributing it evenly. Due to the increased size, the contact between the ear and the cushion is now increased to achieve a stable fit.
The headband has been slimmed down to reduce weight and there is now a smaller gap between the headphones and the arms. The headband generates a bit of pressure, but it is not very bothersome either.
Overall, we really like their good build and they look sturdy and comfortable to wear for long periods of time. This is very light headphones that weigh specifically 254 grams and because of this, you manage to forget that you are wearing them.
These headphones look very robust and you will be guaranteed a long time of durability if you take care of them correctly. Mention, they do not resist water or even splashes.
We have the USB C port on the right earbud and the 3.5mm jack on the left, near the battery indicator LED, there are the on / off buttons and the new ‘Custom’ button, which is equivalent to the old NC / button.
To control other functions, there are no dedicated buttons but is done in a tactile way by touching the right earbud. If we play twice, the music pauses and if we do it again, it resumes again. If we gesture up and down, the sound goes up and down respectively. And to move forward or backward, you have to slide your finger to the right or to the left.back to menu ↑
Connectivity and extras
One of the novelties that the WH-1000XM4 brings in the connectivity section is that they now come with version 5.0 of Bluetooth. Thanks to this, you can pair two different devices at the same time. For maximum comfort, with a single touch, you will be able to switch from one device to another. Also thanks to this, when for example a call comes in, the headphones will know which device is ringing and will connect to it automatically.
If you want to have a one-time conversation with someone without taking off your headphones, just saying something, the headphones will recognize your voice and automatically stop the music and let in the ambient sound. This feature is called Sony, Speak To Chat.
In addition to the Bluetooth connection, they also support NFC and offer Google Fast Pair compatibility. With this last function, you can easily locate where you left your headphones by calling them. You can use them with the smart assistants Google Assistant and Alexa, using voice instructions.
After 30 seconds, the music will start playing again. This is the default value, but you can modify it through the Sony Headphones Connect App. This functionality is useful, but it is also very sensitive, so if you usually hum your favorite songs, it is better that you deactivate it. You can do it within the application for the phone.
There is also a mode called Quick Attention that means that if you want to hear an announcement or say something briefly, you just have to place your right hand on the earpiece to instantly decrease the volume and let in the ambient sound.
In addition to Bluetooth, they are also compatible with NFC and Google’s Fast Pair that allows you to easily locate where you left your headphones by calling them. As is customary today, you can use them by voice with the Google and Alexa assistants.
To configure, you must install the Sony Headphones Connect application and in a few minutes, you will have everything ready. The ‘Custom’ button that comes on the left earbud comes by default so you can activate the voice function quickly.
Battery life can reach 38 hours if noise cancellation is not activated. If we activate it, the autonomy reaches a maximum of 30 hours. In our tests, as is often the case, the actual figure is slightly less than what the manufacturer advertises, but it is very close. That duration always depends on the volume at which you listen to it and if you use the extra functions a lot.
In any case, it is a very good figure and one that is higher than that of one of its main competitors, the Bose 700. It has a fast charge, which means that with just 10 minutes of charging, it can be used for a maximum of 5 hours.
To save battery life, the headphones detect when they are being used and adapt the playback accordingly. Using the headphones’ proximity sensor and two accelerometers, the headphones automatically stop music when you take them off and resume playing when you put them back on.
Sony WH-1000XM4 noise cancellation
Now we undoubtedly enter the function that stands out the most in these headphones. It is, of course, noise cancellation, which Sony with its technology has made its helmets the reference right now.
Headphones WH-1000XM4 , offer the best noise cancellation system from Sony and really well for the market. There are other headphones with good noise cancellation like the Bose 700, but it must be said that these Sony are taking the top spot.
In addition to reducing low frequencies which is what most noise-canceling headphones do, high and medium frequency sounds are also reduced thanks to the use of two microphones in each earbud and using Dual Noise Sensor technology.
This technology captures ambient noise and passes the data to the HD Noise Canceling Processor QN1. The noise cancellation processor has been improved with a new algorithm, for reducing outside noise in real-time.
A new SoC (System on Chip) audio chip is included that detects and adjusts to music and noise more than 700 times per second.
But the passive noise cancellation they have is also to be commended. Much of the isolation from outside noise is already provided by the passive headphone system.
Since the contact area is now wider when using larger pads, there has been an improvement in passive noise reduction.
It’s amazing how much external noise these headphones can eliminate. The QN1 processor does a really spectacular job of reducing noise such as fans, engine noise, etc.
The reduction of voices, which is one of the most complicated things for all headphones, is spectacular. Obviously, it is very difficult to completely eliminate this type of noise and something will be heard in very noisy environments such as offices or if you want not to listen to television or radio from another room.
But of course, it is still far superior to other headphones that we have been able to test .
Sony with the new WH-1000XM4 offers the best noise cancellation that we have seen so far.BestXpot
In addition, unlike other headphones with noise canceling, when this function is activated, the sound quality does not suffer and is practically intact. In other helmets, the loss is very noticeable and the audio becomes flatter losing a lot in the low frequencies. But this as we say, does not happen in these WH1000XM4.
Yes, a slight background hiss is appreciated when noise cancellation is activated, but that is only appreciated without music. Once you play the music, it is unnoticeable and in no way annoying.
You can configure the level of noise cancellation you want in the WH 1000XM4, from the Sony Headphones Connect app. There are up to 20 levels to choose from so that depending on where you are, you can adapt them to your liking.
From this app, you can configure the Custom button, so that instead of controlling the voice assistant, it takes care of noise cancellation. By doing so you have several options to control from the helmets themselves.
You can choose from the Custom button, listen to the ambient sound through the microphones that are in each of the headphones, deactivate the ambient sound and activate the noise cancellation.
The ambient mode works quite well capturing sound through the microphones and the sound heard in this mode is quite natural.
It also has a system that intelligently detects where you are and what you are doing, to adjust the ambient sound settings.
This system, which is called Adaptive Sound, over time, will learn to recognize the places you visit most frequently and adjust the sound to suit each situation. In order to configure your most frequently visited locations and your preferred settings, you have to install the app.back to menu ↑
Now we go on to review the sound quality offered by the new Sony WH-1000XM4 headphones. As for the internal components, they include a 40mm size dome-type liquid crystal polymer diaphragm and the magnet is made of neodymium.
The distortion hardly exists with a good signal-to-noise ratio managed by the HD QN1 noise-canceling processor amplifier.
The frequency response ranges from 4 Hz to 40,000 Hz when connected by cable. When done via Bluetooth, the frequency response ranges from 20 Hz to 20,000 Hz.
The sound, in general, does not disappoint and these headphones provide a high-quality sound. From the factory as they are configured, they provide quite a powerful bass that will delight fans of styles of music such as Hip Hop, Reggaeton, or Electro.
For those who do not like such strong bass, it is very easy to correct it using the phone app. There you can select different modes or also adjust more precisely by frequency bands.
The reproduction of the mid frequencies is really excellent with a well-balanced response throughout the entire range that makes voices and instruments sound clear and with a lot of presence.
The voices are separated from the instruments and in some rock songs that in other headphones are far below the guitars, they are heard clearly here.
Another interesting technology that it incorporates is the so-called DSEE Extreme. This function more efficiently reconstructs the audio lost during digital compression.
Using artificial intelligence, real-time music and different instruments are analyzed individually to restore high-range sounds lost during compression. The previous generation also has this function but in the DSEE HX version, which does not use artificial intelligence.
The WH 1000XM4 is compatible with the 360 Reality Audio immersive audio system, which provides three-dimensional audio. There is still not much music available in this format, but there is something in streaming music apps like Tidal or Deezer.
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We have done some testing and it really is wonderful, to be able to listen to music in this way. A sound space is fully appreciated in three dimensions and each instrument moves over that space. It is the equivalent of the Dolby Atmos movie version. Let’s sincerely hope that formats like this 360 Reality Audio or its competitor Dolby Atmos Music, finally become massive and we can enjoy much more music than there is right now.
For maximum call quality, Sony’s WH-1000XM4 headphones optimally control five of the headphone microphones and perform advanced audio signal processing to pick up voices clearly and accurately for calls on the phone. Hands-free and Speak-to-Chat.back to menu ↑
Features Noise Canceling Headphones- Sony WH-1000XM4
- Closed Enclosure Circumaural Headphones
- Active noise cancellation
- 40mm driver, dome type
- Frequency response: 4 Hz – 40,000 Hz
- Sensitivity: 105 dB (1 kHz)
- DSEE Extreme
- 32-bit audio signal processing
- Noise-canceling shutdown
- Atmospheric pressure optimization
- Ambient sound mode
- Volume control by touch sensor
- Speak To Chat
- Quick Attention
- Up to 30-hour battery life (Noise Cancellation On)
- Bluetooth 5.0
- Compatible with Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa
- 1.2-meter cable included (OFC)
- Available colors: Black and gray
Advantages and Disadvantages Sony WH-1000XM4
Advantages of Sony WH-1000XM4
- Impressive noise cancellation
- 15% higher aircraft noise reduction than WH-1000XM3
- 20% higher daily noise reduction than WH-1000XM3
- Powerful bass
- Very clean sound
- Connection with two devices at the same time
- Automatic pause when we take off our Headphones
- 32-bit audio signal processing
- Integrated amplifier and digital-to-analog converter
- Long duration battery
- Good connectivity
- The mobile app works very well
Disadvantages Sony WH-1000XM4
- Touch controls for pause and other functions might work better
- Ridiculously short USB charging cable included
Our opinion on the Sony WH-1000XM4
As we have told you throughout the review, the Sony WH-1000XM4 provide excellent noise cancellation and in our opinion, it is superior in this aspect to its rivals. It also offers a very low level of distortion with a high signal-to-noise ratio, making the sound from these headphones impressive.
They are very comfortable headphones that have all kinds of functions to facilitate their use such as the automatic pause when we take them off or the Speak to Chat function that mutes the music if we need to talk to someone on time.
Therefore, Sony has not wanted to make big changes with respect to the previous XM3 version, since they were excellent helmets and in this XM4 it has simply decided to improve some aspects and implement some new features. To tell the truth, in our opinion, it is a headphones to which few hits can be removed and the advantages are much more numerous than their disadvantages.
- Are the new Sony WH-1000XM4 or the older WH-1000XM3 worth buying?
Well, this will largely depend on the price at which both are found. The XM3 being already on sale, you can find them at a much lower price. By contrast, the XM4 having recently come out, its price right now is higher.
We have already mentioned the differences during the analysis and it is clear that the XM4 improve the XM3, but perhaps with the current price difference, it is a good time to choose the XM3.
Here below, we leave you the prices of both the new XM4 version and the previous XM3. On Amazon, you can always find them at the best price and there are usually quite a few offers, in addition to having shipped in 24-48 hours and having the best exchange and returns service.
See price Sony WH-1000XM4
See price of the previous version Sony WH-1000XM3
With the new WH1000XM4, Sony sets the bar very high for its competitors. Their noise cancellation system is very difficult to improve and they are currently the best helmets in this section. Now they are even more comfortable thanks to some small improvements and it offers multipoint Bluetooth to connect two devices at the same time. The sound quality must also be highlighted for offering a more than remarkable general performance.
- Best noise cancellation on the market
- Very comfortable
- Automatic pause when we remove our helmets
- Connect two devices via Bluetooth simultaneously
- Long duration battery
- Very complete and easy-to-use app
- The response of touch functions can be improved
- Extremely short included charging cable
Check out the sony official video for Sony WH-1000-XM4.
I hope you find this review helpful. If you have any questions regarding Sony WH-1000XM4, you can leave a comment below.