Priced at Rs. 28,490 in India, Sony WH-1000XM4 is the latest flagship in the wireless headphone line of the Japanese business. The successor to the WH-1000XM3 looks pretty much the same at first sight, but there are some changes both on the top and under the hood that make this a stronger pair of headphones.
Sony’s 360 Reality audio style, which offers surreal space audio experience, is among the most over-the-top functionality. LDAC support for 990 kbps bitrate transfer for your higher-quality titles is also available. Mind you, aptX support is gone so the Hi-Res audio playback performance will take a dive.
Sony WH-1000XM4 Design
Visually, the 1000XM4s are the same as their counterparts. They even come in the same two colours, but there’s no way to tell them apart when you see someone wearing them. The only distinction is the interior of the left earcup, which is where the optical wear recognition sensor is mounted.
Nothing especially incorrect with that, as the architecture of the 1000XM3 was already very refined, with equal parts of minimalism and versatility, allowing it to fit into most scenarios. The choice of fabrics is also top notch here, with high-quality polycarbonate on the exterior and supple faux leather on the inside.
Sony decided to maintain the core concept of the 1000X series through its several iterations. Versions 3 and 4 differ somewhat from 1 and 2, but they both share the same unmistakable appearance.
It’s not a bad thing to me. An aesthetically appealing style with a polished, elegant look that is discreet enough to be worn outside without attracting attention to it.
The headbands are flexible with a satisfactory sliding mechanism. One problem with the moving, though, is that it needs to be done while the headphones are off the ears. That’s because if you wear it, the headbands get bent, stopping the ear cups from falling easily onto the metal bars.
On the exterior of the headphones, you’ll find two circular power / pair control buttons and a 3.5 mm aux button that switches between noise cancellation and ambient sound. The outer portion of the right earcup serves as a touch-capable control panel that can be used to trigger, pause or skip music and increase or lower the volume.
Sony WH-1000XM4 (Black)
Sony WH-1000XM4 Features
The Sony WH-1000XM3 was feature-rich upon publication, full of creative control schemes and clever implementations of its noise cancellation technology. Everything that was wonderful about the WH-1000XM3 headphones was turned over to the latest WH-1000XM4 predecessors, along with some new tricks, too. They ‘re not all gimmicks, though – they ‘re practical features that really function as advertised.
The 1000X series has always had these touch movements, and I’ve never been a fan of them. It’s a fun idea to demo your clients in a shop or show off to your friends, but it’s not the most realistic and user-friendly way to control it. First of all, the movements are only accessible on the right ear cup, but whether you’re left-handed, even if you’re right-handed, you’ll find them very awkward
The adjustable button also returns to the Sony WH-1000XM4 Wireless Headphones, and you can adjust its function using the Sony Headphones Connection app. I tended to use it to monitor active noise cancellation and hearing modes, but you can also set it up to easily call Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa. You may also invoke the default voice assistant on your mobile by clicking it once and leaving it up.
The only piece of bad news is about the codecs. WH-1000XM4 supports SBC, AAC, and LDAC, but multi-device pairing does not work for LDAC, because based on what is provided by each of your paired systems, you will be taken to AAC on both or SBC on both. Right now, this is the premium you pay for multi-device matching, that you’re going to lose some audio quality for the sake of convenience.
Sony WH-1000XM4 Audio Performance
Sony uses the same 40 mm drivers in the Sony WH-1000XM4 Wireless Headphones as in the WH-1000XM3, but there is no sound and blend between the WH-1000XM4 and the WH-1000XM3 headphones that followed them. It’s a warm and balanced sound that does well to deliver a wide variety of sounds as needed and specifics that can be penetrated by a strong bass output.
WH-1000XM4 supports SBC, AAC, and LDAC codecs for transfer over enhanced Bluetooth 5.1 connexions. There is no support for aptX and aptX HD codecs, since Sony has now moved to MediaTek processors on its headphones, which lack native support for these codecs. While LDAC is fine and has fairly broad support for Android these days, it’s not as reliable as aptX codecs because of its ability to slip back to lower bitrates when the relation is less than ideal. I’m going to explore this further in the networking section.
The mid-range also profits from cleaning up the bass area. The bloated bassline of the WH-1000XM3 blew into the lower mid-range, producing extra warmth in male voices and making the sound a boom. The mid-range WH-1000XM4 is even more stable in contrast. It’s not ahead, but it doesn’t go to the back of the mix, and basically, there’s a strong sense of balance all over the board.
Active noise cancellation on the headphones is excellent; standard home noises such as ceiling fans and air conditioners have been virtually blocked out, and the headset has also had a significant effect outdoors. The level of silence stopped short of being exaggerated and unsettling; rather than feeling like sitting in a vacuum, it felt more real and realistic. Importantly, this made a major change to my desire to immerse myself in and interact in music, with less distractions and less background noise. This, of course, even improved when viewing Reality shows and movies.
Sony WH-1000XM4 Battery Performance
Although the Sony WH-1000XM4 didn’t get a boost in battery life relative to their predecessors, they still delivered a significant 30-hour noise cancellation switched on and about 38-hour noise cancellation switched off.
30 hours would be enough for quite a few videos, several flights or days of regular use while at work. In addition, this time, there’s still fast charging. You will get around five hours of charge from a 10-minute top-up, according to Sony. It takes about three hours for a complete fee. Luckily, all this is going to happen via USB Type-C.
When used in this worst-case scenario mode, the 25-hour battery life is not bad, but definitely not the 30-hours claimed and far more spectacular. Luckily, the headphones have a fast charging option that offers a 10-minute charging of around five hours of use. This feature works as expected, and I got about six hours of use in the same worst-case test situation as the 25-hour test figure from before, so thumbs up for that.
Sony WH-1000XM4 (Silver)
The last complaint is about the life of the cell. While not bad by any stretch, Sony ‘s goal fails a tremendous margin. Battery life is something that Sony’s headphones are usually excellent at, and I anticipated to see more in this respect. Not only do these headsets assert the same number as the previous generation edition, they also fall short of that goal.
It’s tempting to give the WH-1000XM4 a rough time because of their height. After all, many believe these to be the finest wireless headphones on the market, and they still cost just a penny. Although I would refuse to name them the best without making any comparisons with their rivals, I’m going to say that the WH-1000XM4 is a very, very fine pair of headphones and that you should actually buy them if noise-cancellation, wireless audio and sound quality are your goals in that order.
All of this makes the Sony WH-1000XM4 is the very best pair of wireless headphones you can purchase right now, with a long shot.