Sony WF-1000XM4 Review – The Leader in True Wireless

Since the revolution of portable audio in the 1990s, Sony has been at the forefront of leading the innovation in how we listen to music and entertainment. The astronomical growth in the true wireless audio category and personal consumption of content has compressed highly demanding features only seen in headphones into true wireless headphones.

Personally, I’ve been a user of the Sony WH-10002H headphones since 2017, for the main reason of noise-canceling in traveling. Experiencing noise canceling to shut noises such as the airplane engine constantly ringing, children crying, in long haul travel was the best benefit on Bluetooth audio.

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Fast forward to 2021, the Sony The WF-1000XM4 is the 4th iteration of Sony’s take to the huge TWS market. Consolidating all the famous features of Sony with their superior noise canceling, Hi-Fi Wireless Audio, and paired with an app to intelligently adjust in audio quality and situation when necessary.

Design and Fit

The WF-1000XM4 is now available either in black or white, compared to before with just a black option. Ultimately, we love the gold accent colors Sony choose to pair with them a more suttle transition from the 3rd Generation WF or WX series.

WF-1000XM4 | Wireless noise-canceling headphones | Sony PH

 

We love the recyclable package that the WF-1000XM4 delivers, with very minimal packaging and footprint that we very much appreciate.

We love the recyclable package that the WF-1000XM4 delivers, with very minimal packaging and footprint that we very much appreciate.

Opening the case is a large LED indicator at the middle and the two buds are in a very unique shape.

Awe appreciate the overall design language of the WF-1000XM4 very similar to the striking WX-1000XM3 with the bronze-gold accent. Having a microphone per earbud, to assist the noise canceling.

 

 

App Experience

Pairing the WF-1000XM4 was easy in initial with the instant pair of Google-enabled, upon opening the lid and removing one earpiece the instant connect notification automatically shows up and even lets you set it up using the Sony Headphones app. If you still don’t have the app downloaded, pressing setup will let you download the app via the app store.

On the homepage of the app, you may be able to configure several settings such as the adaptive sound control for if you want noise-cancellation, adaptive sound, or simply now.

One of the options upon setup is the 360 Reality Audio Setup where it analyzes the shape of your ear, this can help assess the spatial audio to maximize the audio experience accordingly to the fit.

Upon experiencing the reality audio setup, the app being able to utilize this technology is deezer. Unfortunately, Spotify or Youtube music is not available which are more apps available and commonly used here.

The headphones app also has an achievement-based tracker for you to technically do. We find it a bit odd, but rewarding to see notifications if you see some achievements done while using the headphones.

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Alternatively, you can refer to this as the tutorial rather than reading a boring help guide.

Automatically setting the adaptive sound control learns your profile of use or just dedicating a location to use a certain profile, very helpful when in locations that you are moving around but not want to keep on changing profiles.

Even Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa is possible to be your assistant launcher on the earbud.

Navigation is pretty easy to learn and basic controls are mostly available. Controls such as volume can be modified using the headphones app if you’re keen on modifying the volume using the touch sensors.

  • Right Earbud
    • 1 tap – pause / play
    • 2 tap – next track
    • 3 tap – previous track
  • Left Earbud
    • Hold  / Cover- Speak to Chat manual mode
  • Both hold for 5 seconds – Pairing Mode

Sound Experience and Noise Cancellation

The WF-1000XM4 has the audio range expected from a Hi-Fi premium device, with no modifications in the settings it was able to give a full range of sound. In my profile of listening to EDM / KPOP and some local acoustic bands, the WF-1000XM4 didn’t had any problem providing the full range of audio instruments, even on the simple flute or chimes are clear.

Audio warmth is felt and intensity is properly ranged in the volume. The bass is strong without flooding the vocals, and no cheap audio manipulation that lets you feel rumbling just to substitute true bass. No complaints in the audio department, it’s truly a Hi-Fi audio experience with no delay in watching videos.

Initial usage might feel some sort of discomfort in the fit, but this is easy to be adjusted to even a long duration of use. Make sure to open your mouth when inserting the in-ear so it’s easier to fit and avoid scraping the ear hole to more cases of abrasion.

When it comes to calls ambient mode shifts in default prioritizing vocals and environmental sound, but what I like is the choice of prioritizing verbal chat vs ambient noise such as surrounding audio when walking.

Ultimately the noise canceling is the industry-leading, at par its really isolating noises such as annoying tricycles with strong mufflers, bus horns are minimized along EDSA, or even the usual public announcements in the mall audio when enjoying your coffee.

We had minimal opportunities when it comes to physical activities, fortunately, each earbud is IPX4 rated to combat the usual sweating with a decent snug fit. When worn properly, in my experience it can’t fall off even on a session of spinning class.

Call Audio

The Audio quality in calls is simply clear and audible, so far I haven’t got any feedback of I was unclear even when I was in front of an electric fan where it’s windy and lots of distraction noise.

Battery Life

The battery is no longer a concern in this product, 8 hours of use as advertised is enough for 1 day in my profile. In reality, I can’t even exhaust the 24-hour total battery (8 buds + 16 Case) in 3 days given my daily profile of casual walking and working on-site my day job.

The charging can be done via Qi or USB-Type C for faster charging, overall it just take around 2 hours to fully charge the whole case.

Concerns

The only concern that marked my whole experience is when getting notifications with sound, the current playing audio will minimize temporarily when the smartphone gets a notification.

You can cancel this dilemma if you simply mute the notifications or set on vibrate if using the Bluetooth device. Most smartphones today can program your sound of profile once connected to a certain device so it was easily addressed after some tweaking.

The secondary was the option of the WF-1000XM4 to use ambient mode when walking, but this is a disadvantage if you are in a location with inconsistent GPS such as a building or in a high rise condominium that can scatter your location with a slight movement. This can mimic your movement like walking and can change your listening profile from noise-canceling to ambient sound from time to time and can be annoying. But this can also be also solved when you register certain places that you can declare are your zones of use, like workplaces, homes, or even malls.

Conclusion 

The Sony WF-1000XM4 delivers outstanding audio quality and flexibility for SRP 13,990. Going against the Airpods Pro series the Sony WF-1000XM4 has a huge advantage in the flexibility series of the ambient sound and definitely in the audio department with its high-quality audio.

Honestly, going to switch from TWS is a rather no-brainer choice from my WX-1000XM2 series. My headphones will be more on long-haul travels (If it’s possible again) or at my workstation.

If you’re serious about having quality audio and want the freedom of noise-canceling the WF-1000XM4 is no doubt a serious contender. Nothing beats experiencing every audio to the best quality possible.