sony wf 1000xm4 review glam
Chris Thomas / Android Authority
TL;DR
  • The Sony WF-1000XM4 feature LDAC support and even better noise-cancelling than the WF-1000XM3.
  • Sony’s mobile app supports an ear tip fit test that makes it easy to get the optimal seal with the selection of ear tips.
  • The Sony WF-1000XM4 are available today and retail for $279.99.

Sony has defended its title as champion of noise-cancelling headphones and earbuds for some time now and isn’t letting up. The highly anticipated Sony WF-1000XM4 promise improved noise-cancelling, better battery life, and useful software features. Durability was also taken into account with the Sony WF-1000XM4. With their IPX4 rating, these ‘buds can weather your most intense workouts, making them a great everyday headset for a variety of music enthusiasts.

Our verdict: Sony WF-1000XM4 review

Sony is debuting its new Integrated Processor V1 with the WF-1000XM4. This, in tandem with the dual-noise sensor microphones, further quiet low-frequency sounds like the drum of a plane or car engine. Provisions include an array of memory foam ear tips. Anyone who struggles to find the proper tips can use the Sony Headphones Connect app (free on iOS and Android) to take an ear tip fit test. It gives you immediate feedback about your selection and ensures that the earbuds block out the most amount of background noise possible.

sony wf 1000xm4 review hero
An IPX4 rating means moisture like sweat and rain shouldn't damage your earphones.

The Sony WF-1000XM4 support the LDAC high-quality Bluetooth codec, remedying one of the more curious omissions of the previous model. If your music streaming service doesn’t support LDAC transmission rates, you’ll benefit from the DSEE Extreme processing that upscales compressed music files for clearer, more accurate sound quality. Of course, the buds also support SBC and AAC as well so you won’t be left high and dry if your phone doesn’t support Sony’s high-bitrate codec.

sony wf 1000xm4 frequency response chart
Chris Thomas / Android Authority
Our sister site SoundGuys was able to measure the new Sony WF-1000XM4 in the lab, and found the default sound has boosted bass and quieted treble.

A redesigned 6mm driver rests inside each earpiece. The Sony WF-1000XM4 has a consumer-friendly frequency response with slightly amplified bass and attenuated treble notes. As before, you can equalize the default sound profile from the mobile app. Both earphones feature touch-capacitive panels that allow you to control media playback and field calls. To quickly pause playback, remove the earbuds.

Sony WF-1000XM4Sony WF-1000XM3
Noise-cancelling
Sony WF-1000XM4:
Integrated Processor V1
Sony WF-1000XM3:
QN1e chip
Sound quality
Sony WF-1000XM4:
SBC and LDAC
DSEE Extreme upscaling
Sony WF-1000XM3:
SBC and AAC
DSEE HX upscaling
Battery
Sony WF-1000XM4:
ANC on: 8 hours
ANC off: 12 hours
Sony WF-1000XM3:
ANC on: 6 hours
ANC off: 8 hours
Case
Sony WF-1000XM4:
2 charge cycles
Sony WF-1000XM3:
2 charge cycles
Other
Sony WF-1000XM4:
Voice pickup technology
Speak to Chat
IPX4 rating
Wearing detection
Quick Attention
Sony WF-1000XM3:
Wearing detection
Quick Attention

Sony also added an automatic wind noise reduction mode. This works in tandem with the revamped microphone array and improves hands-free calls. Beamforming microphones and bone conduction sensors facilitate clear voice transmission. The earbuds automatically switch from noise-cancelling to Ambient Sound mode during calls so that you can monitor the volume of your voice. The WF-1000XM4 borrow Speak to Chat functionality from their big brother, the Sony WH-1000XM4. You never have to remove your earbuds to engage in a quick conversation.

You might like: The best noise-cancelling true wireless earbuds

A smaller case makes the WF-1000XM4 40% more pocketable than before. It supports USB-C and wireless charging. Fast charging the earbuds in the case supplies 60 minutes of playback in just five minutes. With active noise-cancelling enabled, the Sony WF-1000XM4 will last up to eight hours; this is extended to 12 hours when ANC is off. The case provides an extra two charge cycles, totaling 24 hours of portable playtime before you need to recharge the case.

sony wf 1000xm4 review sony wf 1000xm3 size comparison
Chris Thomas / Android Authority
The Sony WF-1000XM4 is much smaller than its predecessor, the Sony WF-1000XM3.

The Sony Headphones Connect app lets you tailor your listening experience. Here, you can select your preferred virtual assistant, take the ear tip fit test, and control the noise-cancelling settings. Sony’s app has always stood out from the rest, and, at the very least, it’s a great resource for firmware and software updates. Like the other high-end options in Sony’s stable of personal audio products, the new earphones support 360 Reality Audio.

These earphones make modest but welcome improvements to the famed WF-1000XM3 and will surely be a hit among travelers. The Sony WF-1000XM4 are available today and retail for $279.99.