Unbiased comparison of Sony’s WF-1000XM4 and AirPod Pros’ sound quality, ergonomics, and price... Read more
Test of Sony WF-1000XM4
- Improved Noise Cancellation
- Suitable for Android users
- Comparable battery life to AirPods Pros
- Comes in multiple colors
- Comfortable memory foam ear tips
- Decent sound quality
- Effective wind noise reduction
- Incompatible firmware updates with Android
- Bulky design
- Uncomfortable for prolonged usage
- Not as ergonomic as competitors
- Unimpressive fidget factor in the case pin
“Having spent considerable time trying out the Sony WF-1000XM4s, I am genuinely impressed. There are certain gripes, like the slightly bulky design and the heftier price tag, but the excellent sound quality, superior noise cancellation, and convenient features in an Android-friendly package make these earbuds seriously worth considering. The battery life is commendable, and the ability to handle wind noise is certainly an impressive feature. While they may not overturn the AirPods Pro in terms of comfort, particularly for prolonged use, they do present a strong case against them. I think it’s safe to say that Sony has delivered a compelling product for those looking for quality wireless earbuds, especially Android users.”
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|Form Factor||In Ear|
|Connectivity Technology||Bluetooth 5.2|
As an ardent fan of the Apple AirPods Pros, I was slightly disappointed with the lack of optimal functionality when paired with an Android phone. It didn’t seem like a technological limitation, but more of a brand-focused choice by Apple. To me, it felt like a statement saying ‘you need to buy more of our products for the best user experience’.
Apple vs. Android: The Frustration of Incompatibility
This exclusionary approach made me turn my sights onto possible alternatives. In my search for a seamless, pleasant audio experience, I stumbled upon Sony’s WF-1000XM4s. With a somewhat complicated name, these set of earphones piqued my curiosity nonetheless.
Meeting the Sony WF-1000XM4: Hope for Android User
I found the Sony WF-1000XM4’s integration with Sony’s new V1 processor promising; the promise of a better active noise cancellation experience needleless to say, sparked hope.
First Glance: Naming and Design Critiques
From a branding perspective, however, the name seemed lacking. Comparing names – ‘AirPods Pro’ vs ‘WF-1000XM4’ made the latter sound less captivating. Beyond the branding issue, the real anticipation was on whether the WF-1000XM4 would live up to my expectations.
- Sony WF-1000XM4’s V1 processor enhances noise cancellation
- Battery life provides approximately 24 hours use
- Case is thicker than AirPods Pro’s case
Let’s get into what really sets the Sony WF-1000XM4 earbuds apart from the rest: the technical jargon that gets us tech-enthusiasts excited.
The V1 Processor: Expectations for Increased Noise Cancellation
First up, we have the integrated V1 processor. Now, I understand that a processor might not sound like a game-changer for earbuds. However, hear me out. Sony claims this new processor significantly improves the active noise cancellation in these earbuds, compared to its previous-gen product. As a fan of silence while I’m listening to music or podcasts, this excited me. But does it live up to the claim? We’ll uncover this later.
Impression of the Battery Life: A Delicate Balance between Usage and Charging
Next, let’s talk battery life. On paper, you’re getting approximately eight hours with the active noise cancellation enabled, and an extra 16 hours from the charging case. This totals a comfortable 24 hours. We all know how battery life varies in real-world usage, though, so a proper long-haul trial is in order.
Comparing it with AirPods Pro: Spec for Spec
On to the golden question: how do the specs match up against the AirPods Pro? And what does this mean for the android user stuck in this Apple vs. Android tug of war? Spec for spec, these two contenders are surprisingly similar. One key detail to mention, however, is that the WF-1000XM4 case is noticeably thicker than the AirPods Pro case. This difference in form factor is something worth noting, especially for those of you who take the portability aspect seriously.
Sorting Through the Options
- Color choice becomes more important over time in earphones
- AirPods Pros offer limited color options
- Sony WF-1000XM4 offer appealing earthy-toned white and sharp black
When it comes to wireless earphones, color choice may seem like a negligible factor at first. But the longer you use them, the more important this aesthetic element becomes. In my search for the perfect earbuds, the limiting color options of the AirPods Pros initially presented a roadblock.
Diving into Color Selection: The Limitation of AirPods Pros
I’ve always been fond of the AirPods Pros. But their limited color selection – restricted to just white – has always slightly irked me. Don’t get me wrong: there’s a certain sleek elegance to the color choice, but when you’re about to stick something in your ear, I like to have a bit more flexibility in my color options.
Taking a Closer Look: The Stone and the Sharp Black
Exploring the Sony WF-1000XM4s, I found myself fascinated by their color choices. They offer two color ranges: an earthy-toned white, and a sharp black. The earthy-tone color, interestingly, doesn’t quite fit the typical ‘white’ category. It’s more reminiscent of a subtle stone color – unique, understated, and quite appealing. But the one that stole my attention was the sharp black pair.
The black earphones were packaged in recyclable paper – an important and laudable sustainable choice. The color itself was striking, but there was also something about a black earphone that seemed inherently more practical and less prone to showing dirt or discoloration over time. For daily use, as someone desiring a wear-resistant, chic, and non-distracting color, the black option of the Sony WF-1000XM4 took the crown.
So, what does this box checking exercise represent? Well, besides being called ‘superficial’ for considering color options in a tech review, it also underlines the importance of personal preference and nuance while choosing a product. Some customers may overlook factors like color options, while for others, it’s a non-negotiable aspect of their purchase decision. And it’s essential these nuances are spoken about.
Getting Personal with the Products
- Earphones come with pre-installed medium tips, small and large options
- Memory foam ear tips increase noise reduction but low durability
- Four integrated microphones ensure remarkable noise cancellation
It’s time to get intimate with the two versions that I managed to get for this review – the white one and a special press kit version in block color.
The Pre-Installed Tips and the Alternative Options
Upon opening the box , I was pleasantly surprised to find that they come with medium tips pre-installed. Additionally, they provide an inclusive choice of small and large tips, nicely color-coded. This thoughtful touch adds an extra feather in Sony’s cap, giving users customization and a more personal fit right out of the box. Not all ear sizes are the same, after all. On the downside, high hopes can certainly create room for disappointment and heightened scrutiny. But let’s carry on.
Memory Foam Style Ear Tip
First up in my personal test is the fit. One thing I noticed is that they use a memory foam style for the ear tips. This design has its pros and cons. On the positive side, it provides an excellent seal against the ear canal, significantly reducing noise bleed. However, as with all good things, there’s always a downside. In this case, it’s durability. Unfortunately, memory foam is not the best in terms of robustness.
A Closer Look at the Microphones
- One intriguing feature is that Sony has integrated not just one, but four microphones in total/two on each side. The one on the outside is meant to detect ambient noise, which it cancels out – a feature that over-delivered during my testing.
- They also have a secondary microphone on the inside, whose role is to ensure the noise canceling is functioning as it should. The four together work like a well-orchestrated concert. Well done, Sony!
In conclusion, Sony seems to have put a lot of thought into these earphones, right from offering a couple of color options to the inclusion of multiple ear tips for user customization. The impressive noise cancellation feature, thanks to the four well-integrated microphones, is a commendable selling point. However, the memory foam tips may not be the most durable. That being said, the Sony WF-1000XM4s still hold a wealth of promise and a great user experience thus far.
The Pairing Process
- Sony WF-1000XM4 pairs easily with Android
- Active noise cancelling feature effective
- Allows control over ambient sounds
Pairing your new headphones shouldn’t feel like solving a Rubik’s Cube. And it didn’t with Sony WF-1000XM4 . Let’s dive into it.
Ease of Connectivity
Seconds after powering them up, the headphones showed up on the available devices list in my Android’s Bluetooth settings. A simple tap, a quick ‘connect’ prompt, and voilà, they’re paired! It was an effortless and straightforward process, setting an excellent first impression. However, I can’t help but wonder if the experience would be as seamless across different Android makes and models.
Judging the Active Noise Cancelling
Once connected, the active noise cancelling – the feature Sony’s new V1 Processor promises to revolutionize – kicked in. The effect? Eerily quiet. It felt like being in a separate bubble when I activated the noise cancellation. I couldn’t hear my own voice, which, in some cases, could be a positive aspect, promoting focus and peace in noisy environments. However, it could also raise safety concerns – you’d want to be aware of your surroundings while outside.
Checking on Ambient Sound Levels
A little experiment with ambient sounds brought out this feature in greater detail. With the ANC on and while talking to a colleague at a normal volume level, I could hear him, but his voice was quite faint. If I had been listening to music, I likely wouldn’t have heard him at all. This illustrates an ample degree of customization and control over the amount of ambient sound you want to allow in, which is a significant plus.
In summary, the pairing process with Sony WF-1000XM4 was a breeze, and the noise-cancelling features are impressive – although they may take some time getting used to. Only real-world experience will confirm if it delivers sustained performance and comfort, especially for those daily commutes and crowded spaces.
A Fun Side Journey
- Unexpected app interruption: requests for ‘ear pics’
- App analyzes ears for customizability
- Extra features seen as potentially gimmicky
Just when I was comfortably settling into the rhythm of testing the Sony WF-1000XM4, something unexpected caught my attention. An application interruption: requests for ‘ear pics’. This struck me as a bit strange, but I decided to humor the peculiar request.
Peculiar App Interruption: Taking ‘Ear Pics’
Amused by the seemingly odd request, I obliged and dutifully removed the earphones and used the app to take a picture. The application gave clear, step-by-step instructions. After a bit of adjusting and a retry, I managed to capture a satisfactory ‘ear pic’. As intriguing as this was, I couldn’t help but feel a creeping sense of the unusual.
Analysis Of The Ears: Worth The Hassle?
The application then informed me it would take approximately 30 seconds to analyze the ear pics. I patiently waited; intrigued by this additional feature that initially seemed rather whimsical. The app’s unique approach of analyzing my ear, was something I hadn’t come across.
It’s more than obvious that the Sony WF-1000XM4 is not merely a play on features and waterproofing; there’s a stark focus on customizability, targeting the uniqueness of each potential user. Is this extra effort worth it? Perhaps. After all, no two ears are the same, and I can appreciate the efforts undertaken to provide a better fit. But for some, this side journey may come off as gimmicky.
While the entire experience was a surprise, it was also an interesting reminder that technological advancements can take unique turns, be it in sound or, in this instance, capturing ‘ear pics’. A fun side journey indeed.
The Power of the App
- Sony’s app allows prioritizing sound quality or stable connection
- DSE Extreme feature enhances music quality
- App provides personalized settings for unique user experiences
Pairing and optimising the Sony WF-1000XM4s is facilitated through Sony’s companion app. It’s simple to use, with a user-friendly interface making it straightforward to tweak settings to match my personal preferences. However, my excitement heightened when I noticed Sony’s offering – the ability to either prioritise the sound quality or prioritise a more stable connection.
Prioritising Sound Quality vs. Stable Connection
Having the flexibility to choose based on my environment and needs is liberating. No longer do I need to compulsorily sacrifice quality over stability or vice versa, Sony offers a balance – a big tick in my book for user convenience and consideration.
Discovering DSE Extreme
Then there’s the discovery of the DSE Extreme feature in the app. It supposedly uses the V1 processor to upscale any lossy files, boosting the overall music quality. I was skeptical yet intrigued. However, the result was impressive – listening to my music brought about an elevated auditory experience.
Testing the Sound Quality
The audio quality impressed me right off the bat. The sound was clear, punchy, not overdone, and had great clarity in the highs. It felt balanced and well-rounded, without any unnecessary bias toward bass or treble, which made for an immersive listening experience.Conclusion:
Overall, the app enhances the experience of using the Sony WF-1000XM4s, showcasing Sony’s dedication to creating a seamless user experience beyond the device itself. It offered a multitude of settings and personalisation options catered to different user preferences, with its most notable features being the ability to prioritize sound quality or stable connection and the DSE Extreme which offers a solid upscaling of music. That said, there may be slight improvements needed regarding the intuitiveness of its interface.
Comparing the Sound Quality: Back to Apple
- WF-1000XM4s have superior noise cancellation than AirPods Pros
- Overall sound quality better in WF-1000XM4s
- Compelling reasons to switch from Apple to Sony
After succumbing to the allure of the Sony WF-1000XM4s’ crystal clear sound quality, it felt necessary to delve back into my experience with the AirPods Pros. It was time to directly juxtapose both devices and gauge if my initial reaction still held up.
Diving Back into the Familiar
Equipping the AirPods Pros once again, I was reminded of their superior ergonomics. The way they naturally nestle in the ear, almost unnoticeable, is uncanny. However, when it came to the facet of sound quality, a rather alarming realization struck me. Compared to the WF-1000XM4s, the noise cancellation of the AirPods Pros felt remarkably inferior.
A Surprising Contrast
The AirPods Pros , once taking the benchmark of excellent noise cancellation seem to barely hold up in the face of Sony’s offering. It was challenging not to perceive the Pros as just a regular pair of earphones, their noise cancelling capabilities now paling in comparison.
Is the Switch Worth It?
The change in sound quality was significantly more pronounced than initially thought. The striking difference left me contemplating whether I could willingly opt for the AirPods Pros again, knowing the sonic capabilities of the WF-1000XM4s. The decision to switch over seemed far more compelling after this side-by-side testing.
Points to Ponder
- Excellent active noise cancellation on the WF-1000XM4s compared to the AirPods Pros.
- Pleasant overall sound quality experienced with the WF-1000XM4s.
- Compelling reasons to consider a switch from Apple to Sony in terms of sonic experience.
Addressing the Flaws
- WF-1000XM4 has a high price tag
- Earphones lack comfort during extended usage
- Sony earbuds are bulkier than AirPods Pro
While my experience with Sony’s WF-1000XM4 has been largely positive, I do believe in giving an honest, unbiased critique. Let’s take a step back from the applauds and address a few areas that could use some improvement.
Looking at the Price: A Not-So-Cheap Alternative
The WF-1000XM4, despite being a stellar product, does come with a pretty hefty price tag -almost 300 US dollars. It’s a premium product, no doubt, but the cost may deter potential buyers who are looking for budget-friendly alternatives. While I understand the price reflects the quality and features offered, a more competitive price point could attract a broader audience.
Considering the Ergonomics: The Uncomfortable Reality
In terms of comfort, the WF-1000XM4 still has some catching up to do. I tried sleeping with these earphones in – a practice I regularly do – and I must say they weren’t as comfortable as I had hoped. The tighter seal against the ear and the bulky design — although offering splendid noise cancellation — might indeed cause some discomfort for users, particularly during long-term usage. A little finesse in the design could make these a lot more agreeable for extended listening sessions.
Comparing the Sizes: A Marked Difference
What struck me next was the size of the WF-1000XM4 compared to the AirPods Pro. The Sony earbuds are decidedly bulkier, something that did affect the pocket test outcome. The charging case, although not inconvenient, was also noticeably thicker. Considering our progressing world leans towards compact and sleek designs, a slimmer version of these earphones would be more appealing.
In conclusion, it’s clear that while the Sony WF-1000XM4 wireless earbuds shine in many categories, there are some areas, particularly in regards to price, ergonomic comfort, and size, that they could indeed seek improvement in. Don’t get me wrong, this doesn’t take away from the fact that they’re a truly high-quality audio device. However, it’s always worth remembering that even the best of products have room for potential enhancements.
The Wind Noise Experiment
- Sony WF-1000XM4 earphones feature wind noise reduction.
- Significantly reduces wind disturbance in audio quality.
- Function usage slightly reduces battery playback time.
Ever been bothered by the irritating disruption wind noise causes during your favorite tracks? Well, the Sony WF-1000XM4 earphones promised a solution: a feature specifically tuned to deal with wind noise. While skeptical, I was intrigued and eager to put this claim to the test.
Selecting the Wind Noise Feature
Within the user-friendly app interface, amid a range of other intriguing features, I stumbled upon a button indicating, “Select this if wind noise is bothersome” . With a single tap, I was ready to gauge the effectiveness of this feature.
Testing in Action
I had a fan nearby, creating a consistent level of wind as a test environment. The moment I activated the wind noise reduction function, a sense of anticipation filled me. But what followed surpassed expectations.
Gone was the annoying flutter of wind against the earphones that usually played havoc with the sound quality. What emerged was a perceptible decrease of wind noise, almost to a non-existent level. I noticed that while the noise cancellation was responsible for eliminating low-level consistent sounds like the whirring, the wind noise reduction excelled at tackling the irregular, harsher rustling caused by wind blowing over the mic.
A Pleasant Surprise
The wind noise reduction feature works, and it works surprisingly well. It’s a practical function that stood up to its claim, demonstrating the potential to significantly enhance outdoor music experiences on breezy days.
Critique and Verdict
However, it’s important to note that use of this specific function does lead to a slight decrease in battery playback time. While this isn’t a major drawback, it’s something users may need to factor in depending on their individual usage habits and environment. All in all, the Sony WF-1000XM4’s capacity to neutralize wind noise proved impressive and highly functional, making for a major win.
I have to be forthright, the Sony WF-1000XM4 deeply impressed me. Though I initially began my journey with these earphones with both hope and skepticism, the final verdict is leaning towards a positive note. However, the experience was not without its highs and lows.
The V1 Processor and its upgraded noise cancellation ability made a significant difference in terms of sound experience. The eerie silence these earphones were able to create, allowing for an immersive listening experience, was peculiarly impressive. When paired, the convenient connectivity was another strong plus point, and the sound quality accorded after that was exceptionally pleasing. Not to mention the unexpected, but very welcome wind noise feature which handled the menacing effect of wind noise remarkably well.
Room for Improvement
However, this review aims to be balanced and critical, so let’s delve into the potential drawbacks.
- The ergonomic aspect leaves room for improvement, with comfort being a setback, especially for prolonged usage.
- The bulkiness and size difference compared to the AirPods Pro didn’t go unnoticed either, particularly when considered against the sleekness of Apple’s design.
- The cost was markedly high, making accessibility an issue for budget-conscious consumers.
Nevertheless, it’s crucial to understand that no product comes without flaws, and the real test lies in considering if the positives outshine the negatives considerably. In the case of the Sony WF-1000XM4, I believe they do.
With the stunning sound quality, effective noise cancelling capability and the pleasant surprise of the wind noise feature, Sony’s WF-1000XM4 proves worthy enough to warrant consideration for a switch, in spite of its drawbacks. To simply put, they’ve made their mark and are undeniably a promising contender in the advanced earphones market.
Should you buy the Sony WF-1000XM4?
Buy it if…
You’re an Android user
The Sony WF-1000XM4’s compatibility with Android devices eliminates some of the common user frustrations experienced with products like the Apple AirPods Pro.
You’re a stickler for sound quality
Sony’s new integrated V1 processor helps the model achieve excellent noise cancellation and impressive overall sound quality.
You value battery life
The WF-1000XM4 offers a total playback time of 24 hours, with eight hours achievable on a single charge and an additional 16 hours courtesy of the battery case.
Don’t buy it if…
You’re on a tight budget
Retailing at almost 300 US dollars, the Sony WF-1000XM4 may not be a feasible option for those looking for a budget-friendly earphone.
You’re seeking ultimate comfort
The size and fit might not be comfortable for everyone, especially for those who wear their earphones for long periods or while sleeping.
You favor compact design
Even though the WF-1000XM4 has a reasonably sized battery case, its thickness may not pass the pocket test for everyone.
- What is the main difference between Sony WF-1000XM4 and Apple AirPods Pro?
The main difference lies in their compatibility and noise cancellation capabilities. Sony WF-1000XM4s are more compatible with Android and have superior noise cancellation. However, the design and comfort of AirPods Pro are preferred by some users.
- Does the Sony WF-1000XM4 work well with Android?
Yes, Sony WF-1000XM4s are designed to work seamlessly with Android devices.
- Are the Sony WF-1000XM4 earbuds comfortable?
While the Sony WF-1000XM4 earbuds provide an excellent seal against the ear canal, they were found to be less comfortable compared to the AirPods Pro, especially for sleeping.
- Is the noise cancellation feature on the Sony WF-1000XM4 effective?
The noise cancellation on the Sony WF-1000XM4 is highly effective, even described as ‘eerily good’ in the review.
- Are the Sony WF-1000XM4 earbuds expensive?
The Sony WF-1000XM4 earbuds are priced around 300 US dollars, which is considered expensive in comparison to other models on the market.
- Is it easy to pair the Sony WF-1000XM4 earbuds?
Yes, the pairing process for the Sony WF-1000XM4 earbuds is straightforward and hassle-free.
- How is the sound quality of the Sony WF-1000XM4 earbuds?
The sound quality of the Sony WF-1000XM4 earbuds is notable, with great clarity in the highs and a punchy, well-rounded sound.
- Do the Sony WF-1000XM4 earbuds come in multiple colors?
Yes, the Sony WF-1000XM4 earbuds are available in multiple colors including white and black.