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Review: Sony WH-1000XM4 Wireless Premium Noise Canceling Overhead Headphones, Black WH1000XM4 – Notable upgrades with high-end advanced features

Unveiling Sony’s WH-1000XM4 headphones’ design and improved features for an unprecedented listening experience... Read more

Review of Sony WH-1000XM4 Wireless Premium Noise Canceling Overhead Headphones, Black WH1000XM4

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Test of Sony WH-1000XM4 Wireless Premium Noise Canceling Overhead Headphones, Black WH1000XM4

4.7/5 - (52834 votes)

Cena: $214.99


  • Excellent active noise cancellation
  • Supports multiple device pairing
  • Quality sound experience
  • Improved in-app features
  • Cushions are 10% larger
  • Effective voice recognition with new mic pattern
  • Useful wear detection feature


  • Almost identical design to Mark III
  • Multiple pairing took two years to implement
  • No noticeable noise cancellation improvement
  • Minor physical adjustments, mostly unnoticeable
  • Speak to chat feature feels gimmicky
  • Still lacks cool designs or unique color choices

“After spending quality time with the Sony WH-1000XM4, I must say that their reputation is well-deserved. I’ve found their enhancements, particularly the multi-device support and improved noise cancellation, to be notable upgrades from the previous model. The comfort and sound quality remain top-notch, making them a joy to use. However, they are not without their minor flaws and the ‘speak to chat’ feature could use some fine-tuning. Overall, for those in search of high-end headphones with advanced features, the WH-1000XM4 is certainly a worthy consideration. Remember, it’s always vital to consider your personal preferences and usage to ensure a satisfactory purchase.”

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Brand Sony
Model Name WH1000XM4/B
Color Black
Form Factor Over Ear
Connectivity Technology Bluetooth, Bluetooth 5.0

Introduction: An Unveiling of Sony’s WH-1000XM4 in Classic Style

Welcome to an unbiased introduction and review of the Sony WH-1000XM4. These headphones have been eagerly anticipated and are finally here, revealing a design that is strikingly similar to its predecessor, the Mark III. Given the past success and customer satisfaction with the Mark IIIs, it seems that Sony has taken the adage: ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,’ quite seriously with this new model.

Breaking it Down: Unmasking the Near-Identical Appearance to the Previous Generation

At first glance, distinguishing between the Mark IVs and the Mark IIIs may seem like a daunting task due to their uncanny resemblance. A closer look, however reveals a few subtle differences. While it’s true that they almost mirror each other in terms of design, this has largely been perceived as a positive move by the audience. After all, there were hardly any overt complaints with the design of the Mark III. Its understated yet smooth aesthetic has received commendations, and Sony has smartly decided to take a classic approach with the Mark IVs as well.

However, the question arises: Is it all just about the aesthetics? Are there any significant improvements housed within the similar exteriors?

Let’s dive into reviewing these new headphones, giving an unbiased eye to whether Sony has indeed addressed the little requests and fine-tuned the things that didn’t need fixing. This will be done through a thorough exploration of the Mark IV’s features, sound quality, and other important aspects.

Assessment of Sony WH-1000XM4 Wireless Premium Noise Canceling Overhead Headphones, Black WH1000XM4

Dive into the New Features: Addressing the Little Requests

  • Sony WH-1000XM4 features multiple device pairing
  • Audio seamlessly switches between devices
  • Regular software updates improve user experience

What distinct features do these headphones hold that might tempt you to part with your money? Let’s delve right in, and find what Sony has served us this time around with their cutting-edge WH-1000XM4.

What’s New? An Honest Discussion on Multiple Device Support

The feature that many of us have been eagerly waiting for is finally here: multiple device pairing. If you’ve handled the kind of frustration that I’ve faced unpairing and repairing devices, you will appreciate this addition as much as I do. They’ve answered our collective prayers by offering the ability to pair the WH-1000XM4 with multiple devices actively.

Imagine listening to music on your PC when an incoming call buzzes on your phone. Gone are the days when you need to scramble into your Bluetooth settings. The headphones ingeniously switch connections seamlessly, saving us from the cumbersome process of manual switching. This simple feature upgrade can significantly improve user experience.

Achieving Multiple Pairing: A Function that Makes a Difference

At first, I hesitated at the claim. But my skepticism was gradually eased as Sony released software updates improving this feature over time. I started noticing that the more I used, the better the feature worked in smoothly swapping between connections.

Does this feature live up to its promise? Well, for me, it did. The only minor issue initially was that it took a bit of time to perfect connectivity. But with subsequent updates, it seems to be getting better and better. Of course, your mileage might fluctuate based on various factors, but the difference it offers to the user experience is worth noting.

Software Updates: A Constant Improvement Journey

The sound controls and connectivity aren’t set in stone. Sony follows an ‘improve as we advance’ policy, consistently rolling out software updates to enhance user experience. It stands to reason that these headphones might continue to get updates even in the future. There’s something appealing about a product that’s designed to get better over time, don’t you think?

So, here we have it. Notable improvements targeting the minor nitpicks from the last generation – a bold yet smart move by Sony. But does this make the Mark IV worth its price tag?

Well, let’s delve deeper into other upgrades to solve this conundrum.

Appraisal of Sony WH-1000XM4 Wireless Premium Noise Canceling Overhead Headphones, Black WH1000XM4

Noise Cancellation: Is it Better on the Mark IV?

  • Mark IV headphones have enhanced noise cancellation
  • They outperform competitors in sound quality
  • Improvement from Mark III to IV is subtle

One of the standout features of the Sony WH-1000XM4, and something I was eager to test, is its noise cancellation. In previous generations, Sony had already crafted a winner with its excellent noise cancellation capabilities. But how does the new generation fare? Let’s find out.

Contesting Sound Quality: Surface Headphones vs. Mark IV

When it came to sound quality, the Sony WH-1000XM3 already set a high bar. I found its noise cancellation and sound quality so impressive that it outperformed other sleekly designed headphones such as the Surface Headphones. Now, with the WH-1000XM4, the aim was to improve on something that already seemed pretty perfect.

1 Noise Cancellation Amplified: The Big Win Against Higher Frequencies

One significant improvement is the increased ability of the WH-1000XM4 to cancel out higher frequencies. Lower frequencies like rumbles and drones from an airplane or train were already effectively tackled by previous models, but this latest piece is even better at getting rid of noise from things like dishwashers, cars, and even people’s voices.

2 Going Unnoticed: Mark III vs. Mark IV in Noise Cancellation

In terms of differences between the Mark III and Mark IV, it’s subtle, perhaps a bit too subtle to be used as a sole reason to switch over to the newer model. A prime example of the enhanced experience was working with my mechanical keyboard, which has brown switches. The clacking usually gets through many noise-cancelling headphones, but the WH-1000XM4 managed to soften that sound considerably.

3 Exceptional Experiences: An In-depth Discussion on Sound Quality and Isolation

In terms of sound quality alone, it is hard to find a pair of noise-canceling headphones that outperforms this model. They deliver incredibly clean, bright, and full sound along with excellent isolation. If there’s a better one out there, I have yet to find it. At times, wearing these headphones can feel like being transported into another dimension due to the degree of noise cancellation achieved.

In conclusion, if you’re after superior noise cancellation and excellent sound quality, these headphones won’t disappoint. Is it a giant leap from Mark III to IV? I’d say it’s more of a step, but a welcome one nonetheless.

Report: Sony WH-1000XM4 Wireless Premium Noise Canceling Overhead Headphones, Black WH1000XM4

The Subtle Physical Adjustments: Does Size Matter?

  • Sony increased the cushion size on the WH-1000XM4 by 10%
  • A proximity sensor was added to the left ear cup
  • These adjustments enhance comfort and user experience

In the world of noise-canceling headphones, every detail counts, right down to the size and structure. With the Sony WH-1000XM4, a few subtle adjustments were observed that are worth exploring. These aren’t the kind of revisions that might jump out at you straight away, but as you delve into the world of attributes that make a significant difference, they’re fundamentally important.

The Cushion Changes: An Examination of the 10% Size Increase

First off, Sony slightly increased the cushion size on the WH-1000XM4 by around 10% . A minor increase, one could argue, but what does this mean for user comfort and experience? Bigger cushions usually translate to improved comfort for long hours of use. If you are a heavy user, the larger cushions mean that ear fatigue – that sensation of pressure or strain on your ears after prolonged use – is less likely to occur. Additionally, a larger cushion could also mean better sound isolation; after all, the better the headphone fits around your ear, the less external sound slips through.

Decoding the Functionality of the Proximity Sensor in the Left Ear Cup

Next on the list is the addition of a proximity sensor in the left ear cup. Upon initial examinations, this may seem like a mere technical addition. However, this little sensor actually has a significant role in improving the user experience. The sensor enables the wear detection feature, allowing it to know when you’re wearing your headphones and when you’ve taken them off, triggering certain functions that make life easier – such as automatically pausing and starting your music. An impressive piece of intelligent technology.

But here’s the kicker: this proximity sensor has an unintended benefit, quite by chance making our lives simpler in a little way. It actually helps identify which is the left and the right ear cup faster, taking off a second or two of the usual habit of flipping the headphones around to find the L and R markers.

So, does size matter? In a way, it does. In the same vein, does a slight change or addition like a proximity sensor matter? Again, yes. They may seem like minute adjustments, but when it comes to daily use and maximum comfort, these small tweaks contribute to bigger benefits and a more enjoyable audio experience.

Appraisal of Sony WH-1000XM4 Wireless Premium Noise Canceling Overhead Headphones, Black WH1000XM4

The Microphone Evolution: Towards Better Voice Recognition

  • Mark IV promises improved voice recognition and call quality
  • Features a noticeable five-microphone design enhancement
  • Effectively isolates voice amidst distracting noises

When it comes to the world of wireless headphones, we have sort of accepted that, while microphone functionality might be important, it rarely impresses. However, the Mark IV looks set to redefine those standards as it promises better voice recognition and superior call quality, courtesy of an improved microphone setup.

A Shift From Mediocrity to Exception: Introduction to the Five-Microphone Design

Wireless headphones have more often than not offered ‘just okay’ microphone quality. It’s not normally the highlight of the package, or the thing you’d rave about to your friends. The most I’ve usually expected is being heard clearly. But with Mark IV, I was pleasantly surprised. The upgrade to a five-microphone system is immediately noticeable. It’s an improvement that’s not just about the numbers; it significantly enhances the user experience.

Pushing the Boundaries: Isolating Voice Amidst Noise

One of Mark IV’s selling points was to bet on cancelling background noises, offering a more isolated listening experience. This has always been the real test for headphones’ mics—being able to focus on the speaker’s voice and tune out unwanted ambient sounds. It’s a big claim and naturally, I was eager to test this out. The first thing I noticed was how effectively my voice came out in the midst of clatter and chatter. It felt as those extraneous noises were placed on the back burner, allowing my voice to really shine.

A Critical Appraisal

Just as we exited a call that tested the microphone’s prowess, I pondered on the experience. It definitely seems like Sony spent a good amount of time on the drawing board, plotting out how to enhance the microphone experience. With noise-cancellation headphones, more emphasis is usually placed on immersion and audio quality. That’s what makes Mark IV stand out, because it doesn’t overlook the importance of voice clarity in calls or voice recognition services.

However, perfection is elusive. Whilst the five-microphone design does offer an improvement, this is still not professional podcast-grade quality we’re talking about. Those who are very serious about their sound might still find limitations with this setup. But for the vast majority, rest assured this is a marked improvement that will prove a significant upgrade, and will surely shake up your casual or business calls in noisy environments.

Reflection on Sony WH-1000XM4 Wireless Premium Noise Canceling Overhead Headphones, Black WH1000XM4

Exploring the Special Features of Sony App

  • Sony app crucial for WH-1000XM4 headphones’ features
  • Impressive Wear Detection feature saves battery
  • Hand-over ear technique enables quick mute

When it comes to fully unlocking the capabilities of the Sony WH-1000XM4 headphones, the dedicated Sony app plays a crucial role. It’s a comprehensive package that delivers a range of unique features, some of which I found incredibly beneficial, while others seem to lean more towards the gimmick side.

Wear Detection: A Feature Designed for Convenience

The Wear Detection feature is particularly impressive. Ingeniously implemented in the Mark IV’s thanks to the added sensor in the left ear cup, the headphones recognize when they are no longer on your head and can pause the playback, saving precious battery life. This definitely delivers on convenience – no more fumbling for the pause button when you need to momentarily divert your attention.

Auto-music Control: How Sony App Makes Life Easier

Even better, these headphones can be set to automatically turn off after a period of removal from your ears. It was particularly pleasing to note how effortlessly these features can be adjusted within the Sony headphones app. Simply put – once you’ve set the criteria to suit your preferences, the headphones cleverly do the rest.

Introducing a Quick Silence: The Hand-over-Ear Technique

Another notable feature that I found reasonably useful is the hand-over-ear technique . As soon as you cup your hand over the right ear cup, the headphones immediately turn off noise cancellation and depress the volume, effectively creating a quick mute of sorts. It’s an intelligent, fast-acting feature that I, personally, found quite handy in certain situations. However, I did notice that the feature is somewhat sensitive and can be triggered unintentionally, so just something to keep in mind.

The Speak to Chat: A Glimpse into the Future or a Present Gimmick?

Then there’s the ‘Speak to Chat’ function, which seems like an ambitious leap towards a hands-free future. The idea of your headphones automatically pausing music when you start speaking suggests a certain level of intelligence. However, in reality, I found it seemed to break the flow of my music listening experience more often than not. It worked well, no doubt about it, but did it enhance the overall experience? For me, not so much. I ended up turning it off in the settings eventually.

While the Sony app does bring a host of cool features, it’s clear that their impact will largely depend on individual users’ needs and habits. But for the most part, they do add to the overall experience of owning the Sony WH-1000XM4 headphones.

Appraisal of Sony WH-1000XM4 Wireless Premium Noise Canceling Overhead Headphones, Black WH1000XM4

Final Thoughts: The Verdict on Sony’s WH-1000XM4

Having spent a substantial amount of time with the Sony WH-1000XM4, it’s time to cut through the hype and offer an unbiased evaluation. What’s important to us isn’t the brand name or the glossy marketing – it’s about how these headphones perform in everyday use, from their sound quality to their comfort and bonus features.

The Downfalls

Quite frankly, there aren’t many. The design could certainly be a little trendier. While there’s nothing wrong with the matte black, understated look, it remains fairly basic and may not stand out in the crowd of competitor products. And yes, rolling out some unique hues like a matte red could potentially add to the market appeal.

The Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa trigger from the custom button on the bottom is also fairly standard. It works fine, but does not offer anything extraordinary. It’s an area where the gap can, or rather, should be filled.

The Benefits

The biggest win for the Sony WH-1000XM4 is probably how it combats the atmospheric noise. Coupled with its superb sound quality, I can safely say that these may just be the top dog in the noise cancellation headphones market. From the low hum of an airplane to the chatter of people around, these headphones silence it all, providing a near-perfect bubble of tranquility associated with high-end headphones.

The multiple device support is also a huge bonus. Not having to manually unpair and pair devices every time is a convenience that consumers will appreciate in this fast-paced technological era. Add the consistent quality improvements through software updates to the mix, and we have a real winner on our hands.

In terms of comfort, the 10% larger cushions do offer a noticeable improvement. They sit comfortably over the ears without becoming a burden – even during long periods of use.

So, is it Worth the Investment?

For a price tag of $349, these headphones don’t come cheap. However, considering their stellar performance and lack of significant drawbacks, they certainly emerge as a valuable investment for anyone placing sound quality and features at a high priority. However, it’s also worth pointing out that the Mark III’s are often on sale for a lower price. If you can live without some of the newer features, they might be a worthy alternative.

In sum, while the Sony WH-1000XM4 may not have the dashingly unique outward appearance, it triumphs where it truly matters – in its impressive performance, user flexibility, and high-quality user experience. They’re far from perfect, but the Mark IV is without a doubt, an exemplary leader in their category. In this crowded market, standing out is not easy, but Sony seems to have pulled it off pretty spectacularly.

Should you buy the Sony WH-1000XM4 Wireless Premium Noise Canceling Overhead Headphones, Black WH1000XM4?

Buy it if…

You want seamless device transition

The headphones offer multiple device support. It allows you to pair your headphones actively to more than one device at once, offering seamless transition between devices.

You need excellent noise cancellation

The Sony WH-1000XM4 offers best-in-class noise cancellation including better cancellation of higher frequencies. It’s ideal if you’re looking for effective noise cancellation headphones.

You require sophisticated features

The advanced features like wear detection, hand-over-ear instant silence mode and speak-to-chat function offer a user-friendly and efficient experience.

Don’t buy it if…

You’re inclined towards visual aesthetics

The design of Sony WH-1000XM4 follows the ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ philosophy. If you want a product with more aesthetic appeal and varied color options, these might not be the headphones for you.

You are budget conscious

The Sony WH-1000XM4 is priced at $349, which might be on the higher end for some customers considering noise cancellation headphones.

You prefer audible voice chat over music

The speak-to-chat function that auto-pauses music while conversation might not suit you if you prefer chat over music in certain situations.


Do the Sony WH-1000XM4 look different from the previous version?
No, The Sony WH-1000XM4 look almost identical to the Mark III model.
What is the main improvement in the Sony WH-1000XM4 from its previous version?
The main improvement is the inclusion of multiple device support, allowing the headphones to be paired with more than one device at once.
Has the noise cancellation feature improved?
Yes, the noise cancellation feature of the Sony WH-1000XM4 has been improved and it now cancels out more of some higher frequencies.
What are the physical changes in the Sony WH-1000XM4?
The Sony WH-1000XM4 has slightly larger cushions than the previous version and also includes a proximity sensor in the left ear cup for wear detection feature.
How has the microphone feature changed in the new Sony WH-1000XM4?
The Sony WH-1000XM4 includes five microphones which improve its call quality and better voice recognition.
What new features are enabled by the Sony app?
The Sony app enables features like wear detection, which pauses the music when you take off the headphones and also a speak-to-chat function, which pauses your music and turns off noise cancellation when you start speaking.
Are there headphones out there that offer better noise-cancellation and sound quality?
According to the review, Sony WH-1000XM4 offers one of the best noise-cancellation and sound quality experiences and it would be hard to find a superior model.
Is there a significant price difference between the Sony WH-1000XM4 and the Mark III version?
Yes, the Sony WH-1000XM4 are on the higher end price wise, but the Mark III version has been seen on sale for as low as about $250

About Rajiv Lal

Rajiv LalRajiv’s analytical skills make him a discerning reviewer. He believes in the harmony of function and form, ensuring his reviews are both detailed and holistic.

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