The Sony WH-1000XM4 is the way to go if you have the money and want a top-tier pair of headphones for modern life. The greatest all-around option for most people is the combination of high-quality Bluetooth codecs, outstanding sound, better noise cancellation, good battery life, and smart features like auto-pause and Bluetooth multipoint.
The Sony WH-1000XM4 has arrived. When the Sony WH-1000XM3 headphones were released in 2018, they took the crown away from Bose, and we’ve been waiting for a replacement ever since. Now, Sony has released a new and improved headset that ditches aptX in favor of multipoint connectivity. Is it, however, enough to stand out in a crowded market of active noise cancellation (ANC) headphones?
Let’s get down to business.
Convenience For Android Users
The first is a basic convenience for Android users; Sony now supports Android’s Fast Pair for speedy setup. You can also use this to locate misplaced headphones by playing a sound through them.
You’ll receive low-battery alerts when the 30-hour battery life is nearly depleted.
The enhanced mic performance is a greater enhancement that both iPhone and Android users will appreciate.
Precise Speech Pickup Technology
The 1000XM4s now have Sony’s “Precise Speech Pickup technology,” which enhances audio processing from the five built-in microphones for clearer voice capture — and the improvement is noticeable.
I’ve used the 1000XM4s to capture voice memos and make phone calls, and while the mics aren’t perfect, your voice is clear and intelligibly reproduced. It sounds a little more digital than I’d prefer, but it’s still a step up from the 1000XM3s.
Speak to Chat
Speak to Chat, a new feature from Sony is linked to the mics. If you check this box, the headphones will pause once you start speaking. The detection is excellent; the music stops even if I say a single word. If you do nothing, the music will start playing again 30 seconds after the speech has ended.
Some individuals may find this useful; the 1000XM4s still feature the handy trick of covering the right ear cup with your hand to reduce audio loudness and pipe in ambient sound, but this approach is voice-activated.
But if you’re someone who talks to yourself on a regular basis, don’t bother. Your music will be continually halting. During my testing, the headphones also stopped working when an overhead announcement was playing at the train station, despite the fact that the feature is supposed to listen for your voice.
To reduce false activations, you can modify the sensitivity of Speak to Chat via Sony’s Headphones Connect app.
The 1000XM4s also feature multipoint pairing, which allows you to connect to two devices at once. If you’re engrossed in a movie or show on Netflix on your laptop, you don’t have to worry about missing a call.
Sony’s multipoint was a little unstable when I initially got the headphones, and switching between audio sources took a long time on occasion. However, in mid-August (prior to the M4s being shipped to customers), the business published a firmware upgrade that substantially rectified any difficulties. There’s still the occasional, odd glitch, but I guess that’s simply part of the multipoint experience.
Water-resistance is still lacking, which is something I wished Sony had addressed with the 1000XM4s. Rain has an easy time getting into the upward-facing microphone grills. The headphones fold up in the same way as before for carrying. Also, the USB-C connector is still only for charging; it can’t be used for wired audio, but you may use the provided headphone cable to connect if you like.
The noise-canceling method in the 1000XM4s is the same as in the previous headphones, but Sony claims there’s a new Bluetooth audio system on a chip that analyses the music and ambient noise 700 times per second, and this data is used for the noise cancellation algorithm.
The 1000XM3s were previously excellent at muting planes, buses, trains, and other consistent sounds, but Sony claims that the 1000XM4s are slightly better at muting mid-high frequency sounds, such as voices and ordinary ambient noise.
Sony’s LDAC Codec
My experience with the 1000XM4s has convinced me that Sony’s LDAC codec (available on most Android phones) delivers audio wirelessly at a substantially greater quality than the AAC you’re confined to on an iPhone. I spent several hours listening to the 1000XM4s with Amazon Music HD, and if you’re someone who sits and listens to music intently, you’ll notice the improved fidelity.
With no visible design modifications, I’m curious as to why Sony waited so long to issue these, especially when the 1000X, 1000XM2, and 1000XM3 headphones were released in such quick succession. Regardless, Sony’s 1000XM4s live up to the company’s stellar reputation by providing more robust noise-canceling features than ever before.
You’re probably looking at the new top option for noise-canceling headphones if the business follows through on its multipoint repair.
The Sony 1000XM4s are an incremental improvement over the M3s, not a tremendous leap forward. They have the same appearance, sound, and feel on your head in a similar way. However, Sony’s software enhancements — multipoint, Speak to Chat, and great add-ons like Fast Pair — aren’t minor. And the horrible voice quality has been fixed at long last.
While the WH-1000XM4 headphones have a similar appearance to their predecessor, they have a few unique functions hidden inside. Because you may connect to two devices at once using Bluetooth multipoint, it’s significantly more handy in regular use (more on that later).
It allows you to easily switch from listening to music at your workstation to watching a YouTube video on your phone and back without having to access your Bluetooth settings. If you’re going to use multipoint, make sure both connected devices are using the AAC Bluetooth codec.