The number of technology companies that have decided to enter the market for true wireless headphones has only increased over the last few years. However, despite this growing offer of proposals, the firms that lead this segment in terms of innovation are still mostly the same. Among them, of course, is Sony, which in recent days has officially introduced the WF-1000XM4, the third generation of its most ambitious true wireless headphones.
These Sony WF-1000XM4 follow the same terrible nomenclature of their previous brothers, have a RRP of 280 euros and will be sold in the main world markets, including Spain. With them, Sony has a clear objective: they want them to be the best headphones in their segment, beating alternatives such as the AirPods Pro or the Bose QuietComfort. And, to achieve this, they have made multiple changes to this new model.
How are the Sony WF-1000XM4?
On the outside, the WF-1000XM4 have nothing to do with the WF-1000XM3. The headphones they have a different aesthetic, a rounder body and, although they still take up a bit more space than AirPods Pro or Galaxy Buds Pro, they are also a little smaller than their predecessor.
Once in the ear, the WF-1000XM4 they are quite comfortable even after long periods of use, which is essential. Mind you: I think Sony headphones are a little less “invisible” than the AirPods Pro. And by “invisible” I don’t mean “uncomfortable”, but rather how aware you are, while wearing them, of their presence.
Another important change is found in the box. It is much smaller than the WF-1000XM3. A lot of. And it is greatly appreciated. Remember that these products must accompany us all day in our pocket, bag or backpack, so the smaller they are, the better.
The box has an LED light that indicates the charge level. And a little more. Underneath, it houses an induction coil that allows the headphones to be recharged wirelessly and, behind, a USB-C port. Inside, a series of magnets ensures that the headphones are properly seated before closing the lid. And, in order to recharge them, a series of pins make contact to transmit energy.
The finishes of the box, in general, are good, although Maybe it doesn’t convey as good a feeling as the original Google Pixel Buds or AirPods Pro case. The differences, of course, are in minor details – such as the firmness of the hinge – that probably go unnoticed in most eyes.
How do they sound? How effective is noise cancellation? How long does the battery last?
The important thing about the Sony WF-1000XM4, in any case, is in the headphones themselves, not on the outside. This is where Sony has turned all its efforts. And the result is, in short, surprisingly good. Especially in two aspects: autonomy and noise cancellation.
The WF-1000XM4 promise up to 8 hours of continuous use with active noise cancellation, a figure that rises up to 12 hours with the ANC system inactive. In practice, the figures are quite close to what the manufacturer promised, which is surprising considering that most true wireless headphones range from 5 hours of uninterrupted use. With the charging case, we can extend its autonomy up to a total of 24 hours, more than enough to, for example, face a long-distance plane trip without fear of running out of battery or having to recharge the headphones in the middle of the journey .
When it comes to noise cancellation, the performance of the WF-1000XM4 is exceptional. No other true wireless headset can so successfully cancel out outside sounds. Certain noises that I was able to perceive – even slightly – with the WF-1000XM3 or the AirPods Pro, are almost completely buried with this new model.
The key, of course, is not only in the cancellation algorithms – which capture external sounds through the microphones and introduce an offset wave of similar characteristics that cancels them. The brand too has developed a series of pads that achieve a fairly good fixation, at the same time that they isolate the auditory pin more effectively. These have a straighter shape, establish a wider contact surface with the interior of the pavilion and are made of a more spongy material that expands once the headphones are inserted into the ear to occupy as much space as possible.
To achieve the best possible experience, Sony includes pads of different sizes in the box of the WF-1000XM4. To help you choose the right one, Sony’s Headphones Connect app now includes an option that automatically assesses whether the earphones you’ve put on your ears are isolating the ear canal well enough. The process is fairly simple. And honestly, it is very important to do it the first time you use these headphones. Otherwise, you won’t get the most juice out of the WF-1000XM4.
Regarding the sound, the WF-1000XM4 offer a really good experience, how could it be otherwise in a product of the Japanese brand. You can play various types of tracks without fear of poor quality. And if you want to customize the response of the headphones a bit, you can always go to the Headphones Connect application, where you will find, among many other options, an equalizer.
These headphones also support LDAC, a wireless codec that allows you to transfer audio at a higher bitrate. The improvement that this codec brings is probably, to most ears, almost imperceptible. But we live in a time when all streaming services are offering lossless audio, so that the new Sony headphones allow you to capture those little nuances is something that audiophiles will appreciate. Of course: you must have a compatible device – most Android smartphones are, but the same is not the case with iPhones.
What other functions do the Sony WF-1000XM4 offer?
The WF-1000XM4 not only do they have good sound, excellent noise cancellation and superior autonomy. They also come accompanied by a series of additional functions that significantly enrich the user experience.
Integration with Google Fast Pair. This technology, also present in other headphones such as the WH-1000XM4, simplifies the process of pairing the headphones with any Android smartphone. The headphones are also linked to your Google account, so that if you change your device, it will immediately appear on the new one. They have Alexa and Google Assistant built in. Just say ‘Alexa’ or ‘Ok Google’ for these assistants to start answering your questions in your ears. Of course: you have to have previously configured it.They have an infrared sensor. This pauses the music when you remove them from your ears. In this way, in addition to saving battery life, it prevents playback from continuing indefinitely by mistake.Speak to Chat feature allows you to speak without removing your headphones. As we also saw in the WH-1000XM4, the WF-1000XM4 are capable of detecting when we begin to speak and, automatically, pause the music and activate the transparency mode, which lets sounds from outside pass through the microphones. In this way, you can momentarily chat with other people without actually removing the headphones. The naturalness with which the ambient sound is captured, by the way, has improved compared to previous products of the brand. Now it is more natural. You can control the music by gestures. One touch pauses the music, one long touch activates the voice assistant, etc. These gestures can also be customized in the Headphones Connect app. The gestures can also be different on the left and right earbuds, if you wish.They have microphones specially calibrated to pick up the voice. These are supported by a bone conduction sensor that only captures our voice, propagated through the bones of our skull. All this has one main objective: to improve the quality of calls
The WF-1000XM4 have Bluetooth 5.2, but they do not support the multipoint connection that the WH-1000XM4 does. That is to say: you cannot simultaneously connect them to two devices (such as a computer and a mobile phone, for example). What you can do is “steal” the link. That is to say: if you are using the headphones together with a computer and you want to connect them to the mobile, just tell it to establish the connection. The WF-1000XM4 will instantly disconnect from the computer and will be linked to the mobile. Obviously, this is not as practical as multipoint connection, but at least it avoids the intermediate step of having to deactivate Bluetooth on the source device before you can connect the headphones to another device – something that does happen with some audio products. .
Should I buy the Sony WF-1000XM4?
Undoubtedly yes. Or, at least, it should be among your main purchase options. They have the best noise cancellation in their segment, their autonomy is superior to that of their main competitors, the sound quality is very high, the box is significantly smaller than before, it has several options related to intelligence … The only thing that does not I finish being clear is if the aesthetics of the WF-1000XM4 convinces me or not. But that is quite subjective. Functionally, which is what matters most about this product, I have no doubt: The WF-1000XM4 are an exceptional product.