Sony is one of the brands you will think of before going for an audio product. Most Sony products are arguably the best and come with the trust factor that lures us further into buying a Sony headphone/TWS/earphone. The similar goodwill is bagged by the company’s WH-1000XM headphone range, whose WH-1000XM3 was a hit.
The Sony WH-1000XM4 tried to follow the same success path as its successor with better audio output and active noise cancellation. Currently priced at Rs 24,990, the headphones stand in the premium league making the competition tougher, hence, it gets crucial to see how good they are even right now. Therefore, let’s find out how the pair is and whether or not investing in them will be a sweet deal.
When you pay a good amount for something, you expect quality. The Sony WH-1000XM4 offers you a lot of it. The headphones speak premium and define what Sony is capable of building. With a combination of classic Black and hints of rose gold, the audio pair is something you would like to flaunt while getting a good audio experience. There is also a Silver colour option, which is good too, but the black one has my heart. Although, the design matches that of the WH-1000XM3.
The wireless headphones are not only about style but also comfort. You won’t disagree with me if I say headphones get a bit uncomfortable after long usage. But these ones ensure comfort. The cushioning on both the ear pads allows for some convenient listening time and it hardly feels heavy on your head. There were times when I felt slight discomfort. But, that is mainly because I am not a headphone person and get tired of them after a while. This is subjective and those who love using headphones will like the WH-1000XM4 for sure.
Aesthetically, the left ear pad has the power on/off button, a 3.5mm audio jack for a wired connection, and the Custom button to enter/exit the ANC mode. The right earpad has a USB Type-C port for charging. One thing to note is that the headphones aren’t only good-looking. The case that packs them for easy travelling is pretty decent too. An oval-shaped case with a rose gold-toned zip ensuring ease of usage. Doesn’t it sound like a good idea? To me it did as carrying the headphones around was made pretty easy.
Overall, the Sony WH-1000XM4 justifies the price tag with the good build quality and design and won’t disappoint you.
Features, Specs at a glance
The Sony WH-1000XM4 has the main highlight in the form of enhanced active noise cancellation (ANC) achieved with the help of the HD Noise Cancelling Processor QN1. There are three modes: ANC to cancel out the noise, Ambient to hear selective ambient sounds, and the third mode to hear every sound around you.
The headphones also support smart features: the ability to stop the music when someone is talking, wear detection to stop the music when the headphones are not placed on the ears, Adaptive Sound Control to adjust the ambient sound according to your surroundings, and the feature that helps you listen to sounds around you when you place your palm on the ear pad. There is also support for voice assistants and touch controls to up/lower the volumes, change the songs, and more. It can also be connected to two Bluetooth devices at a time.
There is also support for DSEE Extreme and LDAC for Hi-Res audio quality, NFC, Bluetooth (of course), the ability to optimise noise-cancelling while travelling by air, and support for the Sony Headphones Connect app.
Getting started with the headphones is easy and can be done via three methods: Bluetooth, which is primary, a wired connection, and NFC. The hybrid nature of the Sony WH-1000XM4 calls for convenience and intrigue. It works on both Android and iOS. You can further improve the audio with customisations, possible via the Headphones Connect app, which is meant for both Android and iOS.
Once the pairing process gets done (which is pretty simple, except the NFC is slightly moody and iPhones take a few extra seconds to connect), comes the real fun, an audio journey, which hits the right chord when you need the music refreshment. I used the headphones with both my iPhone and Android device and listened to almost all types of music genres. As imagined, the Sony headphones gave me quite a joyful music experience with a subtle and rich listening experience.
The audio pair very subtly highlighted elements in any song be it EDM, Bollywood, Punjabi, Vocal-centric tracks, and more. For instance, in the famous song Aaja by Nucleya, the bass felt pretty decent without creating much of a thumping effect that tends to annoy eventually and other instruments such as the guitar or even the vocals felt balanced. Even background music coming was rightly felt. Shape of You by Ed Sheeran highlighted the beats well. The bass feels nice too and doesn’t take a toll on your ears. Punjabi songs such as High Heels by Honey Singh, with pretty decent highs, mids, and lows proved to be fun listening to. Even Bollywood songs such as Uff Teri Ada from Kartik Calling Kartik was a delight: the instrumental segments, the vocals, all felt quite balanced.
The battery is touted to last you up to 30 hours and it almost reached the desired goal. I used the headphones for around 3 to 4 hours a day (sometimes more) while working or travelling and it lasted me well enough on a single charge. It comes with USB Type-C support and is able to eat up its food in about an hour, which is quite decent for an audio pair.
Talking about the other smart features, I loved the presence of wear detection, touch controls, and the pair’s attention to situations when people were talking. The star is ANC and proves to be quite there. With ANC enabled, I was able to disconnect from the world and just focus on my music time. The Ambient mode let the necessary sounds enter my ears and it was needed for me to not completely ignore the conversations taking place. My second time with ANC and I am impressed.
What did not impress me was the fact that it is a headache to use the Sony Headphones Connect app: it mostly doesn’t work, mainly on Android. Although, iOS usage was easy and I was able to add customisations to my music with ease and it was pretty decent. I would like Sony to pay attention over here, please. Additionally, the ability to connect to two devices isn’t really helpful. This can be improved too.
The Sony WH-1000XM4 felt like the near-perfect headphone pair I got a chance to use. With good looks, good audio output, ANC, and a couple of noteworthy smart features, I liked the musical journey I embarked on with the headphones. However, there are issues too; the app doesn’t work mostly, iOS compatibility can be better, and some edits in the smart features here and there. And with competitors bringing about tough rivals at a much lower price tag, the headphones can become just another option.
But for those who like the Sony audio quality, want the premium feels, do not want to compromise, and most importantly, cand spend 30K (now 25K), the Sony WH-1000XM4 is still a really good option to go for.