The Sony WF-1000XM4 TWS earbuds were officially announced by Sony via an online event. The Sony WF-1000XM4 TWS earbuds has been circulating for a few weeks now. We not only saw several renders and live images of the earbuds, but we also got an idea of the features to expect onboard.
The WF-1000XM4’s official unveiling confirms its sleek, compact design as well as a star-studded feature set. The new earbuds are not only smaller but also have a better design that fits the ear better, has improved audio quality, and improves noise cancellation when compared to their predecessor.
When compared to its predecessor, the earbuds are equipped with a Sony V1 chip, which provides improved active cancellation of high frequencies and up to 40% lower noise levels. The buds are also said to be the first TWS earbuds to support Hi-Res audio via the LDAC codec in the world. In case you didn’t know, LDAC sends three times the amount of data as standard Bluetooth audio. The TWS buds also include 360 Reality Audio support for a truly immersive audio experience. The wind noise reduction function is also activated by an automatic wind detection feature.
Driver units with larger magnets and a better diaphragm were also improved in the audio department. Because the diaphragm is more flexible, it can produce better cancellation signals at lower frequencies. A richer bass is also produced by the flexible diaphragm.
Furthermore, even when the ANC is turned off, the earbuds use polyurethane foam tips to help reduce noise. On both Android and Windows 10, the device also supports fast pairing. It also detects ear fit and prompts the user to make adjustments for a more comfortable fit.
Even in a noisy environment, the buds are useful for receiving voice calls. It has bone-conducting technology and powerful microphones. Alex and Google Assistant voice prompts are also supported by earbuds.
The Sony WF-1000XM4 TWS earbuds are also equipped with a large battery. With ANC, each bud can withstand up to 8 hours of music playback, and when turned off, the usage hour can be increased to 12 hours. When noise cancellation is turned on, the carrying case can extend the battery life by up to 24 hours, and up to 36 hours when it is turned off.
When it comes to the carrying case, the XM4 has a slim design that allows for faster charging. Qi wireless charging is also supported by the case. Sony touts a 5-minute charge for 60 minutes of playback for the faster-charging feature.
The XM4 has an IPX4 rating, which means it can be used in wet conditions. The earbuds will be available in two colours: silver and black.
The Sony WF-1000XM4 TWS earbuds will cost $280 in the United States and €280 in Europe. Both offline and online sales are currently available for the buds.
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Sony WF-1000XM4 TWS earbuds short review
First and foremost, kudos to Sony for developing packaging that should become industry standard. The XM4 comes in a small box that is devoid of all the flashy labeling and glossy prints found on JBL and Soundcore boxes. As a result, each piece is recyclable or compostable.
The WF-1000XM3 has always come with one major caveat: they’re among the bulkiest buds you can buy that aren’t specifically designed for aggressive workouts. The earbuds and their copper-topped charging case are no exception.
The Sony WF-1000XM4 TWS earbuds are 10% smaller than the XM3, which is commendable but not revolutionary. The charging case, on the other hand, has been reduced by 40% and now includes wireless charging. That’s a significant achievement. The case isn’t quite as small as the AirPods Pro, but it’s no longer the odd man out when compared to the other true wireless options. I can now confidently call it a pocketable case, something I couldn’t say about the XM3.
The shape of the earbuds has also changed significantly. For years, Sony’s true wireless earbuds had the same capsule shape, with the bulk of the body protruding significantly from your ear. Sony’s designers tried something new with the XM4, creating a more compact, rounded housing that sits much closer to the user. It looks much better in my opinion, though the prominent copper-capped microphone enclosures may cause some disagreement. It’s not just for show: the touch-sensitive control surface now takes up nearly all of the exposed portion of the earbud, making it much easier to tap precisely.
Although I find the Sony WF-1000XM4 TWS earbuds to be quite comfortable to wear, I’m not sure everyone will. The new shape is made to fit inside your concha, which is the cavity that leads to your ear canal. However, the XM4 is quite large. You might not be able to fully insert your ears if you have small ears. By comparison, the XM3 has a much smaller in-concha “footprint,” to use a clumsy metaphor.
Sony’s control customization scheme, which it carried over from the XM3, is less appealing to me. The controls in the Headphones app are divided into four categories: ambient, playback, volume, and none. Because each earbud can only be assigned to one control group, you’ll have to choose between your two favourites. Do you want to be able to control the volume and playback of your music? You won’t be able to change between ANC modes. What about ANC control and playback? There is no longer any volume available. JBL does the same thing, so it’s not like Sony is alone in this, but I’d prefer more a la carte options.
The Sony WF-1000XM4 TWS earbud’s excellent Bluetooth connection is very smooth, and I was able to put 40 or 50 feet between the earbuds and my phone before the connection began to stutter. The Sony WF-1000XM4 TWS earbuds never missed a beat, unlike the XM3, which occasionally gave me tiny half-second dropouts. I only wish Sony had included Bluetooth multipoint, which allows you to connect the earbuds to two devices at the same time. The Sony WH-1000XM4 full-size earbuds can do it, but it’s still a rarity in the earbud world.
The Sony WF-1000XM4 TWS earbuds has a fantastic sound. The frequency response is strong from beginning to end, and the bass has a lot of depth. Anyone who plugs them in will be blown away by their rich and full sound signature.
But as I switched between the Sony WF-1000XM4 TWS earbuds and the XM3, something became clear: the XM3 has clearer upper midranges and high frequencies, giving vocals a little more presence. It also adds a level of energy to the XM4 that it doesn’t seem to have.
The new speak-to-chat feature makes transparency mode even more convenient to use. It detects when you’re speaking using sensors and switches to transparency mode while pausing your music. It worked really well for me. The Headphones app allows you to turn it on and off, adjust the sensitivity, and choose how long the transparency should stay on after it detects your voice.
Android users will also be able to activate Alexa or Google Assistant by simply speaking their wake words, which has previously been a rarity on wireless earbuds. I tried it with both assistants, and it works just as well as the Google Pixel Buds or the Amazon Echo Buds, responding to my voice commands quickly and accurately.
Sony claims eight hours of play time with ANC turned on and an impressive 12 hours when it’s turned off when fully charged, which is a significant improvement over the XM3’s capacity of six and eight hours, respectively. Several features, such as wake-word access to voice assistants and wind-noise reduction, will lower these figures, but I found them to be accurate on the whole. The XM4 also has a faster quick-charge option: a five-minute quick charge adds an hour of playback time, whereas the XM3 took ten minutes to gain 90 minutes. The charging case has enough juice for two full charges, giving you at least 24 hours of listening time before you need to look for an outlet or wire.
Using the Sony WF-1000XM4 TWS earbuds is a good idea. Most competing sounds, such as traffic, are effectively eliminated, as is wind noise, which was previously a flaw of the WF-1000XM3. It isn’t flawless: It can sound like you’re speaking through several layers of fabric as the earbuds try to compensate for external noises, particularly wind. However, I believe it is an improvement over listening to the annoying whistle of the wind.