Review on Sony WF-1000XM4 earbuds
|Price history for Sony WH-1000XM4 Wireless Industry Leading Noise Canceling Overhead Headphones with Mic for Phone-Call and Alexa Voice Control, Black|
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The Review on Sony WF-1000XM4 earbuds
Sony’s long-awaited follow-up to its highly-rated WF-1000XM3 noise-cancelling true wireless earbuds is finally here: the WF-1000XM4 retails for $280, and they even cover our very few critiques of the XM3 with a laundry list of improvements — some big, some small.
Has Sony once again set a new benchmark for the true wireless world, or does it still have some work to do? Let’s get into it.
First of all, big props to Sony for creating packaging that should be adopted as an industry standard. The XM4 comes in a small box that eschews all the flashy labels and glossy prints you’ll see on boxes from companies like JBL and Soundcore. This allows each piece to be recycled or composted.
The only hint of plastic is in the thin outer packing strap that holds the two halves of the box together. Once opened, there’s no way to close it again, but I bet most people throw away their earbud packaging anyway, which is really the whole point.
Inside you’ll find the WF-1000XM4 already tucked away in their charging case, a short USB-C charging cable, two extra sizes of foam eartips (the mediums come pre-installed), and some printed instructions. Design
As much as we praise the WF-1000XM3, they’ve always had one major caveat: they’re some of the bulkiest buds money can buy and aren’t specifically designed for aggressive workouts. That goes for the earbuds and their copper-topped charging case.
The WF-1000XM4 earbuds are 10% smaller than the XM3, which is good but not earth-shattering. The charging case, on the other hand, is 40% smaller and now has wireless charging as an option. That’s a big problem. The case still isn’t AirPods Pro small, but it’s no longer the odd one out when you consider the rest of the true wireless options. I can now safely call it a pocket-sized bag – which I couldn’t say about the XM3.
The lid of the case opens easily and stays open on its own until you close it, which it does with a satisfying click. But getting the earbuds takes a surprising amount of effort compared to the XM3 due to incredibly strong magnets and the sleek shape of the charging port. On the plus side, those magnets also grab the earbuds as soon as they get close to the outlets, re-inserting them instantly and safely.
The other big change is the shape of the earbuds themselves. Sony has used the same capsule shape for years for its true wireless earbuds, with most of the body protruding significantly from your ear. For the XM4, Sony’s designers tried something completely different and created a more compact, rounder body that sits much closer. It looks much better in my opinion, although there can be some disagreement over the appearance of the prominent copper-clad mic housings. And it’s not just for looks: the touch-sensitive control surface now covers almost 100% of the exposed area of the earbuds, making it significantly easier to tap accurately. With the XM3, you had to make sure your fingers were connected with a small touch-sensitive circle.
It’s also worth noting that Sony addressed one of our other minor issues with the XM3: the lack of waterproofing. With an IPX4 rating, the XM4 are officially sweat resistant for the gym or wherever you need to take them.
I find the WF-1000XM4 quite comfortable to wear, but I’m not convinced that everyone will agree. The new shape is designed to fit your concha – the cavity that leads to the ear canal. But the XM4 are quite large. If you have small ears, you may not be able to insert them all the way. By comparison, the XM3 has a much smaller in-concha “footprint”, to use an awkward metaphor.
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