Sony WF-1000XM4 Review

Sony WF-1000XM4 Review

Written by deepakbhagat, In Gadgets, Published On
October 25, 2023

Sony’s latest noise-canceling earbuds outperform the competition. The £250 ($279.99/A$449.99) WF-1000XM4 premium true wireless earbuds compete with the Apple AirPods Pro, Jabra Elite 85t, and Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro. The magnificent yet massive WF-1000XM3 is their replacement. Sony’s Mark IV case and earbuds are smaller without losing performance. The 7.3-gram earbuds are heavier than the 5.4-gram AirPods Pro, yet they fit comfortably in the ear and can be worn for hours without a break. They have no stalks but protrude more than their thinner competitors. The sweat-resistant earphones don’t have any attachments other than the earbud tip; therefore, I wouldn’t recommend them for jogging.

Sony WF-1000XM4 Specs

Acoustic Design Closed
Frequency response 20-40,000Hz
Weight 7.3g (per earbud)
Finishes x2
Voice Control Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa
Battery life 8 Hours
Noise-cancelling Yes
Bluetooth version 5.2
Price £259 / $299 / AU$499.


  1. Quick, powerful, and articulate
  2. Excellent ergonomics and valuable features
  3. Excellent call quality


  1. Poor battery life
  2. ‘B+’ noise-cancelling

The case and power

Sony WF-1000XM4 Review a

The earbuds last longer than most competitors: 8 hours of music with noise cancellation, 12 hours without, or 5.5 hours of call time. The case fully charges the earphones twice for 24 hours of listening. The case charges in 90 minutes through USB-C or Qi wireless charging, while empty earphones charge in five minutes for 60 minutes of music.


Sony WF-1000XM4 Review a

The earphones pair quickly with Android, swiftly with Windows, or normally with Apple and other devices. They support most devices’ SBC and AAC Bluetooth audio formats. The XM4 are among the first earbuds to offer the high-resolution LDAC audio standard, which is compatible with many Android smartphones and provides some of the best Bluetooth audio. They can only connect to one device at a time but switch between them without disconnecting.

The Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra, iPhone 12 Pro, and Surface Pro 7 connected well at home and on the go. Due to COVID-19 in the UK, testing in busy places was impossible. The superb Headphones Connect app on Android and iOS controls sound modes, equalizers, settings, updates, and earbud and case battery levels. When one earbud is removed, music stops or plays. Touch panels control noise cancellation, volume, and playback on either side. The tap gestures work well; however, you can only use two controls at once.

By adjusting the left earbud level and playing on the right, I couldn’t toggle noise cancellation on and off without the app. The earbuds enable Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa via wake words (“Hey Google” or “Alexa”) or a long-press, similar to iPhone Siri.


The Sony WF-1000XM4 is on sale now for $279.99, £250, or AU$449.95, which seems fair considering that the outgoing model launched at $230, £220, or AU$399 in 2019 and the final few pairs sold for $170, £150, or AU$200. The WF-1000XM4 competes well with Bose, Grado, and Sennheiser, but it appears cheap next to Bowers & Wilkins’ excellent (and ridiculously expensive) PI7.


Sony WF-1000XM4 Review a

The best-sounding true wireless earphones are the XM4. Like their predecessors, they deliver dazzling, vivid, and rich audio that lets you hear new things in old favorites. Well-balanced, they produce a rich but not bass-heavy sound that suits most music genres, though the “clear bass” preset makes it feel heavier. Voices are clear, highs are precise, and mids are robust and warm. They separate instruments well and handle complex, overlapping tones well. The Headphones Connect app has a comprehensive equalizer for sound customization. Sony’s DSEE Extreme system, which improves compressed audio using AI, works well for SBC or AAC Bluetooth music, although it drains battery life by an hour.

Active noise cancellation works.

The XM4 features the best noise cancellation of any earbuds I’ve tested, rivaling Bose and Sony’s best big, over-ear headphones. The new V1 chip reduces noise from fans, engine rumbling, and voices, making it simple to listen to music at lower volumes. I recommend using their superb ambient sound mode because it blocks street car noise well. You can adjust noise levels on a sliding scale or focus on voice to hear individuals but suppress extraneous noise. The Headphones Connect app’s adaptive sound mode adjusts based on noise and location.


Sony does not specify earbud or case battery longevity. Similar products’ batteries withstand at least 500 full-charge cycles and retain 80% of their capacity. Like most true wireless earbuds, the WF-1000XM4 is disposable because its battery cannot be replaced. Sony does not disclose headphones’ environmental impact assessments or comment on recycled materials. There are annual sustainability reports and a strategy to have zero environmental impact by 2050.


Sony WF-1000XM4 Review a

The WF-1000XM3 has many reasons to praise it, but ‘discretion’ was not one of them. The earphones and charging case were huge, so Sony intelligently tried to reduce their bulk in this latest model. Earbuds are 10% smaller, and the charging case is 40% smaller. They’re still among the heaviest of this type, which shows how huge the WF-1000XM3 were, but the new charging case might fit in a trouser pocket, and the earbuds don’t protrude like spaceship props.

The WF-1000XM4 has some of the features from last year’s WH-1000XM4 over-ears, including active noise cancellation that adapts to your situation, fast pairing for Android and Windows devices, and ‘speak to chat’, which pauses your music so you can talk without taking them out. New polyurethane ear tips (small, medium, and large) improve passive noise cancellation.

Sony’s fully featured, reliable Headphones app controls the WF-1000XM4 in one place. Play with all the fantastic and little functions that are partially duplicated on each earbud’s capacitive touch surface here. In the app, you may set the left and right earbuds to control ‘volume up/down’, ‘play/pause, skip forwards/skip backward, summon voice assistant’, ‘active noise-canceling on/off/adaptive’, or ‘nothing assigned’.


What are the key features of the Sony WF-1000XM4?

The Sony WF-1000XM4 earbuds feature industry-leading noise cancellation, high-resolution audio, long battery life, customizable touch controls, voice assistant support, and more.

How is the sound quality of the WF-1000XM4?

These earbuds provide excellent sound quality with support for LDAC for high-resolution audio. They offer rich, clear sound and customizable equalizer settings.

How is the noise cancellation on the WF-1000XM4?

The noise cancellation on the WF-1000XM4 is highly effective, thanks to dual noise sensor technology. It can block out a wide range of ambient sounds, making it great for traveling or noisy environments.

What is the battery life like?

The WF-1000XM4 offers up to 8 hours of playback on a single charge, with the charging case providing additional charging for a total of up to 24 hours. Quick charging is also available, giving you 1.5 hours of playback with just a 5-minute charge.

Are they water-resistant or sweatproof?

Yes, the WF-1000XM4 has an IPX4 rating, which means they are sweat and splash-resistant. However, they are not fully waterproof, so avoid submerging them in water.

Do they support voice assistants like Siri or Google Assistant?

Yes, they support voice assistants. You can use the built-in microphone to activate your preferred voice assistant (e.g., Siri or Google Assistant) with a voice command.

Can I use the earbuds independently (e.g., one at a time)?

 Yes, you can use either the left or right earbud independently. This can be useful for conserving battery life or for taking calls while keeping one ear open.

What touch controls are available on the earbuds?

The touch controls can be customized. You can play/pause music, skip tracks, adjust the volume, answer/end calls, and activate the noise-cancelling or ambient sound modes with touch gestures.

Do the WF-1000XM4 come with a mobile app?

 Yes, there is a Sony Headphones Connect app available for both Android and iOS devices. This app allows you to customize settings, update firmware, and adjust the equalizer settings.

Do they have Bluetooth connectivity?

Yes, they support Bluetooth for wireless audio streaming and phone calls. They use Bluetooth 5.2 for a stable and efficient connection.

Do they come with different ear tip sizes?

Yes, the WF-1000XM4 typically come with multiple ear tip sizes to help you find the most comfortable and secure fit for your ears.

Do they support multi-device pairing?

Yes, you can pair the earbuds with multiple devices and switch between them seamlessly. This is a convenient feature if you use the earbuds with multiple devices like a phone and a laptop.

Related articles
Join the discussion!