Sony WF-1000XM4: video analysis
A saturated market
At this point we are not going to discover that the market is very saturated with True Wireless headphones, since there is no manufacturer that is missing a model in its catalog. But among all the participants in this fierce competition, there are several that stand out: Apple with its AirPods, Samsung with its Galaxy Buds, Xiaomi with its ridiculous prices and Sony. And it is the latter that we are going to talk about today, since the manufacturer has updated the flagship of its True Wireless, and we can only say that it will change.
Design: Start from scratch
The first thing we feel about having these WF-1000XM4 in hand is that we are facing a completely new product that seems to mark a new generation of product within Sony, since the design change is spectacular. One of the main problems that we encountered in the previous generation (WF-1000XM3) is that its body was too bulky, and in certain ears its stability could be jeopardized. Well, the new 1000XM4 arrive with an extremely compact design that balances its placement on the ear very well, becoming very discreet headphones when wearing them…. if you have a big ear.
And yes, the feeling of wearing a bulky headset hanging from your ear has partly disappeared, but they are still great. Now the body of these models is much more compact, although it is true that it does not avoid the problem suffered by some users with this type of headset. If you previously suffered when wearing this type of model (button type), it is most likely that you continue to have the same type of problem. Its placement requires inserting the cushion firmly and making a small turn so that the body fits into the cavity of the ear. If the physiognomy of your ear is rather medium to small, you will suffer to always have them fixed and not attract attention with them.
Reducing to the minimum expression
The truth is that its size is surprisingly small, and not only the headphones, but also the charging case, which looks ridiculously small compared to the previous generation (40% smaller), which already seemed too big at the time. The overall result is fantastic, and it is all due to the use of new components inside the headphones, such as the new chip that integrates Bluetooth audio controller, thus minimizing electrical components and obtaining a smaller body.
Now carrying the case in your pocket or backpack will be almost a risky sport, since we will completely forget that we carry them with us, so you must be careful before putting the garment in the washing machine. That the case is so compact we love it and it was something we were looking forward to seeing in this new generation. However, the size of the headphones is still not perfect, and even with the size reduced, those with smaller ears will continue to suffer with them.
Yes, they are better than the previous ones
Obviously the question that you will be most interested in answering is whether these models sound better than those of the previous generation. The quick answer is yes, the sound experience offered by these WF-1000XM4 is superior to that of its predecessors, and this is due to small improvements made in many respects:
- The drivers that although they are still 6 millimeters, a new larger neodymium magnet improves sound and noise cancellation.
- The new codecs of audio are responsible for offering us a more crystalline and better equalized experience, and are capable of improving the quality of the sound by rescuing to high definition.
- The new pads used (polyurethane) feel softer and more ergonomic in the ear. This is something very personal for some, but in our tests we have been very comfortable with the pressure of the foam.
- The Noise Cancellation It is still the best of the ones we have tried, and together with the new changes it surpasses that of the previous generation.
Noise cancellation is from another world
If there’s one thing Sony is particularly proud of in its headphones, it’s the technology of Noise Cancellation. Once again, the manufacturer proves once again that it is the best, achieving isolation against external sound, something that greatly surprises considering the size of the headphones.
The secret is in the incorporation of the cancellation microphones and in the processor V1 of the brand, which with the help of the appropriate algorithms will be in charge of completely isolating you from everything around you. The effectiveness of the cancellation will depend as always on the perfect placement of the headphones, something that is linked to the size of your ear. As we have already indicated previously, small ears will make you feel uncomfortable with the headphones and you will not get good noise cancellation, so you should take this aspect into account.
It is an experience that closely resembles that of its older brother, the WH-1000XM4, but that obviously does not match for physical reasons, such as the large pads that completely enclose the ear. Even so, the performance of these little ones is spectacular and the best that we have tested in its category. The transparency mode It will continue to be present as always, with the option of activating it simply by speaking or by touching the touch area of the headset, although in this case, Apple’s technology continues to seem superior to its AirPods Max, where the voice of the person speaking to us it sounds especially crystal clear and “real”. In Sony we continue to notice that sensation of digital sound that discovers that we are facing an amplified voice.
But the general lines the experience is fantastic, being able to also enjoy the adaptive sound control mode, which will take care of applying the appropriate noise cancellation according to what we are doing.
Not everything is perfect
Among so many wonders it might seem that we do not find any defect, but it is not like that. We have seen that these new models are very similar to the WH-1000XM4 in terms of performance, but there is a function that Sony has not decided to include. We talk about the possibility of having two Bluetooth profiles configured in the device, thus being able to be listening to music on the PC and answering a call on the mobile.
This is something that can be done with the latest headband models, but is unfortunately not present on the newer True Wireless. We imagine that it will be an option that they will include in the next generation.
On the other hand, the touch controls do not convince us, and although we understand that they are the best option today, their only two touch areas greatly limit the options. All one-touch, two-touch and three-touch modes are defined by default and cannot be modified, and you will have to select what type of control you want to apply on each side: ambient sound control, playback control and volume control. Three types of control for only two touch buttons.
This forces us to decide which functions we want to be present and which other will not be available, so, for example, we could control the musical reproduction and the ambient sound, but not control the volume.
And of course, we couldn’t forget his name either. Please Sony, fix that.
Best True Wireless Headphones?
We have no doubt that we are facing one of the best True Wireless headphones on the market, and it would only have a rival at the time you were to use them on iOS, an ecosystem where AirPods continue to have the advantage of playing at home. For the rest, it is a device that is worth every euro it costs, although unfortunately that translates into a few 279 euros that could be high for many users.
But it is the price of the high-end, the maximum technology and the absolute silence that its noise cancellation system gives us. After improving aspects such as the charging case or the design in general, Sony may have created yet another gem that will last over time.