Sony WH1000XM4 headphones – test

Sony continues its offensive on the market of headphones “for the masses”. Is the WH1000MX4 model only cosmetic or a revolution in relation to its predecessor?

Sony has in its arsenal several very successful designs of wireless headphones – both in the case of in-ear and on-ear models. The Japanese manufacturer recently unveiled the next generation of its highly successful WH1000XM series headphones. The accessory marked with the number 4 at first glance does not differ from its predecessor. And let it not deceive you. After putting the headphones on your head the matter becomes clear. In the case of WH1000XM4 model we are dealing with an obvious change in tuning, as well as improved functionality of one of the most important features of these headphones – active noise cancellation.

Construction and build quality

Sony WH1000XM4 are very similar to their predecessor. I even have the impression that the Japanese company presented exactly the same headphone design and only focused on improving the details. The whole construction is made of solid plastic combined with aluminum elements. WH1000XM4 in my opinion lie better on the head than the previous generation of equipment. I do not know whether this is due to the cushions themselves and their softness or a slightly larger range of adjustment on the user’s ears.

Nothing creaks, does not squeak, does not cause problems. Folding the Sony headphones is also completely smooth, which only adds to the user experience. The Sony WH1000XM4 again features touchpads that allow you to interact with the headphones, as well as physical buttons responsible for turning the headphones on and off and activating the smart assistant, among other things. The buttons can be easily felt under the fingers, and turning the headphones on and off after a few times is completely reflexive.

Sony includes with the headphones a cover (in my opinion, one of the sturdiest and nicest on the market) and a charging cable, a cable to connect the headphones to the sound source and an adapter that allows you to use the accessory on a plane.

Comfort of use

Sony WH1000XM4 is a champion when it comes to comfort. The headphones provide incredible comfort (even on larger heads – bravo Sony for such a high degree of adjustment). The accessory allows you to wear for hours without ear fatigue. On warmer days, however, the whole design likes to cause an increase in temperature, which can cause sweating to appear under the headphones.

Sound quality

The Sony WH1000XM4 are, by design, headphones that focus on entertaining tuning and sound quality configured for the mass market – so there’s no talk of high-end gear here. Nevertheless, I have the impression that the whole design has been improved compared to the WH1000XM3 model. Sony focused on increasing the space and stereophony in their headphones, which at the same time is not pushy, as in some competitor models. Separation of instruments and individual sounds is sensational. Each of the bands can also be distinguished without much problem and they do not merge into one whole. At the same time WH1000XM4 retain a powerful, meaty bass that can go very low. I would compare it to a very good festival soundsystem. Combined with a lot of space, these headphones can transport the user into the middle of the action. Bravo, Sony.

The WH1000XM4 handle electronic genres remarkably well, but the entertaining tuning means they can handle all other genres. Fans of tight, throbbing bass will not be disappointed, however. Fortunately, the Japanese also did not go the other way and the upper part of the band does not cripple the ears, remaining appropriately marked.

Active noise cancellation and battery

Sony boasts that it has improved the active noise cancellation in the WH1000XM4 model, and indeed it has. Admittedly, these are not revolutionary or colossal changes, but they can be heard over the previous generation of headphones. Static noise is virtually inaudible, and noise reduction even in the passive version (without ANC enabled) stands at a very good level. Riding public transport, walking around the city or taking the train is no problem for WH1000XM4. This is currently the best active noise cancellation available in wireless headphones on the market. The only competitor to the WH1000XM4 may remain Bose, but with that brand, the sound quality leaves a lot to be desired.

The Japanese assume that the headphones will work up to 30 hours on a single charge. I did not manage to discharge them during several sessions, so I safely assume that the equipment will last up to 20 hours with ANC turned on. On top of all that, Sony adds fast charging, which allows for efficient energy replenishment. There’s no need to worry about the battery. Another plus for WH1000XM4.

Is it worth it?

Sony WH1000XM4 are very versatile headphones, with an attitude to many musical tastes. On the plus side, it is worth mentioning the sensational active noise cancellation, improved quality of audio calls, as well as very good qualities related to sound quality and space. On the downside, the WH1000XM4 headphones can’t use the USB C port to listen to music, they don’t have a refreshed design, and the accelerometer itself sometimes likes to go crazy during more intense head movements, resulting in music pausing.

Despite all these drawbacks, this is the best wireless over-ear headphones up to 2 thousand zloty that you can currently buy in Polish stores.

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