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Review: Sony WF-1000XM4 Premium Wireless ANC Headphones

Review: Sony WF-1000XM4 Premium Wireless ANC Headphones

Launched last June 2021, the Sony WF-1000XM4 boasts with some upgrades as well as design improvements from last years model the WF-1000XM3 which likewise has good sound quality and an intuitive design.

The Sony WF-1000XM4 now offers its latest integrated processor V1, improved battery life, enhanced sound quality and claims to experience a better noise-cancellation feature.

So, let’s dive in to what the Sony WF-1000XM4 has to offer.

Packaging and Contents

First thing it caught my attention was the quality and material of the packaging used for the WF-1000XM4. This time Sony is working to significantly reduce the amount of plastic used in the packaging of its headphones. And, the WF-1000XM4 was able to achieve the company’s major sustainability objectives thru the products packaging design.

There was no plastic in their packaging, we found out that the material used for the box is a blend of bamboo, sugarcane and recycled paper. The polythene bag and blister tray for the earpiece and cable were replaced with paper material.

There are no added color or special finish on the box but you can spot an embossed logo on the front that says “1000X Series.” There’s no hinge or a locking mechanism on the box to keep all the contents secured.

Inside the box you get the following items:

  • Sony WF-1000XM4 Headphones
  • Charging Case
  • Charging Cable (USB Type-C to USB-A)
  • Foam Ear Tips
  • Documentations

Build and Design

The Sony WF-1000XM4 has a circular bud design with a bump on the side where the ear tip protrudes. It has a nice rose gold accents easily found on the Sony logo and the left and right microphones. The Bluetooth antenna are built inside the touch sensors each on its left and right unit of the headset.

Inner part of the earbuds holds the metal charging contacts, earbud tips, IR sensors, ear placement indicators and tactile dots. Each earbuds weighs at 7.3 grams each.

We got the black color for our review but there’s another second available color in silver. We also found out during our research that the WF-1000XM4 are 10% smaller than its earlier gen the 1000XM3’s.

I liked that the Noise Isolation earbud tips are made of polyurethane foam type material which helps achieve a comfortable, secure and snugly fit to my ears. A medium sized ear tips was already on the 1000XM4 when we tried it for the first time. However, the medium ear tips were too big for my ears. Good thing you have extra ear tips with two extra sizes (small and large) that comes along in the box. So I changed it choosing for the small ear tips and it sealed into my ears just perfectly. The 1000XM4 never fell out whenever I have to leave my desk to go down to the kitchen, picking up my kids toys, cleaning the room and even shaking my head, which astounded me.

Touch controls on both side of the earbuds are responsive and works very well. The WF-1000XM4 gets an IPX4 rating which can help cope up against accidental splash of water and sweat during those exercises or workouts.

With the built-in IR sensors, if ever you deliberately remove the buds from your ears, these sensors will automatically pause the music and resumed when you once again put them back in. I tried it on my smartphone on Spotify and YouTube which is amazing and it actually works.

At 41 grams, the charging case looks very premium in a matte black finish with an LED on the front, USB Type-C port for charging and a Sony logo on the top of the cover lid. But if you have an available wireless charging pad, the 1000XM4 features a wireless charging Qi technology by simply placing the charging case on top of it.

Lastly, equipped inside the earbuds is Sony’s all-new integrated Processor V1 chipset which helps the performance of its noise-cancelling feature, enhances sound quality plus improving its battery life for longer use. The new chipset makes connection and transmission to both ears more stable as well as less vulnerable to sound skipping.

Sound and Call Quality 

Sony opted the WF-1000XM4 to equipped the same 6mm drivers as its previous model. Although, they could have decided to upgrade it to a larger driver but I’m telling you don’t be fooled with these 6mm drivers as they are breathtaking and I love how good they really sound even the rich bass range it gives out.

Codecs supported on the WF-1000XM4 are SBC, AAC and LDAC. With LDAC codec it can transfer three times more data (at the maximum transfer rate of 990 kbps) than conventional Bluetooth and enables High-Resolution Audio Wireless content in an exceptional quality.

It features Digital Sound Enhancement Engine (DSEE) Extreme that upscales lower quality audio (lossy MP3s or AACs) to higher quality by trying to fill in details lost during encoding or streaming.

So, how’s the sound quality? We have already tried numerous TWS earbuds in our reviews from different audio companies. It’s my first time to test a Sony TWS product although I have tried using some of their headphones before. What I admired about the company is the consistency of its tuning. There’s no overly uncomfortable treble or too much heavy handed bass coming out on the buds. The WF-1000XM4 audio profile is well-balanced from its lows, mids and highs in great clarity.

On call quality, Sony uses a Precise Voice Pickup technology on the WF-1000XM4 by using beamforming microphones and a bone-conduction sensor allowing it to pick up your voice clearly and accurately for hands-free calls. With the Noise Canceling feature it lets you hear the person on the other end of the call more clearly, even in noisy situations.

I tried calling a friend on the other end to see how the quality of calls delivered on the WF-1000XM4. My friend said I sounded clearer with not too much noise to the point it is distracting. Somehow the buds blocked some background noise in my room when I wasn’t speaking which is kinda cool. The voice clarity can be credited to the Precise Voice Pickup technology and the beamforming microphones that really did its job. I don’t even need to shout at my friend as I talk over the buds because I can switch from Noise Cancelling to ambient sound so I can also hear myself talking.

I feel immersed watching my favorite videos on my phone with the WF-1000XM4

Noise Cancelling, Touch Controls and Other Smart Features

One remarkable feature that we were surprised on the WF-1000XM4 during our test is its active noise-cancelling technology. With the newly integrated processor V1 chip it has blocked noise across all frequencies plus you get added isolation and stable fit with the Noise Isolation Earbud Tips.

You can still hear your surroundings without even removing your buds while using it by tapping your left earbud once to activate the Ambient Sound Mode or long press to use Quick Attention Mode.

In Quick Attention mode, it will turn down music, call sounds and the ringtone to to allow ambient sound to be easily heard. It is useful when you want to listen to an ongoing announcements, speak immediately to someone, etc.

Touch controls are intuitive and easily made thru the circular outer surface of each earpiece. By default, touch controls set on the WF-1000XM4 when we got it out for the first time are the following:

Right Earbud

  • Play or Pause Music – Tap Once
  • Skip to the beginning of the next track – Tap 2 Times
  • Skip to the beginning of the previous track – Tap 3 Times
  • Use or cancel Voice Assistant – Hold Finger to the Touch Sensor
  • Change the call device – Hold Finger to the Touch Sensor

Left Earbud

  • Noise Canceling to Ambient Sound – Tap Once
  • Ambient Sound to Noise Canceling – Tap Once
  • Quick Attention – Hold Finger to the Touch Sensor

Right and Left Earbud

  • Receive or End Call – Tap 2 Times
  • Enter into pairing mode to a device – Hold your fingers on both units for 5 seconds

You can further assign other functions to the touch control of each earbud by installing Sony’s Headphones Connect App such as Ambient Sound Control, Playback Control, Volume Control or None at all.

Now with the Headphones Connect App installed in your phone you get an extra slew of smart features you can initiate on the WF-1000XM4. The app is only available for Android and iOS mobile/tablet devices but not offered for laptops.

Here are some of the customization we were able to use:

  • Speak-to-chat lets you pause your music then ambient sound automatically turns on to let you start a conversation. Once you stop talking the music will automatically start to play again.
  • Voice Assistant gives you that added hands-free help to search information, play music, set reminders and even activate noise cancellation with your voice.
  • You can set the sound quality you like using the Equalizer settings to match the genre of the song you’re playing. Presets you can choose from are Bright, Excited, Mellow, Relaxed, Vocal, Treble Boost, Bass Boost, Speech, Manual, Custom 1 and Custom 2.
  • Adaptive Sound Control senses where or what my situation, like if I’m at work, home or outside it can adjust the ambient sound settings for a better listening experience.
  • Now if the wind noise is a bothering you while using the buds, you may opt to select Automatic Wind Noise Reduction ON in the app to help cut down wind breeze that whips across the mics.

The 360 Reality Audio feature is a must to try! We got to experience an immersive surround sound, it’s like you’re hearing a live performance all around you. The feature is available only to a compatible music streaming service like Deezer, Nugs.net or Tidal.

You need to subscribe or pay for the said services, good thing Sony included a music service free trial voucher with an access code that comes along in the package for you to try the music streaming service for a limited time only.

To try out the said feature, we download the 360 by Deezer which is a dedicated app for all their music with 360 Reality Audio that have been digitally remastered by the artists in a way that created spatial sound. Again the experience was totally mind-blowing as you can hear sounds reaching my ears from various directions. Hearing Coldplay’s Something Just Like This was like everything felt very close with a left-right separation on the instruments and the bass was badass good! Next, I tried Marvin Gaye Sexual Healing which sounded even more great adding in more bass and vocal sounds in layers all around in a 3D space. I continued to listen to more tracks with 360 Reality Audio on them and it really felt wonderful.

Connectivity and Battery Life 

The Sony WF-1000MX4 can easily be connected to your phone using its built-in Bluetooth 5.2. To pair and connect your WF-1000MX4 to any of your device. Remove both units from the charging case it will enter into pairing mode automatically. Next, go to your Bluetooth settings and select “WF-1000XM4” from the list of available devices then your all good.

In case you will pair to a second or subsequent device while the earbuds are being used. You just simply hold your fingers to the touch sensors both left and right earbuds for about 5 seconds. A beep sound will commence and the voice guidance will say “Bluetooth pairing” then connect using your Bluetooth settings. You can pair up to 8 devices with the WF-1000MX4.

Switching the WF-1000MX4 from other devices is seamless and fast. Just select the device again on your Bluetooth setting and voila you can use it instantaneously. Unlike other headphones that I have tested you still need to first disconnect it in your Bluetooth settings before using it to another device.

As for the battery life you don’t need to be worried, the WF-1000XM4 can let you enjoy your music up to 8 hours of continuous music playback when the noise cancelling is ON and a maximum of 12 hours if your noise cancelling OFF. The charging case can charge the earbuds at least two times making it more than 24 hours of listening time.

As mentioned earlier the charging case now has Qi wireless charging feature which has a nice addition to this new model. Good thing that charging case also has an LED indicator (Green, Orange and Red light) that helps you see how much remaining battery is on it before you need to recharge the case again.

The Headphones Connect App is very useful as it shows the remaining battery charge of the buds as well as its charging case. So I really recommend it you download and install this to your phone.

During our test on the 360 by Deezer app for almost 4 hours on the WF-1000XM4 both buds still have an 80% battery as indicated thru the Headphones Connect app. Then after another hour of usage the left earbud has 71% battery while the right earbud gets a 70% battery. The reason why the right earbud consumes more battery because I was using the touch controls to skip the songs I wanted to play.

Pricing and Availability

The Sony WF-1000XM4 is now available which retails for PHP13,999. You can get these amazing device in all Sony Authorized Dealers (Abenson.com, Avid Sales Corporation, Electroworld, Philippe Gadgets & Accessories) and via online on its official e-commerce stores on Lazada and Shopee.

You can check for the availability of the WF-1000XM4 in your area by clicking the online locator here.


Overall, the Sony WF-1000XM4 is definitely one of the best true wireless noise cancelling headphones today. By combining the latest hardware of an all-new Integrated Processor V1 chipset and its Noise Isolation earbud tips. Sony has achieved in delivering real Active Noise Cancelling headphones and equipped them even better with a handy Quick Attention and Ambient Sound mode feature.

We love the design and build quality of the buds even the charging case which offers USB Type-C port and wireless charging as an added bonus. The Noise Isolation earbud tips offers three additional sizes for the right fit and they are so far truly comfortable which I can last using them on for several hours at work.

Installing the Headphone Connect App will further unlock more of its additional tech and smart features which I totally recommend you do it. You can get things customized just how you like them on the WF-1000XM4 or simply turn anything off you don’t want on with.

Sound quality is no doubt and without a question felt so much better on the Sony WF-1000XM4. It will not disappoint you but rather give you a hard time in choosing your next song to listen to on your device as the sound is truly superb! Plus, the additional 360 Reality Audio feature will even make a mind-blowing audio performance.

As you might expect, the Sony WF-1000XM4 comes with an expensive flagship price but worth investing on these premium headphones. Once you have them with you, rest assured that the WF-1000XM4 delivers a fulfilling user experience from the overall design, longer battery life, smart features, noise cancelling technology, and top-notch sound quality.

What We Like

  • Sound Quality
  • Noise Cancelling Feature
  • Ambient Sound Control
  • Headphone Connect App Smart Features
  • Battery Life
  • Better Design and Build Quality
  • Comfortable
  • Noise Isolation earbud tips
  • Intuitive Touch Controls
  • IPX4 Rating
  • Wireless Charging Case
  • Recyclable Packaging
  • Spatial Sound Experience via 360 Reality Audio

What We Want

  • No aptX HD Audio
  • Lower Price
  • Silicone Case for the Charging Case
  • Included Wireless Charging Pad

Sony WF-1000MX4 Full Specifications

  • Price: PHP13,999
  • Colors: Black / Silver
  • Weight: Approx. 41g Charging Case / 7.3g Earbuds per piece
  • Headphone Type: Truly Wireless
  • Driver Unit: 6mm
  • Frequency Response: 20Hz-20,000Hz (44.1 kHz sampling) / 20Hz-40,000Hz  (LDAC 96 kHz sampling, 990 kbps)
  • Frequency Band: 2.4GHz
  • Magnet: High-power Neodymium Magnets
  • Waterproof: IPX4
  • DSEE Extreme: Yes
  • Battery Charge Time: Approx. 1.5 hrs
  • Battery Life (Continuous Music Playback Time): Max. 8hrs (NC On) / Max. 12hrs (NC Off)
    Battery Life (Continuous Communication Time): Max. 5.5hrs (NC On) / Max. 6.0hrs (NC Off)
  • Rated Power Consumption: 1W Headset / 3W Charging  Case
  • Bluetooth Version: Bluetooth 5.2
  • Profile: A2DP, AVRCP, HFP, HSP
  • Supported Audio Formats: SBC, AAC, LDAC
  • Supported Content Protection: SCMS-T
  • Noise Cancelling Features:
  • Ambient Sound Mode: Yes (Touch Control)
  • Quick Attention: Yes (Touch Control)


About The Author

Raymund Ravanera is an accomplished and experienced graphic designer with almost 20 years of creative expertise working in the graphic design industry. He loves the latest gadgets, food and movies. Currently, he owns and manages megabites.com.ph, an online technology and lifestyle blog since 2015.

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