Build: Sony Noise Cancelling Earbuds
Your first encounter with the WF-1000XM4 is unexpected. Sony has opted for recycled packaging made from a specific blend of paper instead of the traditional glossy box. This results in a more compact box (34 per cent smaller than the WF-1000XM3) that is also free of plastic. That’s excellent for the environment.
When you remove the WF-1000XM4 from its box, you’ll find a little black charging case. It’s 40% smaller than the charging case that came with the Bose Quiet Comfort Earbuds and even smaller than the charging case that came with its predecessors.
The case charges through USB-C. It features wireless charging for the first time in the WF-1000X series. All you need is a Qi charging pad that works with it. You may also battery share with compatible smartphones and use their power supply.
Battery life: Best Noise Cancelling Earbuds
The battery life should not be a major concern for you. Although Sony’s new noise-cancelling earbuds’ have a smaller casing, the XM4 has a longer battery life than the XM3. With noise-cancelling and Bluetooth turned on, the best noise-cancelling earbuds now last for eight hours, and Sony claims the case can last for another 16 hours. This puts them ahead of all major competitors in terms of battery life from a single charge. The AirPods Pro have a five-hour battery life, the Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless has a seven-hour battery life, and the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds have six-hour battery life. When you turn off the noise-cancelling feature, these best noise cancelling earbuds last 12 hours on a single charge and 24 hours with the case. A five-minute rapid charge will also get you an hour of playtime.
Sony’s Headphones Connect app allows you to check the remaining battery life of both the buds and the case. You will also receive notifications when the case’s charge drops below 30%.
This noise-cancelling earbuds’ battery life varies depending on a variety of factors. It depends on the quality of the files you’re listening to. It also depends on how hard the internal CPU is working. We found that the battery life was consistently good enough to get us through a day of mixed-use during our testing.
Sony Noise Cancelling Earbuds Features:
Each earpiece’s round outer surface includes a touchpad, and you can customise its functionality using the Headphones Connect app. They can use the normal combination of taps, presses, and long holds to control volume and playback, as well as switch between noise-cancelling and ambient sound modes — and the headphones respond quickly to these actions.
Switching between sound modes, altering volume, and enabling and disabling features like Fast Attention (which reduces the loudness of what you’re listening to so you can have a quick conversation without having to take the earbuds out of your ears) are all done with ease.
The Sony WF-1000XM4 wireless headphones borrow the WH-1000XM4 wireless headphones’ Speak-to-Chat feature. This feature allows you to chat to someone while wearing the earbuds, and it is activated when you begin speaking. It works nicely, albeit, like the over-ears, it is only activated a second or so after you begin speaking.
This little lag, as well as the feature’s proclivity to be triggered by a cough or an unexpected karaoke session while seated at your desk, can be aggravating. You can either lessen the sensitivity of the feature or turn it off entirely, in which case you should use Quick Attention or remove an earbud entirely (which pauses playback automatically).
The XM4 has a lot of new technology on the inside. These best noise cancelling earbuds are powered by a new Integrated Processor V1 and include an upgraded DAC and analogue amplifier. Sony claims it has superior sound quality and noise cancellation than its predecessor.
The new model also includes Sony’s DSEE Extreme audio processor with Edge-AI, which we saw in the WH-1000XM4 over-ear headphones and is designed to upscale low-bitrate music files to near hi-res quality.
Sony Noise Cancelling Earbuds Sound:
Before we get into the WF-1000XM4’s incredible musicality and expressive dynamics, it’s worth noting the headphones’ bass handling. The clarity of low frequencies and the richness of the bass are incredible. The amount of detail on the show is so impressive that it makes competing headphones like the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds seem clogged in contrast.
We’re interested to see how the earbuds handle one of our favourite bass-heavy test tracks, Massive Attack’s Angel, and we’re taken away by how confidently the song is delivered. Every detail of that pulsating bassline is meticulously placed and oozing with texture.
The clarity around the notes is what stands out, as it enables the WF-1000XM4 to communicate nuances in the bass notes that other headphones struggle to reveal.
It’s not, however, a sound that favours low frequencies exclusively. There’s a sense of rhythmic accuracy and clarity throughout, allowing the Sonys to change speed with ease. They sound equally at ease keeping up with Radiohead’s 15 Step and avoiding being caught up by it as they do dismantling Nina Simone’s Feeling Good’s slow, deliberate swagger.
Simone’s smooth singing exudes class and sophistication, revealing every detail of her delivery to the listener. The Sony’s produce a mesmerising sound that you can’t help but be taken away by when you combine the emotion in her voice with the intensity of the piano, percussion, and wind group.