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Home » Sony WF-1000XM4 long-term review: Getting even better with updates

Sony WF-1000XM4 long-term review: Getting even better with updates

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Sony makes a lot of headphones and earbuds at different price points, but the 1000X line doesn’t. WH-1000XM4 Over-Ear Headphones Old but still worthy WF-1000XM3 Earbuds. The latter was the best when it came out nearly two years ago, but new options like the ANC-equipped Galaxy Buds Pro and AirPods Pro are overtaking Sony’s predecessors. The updated WF-1000XM4 puts Sony back on its feet with exceptional noise cancellation and premium features. The XM4 is undoubtedly my favorite earbud at the moment, but it’s not cheap at $279.99, and some of its competitors are a bit underwhelming for so much less.

Design, hardware and components

Sony’s last 1000X earbuds were huge, but the new version is dramatically slimmer. The WF-1000XM4 earbuds are still cool, but the bulky protruding pedals of the previous version are no longer needed. In other words, they take up all the available space in the inner ear. These earbuds can be worn for hours without discomfort, but after wearing the WF-1000XM4 for an hour or two, you may notice someone pushing into the slightly smaller ear. Because there are no ventilation holes, you may feel stuffy in your ears even after prolonged use. And with Sony accessories that add IPX4, you can sweat without worry.

The earbuds come in two colors that we’ve seen on Sony products before. The review unit is in black and gold versions, but there are also white and gold versions. There is a microphone in the center of the gold ring visible from the outside surface. This microphone is one of several beamforming microphones. This mic should pick up your voice a bit better than previous generation earphones. Only the Sony brand is on the side, mostly hidden in your ears.

All earbuds feature a touchpad for quick access to playback and ANC controls. One consequence of the chunky frame is that you can adjust and remove the buds without accidentally triggering the touch controls. When the earphones are removed, the on-ear sensor detects it and automatically stops the music. There is a contact with the sensor directly for the charging case. Like most true wireless earbuds, the WF-1000XM4 are magnetically attached to the case. They fall perfectly without fuss every time.

The case itself is a marked improvement over Sony’s last effort. About half the size of the XM3 case, the earbuds fit easily. There’s a USB-C port on the back and a Qi wireless charging coil on the bottom that’s new this year. The only downside to the compact case redesign is that it only provides two additional charge cycles for the earbuds. That’s all good, but I wish there was more.

The WF-1000XM4 earbuds are shipped in a small, eco-friendly box. The compact, efficient package includes earbuds, a charging case, a USB-C cable and 3 sets of ear tips. It’s less than what you’ll do…

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