Sony WF–1000XM4 review: Music to the ears

Sony WF–1000XM4 review: Music to the ears

Sony has managed to bring its superb over-the-ear WH-1000XM4 noise cancellation experience to this in-ear wireless bud.

Sony WF–1000XM4 review Sony WF–1000XM4 review

Price: Rs 19,990

In the Box: WF-1000XM4 buds in case, charging cable, ear tips

Renowned for its audio offerings, Sony has smashed the premium wireless buds party with the WF-1000 XM4 with not much to fault.

Sony has a strange way of naming its audio products. The WF-1000XM4 sounds weird and longish. So, I am going to refer to it as 1000XM4 in this review. Right, so the 1000XM4 has a distinct design of its own – matte black finish with gold rose ascent. Thankfully, it is not just yet another copy of the iconic stem shaped wireless earbuds. Neither does it look like any of Samsung’s buds. Instead, it has a slightly large circular footprint that is prominently visible. However, the big size doesn’t hamper the experience - the accompanying ear tips provide a pretty snug fit. Both the buds have touch controls. 

Ambient Sound Control is assigned to the left bud where a single tap switches between noise cancellation and ambient sound, and a continued press activates quick attention. The right bud had playback controls – tap for play/pause, double-tap for next song, triple tap for the previous song and long press for launching the voice assist function. I found these controls pretty convenient to use. But the touch can be reassigned using that Sony Connect – for instance, assign volume control – tap to increase volume and continued pressing for lowering.

Tested with an iPhone, pairing the buds was super easy from Bluetooth settings. But setting up these using the Sony Connect app gives access to many more features including customising touch controls. The buds support ambient mode which can adjust the output of the buds on the basis of surroundings, which the app optimises by scanning the ears. Plus using the app I was able to test the best earbud tips – it measured air tightness. I was able to wear the buds for a longer duration as activating ‘Ambient Sound Control’ earbuds switched to the ambient mode for letting in the outside sounds every time I started to speak. This could be troublesome if you love singing while listening to your favourite tracks and you might want to turn off the ‘speak to chat’ feature.

And then there is the detecting actions feature that was able to identify between walking, sitting, running and when riding on a vehicle, say a bus or a metro. Identifying the action, it automatically switched between noise cancellation, ambient sound and off mode. I tested Sony’s wind reduction on my terrace, which was rather impressive. All these features come in handy while taking calls and listening to music, podcasts and watching videos.

The call audio is pretty decent, nothing extraordinary. But I was amazed by the sound output. I listened to some of my favourite Coke Studio tracks and was mesmerised by the fine details of the instruments and pronounced vocals. It has thumping bass without sounding overpowering, treble and mids were not neglected either. I used it to play my regular testing playlist from different genres of music, with tracks like 'Something Just Like This' by The Chainsmokers & Coldplay, 'Clint Eastwood' by Gorillaz, 'Blue Eyes Crying In The Rain' by Willie Nelson, 'Afreen Afreen' by Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, amongst many others. And the sound experience was enthralling. The equaliser is accessible from the app. There are many presets and I was able to select manual settings too.

From sound to noise cancellation, Sony’s 1000XM4 checks all the boxes. Sony has managed to bring its superb over-the-ear WH-1000XM4 noise cancellation experience to this in-ear wireless bud. Construction is going on across the street where I stay and as a result, there is a lot of noise throughout the day. While the AirPods Pro do a good job of suppressing the sound, Sony’s 1000XM4 earbuds were stupendous.  These buds successfully managed to suppress the noise without creating a vacuum-like effect - outside noise was barely audible. Lastly, the buds are water-resistant, which means they can be worn to the gym for workouts. Overall, the buds are good for daily use. The only hiccup I experienced a couple of times – even when paired, the buds stopped responding. I had to put them back in the case to fix this bug.

Battery backup is another story altogether. Where most buds fail to last beyond 5 hours of noise cancellation, this one managed for around seven hours of usage. Nearly placed in a rectangular case that isn’t huge and can easily slide into the pocket, it holds enough juice to charge the buds twice. Convenient to carry around, the case can be charged using Type C and wireless charging.

A stunning design, superb audio, the best active noise cancellation and a long battery backup makes the Sony WF-1000XM4 worth considering.

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