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Sony WH-1000XM4 Bluetooth Headphones Review - Top consumer headphones?

Sony released the 4th generation of its popular consume Bluetooth headphones with Active Noise Cancellation and here are our thoughts.
Sony WH-1000XM4 BT Headphone Review - Top consumer headphones?
tilting earcup

The Sony WH-1000XM line of headphones have been popular over the years because of its build, design, sound quality, battery life and Active Noise Cancellation (ANC). 

The third generation WH-1000XM3 was almost perfect but was topped by the competing Bose headphones with its slightly superior ANC and simultaneous multi-device Bluetooth connectivity.

In 2020, the fourth generation WH-1000XM4 aims to address those concerns while being sold at a more affordable PHP 19,990 compared to the Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 that costs PHP 26,500 in the Philippines.

Let's dive in!


Sony WH-1000XM4's box
Sony WH-1000XM4's box

The Sony WH-1000XM4's come in a eggshell textured white box with Sony branding, render of the product, marketing and regulatory information.
Inside the box
Inside the box

Inside the box is the included hard shell carrying case, the warranty card and quick start guide.

Inside the carrying case is the WH-1000XM4 headphones, In-flight plug adaptor, 3.5mm headphone cable, and USB Type-C Cable.

Build Quality/Design

natural position
natural position

The WH-1000MX4's is mostly made of lightweight and high-quality polycarbonate, soft faux leather and metal.
NFC on the left outer cup
NFC on the left outer cup

On the outer side of the WH-1000XM4s is the aforementioned black lightweight and high-quality polycarbonate shell with rose gold trimmings. 

On the left outer earcup is the NFC tag where the user can tap their smartphone to easily pair with the headphones.
Left inner cup
Left inner cup

On the inner side of the ear cup are soft faux leather cushion cups with an inner dome lined with foam. Inside the left ear cup is a sensor.

The headband is lightweight and has a soft faux leather cushion that can extend and retract to fit the user's head better.
left inner side
left inner side

On the left inner side of the head band are the printed regulatory information.
Bottom side
Bottom side

On the bottom side of the left ear cup is the 3.5mm headphone port, Power Button, first LED light and the Custom button while at on the right cup is the USB Type-C port and the second LED light.


Faux leather ear cups
Faux leather ear cups

The soft cushion with faux leather on the ear cups and the headband makes wearing the WH-1000XM4s a joy even after several hours of use. After 30 minutes we noticed that our ears were sweating from the faux leather as it wasn't breathable and after around 6 hours of continuous use, we were feeling the weight of the headphones.

When wearing and fitting properly, the isolation effect of the earcups is immediately noticeable upon first wearing the headphones. By itself, the ear cups were already able to block out a significant amount of ambient noise. 

Once Active Noise Cancellation is introduced, the majority of the ambient noise is blocked out and we were able to focus on the audio that the earphones were producing. Bear in mind that the WH-1000XM4s do not completely block out all sound but it does block out a majority of it. We are happy to say that the Active Noise Cancellation is now closer  to or on par with the Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700.


Sony rates the WH-1000XM4's battery at up to 200 hours on Standby, up to 38 hours on Bluetooth and up to 30 hours on Bluetooth with Active Noise Cancellation.

We used the WH-1000XM4 daily with Active Noise Cancellation while being connected to our smartphone and laptop for 4 to 5 hours per day for a month. We noticed that we would run out of the battery either on the 7th or 8th day which gives it a run time of around 35 hours of continuous use.

It takes around 120 minutes to completely charge the WH-1000XM4's with the included USB Type-C cable.


with the Sony Headphones app
with the Sony Headphones app

To set-up and use all the features of the WH-1000XM4s, you will need to download the Sony Headphones app on the Google Play Store and the Apple App store.
Status and Adaptive sound

Once the Headphone's app is installed on your smartphone, turn on the smartphone's Bluetooth and the headphones. Open the Headphone's app and tap on Connect. After this initial pairing, users can pair the WH-1000XM4s to a second device.

The Headphones app has three main tabs: Status, Sound and System.

On the Status tab, users have access to the Adaptive Sound controls, current paired devices, and Media playback controls.

When turned on, the Adaptive Sound Control automatically detects the user's current activity and adjust the sound quality and noise cancellation depending on the user's needs.
Sound and System
Sound and System

In the Sound Tab, users are given controls for Ambient Sound Control, Speak-to-Chat, Equalizer and the Noise Canceling Optimizer. 

Once turned on, the Ambient Sound Control offers users up to 20 levels of Noise Cancelling (0 blocks all to 20 allows ambient sound in) and the option to focus on other people's voices. It works best when you are speaking to one or two people in a closed room but will be easily triggered on and off when in a crowded room with a lot of people speaking at the same time.

The Noise Cancelling Optimizer runs thru a set of measurements that analyze the shape of the user's ears to improve the Noise Cancelling experience.

And the System Tab includes controls for multiple device connectivity, Custom button, Touch sensor panel, notifications and auto-pause. These features are straight forward and work as reliably and accurately as their names describe them.

Our favorite feature is when the WH-1000MX4 is connected simultaneously to two devices like a smartphone and a laptop and will automatically switch from one device to another if a notification or a call arrives on either device. This means that we can receive notifications and calls from our smartphone while we were listening to our favorite playlist on our laptop. This makes it so convenient to switch between the audio of either device and it removes the need to take off the headphones and answer the call on the phone itself.


Audio experience
Audio experience

Make no mistake, the WH-1000XM4 is not an audiophile-focused headphone and it doesn't sound like one but it is close.

Sound quality-wise, the WH-1000XM4 has decent detail, clarity, separation and timbre which is expected on a consumer feature-packed headphones. What surprised us is the sound stage and the sound distinction. Normally, small closed-back headphones will lack in a spacious sound stage but the WH-1000XM4 manages to give a decently-sized stage while offering decent distinct sound.

The bass on these earphones are massive which make sounds thicker but there are occasions where the heavy bass becomes overbearing, boomy and muddy when set to the standard EQ. You can alleviate some of these concerns by customizing the EQ on the Sony Headphones app.

Pros - Convenient multi-device connectivity with Automatic Switching, Long battery life, included hard case, 
Cons - Heavy Bass can be overpowering, Not for audiophiles, Sweaty ears after 30 minutes of use,

Sony WH-1000XM4 Specs

Driver: 40mm Dynamic dome type (Copper-Clad Aluminum Wire coil)
Microphone: 5x MEMS
Battery: 30 hours (BT+ANC), 38 hours (BT only) and 200 hours (Standby)
Sensors: Proximity and Touch
Connectivity: Bluetooth 5.0 with Multipoint Support, AAC, SBC, LDAC,
Others: Connects up to two devices simultaneously, double-tap control, press and hold, touch control customization, USB-C, Colors: Black, Silver
Weight: 254 grams
Price: PHP 19,999


TheSony WH-1000XM4 with Active Noise Cancellation are the current best consumer-focused headphones on the market today. It has class-leading noise reduction while offering similar if not on par sound quality as the competing Bose Noise Cancelling headphones at a more affordable price.

The Bass-heavy sound can be overbearing but it can be somewhat fixed with the Sony Headphones app.

But aside from that, what makes this the best is the convenient easy to connect and easy to switch between multiple devices automatically once paired once. This means we can easily work on our computer and immediately answer a call on our phone with the headphones.

Build/Design - 4.25
Comfort/Isolation - 4.5
Battery Life - 4.5
Features - 4.75
Sound - 4.5
Average - 4.5/5

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