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Sony WF-1000XM4 Unboxing and First Impressions

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Up to this day, the WF-1000XM3 in 2019 is among the nicest sounding TWS buds in the market. In fact, we hailed it in our review as "the best true wireless earphones with noise cancellation" during its time.
Sony WF-1000XM4 unboxed!

Fast forward to 2021, iconic Japanese electronics giant Sony released its highly-anticipated follow-up—the WF-1000XM4.

As expected, it brings improvements in aesthetics, fit, sound quality, ANC, and battery life. Coming from the WF-1000XM3, it now has IPX4 water resistance and Qi wireless charging as well.

Of course, we have the said device. Let's unbox it. Here are our first impressions. Let's see if this is the new best TWS buds in the world.

Unboxing/Accessories

The packaging
The packaging

Sony kept its packaging simple. In fact, we appreciate that the company used recycled paper and cardboard materials. The company is also claiming that the polythene bag and blister tray for the earpiece and cable were replaced with paper as well.
Everything inside the box

Of course, upon unboxing, you will see the case with the earphones inside. It also has a short data/charging USB-A to USB-C cable as well as 2 more sizes of foamies (Small and Large) aside from the Medium-sized tip attached to the in-ear earphones by default.

It also has several paper documents including the warranty leaflet, user guide, and FREE trial for Sony 360 Reality Audio.

Build Quality/Design

Matte-painted body
Matte-painted body

The WF-1000XM4 body is made out of mostly polycarbonate material with a matte paint finish that is not that prone to fingerprint smudges.

It also has gold-colored microphone holes along with round touch contacts on its outer part and glossy IR sensors, tactile dot, as well as charging contacts underneath on each side. The buds also have a mesh filter on the nozzle.

Now with water splash resistance!

The ear tips are made out of polyurethane foam material. Sony is calling these "Noise Isolation Earbud Tips" which are designed to maximize the surface contact between the earbud tip and ear canal. This also insulates sound, reduces noise, and provides a better overall fit.

Moreover, these tips appear to be more durable than my Comply Foam Tips. It also appears that it won't go dry and hard after a few months of use too. But, only time will tell.

Personally, I am a fan of the Sony Hybrids silicone tips and I wished that this has that as well though.

These buds also have an IPX4 of water resistance rating that works well against splashes and sweat suggesting that it can now be used for workouts, unlike the XM3.
The charging case
The charging case

For the charging case, the outer material is similar to the buds. it also has a matte paint finish and a gold-colored Sony logo on top. When opened you will see the glossy mold where you can out the buds when you need to charge or store them. Of course, it has charging contacts as well. It also has an LED light indicator on the middle of the lid of the case.

USB-C or Qi wireless charging support!

The case could be charged via its reversible USB-C port at the back or wirelessly on a Qi wireless charging pad.
USB-C port
USB-C port

Design-wise, this is smaller, more ergonomic, and lighter than the XM3. It is minimalist looking as well. The charging case is also quite slim and not that big.

Sony hasn't shared its exact dimensions on its website, but this is clearly smaller and lighter than its previous-gen TWS buds. The total weight including the case is 41 grams. It's an easy-to-carry-around type of device.

Sony WF-1000XM4 Specs

Chip: Integrated Processor V1
Driver: 6mm High-power neodymium magnets
Microphone: Dual microphones on each side
Battery: Up to 8 hours (per earbud), 320mAh (charging case) w/ Qi wireless charging
Sensors: IR sensor
Connectivity: Bluetooth 5.2 A2DP, AVRCP, HFP, HSP (SBC, AAC, LDAC)
Others: ANC, tap/swipe control, Fast Pair, Microsoft Swift Pair, IPX4 water splash resistance, USB-C, Colors: Silver, Black
Weight: 41 g (charging case)
Price: PHP 13,999

As of the moment

Sony made it a priority to make sure that the WF-1000XM4 will come with a massive improvement coming from the XM3. So far, we think that Sony is successful in that attempt and these are worth it for PHP 13,990.

The WF-1000XM4 is small, light, and very comfortable in the ear. Personally, it disappears in my ear and I could wear this for hours without fatigue. Versus the XM3, it doesn't fall off your ears when there are strong head movements.

Moreover, connecting to devices is a bit complicated on the previous Sony TWS model especially if you don't have the Sony Headphones Connect app. But now, on your phone, you cannot pair it without the app and if you want to connect it to other devices, you need to disconnect the device to the first source first.
Wireless lossless audio support!
Wireless lossless audio support!

For audio quality, it is superb so far. From memory, these are arguably the best and fullest sounding TWS buds that we ever tested yet. It is ahead of the XM3 sonically. It has a warm and rich signature that is extremely detailed yet not overly analytical. The soundstage could be wider and highs could be a bit brighter, but for tiny buds, these are considered superb. 

If you have lossless audio files like FLAC, enjoy. Basically, these buds can play 96kHz sampling with up to 990 kbps files. Correct us if we are wrong, but I think that the WF-1000XM4 is the only TWS buds with true lossless audio file support that is officially available in the Philippine market today. Not even the AirPods Pro has Apple lossless.

For blocking outside sounds, even if ANC is turned off, its tips can prevent unwanted noise quite well. When you turn on ANC, outside noise (except for extremely loud noises) won't be bearable. So far, unlike lower-end buds with ANC, it doesn't affect its sound quality negatively too.

We are also enjoying its Quick Attention mode to allow users to listen to an announcement or say something briefly by just placing their finger on the earbud to decrease the volume instantly and let ambient noise in.

My only concern so far is its voice call recording quality.

For the rest of the features, we will discuss them in the full review after a few more days of use.
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