What we think
Sony WH-1000XM4 are the best noise cancelling headphones you can buy. By keeping the sound as good as it always was to satisfy music lovers and adding some extra features tech heads wanted, Sony manages to keep its nose just in front of Bose, Bowers & Wilkins and Beats by Dr. Dre. There's nothing better in the world of headphones right now.
Reasons to buy
- + Lively, balanced and detailed sound
- + Insane noise-cancelling
- + A full suite of cutting-edge extra features
Reasons to avoid
- - Can get trebly under the wrong circumstances
- - No aptX or aptX HD support – seriously Sony?
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The best noise-cancelling headphones available
For those serious looking for a comfortable pair of wireless headphones with great audio and top-of-the-line noise-cancelling, Sony’s WH-1000XM4 is the best of the best right now. Building on the success of its ever-popular predecessor (WH-1000XM3), the fourth iteration of Sony’s flagship Bluetooth headphones is easily the best in its lineup.
They feature a 30-hour battery life that’ll keep your music pumping for days, and that’s with the ANC engaged (you can eke out even more if you turn it off). They’ve also upgraded the connectivity standard to Bluetooth 5.0, allowing for multi-device pairing and increased stability and range. These improvements are coupled with new features like sensors that automatically pause your music when you take off your headphones or speak.
The algorithm responsible for the active noise cancelling in the WH-1000XM4 has also been improved, as has the dedicated processing chipset that runs it, so you can be sure that you’ll have peace and quiet in even the busiest environments, not to mention improved call quality. The same great comfortable, lightweight, and stylish design returns but is made ever-so slightly more lightweight and comfortable thanks to some minor design adjustments on the headband. And as for the sound itself, even before tweaking the frequency response via Sony’s app or enhancing the bass, the default sound signature out of the box is overly pleasant, with a slight nudge to the bass and plenty of space and softness to the higher frequencies, making for great clarity and power, depending on the music. What’s more, one of the large improvements over the predecessor is the introduction of Edge AI audio upscaling, which has been custom tuned to take compressed audio (MP3s and other streaming media, for instance) and intelligently upscales them to artificially higher resolutions. While most listeners might not notice the difference, this is great news for audiophiles, and everyone else can be content knowing that what they’re hearing is as good as it’s gonna get in wireless headphones.
Score: 5 / 5
Verdict: Sony’s WH-1000XM4 headphones carry on the revered audio quality and class-leading ANC from their predecessors (WH-1000XM3), and add enough new tricks to comfortably take over the throne.
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The Sony WH1000XM4 Headphones was added to the Head Phones category in December 2020.
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