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We've recently released our Test Bench 1.6 update for Headphones! Read the Latency R&D Article to learn more.

Sony WF-1000XM4 Truly Wireless Headphones Review

Tested using Methodology v1.6
Review updated Jun 09, 2023 at 01:34 pm
Latest change: Writing modified Nov 16, 2023 at 10:41 am
Sony WF-1000XM4 Truly Wireless Picture
6.5
Neutral Sound
7.8
Commute/Travel
8.1
Sports/Fitness
7.1
Office
5.4
Wireless Gaming
5.2
Wired Gaming
6.3
Phone Calls
These headphones were replaced by the Sony WF-1000XM5 Truly Wireless

The Sony WF-1000XM4 Truly Wireless are the next generation of the Sony WF-1000XM3 Truly Wireless. They come with many of the same features as their predecessor, including active noise cancelling (ANC), support for Sony's 360 Reality Audio feature for virtual surround sound, and an in-app graphic EQ and presets for sound customization. They also support Google Fast Pair and Windows 10 Swift Pair for quick pairing with compatible devices. As of firmware 2.0.0, they even have multi-device pairing. Unlike the previous generation, they support LDAC codec for high-resolution audio too. However, some users have reported battery-draining issues. You can read more about it in our Battery test.

Our Verdict

6.5 Neutral Sound

The Sony WF-1000XM4 are okay for neutral sound. Out of the box, they don't sound very neutral or flat. They have a warm sound profile with cozy vocals and instruments but veiled detail with dull sibilants. This sound is suitable for genres like jazz or classical but can sound lacking if you like bass-heavy genres like EDM and hip-hop. On the upside, their companion app has a graphic EQ and presets to help you find an ideal sound. Once you get a good fit, the buds have consistent audio delivery too.

Pros
  • Graphic EQ and presets.
Cons
  • Bad passive soundstage performance.
7.8 Commute/Travel

The Sony WF1000XM4 are very good for commute and travel. These decently comfortable and lightweight in-ears can easily fit into most pockets or bags without a problem. They also have over 10 hours of continuous playback time, and there are two additional charges in their carrying case if you need them. While they have an ANC system, it does a sub-par job of blocking bus and plane engine rumbles. It does a much better job of reducing commuter chit-chat, though.

Pros
  • ANC can block out ambient chatter.
  • Stable and breathable fit.
  • Low audio leakage at high volumes.
Cons
  • Touch controls can be very sensitive.
  • ANC struggles with bass-range noise.
8.1 Sports/Fitness

The Sony WF1000XM4 are great for sports and fitness. Their small, wireless design makes it easy to take them to the gym or park. Although they don't have stability fins, they do a good job staying in your ear and have a decently comfortable, breathable fit. Unlike their predecessor, they're rated IPX4 for resistance against minor water exposure like very light rain.

Pros
  • IPX4 rating for water resistance.
  • Stable and breathable fit.
Cons
  • Touch controls can be very sensitive.
7.1 Office

The Sony WF-1000XM4 are decent for office use. They have a decently comfortable fit and over 10 hours of continuous battery life, which lasts through long days at the office. Their ANC can also block out office chatter around you, and even if you like to listen to your audio at high volumes, others around you won't hear it. They support multi-device pairing, so you can stay connected to two devices simultaneously. If you need to take calls at the office, the mic has a disappointing recording quality, and your voice sounds muffled.

Pros
  • ANC can block out ambient chatter.
  • Supports multi-device pairing.
Cons
  • Disappointing recording quality.
  • Touch controls can be very sensitive.
5.4 Wireless Gaming

The Sony WF1000XM4 aren't suitable for wireless gaming due to their incompatibility with PlayStation and Xbox consoles. They can connect via Βluetooth to PCs but have high latency, meaning you'll notice a delay between your game audio and visuals.

5.2 Wired Gaming

The Sony WF1000XM4 are truly wireless headphones, and you can't use them with a wired connection.

6.3 Phone Calls

The Sony WF-1000XM4 are acceptable for phone calls. Their integrated mic has a disappointing recording quality, so your voice sounds thin and muffled. It does an okay job of separating it from ambient noise around you too, but your voice can be easily drowned out by background noise. Luckily, these headphones have ANC that can help block out ambient noise around you. While the feature turns off as soon as you start a call and the buds enter 'Talk-Through', allowing you to better hear your surroundings, you can cycle through ANC modes and return to 'ANC On' if you prefer.

Pros
  • Stable and breathable fit.
Cons
  • Disappointing recording quality.
  • 6.5 Neutral Sound
  • 7.8 Commute/Travel
  • 8.1 Sports/Fitness
  • 7.1 Office
  • 5.4 Wireless Gaming
  • 5.2 Wired Gaming
  • 6.3 Phone Calls
  1. Updated Nov 16, 2023: We've added a comparison between these headphones and the Sony WF-1000XM5 in Comfort.
  2. Updated Nov 02, 2023: The following test groups have been updated following TB 1.6: Wired Connection, Bluetooth Connection, and Wireless Connection (Dongle). There have also been text changes made throughout the review, including to the usages and product comparisons to match these results.
  3. Updated Nov 02, 2023: We've converted this review to Test Bench 1.6 , which updates how we measure latency. We've updated and renamed the following test groups: Wired Connection, Bluetooth Connection, and Wireless Connection (Dongle). We've also added new codec latency measurements and provided an audio sample of recorded latency.
  4. Updated Jun 09, 2023: We've updated this review's text to ensure its accuracy and clarity. There hasn't been a change in results, though.
  5. Updated Mar 09, 2023: Firmware update 2.0.0 has added multi-device pairing support. We have updated Bluetooth to reflect this change and the scoring of this test has changed.
  6. Updated Feb 28, 2023: We've added a comparison between these headphones and the Bowers & Wilkins Pi7 S2 True Wireless in Build Quality.
  7. Updated Jan 03, 2023: Retested the microphone with firmware 1.4.2., which is advertised to improve call quality. The score for 'Recording Quality' improved slightly from 5.1 to 5.2. The 'Speech + Pink Noise Handling' score was also reassessed and changed from 7.5 to 6.5. (This is because the initial score was too high, rather than because of changes caused by the firmware update).
  8. Updated Dec 01, 2022: We've added a comparison between The Sony WF-1000XM4 Truly Wireless and the Jabra Elite 5 True Wireless in the Sound Profile box.
  9. Updated Nov 23, 2022: We have added a comparison between these headphones and the Apple AirPods Pro (2nd generation) Truly Wireless in the Compared To Other Headphones.
  10. Updated Oct 14, 2022: We've added a comparison between these headphones and the Sony LinkBuds S Truly Wireless in Comfort.
  11. Updated Oct 03, 2022: We've added a note regarding user reports of uneven battery draining in Battery. However, the scoring of this test hasn't changed.
  12. Updated Sep 20, 2022: We've dropped the Comfort test score from 7.5 to 7.0 as the buds' housing can cause pressure on the ear over time.
  13. Updated Aug 11, 2022: We’ve added a comparison with the Sennheiser MOMENTUM True Wireless 3 in the 'Bass Accuracy' text. The Sony WF-1000XM4 lack low-bass, so if you're looking for a thumpier sound, it's worth considering the similarly high-end Sennheiser.
  14. Updated Apr 26, 2022: Updated review for accuracy and clarity.
  15. Updated Apr 04, 2022: Thanks to user feedback, we've retested whether the ANC switches to 'Talk-Through' mode when taking a call. By default, the headphones enter this mode when you're on a call. However, you can cycle back to 'ANC On' via the custom button. We've updated the following boxes: 'Phone Calls', 'Controls', and 'Noise Isolation'.
  16. Updated Feb 16, 2022: Added Sony's 360 Reality Audio feature to Virtual Soundstage.
  17. Updated Feb 14, 2022: Retested Sound Profile and Noise Isolation with firmware update 1.3.3.
  18. Updated Sep 14, 2021: We've updated the 'Phone Call' verdict and 'Noise Isolation' text to reflect ANC turning off during calls.
  19. Updated Jul 30, 2021: We've retested 'Noise Isolation' and 'Raw Frequency Response' using firmware update 1.2.6.
  20. Updated Jul 08, 2021: Review published.
  21. Updated Jul 01, 2021: Early access published.
  22. Updated Jun 29, 2021: Our testers have started testing this product.
  23. Updated Jun 29, 2021: The product has arrived in our lab, and our testers will start evaluating it soon.
  24. Updated Jun 18, 2021: We've purchased the product and are waiting for it to arrive in our lab.

Differences Between Sizes And Variants

The Sony WF-1000XM4 come in two color variants: 'Black' and 'Silver'. We tested the Black variant; you can see our model's label here. If you encounter another variant of these headphones, please let us know in the forums, and we'll update our review.

Compared To Other Headphones

The Sony WF-1000XM4 are the next generation of the Sony WF-1000XM3 Truly Wireless. Their ANC does a better job of blocking background noise than their predecessor. However, compared to other premium ANC in-ears like the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds Truly Wireless and the Apple AirPods Pro (2nd generation) Truly Wireless, they deliver a sub-par performance when cutting down the low rumble of bus and plane engines. While some users may find their warm, smooth sound profile too dark, their companion app has a graphic EQ and presets to help adjust their sound. They support Google Fast Pair, Windows 10 Swift Pair, and multi-device pairing.

Check out our recommendations for the best noise cancelling earbuds and in-ear headphones, the best noise cancelling headphones, and the best wireless Bluetooth earbuds.

Sony WF-1000XM5 Truly Wireless

The Sony WF-1000XM5 Truly Wireless are the next generation of the Sony WF-1000XM4 Truly Wireless. A couple of upgrades have been added to the XM5, like a new design that makes them more comfortable in-ear and a tweak to their sound profile to improve their treble response. Their noise isolation performance is significantly better too, but a large part of this is due to their memory foam ear tip design, which forms a tight seal in your ear, and passively blocks a lot of sound. Overall, they're an improvement from their predecessor and are worth considering if you liked the XM4s.

Bose QuietComfort Earbuds Truly Wireless

The Bose QuietComfort Earbuds Truly Wireless are slightly better headphones than the Sony WF-1000XM4 Truly Wireless. While both headphones are well-built, the Bose have a more stable in-ear fit, a more neutral default sound profile, which some users may prefer, and their ANC can block out more ambient noise around you. However, the Sony have a better battery performance.

Sony LinkBuds S Truly Wireless

The Sony LinkBuds S Truly Wireless have a slight edge over the Sony WF-1000XM4 Truly Wireless. The LinkBuds S are more comfortable, thanks to their smaller, more lightweight design. Their sound profile is more neutral, which some users may prefer, and their ANC can block out significantly more ambient sound. However, the WF-1000XM4 are better built, and they have better overall battery life.

Jabra Elite 85t Truly Wireless

The Jabra Elite 85t Truly Wireless are better overall headphones than the Sony WF-1000XM4 Truly Wireless. While both in-ears are well-built, the Sony have a significantly better noise isolation and battery performance. However, the Jabra have a more neutral default sound profile, which some users may prefer, and more comfortable.

Sony WF-1000XM3 Truly Wireless

The Sony WF-1000XM4 Truly Wireless are the next generation of the Sony WF-1000XM3 Truly Wireless. The XM4's ANC can block out more ambient noise, and their battery performance is significantly better. However, the XM3 support NFC pairing, and have a more neutral sound profile, which some users may prefer.

Sennheiser MOMENTUM True Wireless 2

The Sony WF-1000XM4 Truly Wireless are better in-ears than the Sennheiser MOMENTUM True Wireless 2. The Sony have significantly better noise isolation and battery performances. Their companion app also offers more features. However, the Sennheiser have better controls.

Beats Fit Pro True Wireless

The Sony WF-1000XM4 Truly Wireless are better in-ears than the Beats Fit Pro True Wireless. The Sony are better-built and have a better noise isolation performance. They also have a significantly better battery performance, and their companion app offers a graphic EQ and presets to help you adjust their sound to your liking. However, the Beats have an H1 chip for seamless pairing with your Apple devices, and they support Spatial Audio on iOS devices.

Sennheiser MOMENTUM True Wireless 3

The Sony WF-1000XM4 Truly Wireless and the Sennheiser MOMENTUM True Wireless 3 are similarly performing headphones, and you may prefer either one. While both have a premium build quality, the Sony headphones have a virtual soundstage feature, and have a better overall battery performance. They also support LDAC, which is Sony's proprietary codec for high-res audio. In comparison, the Sennheiser headphones have a more neutral sound profile, which some users may prefer, their ANC blocks out significantly more ambient noise, and they support aptX Adaptive (Low Latency), a codec that helps lower lag in audio and video synchronization.

Beats Studio Buds True Wireless

The Sony WF-1000XM4 Truly Wireless are better in-ears than the Beats Studio Buds True Wireless. While both headphones are comfortable, the Sony are better built, and they have significantly better noise isolation. They also have a longer continuous battery life and you can customize their sound profile using their companion app's graphic EQ and presets.

Apple AirPods Pro Truly Wireless

The Apple AirPods Pro Truly Wireless are better in-ears than the Sony WF-1000XM4 Truly Wireless. While both headphones are well-built, the Apple have a more neutral sound profile, which some users may prefer, and are more comfortable, and their ANC can block out more ambient noise. However, the Sony have a more customizable sound profile thanks to their companion app's graphic EQ and presets, and a longer continuous battery life.

OnePlus Buds Pro 2 Truly Wireless

The Sony WF-1000XM4 Truly Wireless have a slight edge over the OnePlus Buds Pro 2 Truly Wireless. The Sony are better-built, have a better noise isolation performance, and their battery life is better. Conversely, the OnePlus are more comfortable and have a slightly better mic performance.

Apple AirPods Pro (2nd generation) Truly Wireless

The Apple AirPods Pro (2nd generation) Truly Wireless are better in-ears than the Sony WF-1000XM4 Truly Wireless. The Apple are more comfortable and have a more neutral overall sound profile, which some users may prefer, and their ANC can block out more background noise across the range. They also have an H2 chip for seamless pairing with your Apple devices. However, the Sony headphones have a better overall battery performance, and their companion app offers customization features like a graphic EQ and presets to help you adjust their sound to your liking.

Sony WH-1000XM5 Wireless

The Sony WF-1000XM4 Truly Wireless and the Sony WH-1000XM5 Wireless are this manufacturer's top-of-the-line ANC headphones. If you're looking for the best noise isolation performance available or prefer an over-ear fit, the WH-1000XM5 have an ANC system that can block out more background noise. Their mic also offers a better overall performance. That said, the WF-1000XM4 are still worth checking out if you like an in-ear fit. They're better built, have a more stable in-ear fit, and are a lot more portable, making them a solid choice for sports. 

Samsung Galaxy Buds2 Pro True Wireless

The Samsung Galaxy Buds2 Pro True Wireless and the Sony WF-1000XM4 Truly Wireless have different strengths. The Samsung headphones are more comfortable and have a more neutral overall sound profile, which some users may prefer, and their ANC can block out a superior amount of ambient noise. However, the Sony headphones are better built and have a longer lasting continuous battery life. Their companion app also offers a graphic EQ to help you customize their sound.

Bose QuietComfort 45/QC45 Wireless

The Bose QuietComfort 45/QC45 Wireless are better headphones than the Sony WF-1000XM4 Truly Wireless if you prefer an over-ear design. The Bose are more comfortable, have a more neutral sound profile, which some users may prefer, and have a better overall noise isolation performance. They also have longer continuous battery life. However, the Sony are better built and have a more stable in-ear fit, making them a solid choice for workouts.

Sony WH-1000XM4 Wireless

The Sony WH-1000XM4 Wireless are better for most uses than the Sony WF-1000XM4 Truly Wireless. The WH-1000XM4 are over-ear headphones that are more comfortable and have a more bass-heavy sound profile, which some users may prefer, and their ANC can significantly block out more noise around you. They also have a much longer continuous battery life. However, the WF-1000XM4 are smaller, are more portable, and have a stable fit.

Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II Truly Wireless

The Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II Truly Wireless are better in-ears than the Sony WF-1000XM4 Truly Wireless. The Bose are more comfortable, have a more neutral sound profile, although it's still bass-heavy, and their ANC blocks out significantly more ambient noise. However, the Sony headphones have better build quality, and their continuous battery life is longer too.

Sony WF-C700N Truly Wireless

The Sony WF-1000XM4 Truly Wireless are better earbuds than the Sony WF-C700N Truly Wireless. The Sony WF-1000XM4 have a better build quality, better-performing ANC, and a longer-lasting battery, and they come with multi-device pairing. However, if noise cancellation isn't a priority to you, there are advantages to the less expensive WF-C700N that still make them worth considering. They have a better-performing mic, a more intuitive control scheme, and a much more neutral default sound profile, which some users may prefer.

Jabra Elite 7 Pro True Wireless

The Sony WF-1000XM4 Truly Wireless and the Jabra Elite 7 Pro True Wireless have different strengths, and you may prefer either, depending on what you're looking for. The Sony have a better ANC feature and a longer continuous battery life. Their mic also has a better noise handling performance. On the other hand, the Jabra have a better control scheme and a better mic recording quality. They leak much less audio and are rated IP57 for dust and water resistance, while the Sony have an IPX4 rating for water resistance only.

Anker Soundcore Liberty 3 Pro Truly Wireless

The Sony WF-1000XM4 Truly Wireless and the Anker Soundcore Liberty 3 Pro Truly Wireless are similarly performing in-ears. The Sony are better built and have a significantly better battery performance. However, the Anker have a better noise isolation performance and a more neutral sound profile, which some users may prefer.

Jabra Elite 7 Active True Wireless

The Sony WF-1000XM4 Truly Wireless and the Jabra Elite 7 Active True Wireless have different strengths, and you may prefer either, depending on what you're looking for. The Sony's ANC feature can isolate you from more bass-range noise. They also have a much better build quality and a longer continuous battery life. On the other hand, the Jabra are rated IP57 for dust and water resistance, making them more suitable for sports. Their default sound profile is much more neutral, which some may prefer, and they have a mic with much better recording quality.

Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro Truly Wireless

The Sony WF-1000XM4 Truly Wireless are slightly better headphones for most uses than the Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro Truly Wireless. The Sony are better-built, have a somewhat better noise isolation performance, and a longer continuous battery life. Their companion app also offers a graphic EQ to help adjust their sound to your liking. However, the Samsung have a more bass-heavy sound profile and are more comfortable.

Jabra Elite 75t Truly Wireless

The Jabra Elite 75t Truly Wireless and the Sony WF-1000XM4 Truly Wireless have different strengths, and you may prefer either one. While both headphones are well-built, the Jabra have better controls, and are more comfortable. Their mic also offers a better overall performance. However, the Sony have a better noise isolation performance, and a longer continuous battery life. They also have a virtual soundstage feature to help immerse you in your audio. 

Bowers & Wilkins Pi7 S2 True Wireless

Depending on your preferences, you may enjoy either the Sony WF-1000XM4 Truly Wireless or the Bowers & Wilkins Pi7 S2 True Wireless. While both buds have a premium design and are decently comfortable, the Sony have a more customizable sound, a virtual soundstage support for a more immersive sound, and their battery performance is significantly better. However, the Bowers & Wilkins block out more ambient noise and their carrying case also doubles as a wireless transmitter.

Sony LinkBuds Truly Wireless

The Sony WF-1000XM4 Truly Wireless are better than the Sony LinkΒuds Truly Wireless for most purposes. They have an ANC feature that blocks out a lot of noise, a better-balanced default sound profile, and a longer continuous battery life. On the other hand, the LinkΒuds are designed to let you hear your surroundings, so you may prefer them at the office or for a run outside.

Sony WF-C500 Truly Wireless

The Sony WF-1000XM4 Truly Wireless are better for most purposes than the Sony WF-C500 Truly Wireless. The 1000XM4 are better-built and have a much more stable fit. They also have ANC and a much better noise isolation performance. On the other hand, the C500 have a more neutral default sound profile that some may prefer. Their mic’s recording quality is also much better.

OnePlus Buds Pro Truly Wireless

The Sony WF-1000XM4 Truly Wireless are slightly better in-ears than the OnePlus Buds Pro Truly Wireless. While both headphones are comfortable, the Sony are better built, have a significantly better noise isolation performance, and superior battery performance. Their companion app also offers a graphic EQ and presets to help you adjust their sound to your liking. However, the OnePlus have a low latency 'Pro Gaming Mode' advertised to lower audio lag when paired with compatible OnePlus phones.

Anker Soundcore Space A40 Truly Wireless

The Anker Soundcore Space A40 Truly Wireless offer a better overall performance than the Sony WF-1000XM4 Truly Wireless. The Anker are more comfortable, have a more neutral sound profile, which some users may prefer, and their adaptive ANC does a significantly better job of blocking background noise. However, the Sony are better-built and have a more stable in-ear fit. Their continuous battery life is longer, though the Anker still have more extra charges in their case.

Samsung Galaxy Buds2 Truly Wireless

The Sony WF-1000XM4 Truly Wireless and the Samsung Galaxy Buds2 Truly Wireless are similarly performing headphones, and you may prefer either one. The Sony are better built and have a significantly better battery performance. Their companion app also offers a graphic EQ to help you adjust their sound. The Samsung are more comfortable, they have a more neutral default sound profile, which some users may prefer, and their mic's recording quality is superior. They're also able to block out a bit more background noise, thanks to their ANC system.

Beats Studio Buds + True Wireless

You may prefer the Sony WF-1000XM4 Truly Wireless if you want customizable buds. The Sony are better-built, have a virtual soundstage feature to help immerse you in your audio, and a better overall battery performance. You can also customize their sound to your liking using their companion app's graphic EQ and presets, and they support multi-device pairing. Conversely, if you're looking for buds with minimal fuss, the Beats Studio Buds + True Wireless are more comfortable and have a more neutral sound profile, which some users may prefer.

Beats Studio3 Wireless

The Sony WF-1000XM4 Truly Wireless are better headphones than the Beats Studio3 Wireless. The Sony feel better built, their ANC can block out a lot more ambient noise around you, and they have a better battery performance. You can adjust their sound using their companion app's graphic EQ and presets. However, the Beats are more comfortable and have a more bass-heavy sound profile, which some users may prefer.

Sennheiser CX Plus True Wireless

The Sony WF-1000XM4 Truly Wireless are slightly better in-ears than the Sennheiser CX Plus True Wireless. While both headphones are well-built, the Sony are more comfortable, their ANC does a significantly better job of blocking out background noise, and they have a slightly better battery performance. The Sennheiser have a somewhat more neutral default sound profile and support aptX and aptX Adaptive codecs.

Sennheiser CX True Wireless

The Sony WF-1000XM4 Truly Wireless are a little bit better than the Sennheiser CX True Wireless. The Sony are comfier, blcok out more ambient noise thanks to their ANC feature, and have a longer battery life as well as a more feature-dense companion app. Conversely, the Sennheiser leak less audio and have on-board volume controls.

Jabra Elite 4 Active True Wireless

The Sony WF-1000XM4 Truly Wireless are better than the Jabra Elite 4 Active True Wireless for most purposes. The Sony headphones' ANC feature has much better performance, meaning they can block out more noise. They're also more comfortable, better-built, and have a longer continuous battery life. Ηowever, some may find their default sound profile too dark. Βoth headphones' apps include a graphic EQ and presets for sound customization, but the Jabra headphones have a more neutral sound out-of-the-box, which some may prefer.

Bowers & Wilkins Pi7 True Wireless

The Sony WF-1000XM4 Truly Wireless are slightly better in-ears than the Bowers & Wilkins Pi7 True Wireless. The Sony are more comfortable, have a significantly better battery performance, and their companion app offers a graphic EQ and presets to allow you to adjust their sound to your liking. However, the Bowers & Wilkins support more codecs and their carrying case can be used as a wireless transmitter. They're also able to block out more background noise, and the integrated mic also does a better job of recording your voice.

Anker Soundcore Liberty Air 2 Pro Truly Wireless

The Anker Soundcore Liberty Air 2 Pro Truly Wireless and the Sony WF-1000XM4 Truly Wireless are similarly performing in-ears, and depending on your usage, you may prefer one over the other. The Sony are more comfortable, feel better built, and have longer continuous battery life. Conversely, the Anker have a more neutral default sound profile, which some users may prefer, and their ANC does a better job of blocking out background noise around you.

Jabra Elite 3 True Wireless

The Sony WF-1000XM4 Truly Wireless are slightly better in-ears than the Jabra Elite 3 True Wireless. While both are comfortable, the Sony feel better built, have a superior noise isolation performance, and have longer continuous battery life. On the other hand, the Jabra have a more neutral sound profile, which some users may prefer.

Jaybird Vista 2 Truly Wireless

The Sony WF-1000XM4 Truly Wireless are better in-ears than the Jaybird Vista 2 Truly Wireless. While both headphones are comfortable and well-built, the Sony have an ANC with a significantly better noise isolation performance and a longer continuous battery life. The Jaybird have a higher IP rating for dust and water resistance, although we don't currently test for it, a more stable fit, and their companion app offers a parametric EQ, which some users may prefer over the Sony's graphic EQ.

Sony WH-1000XM3 Wireless

The Sony WH-1000XM3 Wireless are better headphones for most uses than the Sony WF-1000XM4 Truly Wireless. The WH-1000XM3 are over-ear headphones that are more comfortable, have a significantly better noise isolation performance, and have longer continuous battery life. However, the WF-1000XM4 are in-ears that are smaller, more lightweight, and have a stable fit, making them a solid choice for sports and fitness.

Apple AirPods Max Wireless

The Apple AirPods Max Wireless and the Sony WF-1000XM4 Truly Wireless have different strengths, and you may prefer one over the other. The Apple have a more neutral default sound profile, which some users may prefer, a significantly better noise isolation performance, and a longer continuous battery life. They also have an H1 chip, so you can seamlessly pair them with your other Apple devices. However, the Sony have a more stable in-ear fit, and you can customize their sound profile using their companion app's graphic EQ and presets.

Bose 700 Headphones Wireless

The Bose 700 Headphones Wireless are better headphones for most uses than the Sony WF-1000XM4 Truly Wireless. The Bose are over-ears that are more comfortable, have a more neutral sound profile, which some users may prefer, and have a significantly better noise isolation performance. Their microphone delivers better overall performance too. However, the Sony are in-ears that are more portable and have a stable fit, making them a better choice for sports and fitness.

Bose QuietComfort 35 II/QC35 II Wireless 2018

The Bose QuietComfort 35 II/QC35 Wireless 2018 are better headphones for most uses than the Sony WF-1000XM4 Truly Wireless, especially if you prefer an over-ear fit. The Bose are more comfortable and have a more neutral default sound profile, which some users may prefer. Their noise isolation performance is significantly better, and they have a longer continuous battery life too. However, the Sony are in-ears that are more customizable, thanks to their companion app's graphic EQ and presets. They're also better built and have a more stable fit.

Apple AirPods (3rd generation) Truly Wireless

The Sony WF-1000XM4 Truly Wireless are better for most purposes than the Apple AirPods (3rd generation) Truly Wireless. The Sony have a longer continuous battery life, onboard call and music controls, and a great ANC feature. Their default sound profile delivers much more bass, which some may prefer, and it can be customized in the companion app with a graphic EQ and presets, unlike the Apple headphones. On the other hand, some may prefer that the Apple headphones' open design lets you hear your surroundings. They also have features that only work with Apple devices, like an Η1 chip for easy pairing and Spatial Audio, a virtual surround sound feature, which iOS users may appreciate.

Anker SoundCore Life P3 Truly Wireless

Depending on your listening habits, you may prefer either the Sony WF-1000XM4 Truly Wireless or the Anker SoundCore Life P3 Truly Wireless. The Anker have better noise isolation and leakage performances. Also, their microphone has a better recording quality. However, the Sony are better-built with a longer continuous battery life.

Jabra Elite 5 True Wireless

The Sony WF-1000XM4 Truly Wireless are better overall earbuds than the Jabra Elite 5 Truly Wireless. The Sony have a warm sound profile with more bass, which some users may prefer, and a longer continuous battery life of 10.5 hours. The ANC on the Sony cuts out more bus and plane engine noise, making them an ideal choice for commuters. However, the Jabra leak less audio at high volumes and their mic's recording quality is significantly better. 

Samsung Galaxy Buds+ Truly Wireless

The Samsung Galaxy Buds+ Truly Wireless and the Sony WF-1000XM4 Truly Wireless have different strengths. The Samsung have a more neutral default sound profile, which some users may prefer, a more stable fit, and their integrated mic delivers a much better overall performance. However, the Sony are better built and have a significantly better noise isolation performance, thanks to their ANC. Their companion app also offers a graphic EQ to help you adjust their sound to your liking.

Cambridge Audio Melomania 1+ True Wireless

The Sony WF-1000XM4 Truly Wireless are better in-ears than the Cambridge Audio Melomania 1+ True Wireless. The Sony are more comfortable, feel better-built, and can block out more ambient noise around you. Their battery performance is significantly better than the Cambridge Audio. However, the Cambridge Audio leak less audio.

Beats Solo Pro Wireless

The Beats Solo Pro Wireless and the Sony WF-1000XM4 Truly Wireless have different strengths, and you may prefer either one. While both headphones are well-built and have very good ANCs, the Beats are on-ears with a more neutral sound profile, which some users may like, and longer continuous battery life. They also have an H1 chip for seamless pairing with your other Apple devices. However, the Sony are more comfortable, their companion app has a graphic EQ and presets to help adjust their sound, and they have a better battery performance.

Google Pixel Buds A-Series Truly Wireless

The Sony WF-1000XM4 Truly Wireless are better in-ears for most uses than the Google Pixel Buds A-Series Truly Wireless. While both headphones are comfortable, the Sony are better built, have a significantly better noise isolation performance, and have a better battery performance. Their companion app also offers a graphic EQ and presets to help you adjust their sound to your liking. However, the Google's mic has a better recording quality. 

Sony MH755 (Fake)

The Sony WF-1000XM4 Truly Wireless are better headphones than the Sony MH755 (Fake). The WF-1000XM4 are truly wireless headphones with significantly better build quality, and a customizable sound profile, thanks to their companion app's graphic EQ and presets. They also have an ANC system that does a great job of blocking out ambient noise, and they have an integrated mic so that you can take calls on the go. However, some users may prefer the MH755 (Fake)'s wired design, as they have virtually no latency.

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Test Results

perceptual testing image
Design
Design
Style
Type In-ear
Enclosure Closed-Back
Wireless Truly Wireless
Transducer Dynamic

These buds have a more rounded and less bulky look than their predecessor, the Sony WF-1000XM3 Truly Wireless. There's a circular copper accent on each earbud, which has a microphone in the center. These headphones come in two color variants: 'Silver' and 'Black'.

7.0
Design
Comfort
Weight 0.03 lbs
Clamping Force
0 lbs

The Sony WF-1000XM4 are decently comfortable headphones. They have a lightweight fit that doesn't enter your ear very deeply. They come with three differently-sized pairs of ear tips, and their foam design helps conform to your ear canal to help get a better seal than silicone ear tips. That said, some users have reported that the bud shape can put pressure on your the lower part of your inner ear, which becomes uncomfortable over time. If you're looking for smaller Sony buds with a more comfortable design, try the Sony WF-1000XM5 Truly Wireless or Sony LinkBuds S Truly Wireless instead.

6.3
Design
Controls
OS Compatibility
Not OS specific
Ease Of Use Good
Feedback Good
Call/Music Control Yes
Volume Control No
Microphone Control No
Channel Mixing
No
Noise Cancelling Control On/Off
Talk-Through
On/Off
Additional Controls Voice Assistant

These buds have unremarkable controls. Like the Sony WF-1000XM3 Truly Wireless, they have easy-to-use touch surfaces on both earbuds. You get audio feedback and voice prompts for some commands. Unfortunately, the control scheme doesn't include volume or voice assistant functions, although you can add them in the app. The touch surfaces are very sensitive, so it's easy to register a command accidentally. The earbuds also automatically switch to talk-through mode when you answer the phone, which is annoying in a noisy place, but you can easily turn noise cancelling back on with the onboard controls.

On the right earbud:

  • Single tap: Plays and pauses audio.
  • Double tap: Skips the track forward.
  • Triple tap: Skips the track backward.

On the left earbud:

  • Single tap: Cycles between ANC mode and talk-through mode. This function can be customized in the app so that it also allows you to turn these features off.
  • Press and hold: Activates 'Quick Attention' as long as you have your finger on the earbud. Turns down your audio and allows you to hear ambient sound.

On the either earbud:

  • Double tap: Answers and ends a call.
  • Press and hold: Rejects an incoming call.

9.2
Design
Breathability
Avg.Temp.Difference 0.8 °C

Because of their in-ear design, they have a very breathable fit. They don't trap heat against your ears, so you won't sweat more if you wear them for a workout.

9.4
Design
Portability
L 1.4" (3.6 cm)
W 1.1" (2.8 cm)
H 1.1" (2.7 cm)
Volume 1.65 in³ (27.00 cm³)
Transmitter Required No

These buds are very portable since they're small and lightweight. You can easily put them inside most pockets or bags without an issue. They also come with a solid hard carrying case.

7.5
Design
Case
Type Hard case
L 2.6" (6.7 cm)
W 1.1" (2.9 cm)
H 1.5" (3.9 cm)
Volume 4.64 in³ (76.00 cm³)

The carrying case is good. It's not as well-built as the case that comes with the Sony WF-1000XM3 Truly Wireless since its lid feels a bit flimsy. However, it's smaller and has magnets inside to help keep the earbuds in place. It can easily fit into most pockets and bags. If you're looking for earbuds with a more compact case, try the Apple AirPods (3rd generation) Truly Wireless.

8.0
Design
Build Quality

The Sony WF-1000XM4 have a great build quality. Like other high-end headphones like the Bowers & Wilkins Pi7 S2 True Wireless, they feel well-made and are sturdy enough to survive accidental drops and falls without taking too much damage. They're also rated IPX4 for resistance against minor water exposure like light rain. Their carrying case's lid feels a bit loose, which is disappointing.

7.5
Design
Stability

These buds have a stable fit. The foam ear tips help them stay in place once you find the right size. They don't have stability fins and aren't as stable as the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds Truly Wireless, but they won't fall out of your ears during a jog in the park.

Design
Headshots 1
Design
Headshots 2
Design
Top
Design
In The Box

  • Sony WF-1000XM4 in-ear headphones
  • 3x foam tip sizes
  • Charging case
  • USB-C to USB-A charging cable
  • Manuals

Sound
Sound
Sound Profile
Bass Amount
0.05 dB
Treble Amount
-5.13 dB

The Sony WF-1000XM4 have a smooth and warm sound profile. While they lack a thumpy low-bass, their mid-range is fairly well-balanced, so vocals and lead instruments are present and clear. However, their treble range is very underemphasized, so sibilants are especially dull and lispy. If you prefer a different sound, their companion app offers a graphic EQ and presets to help you adjust their sound to your liking. If you prefer a more neutral sound from your headphones, you can try these custom EQ settings. You can also find a comparison between this custom EQ setting and the headphones' default setting here. All the presets seem to dip at 7.5K in the treble range, and there doesn't seem to be a way around this, even when using a custom EQ. As a result, the default 'EQ OFF' setting results in the best treble response. Also, we did some subjective listening using a Samsung phone with an AAC codec, and you can clearly hear the underemphasized treble in songs.

These results are based on the headphones' performance with firmware version 1.1.5. You can see a comparison of their frequency response using version 1.1.5 versus 1.2.6 here. You can also see a comparison of their frequency response using firmware version 1.2.6 versus 1.3.3 for the left and right drivers separately. The original results are in red, while a blue line for the left driver and a green line for the right driver represents the new 1.3.3 results. However, the firmware updates didn't significantly change the headphones' sound performance.

Note: There's a slight discrepancy between the left and right drivers in the raw frequency response graphs due to how the files were processed. However, all other graphs are correct, and this difference won't be audible to most users.

9.2
Sound
Frequency Response Consistency
Avg. Std. Deviation
0.16 dB

The Sony WF-1000XM4 have outstanding frequency response consistency. Once you achieve a proper fit and seal using one of the foam ear tips, you'll receive consistent bass and treble delivery each time you use these headphones.

Sound
Raw Frequency Response
8.3
Sound
Bass Accuracy
Std. Err.
2.12 dB
Low-Frequency Extension
56.57 Hz
Low-Bass
-3.97 dB
Mid-Bass
-1.65 dB
High-Bass
0.08 dB

The bass accuracy is great. Although the response is slightly lilted, the bass doesn't overwhelm the rest of the mix. They deliver adequate warmth, making them a solid choice for genres like jazz and classical. However, they still lack thump, rumble, and boom, so if you're looking for more bass, you'll want to consider buds like the Sennheiser MOMENTUM True Wireless 3 instead.

8.2
Sound
Mid Accuracy
Std. Err.
2.43 dB
Low-Mid
0.02 dB
Mid-Mid
-2.69 dB
High-Mid
-3.03 dB

These buds have great mid accuracy. The range is fairly flat, ensuring your mixes have clear vocals and lead instruments. However, the mid and high-mid are underemphasized, weakening the upper harmonics of vocals and lead instruments and nudging them to the back of the mix.

2.9
Sound
Treble Accuracy
Std. Err.
9.62 dB
Low-Treble
-5.84 dB
Mid-Treble
-12.42 dB
High-Treble
-10.23 dB

The Sony WF-1000XM4 lack a lot of treble. Unlike similar in-ears like the Jabra Elite 5 True Wireless, the response is very underemphasized across the range. In the last verse of The Βeatles' song Eleanor Rigby, violins lack presence and seem veiled, while sibilants like S and T sounds, as well as cymbals, are dull.

8.3
Sound
Peaks/Dips
Peaks
0.91 dB
Dips
1.7 dB

These buds have great peaks and dips performance. Most peaks and dips are fairly minor, meaning the headphones can control their sound profile well. There's a slight peak through the high-bass to low-mid, which adds boom to your mixes, although it also adds some muddiness to the mix. A peak in the high-mid to low-treble makes the upper harmonics of these sounds honky and harsh. The deepest dip is in the mid-treble, which dulls sibilants like cymbals.

9.5
Sound
Imaging
Weighted Group Delay
0.09
Weighted Phase Mismatch
0.92
Weighted Amplitude Mismatch
0.24
Weighted Frequency Mismatch
0.89

These headphones have outstanding imaging performance. Sony's high-end products usually have good ergonomics and quality control, which helps ensure quality imaging. However, imaging varies depending on the unit. Our unit's L/R drivers are well-matched in group delay, which ensures tight bass and transparent treble reproduction. Our unit's L/R drivers are also well-matched in phase, amplitude, and frequency response. This helps ensure the accurate placement of sound objects like voices in the stereo image.

1.1
Sound
Passive Soundstage
PRTF Accuracy (Std. Dev.)
N/A
PRTF Size (Avg.)
N/A
PRTF Distance
N/A
Openness
2.2
Acoustic Space Excitation
2.3

Like most in-ear headphones, these buds have a bad passive soundstage performance. Their design means sound fully bypasses your outer ear, which needs to be activated by sound resonances to create a more immersive sound. As a result, your audio seems like it's coming from inside your head rather than speakers in the room around you. Their soundstage also doesn't feel as open as most open-back headphones.

4.1
Sound
Virtual Soundstage
Head Modeling
On/Off
Speaker Modeling
On/Off
Room Ambience
No
Head Tracking
No
Virtual Surround
360 Reality Audio

These headphones support 360 Reality Audio, which replaces the Virtualphones Technology (VPT) that their previous generation, the Sony WF-1000XM3 Wireless originally supported. 360 Reality Audio can improve audio quality and create a more immersive audio experience. However, you need to subscribe to services like Tidal or Nugs.net that support this technology and offer compatible files.

7.7
Sound
Weighted Harmonic Distortion
WHD @ 90
0.309
WHD @ 100
0.133

These headphones have a good weighted harmonic distortion performance. There are some small peaks in the treble range at normal listening volumes, but it's very hard to hear with real-life content. Most frequencies fall under good levels, resulting in fairly clean and pure audio reproduction.

Sound
Test Settings
Firmware
1.1.5
Power
On
Connection
Bluetooth 5.0
Codec
SBC, 16-bit, 48kHz
EQ
Off
ANC
On
Tip/Pad
Foam (small)
Microphone
Integrated

These are the settings used to test the Sony WF-1000XM4, and our results are only valid when using this configuration.

Isolation
7.8
Isolation
Noise Isolation
Isolation Audio
Overall Attenuation
-22.5 dB
Noise Cancelling Yes
Bass
-13.17 dB
Mid
-20.01 dB
Treble
-34.86 dB

The Sony WF-1000XM4 have a very good noise isolation performance. Like the Sony WF-1000XM3 Truly Wireless, they have an active noise cancelling (ANC) system, but it offers improved performance. They can block out office chatter and the high-pitched hum of AC units. Unfortunately, unlike other ANC earbuds like the Apple AirPods Pro Truly Wireless, they struggle with bass-range noise like rumbling bus and plane engines. Note that the ANC turns off if you're on a call, and they enter 'Talk-Through' mode so that you can hear your surroundings. You can cycle back to 'ANC on' using the controls.

Note: Some users have experienced a whooshing or wind-like sound when using the ANC, which can be very annoying. While we didn't experience this with our model, please let us know in the forums if you have this issue.

8.0
Isolation
Leakage
Leakage Audio
Overall Leakage @ 1ft
33.67 dB

These earbuds have a great leakage performance. Leakage is concentrated in the treble range, which sounds thin. If you like to listen to your audio at high volumes, you won't disturb others around you.

Microphone
Microphone
Microphone Style
Integrated
Yes
In-Line
No
Boom
No
Detachable Boom
No
Mic Yes
5.2
Microphone
Recording Quality
Recorded Speech
LFE
201.59 Hz
FR Std. Dev.
2.87 dB
HFE
1,317.51 Hz
Weighted THD
6.721
Gain
13.46 dB

The integrated mic has a disappointing recording quality. Your voice is understandable but lacks body and brightness.

6.5
Microphone
Noise Handling
SpNR
25.22 dB
Noise Gate
Always On
Speech + Pink Noise Handling
6.5
Speech + Pink Noise Audio Sample
Speech + Subway Noise Handling
6.5
Speech + Subway Noise Audio Sample

The integrated mic has okay noise handling. It does an adequate job of separating your voice from moderate noise, so you can be understood clearly if you use them for a call at the office. However, loud noise, like a train passing through a subway station, can drown your voice out.

Active Features
8.0
Active Features
Battery
Battery Type
Rechargable
Continuous Battery Life
10.3 hrs
Additional Charges
2.0
Total Battery Life
30.9 hrs
Charge Time
1.3 hrs
Power-Saving Feature
Auto-Off Timer
Audio While Charging
Yes
Passive Playback
No
Charging Port USB-C

These buds have a great battery performance. They last roughly 10 hours off a single charge, longer than the eight advertised hours. Their case also holds a couple of extra charges. Battery life can vary depending on usage, though. Unlike the Beats Solo Pro Wireless, they're equipped with an auto-off timer to help save power. You can use one earbud while the other charges in the case.

Unfortunately, some users have reported issues with their units' battery life after updating to firmware 1.4.2. They have experienced severe and uneven battery drain. The earbud that drains quicker also becomes much hotter than expected. When we updated our unit to this firmware, we noticed an unevenness in battery drain, but it wasn't to the significant extent experienced by these users. If you've encountered this issue, let us know in the forums.

8.0
Active Features
App Support
App Name Sony| Headphones Connect
iOS Yes
Android Yes
macOS No
Windows No
Equalizer
Graphic + Presets
ANC Control
On/Off
Mic Control No
Room Effects
No
Playback Control
Yes
Button Mapping Yes
Surround Support
Yes

The | Sony Headphones Connect is a great app. You can customize their sound using their app's graphic EQ and presets and remap the ANC/talk-through, voice assistant, or volume controls to either earbud. You can also use their fit feature to test whether you're using the right ear tips for your ears or turn on or off the auto-off timer, smart-pause feature, or speak-to-chat feature. However, while you can access 360 Reality Audio for a more immersive audio experience, you must subscribe to this service.

Connectivity
0
Connectivity
Wired Connection
Analog Audio
No
USB Audio
No
Detachable
No
Length
N/A
Connector
No Wired Option
Latency - Analog
N/A
Latency - USB
N/A
Recorded Latency
N/A
Recorded Latency Connection No Wired Audio

You can't use these buds wired. They come with a USB-C to USB-A cable to charge their carrying case.

8.4
Connectivity
Bluetooth Connection
Bluetooth Version
5.2
Multi-Device Pairing
2 Devices
Quick Pair (Android)
Yes
Quick Pair (iOS)
No
Line Of Sight Range
291.99 ft (89.00 m)
Latency - SBC
259 ms
Latency - aptX
N/A
Latency - aptX Adaptive (High Quality)
N/A
Latency - aptX Adaptive (Low Latency)
N/A
Latency - LDAC
258 ms
Recorded Latency
Recorded Latency Codec SBC
AAC Support
Yes

The Sony WF1000XM4 have excellent Bluetooth connectivity. They support Google Fast Pair and Windows 10 Swift Pair, making it easier to connect to supported devices. Firmware update 2.0.0 also added multi-device pairing, so you can connect to your laptop and smartphone simultaneously. However, unlike the Sony WF-1000XM3 Truly Wireless, they don't have NFC pairing.

These buds support Sony's LDAC codec for high-resolution audio, but you need to use a supported device and the Sony | Headphones Connect app to enable it. Unfortunately, they have high latency on PCs using LDAC as well as SBC codecs, so your audio and video will be out of sync if you use them for gaming or watching videos on your computer. Their latency is a lot less impactful if you're just streaming audio, though.

0
Connectivity
Wireless Connection (Dongle)
Line Of Sight Range
N/A
Latency - Dongle
N/A
Recorded Latency
N/A
Connectivity
PC Compatibility
Analog
No
Wired USB
No
Non-BT Wireless
No

The Sony WF1000XM4 can connect to Bluetooth-enabled PCs. However, they don't support any other connection.

Connectivity
PlayStation Compatibility
PS4 Analog
No
PS4 Wired USB
No
PS4 Non-BT Wireless
No
PS5 Analog
No
PS5 Wired USB
No
PS5 Non-BT Wireless
No
Connectivity
Xbox Compatibility
Xbox One Analog
No
Xbox One Wired USB
No
Xbox One Non-BT Wireless
No
Xbox Series X|S Analog
No
Xbox Series X|S Wired USB
No
Xbox Series X|S Non-BT Wireless
No
2.2
Connectivity
Base/Dock
Type
Charging Case
USB Input
No
Line In
No
Line Out
No
Optical Input
No
RCA Input
No
Dock Charging
Yes
Power Supply
USB-C

The Sony WF1000XM4 come with a hard carrying case with roughly two extra charges. It supports wireless charging and has one input for the charging cable.