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Sony WH-1000XM4 Wireless Headphones Review

Tested using Methodology v1.5
Updated Nov 01, 2022 at 12:13 pm
Sony WH-1000XM4 Wireless Picture
7.2
Neutral Sound
8.1
Commute/Travel
7.2
Sports/Fitness
7.7
Office
5.8
Wireless Gaming
7.4
Wired Gaming
6.7
Phone Calls
Current deal: The Sony WH-1000XM4 Wireless has dropped in price on amazon.com. See all headphones deals
These headphones were replaced by the Sony WH-1000XM5 Wireless
Type Over-ear
Enclosure Closed-Back
Wireless Yes
Transducer Dynamic
Noise Cancelling Yes
Mic Yes

The Sony WH-1000XM4 are the successor to the Sony WH-1000XM3 Wireless, coming with a longer continuous battery life, additional touch-sensitive control features, and multi-device pairing. Like their predecessor, they have an outstanding noise isolation performance thanks to their ANC feature and a comfortable, premium-looking design. Overall, these decently versatile headphones are a solid choice for many different listeners, and even though they've Sony's replaced them with the Sony WH-1000XM5 Wireless, they're still worth checking out as a comparable alternative.

Our Verdict

7.2 Neutral Sound

The Sony WH-1000XM4 are decent for neutral sound. They have a bass-heavy sound that delivers intense thump, punch, and boom to mixes, making them a great choice for genres like EDM and hip-hop. However, this extra bass also bloats vocals and instruments. While you can customize their sound profile to your liking using their companion app's 5-band graphic EQ and presets, it can be tricky to tackle the excess high-bass to low-mid. The lowest EQ band starts at 400 Hz, which falls just after the bump in bass. The Clear Bass slider in the EQ can help reduce bass, though. Still, they have a closed-back design and don't create a wide or natural-seeming passive soundstage.

Pros
  • Graphic EQ and presets.
Cons
  • Poor passive soundstage.
8.1 Commute/Travel

The Sony WH1000XM4 are impressive for commute and travel. While they aren't the most portable headphones, their hard carrying case can help protect them while you're on the go. They have over 37 hours of continuous battery life, and you can comfortably wear them for long listening sessions without a lot of fatigue. Also, their ANC can block out bass-heavy sounds like the rumble of engines as well as mid-range sounds like commute chatter, meaning you can enjoy your music without distraction.

Pros
  • Comfortable fit.
  • Incredible ANC performance.
  • Over 37-hour continuous battery life.
Cons
  • Bulky design.
7.2 Sports/Fitness

The Sony WH1000XM4 aren't designed for use while working out. Although they have a comfortable fit, their bulky design means they aren't very portable. While they can stay on your head during casual listening sessions, they move around on your ears during intense movements, so they aren't the most stable.

Pros
  • Comfortable fit.
Cons
  • Can fall off your head with moderate movement.
7.7 Office

The Sony WH-1000XM4 are good for office use. These comfortable headphones have an incredible noise isolation performance thanks to their ANC feature, so they block out background noise like voices and AC units well. With an over 37-hour continuous battery life, you don't have to recharge these headphones daily, either. Unfortunately, they leak a bit when you play your audio at loud volumes, so they aren't ideal for quiet settings.

Pros
  • Comfortable fit.
  • Incredible ANC performance.
  • Over 37-hour continuous battery life.
Cons
  • Bulky design.
5.8 Wireless Gaming

The Sony WH1000XM4 are compatible with Bluetooth-enabled PCs but their latency is likely too high to be suitable for wireless gaming. You also can't use them wirelessly with PlayStation or Xbox consoles.

7.4 Wired Gaming

The Sony WH-1000XM4 are decent for wired gaming. Thanks to their 1/8" TRS cable, you can connect them to your PC, PlayStation, and Xbox consoles, but you can't use the microphone using this connection. That said, they have a comfortable fit for long gaming sessions, and their bass-heavy sound profile adds an extra punch to explosions and action-packed scenes.

Pros
  • Comfortable fit.
Cons
  • Audio-only wired connection.
6.7 Phone Calls

The Sony WH-1000XM4 are fair for phone calls. Unfortunately, their integrated microphone doesn't have the best recording quality, so your voice sounds thin and muffled. Your voice can also be drowned out by background noise if you're calling from a noisy environment. Their noise cancelling system can help block out a lot of ambient noise around you. While, by default, the headphones enable 'Talk-Through' mode when you're on a call, regardless of whether you were using the ANC previously, you can cycle back to ANC by pressing the custom button on the left ear cup.

Pros
  • Comfortable fit.
Cons
  • Passable microphone recording quality.
  • 7.2 Neutral Sound
  • 8.1 Commute/Travel
  • 7.2 Sports/Fitness
  • 7.7 Office
  • 5.8 Wireless Gaming
  • 7.4 Wired Gaming
  • 6.7 Phone Calls
  1. Updated Nov 01, 2022: Made minor text changes to ensure clarity and relevance.
  2. Updated Sep 19, 2022: We've added a note to Noise Isolation regarding user reports of a high-pitched noise coming from one driver when using the ANC. However, the scoring of this test hasn't changed.
  3. Updated Sep 15, 2022: We ordered the WLA-NS7 transmitter to try these headphones with compatible BRAVIA TVs. We have updated the Virtual Soundstage text to reflect these results, but the scoring of the box hasn't changed.
  4. Updated Jun 08, 2022: We've changed App Support's Surround Support from 'No' to 'Yes'. These headphones are compatible with 360 Reality Audio, and it's accessible via the app. However, you have to be subscribed to compatible platforms to use it. We have updated our review to reflect this change.
  5. Updated Apr 13, 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'.
  6. Updated Feb 21, 2022: Retested the headphones' noise isolation, sound, and mic recording quality with firmware version 2.5.0.
  7. Updated Feb 07, 2022: Added Sony's 360 Reality Audio feature to Virtual Soundstage.
  8. Updated Sep 14, 2021: We've updated the 'Phone Call' verdict and 'Noise Isolation' text to reflect ANC turning off during calls.
  9. Updated Aug 25, 2021: Updated review for accuracy and clarity.
  10. Updated Jun 29, 2021: Converted to Test Bench 1.5.
  11. Updated May 26, 2021: We've retested these headphones using firmware 2.5.0. We have also tested these headphones for 'Breathability'.
  12. Updated Sep 16, 2020: Review published.
  13. Updated Sep 11, 2020: Early access published.

Differences Between Sizes And Variants

The Sony WH-1000XM4 come in two different color variants: 'Black' and 'Silver'. We tested the Silver model, and you can see its label here. These headphones also come in 'Midnight Blue', which are exclusive to Best Buy, and in a limited edition 'Silent White' color scheme to celebrate Sony's 75th anniversary. The 'Silent White' variant and their included accessories, like their carrying case and cables, are stark white with gold accents. They were only available from May through August 2021.

If you come across another variant, please let us know in the discussions, and we'll update our review.

Compared To Other Headphones

The Sony WH-1000XM4 are premium noise cancelling headphones and are the successor of the Sony WH-1000XM3 Wireless. They're also the previous generation of the Sony WH-1000XM5 Wireless. They're more comfortable and portable than the XM5, have more voice prompt options, better noise isolation, and have a comparable bass-heavy default sound profile. Compared to their rival, the Bose QuietComfort 45/QC45 Wireless, they aren't as comfortable or neutral-sounding but have a better ANC performance and more robust customization options.

If you're looking for other headphones, see our recommendations for the best noise cancelling headphones, the best closed-back headphones, and the best travel headphones.

Beats Studio3 Wireless

The Sony WH-1000XM4 Wireless are better over-ear headphones than the Beats Studio3 Wireless. While both headphones are comfortable, the Sony are better-built, have a more neutral default sound profile, which some users may prefer, and their ANC does a significantly better job of cutting down ambient noise around you. They also have longer-lasting continuous battery life, and their companion app offers a graphic EQ and presets to help adjust their sound to your liking. However, the Beats have a W1 chip, so you can seamlessly pair them with other Apple devices.

Bose QuietComfort 45/QC45 Wireless

The Sony WH-1000XM4 Wireless are more customizable than the Bose QuietComfort 45/QC45 Wireless. The Sony are better built, and their ANC does a significantly better job of blocking out background noise. They also have longer continuous battery life. However, the Bose are more comfortable and have a more neutral sound profile, which some users may prefer.

Apple AirPods Max Wireless

The Sony WH-1000XM4 Wireless are better headphones than the Apple AirPods Max Wireless. The Sony are more comfortable and offer an even more powerful ANC. While they don't sound as neutral out-of-the-box as the Apple, they have a companion app that offers a lot of customization features, including a graphic EQ and presets. They also come with a 1/8" TRS cable if you want to use them wired.

Sony WH-XB910N Wireless

The Sony WH-1000XM4 Wireless are better headphones than the Sony WH-XB910N Wireless. While both over-ears are comfortable, the XM4 are better built, have a more neutral sound profile, which some users may prefer, and their ANC offers a significantly better noise isolation performance. They also support NFC pairing. 

Sennheiser Momentum 3 Wireless

The Sony WH-1000XM4 Wireless are slightly better headphones for most uses than the Sennheiser Momentum 3 Wireless. The Sony are more comfortable, have a significantly better noise isolation performance, and a longer continuous battery life. However, the Sennheiser have a more neutral sound profile out of the box, which some users may prefer.

Bose QuietComfort 35 II/QC35 II Wireless 2018

The Bose QuietComfort 35 II/QC35 II Wireless 2018 are more comfortable headphones than the Sony WH-1000XM4 Wireless. Out-of-the-box, the Bose also have a more neutral, less bass-heavy sound profile than the Sony. The Sony have a graphic EQ and presets available in their companion app to help you customize the sound to your liking. The Sony are better-built, have longer battery life, a better noise isolation performance, and they leak less noise. Depending on your listening habits, you may prefer one over the other.

Sony WF-1000XM4 Truly 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, 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 much longer continuous battery life and support multi-device pairing, meaning you can connect them with up to two devices at a time. However, the WF-1000XM4 are smaller, more portable, and have a stable fit.

Jabra Elite 85h Wireless

The Sony WH-1000XM4 Wireless are better than the Jabra Elite 85h Wireless. The Sony have much better build quality, and their ANC feature blocks out much more ambient sound. They have a bass-rich default sound profile that fans of genres like EDM and hip-hop may like, and you can customize it with a graphic EQ and presets in the companion app. On the other hand, the Jabra's integrated microphone has a much better recording quality, and their onboard controls include a mute microphone button.

Shure AONIC 50 Wireless

The Sony WH-1000XM4 Wireless are better headphones than the Shure AONIC 50 Wireless. The Sony are more comfortable,  have a significantly better noise isolation performance, a longer continuous battery life, and support NFC pairing. However, the Shure have a companion app that offers a parametric EQ, which some users may prefer over the Sony's graphic EQ.

Bose 700 Headphones Wireless

The Sony WH-1000XM4 Wireless are better headphones than the Bose 700 Headphones Wireless for some listeners. The Sony have a better noise isolation performance and a longer continuous battery life. They offer more talk-through controls, ideal for users who want to stay aware of their environment while listening. The Bose have a more neutral, less bass-heavy default sound profile, and their integrated microphone performs better than the Sony's.

Bowers & Wilkins PX7 Wireless

The Sony WH-100XM4 Wireless are better than the Bowers & Wilkins PX7 Wireless. The Sony headphones are more comfortable, their ANC feature blocks out more ambient noise, and their integrated mic has a much better overall performance. They have a more neutral default sound profile, which some listeners may prefer, and they also work with companion software that gives you access to a graphic EQ and presets. However, the Bowers & Wilkins have a significantly better build quality.

Sony WH-XB900N Wireless

The Sony WH-1000XM4 Wireless are better over-ear headphones than the Sony WH-XB900N Wireless. Although both headphones are comfortable and can be customized using the Sony | Headphones Connect app, the WH-1000XM4 feel better built and come with a hard case to help protect the headphones when you're on the go. They have a slightly more neutral sound profile out-of-the-box, have more consistent bass and treble delivery, and their ANC is able to reduce more ambient noise around you. Their continuous battery life is longer-lasting too. However, the WH-XB900N's integrated mic offers a better recording quality performance.

Bose QuietComfort Earbuds Truly Wireless

The Sony WH-1000XM4 Wireless and the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds Truly Wireless have different strengths, and you may prefer either, depending on your usage. The Sony are over-ears with a much better noise isolation performance and a longer continuous battery life. They also support multi-device pairing and can be used wired with their included audio cable. On the other hand, the Bose are much more portable in-ears with a much more stable fit and an IPX4 rating for water resistance.

JBL Tour One Wireless

The Sony WH-1000XM4 Wireless are better over-ears than the JBL Tour One Wireless. The Sony are more comfortable, better built, and can deliver audio more consistently. They have a significantly better noise isolation performance, and their Bluetooth latency on iOS and Android is lower, too.

Sony WH-1000XM3 Wireless

The Sony WH-1000XM4 Wireless have more features than the Sony WH-1000XM3 Wireless. The WH-1000XM4 support multi-device pairing, have a longer continuous battery life, and they offer some additional talk-through control options. However, the WH-1000XM3 are a somewhat better choice for neutral listening, as they have a more neutral, less bass-heavy default sound profile and a more consistent audio delivery. 

Beats Solo Pro Wireless

The Sony WH-1000XM4 Wireless are better over-ear headphones for most uses than the Beats Solo Pro Wireless. The Sony are more comfortable, have a more bass-heavy sound profile, which some users may prefer, and their companion app offers a graphic EQ plus presets to help you adjust their sound to your liking. Their ANC also does a significantly better job of blocking out noise around you, and they have longer continuous battery life. However, the Beats have an H1 chip, which makes it easy to seamlessly pair them to your Apple devices.

Apple AirPods Pro Truly Wireless

 The Apple AirPods Pro Truly Wireless and the Sony WH-1000XM4 Wireless have different strengths, and you may prefer one over the other. The Apple headphones have a more stable fit and a more neutral default sound profile, which some users may prefer. They're also more compact and portable, meaning they're easier to take with you on the go. However, the Sony are over-ears with a more comfortable fit. Their ANC system does a significantly better job of blocking out background noise, and they have longer total battery life. Their companion app also offers a graphic EQ and presets to help adjust their sound to your liking, and you can use them passively if you run out of battery life.

Audio-Technica ATH-M50xBT2 Wireless

The Sony WH-1000XM4 Wireless are better than the Audio-Technica ATH-M50xBT2 Wireless for most purposes. They isolate you from much more noise, thanks to their ANC feature, and they're much more comfortable and well-built. On the other hand, the Audio-Technica headphones have longer continuous battery life. Also, some may prefer their more neutral sound profile to the Sony's bass-heavy sound, although both pairs have sound customization features in their apps.

Sony WH-1000XM2 Wireless

The Sony WH-1000XM4 Wireless are better headphones than the Sony WH-1000XM2 Wireless. The WH-1000XM4 are more comfortable, their ANC can block out even more background noise, and their continuous battery life is longer, too. You can also pair them with up to two devices at a time.

Sony WF-1000XM3 Truly Wireless

The Sony WF-1000XM3 Truly Wireless and the Sony WH-1000XM4 Wireless have different strengths, so you may prefer either. The WF-1000XM3 have an in-ear design that's more portable, have a more neutral default sound profile, which some users may prefer, and leak less audio at high volumes. However, the WH-1000XM4 are over-ear headphones with better battery and noise isolation performance.

Audio-Technica ATH-M50x

The Audio-Technica ATH-M50x are better for neutral sound than the Sony WH-1000XM4 Wireless. The Audio-Technica are wired headphones with a much more neutral sound profile and a significantly better passive soundstage performance. On the other hand, the Sony headphones are better for multi-purpose use. You can use them via Bluetooth or a wired connection, have a more comfortable, stable fit, onboard controls, and an integrated mic. They also have a very effective ANC feature.

Sony WH-H910N/h.ear on 3 Wireless

The Sony WH-1000XM4 Wireless are better than the Sony WH-H910N/h.ear on 3 Wireless. The XM4 are comfier, better-built, deliver audio more consistently, and have a far more effective ANC system. They also provide a similar overall battery life despite taking much less time to charge and can pair with two devices simultaneously. Meanwhile, the H910N have a less bass-heavy default sound profile, leak less audio, and have a better overall microphone performance.

Sennheiser PXC 550-II Wireless

The Sennheiser PXC 550-II Wireless and the Sony WH-1000XM4 Wireless have different strengths, and you may prefer either one. The Sony headphones are more comfortable, are better built, and their ANC system does a significantly better job blocking background noise. Their companion app also offers a graphic EQ and presets to help you adjust their sound to your liking. The Sennheiser headphones have a better overall performing integrated mic and a more stable and breathable fit.

SteelSeries Arctis Pro Wireless

The SteelSeries Arctis Pro Wireless and the Sony WH-1000XM4 Wireless are designed for different uses. The SteelSeries are wireless gaming headphones. They have a better overall performing boom mic, support Bluetooth, and support non-Bluetooth wireless. They also come with a transmitter which allows you to adjust more controls like channel mixing and audio sources on the fly. In contrast, the Sony are better suited for casual use. They're more comfortable, can be paired with up to two devices at a time, and have an ANC system that helps block out a lot of background noise.

Jabra Evolve2 85 Wireless

The Sony WH-1000XM4 Wireless and Jabra Evolve2 85 Wireless have different strengths and weaknesses. The Sony are slightly better-built, provide a more consistent listening experience, are more effective in blocking out ambient noise, and last longer off of a single charge. They also have lower wireless latency. The Jabra headphones' boom microphone provides superior recording quality and noise handling capability. The Jabra headphones' physical control scheme is also easier to use and offers more functionality.

Anker Soundcore Life Q35 Wireless

The Sony WH-1000XM4 Wireless are better over-ears than the Anker Soundcore Life Q35 Wireless. The Sony are more comfortable and better built. They have a significantly better performing ANC, and they have an auto-off timer to help conserve battery life when not in use. However, the Anker have longer continuous battery life.

AKG N700NC M2 Wireless

The Sony WH-1000XM4 Wireless are slightly better headphones than the AKG N700NC M2 Wireless. The Sony are more comfortable, better built, and have a significantly better noise isolation performance. Their continuous battery life is longer, and their companion app offers more customization features. The AKG have a more neutral default sound profile, which some users may prefer, and have a better passive soundstage performance.

Razer Opus Wireless 2020

The Razer Opus Wireless 2020 are better headphones for neutral sound than the Sony WH-1000XM4 Wireless. The Razer's default sound profile is more neutral than the Sony, though some listeners may prefer the Sony's more bass-heavy sound. The Razer headphones have a more stable fit, and they leak less noise. On the other hand, the Sony headphones have a somewhat better noise isolation performance, and their integrated mic performs better in noisier environments.

Razer Opus X Wireless

The Sony WH-1000XM4 Wireless are better headphones than the Razer Opus X Wireless. The Sony are better-built, can block out significantly more ambient noise around you, and their companion app offers a graphic EQ so that you can tweak their sound to your liking. They also support multi-device pairing and can be used wired.

Bowers & Wilkins PX5 Wireless

The Sony WH-1000XM4 Wireless are better overall headphones than the Bowers & Wilkins PX5 Wireless. The Sony's over-ear fit is comfier and more stable, they provide a better-balanced and far more adjustable listening experience, and block out more ambient sound. That said, the Bowers & Wilkins are better built, have lower wireless latency, are compatible with USB audio, and leak less audio.

Drop + THX Panda Wireless

The Sony WH-1000XM4 Wireless are more versatile headphones than the Drop + THX Panda Wireless. The Sony are more comfortable, better-built, and have a more bass-heavy sound profile, which some users may prefer. They also have a companion app, an active noise cancelling system that can block out a significant amount of noise, and their continuous battery life is longer. However, the Drop have a planar magnetic transducer, which some users may prefer.

Sony WH-1000XM5 Wireless

The Sony WH-1000XM5 Wireless are the next generation of the Sony WH-1000XM4 Wireless. There have been a couple of changes in design and performance. As a result, the XM5 have a better microphone performance and their ANC is blocks out more mid and treble range noise. However, there are a couple of drawbacks. The XM5's build isn't as flexible as the previous generation, and the ANC has a harder time blocking out the low rumble of bus engines. Unfortunately, their automatic adaptive ANC system can't be turned off, and some users have reported issues with the ANC adjusting each time they move their heads.

Anker Soundcore Space Q45 Wireless

The Sony WH-1000XM4 Wireless are better over-ears than the Anker Soundcore Space Q45 Wireless. The Sony are more comfortable, better built, and have a more neutral overall sound profile, which some users may prefer. Their ANC system blocks out significantly more ambient noise too.

Anker Soundcore Life Q30 Wireless

The Sony WH-1000XM4 Wireless are better headphones than the Anker Soundcore Life Q30. The Sony are more comfortable, feel better built, and have a better-balanced sound profile right out-of-the-box. Their active noise cancelling (ANC) feature can reduce more noise around you, and they have an auto-off timer to help conserve their battery life when not in use. That said, the Anker have longer continuous battery life.

Razer Barracuda Pro Wireless

The Sony WH-1000XM4 Wireless are better headphones for casual use than the Razer Barracuda Pro Wireless. The Sony are more comfortable, better-built, have a significantly better noise isolation performance, and support multi-device pairing with up to two devices at once. If you're looking for gaming headphones that you can use more casually, the Razer have a better-performing integrated mic and a more neutral default sound profile, which some users may prefer. They also support Bluetooth as well as non-Bluetooth wireless, meaning you can connect them to your PlayStation or PC.

Razer Opus Wireless 2021

The Sony WH-1000XM4 Wireless are better over-ears than the Razer Opus Wireless 2021. The Sony are more comfortable, have a significantly better noise isolation performance, and their companion app offers a graphic EQ and presets to help you adjust their sound to your liking. They also support multi-device pairing, which is good if you want to stay connected to your PC and smartphone at the same time. However, the Razer have a more immersive passive soundstage performance.

Apple AirPods (3rd generation) Truly Wireless

You may prefer either the Sony WH-1000XM4 Wireless or the Apple AirPods (3rd generation) Truly Wireless depending on what type of headphones you’re looking for. The Sony are over-ear headphones with ANC and have a much better noise isolation performance. Their sound profile is more bass-heavy, which some may prefer, and their app has sound customization features. They also have longer continuous battery life. On the other hand, the Apple are much more compact earbuds. Their case can fit in most pockets, and they have an open design that lets you hear your surroundings.

Bang & Olufsen Beoplay Portal

The Sony WH-1000XM4 Wireless are better headphones than the Bang & Olufsen Beoplay Portal. The Sony are more comfortable and stable, and they have a better noise isolation performance. Their continuous battery life is also longer. However, if you're looking for gaming-oriented headphones, you may prefer the Bang & Olufsen. They support Xbox Wireless, and they offer full audio and microphone compatibility with Xbox and PlayStation consoles.

MOONDROP Aria

The Sony WH-1000XM4 Wireless are better headphones for casual use than the MOONDROP Aria. The Sony are wireless over-ears that are better-built, have noise cancelling to help block out a significant amount of ambient noise, and have a companion app that allows you to customize their sound using their graphic EQ or presets. They also have an integrated mic, meaning you can take calls on the go, and they support multi-device pairing. The MOONDROP are wired in-ear monitors with a more neutral sound profile, which some users may prefer.

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Video

Test Results

perceptual testing image
Design
Design
Style
Type Over-ear
Enclosure Closed-Back
Wireless Yes
Transducer Dynamic

The Sony WH-1000XM4 have a very similar design to their predecessor, the Sony WH-1000XM3 Wireless. These over-ears have a matte finish, and the ear cups and the headband are well-padded. They come in three different color variants: black, silver, and 'Midnight Blue', which is exclusive to Best Buy. The colour 'Silent White', was only available in 2021 for Sony's 75th anniversary.

8.0
Design
Comfort
Weight 0.6 lbs
Clamping Force
1 lbs

The Sony WH-1000XM4 are very comfortable headphones. The lightweight foam earpads don't put a lot of pressure on your head, meaning you can wear them for a long time without much fatigue. However, they are shallower in profile than the Bose QuietComfort 45/QC45 Wireless, which may present discomfort if you have larger ears.

7.6
Design
Controls
OS Compatibility
Not OS specific
Ease Of Use Good
Feedback Decent
Call/Music Control Yes
Volume Control Yes
Microphone Control No
Channel Mixing
No
Noise Cancelling Control On/Off
Talk-Through
On/Off
Additional Controls Voice Assistant

The Sony WH-1000XM4 have good controls. They have a touch-sensitive surface on the right ear cup and two physical buttons on the left ear cup. The 'Custom' button on the left ear cup controls the noise cancelling feature by default but can also be configured via the app to activate a Speak-to-Chat function. It pauses your audio and lets in ambient sound as soon as you start talking. Note that the ANC turns off when you're on a call by default, and the headphones enter 'Talk-Through' mode. Luckily, you can cycle back to ANC by pressing the custom button.

Their touch-sensitive surface is very similar to the Sony WH-1000XM3 Wireless. It's somewhat easy to register accidental inputs to the touch controls when readjusting the headphones, though. Also, the controls feature more voice prompts than the Sony WH-1000XM5 Wireless, making them a better option for users looking for a more interactive experience.

On the left ear cup:

Power button:

  • Press and hold: Turns headphones on or off. If you continue to hold this button past turning the headphones on, you'll enter Bluetooth pairing mode.

Custom button:

  • One press: Cycles between ANC on, talk-through mode, letting you better hear your surroundings without taking off the headphones, and ANC off. You can remap this control via the companion app to activate Alexa or Google Assistant.

The touch-sensitive surface on the right ear cup:

  • Double tap: Plays and pauses audio. Also answers and ends a call.
  • Swipe forward: Skips to the next track.
  • Swipe forward and hold: Fast forwards through your track.
  • Swipe backward: Skips to the previous track.
  • Swipe backward and hold: Backtracks through your track.
  • Swipe up: Turns the volume up incrementally.
  • Swipe down: Turns the volume down incrementally.
  • Cover the ear cup with your palm: Enters talk-through mode.

5.4
Design
Breathability
Avg.Temp.Difference 8.2 ยฐC

The Sony WH-1000XM4 have disappointing breathability. They trap heat around your ears and reduce airflow. While they'll be fine for more casual use, you may sweat more if you're wearing them during physical exercise.

6.1
Design
Portability
L 7.4" (18.8 cm)
W 6.1" (15.5 cm)
H 2.0" (5.1 cm)
Volume 90.00 inยณ (1,474.83 cmยณ)
Transmitter Required No

The Sony WH-1000XM4 have mediocre portability. They're the same size as the Sony WH-1000XM3 Wireless, and like most over-ears, they have a slightly bulky design. Fortunately, unlike the Sony WH-1000XM5 Wireless, you can fold these headphones so they take up less space in your bag.

8.0
Design
Case
Type Hard case
L 8.3" (21.1 cm)
W 6.6" (16.8 cm)
H 2.3" (5.8 cm)
Volume 126.00 inยณ (2,064.76 cmยณ)

The Sony WH-1000XM4 come with a great hard carrying case. It can help protect them from scratches, falls, and water damage. The case is also much more compact than that of the Sony WH-1000XM5 Wireless, making it a better option for users on the go.

8.0
Design
Build Quality

The Sony WH-1000XM4 have impressive build quality. They're a very similar quality of plastic to the Sony WH-1000XM3 Wireless, with a premium look that feels sturdier than the Sony WH-1000XM5 Wireless. Despite the headband's durable flexibility, the yoke/hinge design could be prone to cracking over time.

7.0
Design
Stability

The Sony WH-1000XM4 are decently stable. They'll stay on your head while you're listening to music at your desk or if you're walking around but aren't ideal to use for intense exercise as they can move around a lot. High-intensity movements like running can also cause them to fall off your head.

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

  • Sony WH-1000XM4 headphones
  • 1/8" TRS cable
  • USB-C to USB-A charging cable
  • Airplane adapter
  • Manuals
  • Carrying case

Sound
Sound
Sound Profile
Bass Amount
3.51 dB
Treble Amount
-1.74 dB

The Sony WH-1000XM4 have a bass-heavy default sound profile that adds intense thump, rumble, and boom to your mixes, which fans of EDM and hip-hop will enjoy. However, some users may find it sounds muddy. Luckily, you can customize their sound profile to your liking using their companion app's graphic EQ and presets.

8.2
Sound
Frequency Response Consistency
Avg. Std. Deviation
0.35 dB

These headphones have great frequency response consistency. The bass range is very consistent across different users, possibly because their noise cancelling feature seems to check for bass consistency. However, they're a bit inconsistent in the high-mid and treble ranges, so they may perform a bit differently depending on how they're positioned on your head. However, it won't be too noticeable.

Sound
Raw Frequency Response
6.6
Sound
Bass Accuracy
Std. Err.
5.66 dB
Low-Frequency Extension
10 Hz
Low-Bass
5.72 dB
Mid-Bass
6.34 dB
High-Bass
6.62 dB

The Sony WH-1000XM4 have okay bass accuracy. The response is boosted, resulting in an intense thump, punch, and boom that's suitable for genres like EDM and hip-hop. In songs like 'King Kunta' by Kendrick Lamar, the boosted low-bass makes the mix overly rumbly and boomy, which muddies the vocals in the chorus.

8.6
Sound
Mid Accuracy
Std. Err.
1.9 dB
Low-Mid
1.75 dB
Mid-Mid
0.82 dB
High-Mid
-0.11 dB

The mid accuracy is excellent. The response is pretty neutral and well-balanced across the range, so vocals and lead instruments are clear, accurate, and present. However, a small bump from the boost in the bass range continues in the low-mids, making your mix sound less clear overall. We also noticed minor mismatch between the left and right drivers, which can also be seen in imaging. However, this may be unique to our unit, and yours may perform differently.

8.0
Sound
Treble Accuracy
Std. Err.
3.06 dB
Low-Treble
0.66 dB
Mid-Treble
1.85 dB
High-Treble
-4.95 dB

The Sony WH-1000XM4 have great treble accuracy. Vocals and lead instruments benefit from the slight over-emphasis in the low-mid, which helps bring out detail in their upper harmonics. Sibilants like cymbals are also bright and present, thanks to a slight bump in the mid-treble.

7.5
Sound
Peaks/Dips
Peaks
1.69 dB
Dips
1.06 dB

These headphones have good peaks and dips performance. The small peak in the high-bass gives a bit of boom to your audio. In the right driver, there's a minor dip in the mid-mids that nudges instruments and vocals to the back of the mix. A peak in the right driver's high-mid adds intensity to instruments and vocals. In the left driver, there's a peak in the low-mid that makes the upper harmonics of instruments sound boxy, while a dip in the high-mid weakens melodies. There's a dip in the low-mid present in both drivers that hurts the presence and detail of instruments and lead vocals. Peaks in the low and mid-treble add harshness to those elements and make sibilant sounds, like cymbals, seem piercing.

8.6
Sound
Imaging
Weighted Group Delay
0.16
Weighted Phase Mismatch
4.36
Weighted Amplitude Mismatch
0.79
Weighted Frequency Mismatch
2.07

The Sony WH-1000XM4's imaging performance is excellent. Sony has demonstrated outstanding consistency in the quality control of their high-end audio products, and our unit is fairly consistent. The group delay falls mostly below the audibility threshold, resulting in tight bass and transparent treble reproduction. Our unit's L/R drivers are well-matched in amplitude, frequency, and phase response, so objects like footsteps and instruments are accurately placed in the stereo image. That said, there's a minor mismatch in the drivers' phase response in the mid-mid range, making regular content like music skew slightly left. A peak in the low-bass is also present but won't be audible in most uses. Imaging can vary between units and can indicate a manufacturer's quality control and ergonomics.

3.5
Sound
Passive Soundstage
PRTF Accuracy (Std. Dev.)
3.11 dB
PRTF Size (Avg.)
8.34 dB
PRTF Distance
1.8 dB
Openness
0.4
Acoustic Space Excitation
3.4

The Sony WH-1000XM4 have a poor stereo soundstage performance. Unfortunately, the soundstage is perceived as small, as if coming from inside your head rather than from speakers placed in the room around you. Since they also have a closed-back design, their soundstage won't seem as open or spacious as that of open-back headphones like the Philips Fidelio X2HR.

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 can improve audio quality. It offers a feature that analyzes your unique ear shapes to create a more immersive sound. However, you need to subscribe to services like Tidal or Nugs.net and use compatible audio files, which limits the feature's practicality.

Additionally, you can buy a WLA-NS7 transmitter if you want to connect the headphones to compatible Sony BRAVIA TVs. While the experience is immersive compared to Bluetooth, the sound profile falls flat of a home theater system, feeling lackluster with the Quality Limiter turned on or off.

7.7
Sound
Weighted Harmonic Distortion
WHD @ 90
0.265
WHD @ 100
0.130

These headphones have a good weighted harmonic distribution performance. While there's a peak in the high-treble range at normal volumes, it's very hard to hear with real-life content. Most frequencies fall within good limits, resulting in a clear and pure audio reproduction.

Sound
Test Settings
Firmware
2.0.6
Power
On
Connection
Bluetooth 5.0
Codec
SBC, 16-bit, 48kHz
EQ
Off
ANC
On
Tip/Pad
Default
Microphone
Integrated

These are the test settings we used to test the Sony WH-1000XM4. Our results are only valid with these settings.

Due to user response, the headphones have been retested because of a firmware update (version 2.5.0). The results for the mic's recording quality haven't changed. There were some differences in the headphones' high-bass range and noise isolation performance after the update though, and some of the scores have changed.

Isolation
9.6
Isolation
Noise Isolation
Isolation Audio
Overall Attenuation
-28.43 dB
Noise Cancelling Yes
Bass
-22.85 dB
Mid
-22.87 dB
Treble
-39.29 dB

The Sony WH-1000XM4 have a fantastic noise isolation performance. Their ANC can block out the low rumbles of bus or plane engines, and they even perform better in this regard than their successor, the Sony WH-1000XM5 Wireless. They can also cut down mid-range noise like office chatter and higher-pitched noise like the hum of an AC unit. If you want to make a call while using the ANC, the headphones go into 'Talk-Through' mode by default, letting you better hear your surroundings. You can cycle back to ANC mode (or turn 'Talk-Through' off) by pressing the custom button on the left ear cup.

Unfortunately, some users have reported issues with the ANC system producing a high-pitched noise from one driver, which is quite unpleasant. Although we didn't experience this with our unit, if you've encountered this issue, please let us know in the discussions.

7.1
Isolation
Leakage
Leakage Audio
Overall Leakage @ 1ft
39.28 dB

These headphones have decent leakage performance. A large portion of the leakage is concentrated in the mid-range, but it mostly falls under the noise floor of an average office. If you're listening to audio at a high volume in a moderately noisy environment, it won't be too noticeable to others around you.

Microphone
Microphone
Microphone Style
Integrated
Yes
In-Line
No
Boom
No
Detachable Boom
No
Mic Yes

The Sony WH-1000XM4 have an integrated microphone. If you're looking for wireless over-ear headphones with a boom microphone, consider the Jabra Evolve2 85 Wireless.

6.1
Microphone
Recording Quality
Recorded Speech
LFE
269.09 Hz
FR Std. Dev.
2.11 dB
HFE
3,726.47 Hz
Weighted THD
65.861
Gain
11.46 dB

The Sony WH-1000XM4's mic has a passable recording quality. Your voice sounds thin, muffled, and lacking in detail to whoever is on the other end of the line.

Note: Our recording file lags and skips in a few areas. It's a known bug in our testing process. We don't currently know what causes the lag, and we don't expect users to encounter this issue.

5.6
Microphone
Noise Handling
SpNR
11.47 dB
Noise Gate
No
Speech + Pink Noise Handling
6.0
Speech + Pink Noise Audio Sample
Speech + Subway Noise Handling
5.0
Speech + Subway Noise Audio Sample

The microphone has a disappointing noise handling performance. Your voice is drowned out by background noise if you call from a loud environment, like a bus or train station. However, if you're talking in a quiet environment, like at home, you'll be heard fairly clearly.

Active Features
8.7
Active Features
Battery
Battery Type
Rechargable
Continuous Battery Life
37.7 hrs
Additional Charges
0.0
Total Battery Life
37.7 hrs
Charge Time
2.3 hrs
Power-Saving Feature
Auto-Off Timer
Audio While Charging
No
Passive Playback
Yes
Charging Port USB-C

The Sony WH-1000XM4 have excellent battery performance. The manufacturer advertises them to last 30 hours continuously, but we tested over 37 hours of continuous battery life, which is much longer than the Sony WH-1000XM5 Wireless. However, both have the same advertised battery life of 30 hours, so your real-life experience may vary depending on usage and individual device. If you're looking to conserve battery life, they have an auto-off timer you can set up in their companion app. You can also use them passively with their 1/8" TRS cable.

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 app is great. It offers many customization features like a graphic EQ and presets to help you adjust the sound to your liking. The app lets you see the devices connected to your headphones, change the auto-off timer, and toggle the 'Smart-Pause' feature, which pauses your audio when you take the headphones off your head. You can also remap controls like ANC or voice assistant to your liking and access Sony's 360 Reality Audio feature, but you'll have to subscribe to services that support this feature.

Connectivity
9.2
Connectivity
Bluetooth
Bluetooth Version
5.0
Multi-Device Pairing
2 Devices
NFC Pairing
Yes
Line Of Sight Range
299.00 ft (91.14 m)
PC Latency (SBC)
212 ms
PC Latency (aptX)
N/A
PC Latency (aptX HD)
N/A
PC Latency (aptX-LL)
N/A
iOS Latency
38 ms
Android Latency
60 ms

The Sony WH-1000XM4 have outstanding Bluetooth connectivity. They support Bluetooth 5.0 and are NFC-compatible, making them easy to pair with smartphones. Unlike the Sony WH-1000XM3 Wireless, they can pair with up to two devices simultaneously, which is convenient. Unfortunately, they have high latency on PCs. As a result, they may not be the best choice for watching videos or movies on this device, though some apps compensate for latency. However, they have much lower latency on iOS and Android devices, which ensures that your audio and visuals stay in sync.

These headphones also support Sony's proprietary hi-res codec, LDAC, which offers better audio quality over Bluetooth. However, we haven't tested the latency of this codec. If you're looking for a pair of noise cancelling headphones with an H1 chip to seamlessly pair with Apple devices, consider the Apple AirPods Max Wireless.

0
Connectivity
Non-Bluetooth Wireless
Non-BT Line Of Sight Range
N/A
Non-BT Latency
N/A
9.5
Connectivity
Wired
Analog Audio
Yes
USB Audio
No
Detachable Yes
Length 4.00 ft (1.22 m)
Connection
1/8" TRS
Analog/USB Audio Latency
0 ms

These headphones come with a 1/8" TRS cable, allowing you to receive audio. However, this means you can't use the microphone.

Connectivity
PC Compatibility
Analog
Audio Only
Wired USB
No
Non-BT Wireless
No

You can use the Sony WH-1000XM4 wirelessly with Bluetooth-enabled PCs. You can also use them via an analog connection, but they can only receive audio, so you can't use their mic.

Connectivity
PlayStation Compatibility
PS4 Analog
Audio Only
PS4 Wired USB
No
PS4 Non-BT Wireless
No
PS5 Analog
Audio Only
PS5 Wired USB
No
PS5 Non-BT Wireless
No

The Sony WH-1000XM4 can only receive audio when you wire their 1/8" TRS cable into your PS4 or PS5 controller's audio jack.

Connectivity
Xbox Compatibility
Xbox One Analog
Audio Only
Xbox One Wired USB
No
Xbox One Non-BT Wireless
No
Xbox Series X|S Analog
Audio Only
Xbox Series X|S Wired USB
No
Xbox Series X|S Non-BT Wireless
No

You can plug the Sony WH-1000XM4 into your Xbox One or Xbox Series X|S controller using an audio cable, but you can only receive audio and can't use the microphone.

0
Connectivity
Base/Dock
Type
No Base/Dock
USB Input
No
Line In
No
Line Out
No
Optical Input
No
RCA Input
No
Dock Charging
No
Power Supply
No Base/Dock

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