In the family of active noise reduction headphones, I ask for the Sony WH-1000XM4. Two years after the excellent WH-1000XM3, the Japanese are back with the WH-1000XM4. This is a model brought up to date and sold for 379.99 euros.
For the Japanese, the challenge is daunting. When it was released, the WH-1000XM3 received praise from all the specialized press and then enjoyed phenomenal commercial success for this type of product. The XM3 was close to perfectionso we wondered how Sony could do even better.
His answer: the 1000XM4, an audio headset that uses exactly the same hardware configuration as its predecessor, sprinkled with new processing algorithms. Does Sony manage to achieve perfection? This is what we will see in our test of the Sony WH-1000XM4. Spoiler alert : presque.
Sony WH-1000XM4 at the best price Base price: €379
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Design and ergonomics of the Sony WH-1000XM4 headphones
Never change a winning team. The 1000XM4 helmet looks (almost) in every way the 1000XM3. Available in black or silver, the new version is distinguished by its matte plastic (glossy on the previous model) and its slightly wider cushions providing more comfort.
The physical buttons (power and noise reduction) and the 3.5 mm jack are positioned identically (left earpiece), the touchpad still hidden behind the right earphone remains just as pleasant. So far, nothing really new in the 1000XM4 headset test.
The only real novelty lies in the integration a proximity sensor in the left earpiece. The latter makes it possible to detect when the helmet is removed and automatically cuts the music. The touch panel then pauses to prevent unintended touches. If you don’t put the headset back on within five minutes, it switches off permanently to save power.
For the rest, it’s all the same and that’s good. Without artifice, Sony delivers headphones of excellent quality, very comfortable and with impeccable finishes. Lightweight, it is suitable for all body types.
WH-1000XM4: is the Sony mobile app practical?
Like its predecessor, the WH-1000XM4 comes with the app Headphones available on iOS and Android. Sony performs flawlessly and provides everything expected of this kind of companion application.
Headphones is divided into three sections. The first “State” indicates the remaining battery, the environment in which you listen to your music (for example at home) and the title listened to. A classic but successful appetizer in this test of the Sony 1000XM4.
The “System” section allows you to manage all the technical aspects of the new helmet. For example, you can allow simultaneous connection to two devices, activate or deactivate touch controls or even pause the music as soon as you remove the headphones.
Unsurprisingly, the “Sound” tab is the most extensive of the three. In addition to the “talk to chat” function (activate, deactivate, choose the level of detection), the anti-noise optimizer (adapts to each auditory canal) or the configuration 360 Reality Audiothis section allows you to choose among the 11 listening profiles : Lively, Cheerful, Calm, Relaxed, Singing, Aug. Treble, Increase. Bass, Speech, Manual, Custom 1 et Custom 2. Each is customizable with a 5-band equalizer and a bass adjuster (Clear Bass).
Does the Sony WH-1000XM4 have good audio quality?
With the WH-1000XM3, the giant Sony already delivered an almost perfect headset. The 1000XM4 stands out as its worthy successor. From a material point of view, nothing (or almost) changes. The helmet always incorporates drivers 40 mm, the same QN1 processortechnology DSEE Xtreme as well as certification HiRes Audio, HiRes Wireless Audio and the 360 Audio.
Small detail that is still important: the 1000XM4 only supports LDAC, AAC and SBC codecs. aptX and aptX HD therefore fall by the wayside for an unknown reason since many devices embed these Qualcomm codecs. A lack of little importance since the aptX only has HD in name.
The main novelties of the helmet therefore reside in the integration of an improved and especially multipoint Bluetooth (finally!) as well as a better optimization of the on-board equipment (according to Sony).
In the facts, regulars of the 1000XM3 will detect almost no difference between the two models except for a little more present treble. But make no mistake, Sony’s signature sound is very present, with a dominance of the mids and lows for a rounder and warmer sound.
For the rest, the sound is always balanced, the dynamics always as powerful. Distortion is perfectly contained and the 1000XM4, like its big brother, shines with its versatility. Whether you are a fan of classical music, rock, rap, jazz, metal (in short, any type of music), you will have a delicious experience. Lovers of movies, series or podcasts will not be shy about their pleasure either.
This Sony WH-1000XM4 therefore stands out as the worthy successor to the previous 1000XM3. In summary, it borders on perfection.
Is the active noise reduction of the WH-1000XM4 effective?
Same observation on the active noise reduction side in my test of the 1000XM4. Sony claims, however, to have improved the processing algorithm now able to adapt its parameters up to 700 times per second according to ambient sounds. In a few figures, Sony promises an improvement in noise reduction of 15% for continuous noises (moving vehicles such as a car, train, bus, plane) and 20% variable noises (a horn, ringtone , a laugh, a cry, etc.).
In fact, once again difficult to see any difference with the 1000XM3. Nothing to be offended insofar as the big brother imposed itself as the reference in the matter. The X1000XM4 headset therefore allows Sony to retain its place on the throne.
Is the WH-1000XM4 a good headset for making calls?
Like any recent headset, the WH-1000XM4 supports all telephone conversations. Sony promises that the microphones to manage noise reduction also serve to filter ambient sounds when you receive a call.
In fact, the helmet is particularly effective in a quiet environment with clear and intelligible sound. In noisy environments, results vary with decibels. Conversations remain clear in a pedestrian street but become completely incomprehensible in a café or on a busy street.
What is the battery life of the Sony WH-1000XM4?
The WH-1000XM4 is a continuation of its predecessor. Expect 25 hours of battery life with noise reduction activated constantly and listening to music in high definition with a volume of 75%. You can go up to 35 hours without noise reduction, listening to your music on Spotify (or other non-HD streaming service) with a volume varying between 50 and 60%. It is simply excellent.
The WH-1000XM4 charges via a USB-C cable. The charging time will depend on the power supply used. Sony announces 3 hours for a full charge. I rather revolved around 2 hours with an 18 W fast charger. I therefore recommend a recharge during the night to start again fully in the early morning.
Sony WH-1000XM4 at the best price Base price: €379
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WH-1000XM4 review: hard to find better in 2022
Our WH-1000XM4 test shows that Sony is getting a little closer to perfection. Always as pleasant to wear, the headphones still deliver exceptional sound quality and benefit from active noise reduction that is still unequaled on the market. Add to that a very complete companion application and you get one of the best headphones of the moment, if not the best.
Our WH-1000XM4 test also shows that this new reference does not bring enough significant improvements to justify replacing your 1000XM3, which was already almost perfect. On the other hand, if I had to recommend only one headset for a first purchase, these WH-1000XM4 headphones are undoubtedly the ones I would recommend with my eyes closed. A real favorite !
Design and ergonomics
Autonomy and charging