Sony WF-1000XM4 earbuds review
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Sony WF-1000XM4 Review: The Best Noise-Canceling Earbuds?

If you are looking for a pair of earbuds that can offer you excellent noise cancellation, sound quality, battery life, and comfort, you might want to consider the Sony WF-1000XM4 earbuds. These earbuds are the latest flagship model from Sony and they have some impressive features that make them stand out from the crowd. But are they worth their price tag? And how do they compare to other popular earbuds like the AirPods Pro or the Sony Linkbuds S? In this article, I will share my personal experience of using these earbuds for six months and give you my honest and unique review.

Picture of Sony WF-1000XM4 wireless ANC earbuds

Sony WF-1000XM4

  • Excellent Isolation, ANC
  • Foam ear tips
  • Comfortable
  • High price
Check Price

What comes inside the packaging of the Sony WF-1000XM4?

The Sony WF-1000XM4 earbuds come in a sleek and compact box that contains the following items:

Earbuds Box Content
  • The earbuds themselves
  • A wireless charging case
  • A USB-C cable
  • Four pairs of noise isolation tips (two foam and two silicone)
  • A user manual and warranty card

The box also has a QR code that you can scan with your phone to download the Sony Headphones Connect app, which is essential for customizing and controlling the earbuds.

How is the design and comfort of the Sony WF-1000XM4 earbuds evaluated?

One of the first things that impressed me about these earbuds is their fit. Unlike other earbuds that have a large plastic housing that sits close to your ear canal, the Sony WF-1000XM4 earbuds have a slim and ergonomic design that only inserts the tip into your ears. This makes them very comfortable to wear for long periods of time and reduces the pressure and fatigue that some in-ear buds can cause.

They have Multiple Tip Options

polyurethane foam ear tips

The earbuds also come with four pairs of noise-isolation tips that are made of polyurethane foam or silicone. The foam tips are softer and more adaptable to your ear shape, while the silicone tips are firmer and more durable. I personally prefer the foam tips as they create a better seal and block out more noise. However, you can choose whichever tip suits your preference and comfort level.

They Have Spatial Vents for Comfort

The earbuds also have a spatial vent that eliminates the plugged ear feeling that some noise-canceling buds can create. This vent allows some air to flow through the earbuds and balances the pressure inside and outside your ears. This makes them more comfortable and natural to wear.

Design and ComfortSlim and ergonomic designMay not fit all ear shapes and sizes
Spatial vent to eliminate plugged ear feelingMay fall out during vigorous activities
Four pairs of noise isolation tips to choose from

How does the noise cancellation feature of the Sony WF-1000XM4 earbuds perform?

Sony WF-1000XM4 earbuds with case

The Sony WF-1000XM4 earbuds have some of the best noise cancellation I have ever experienced on a pair of earbuds. In fact, they are comparable to some over-the-ear headphones like the AirPods Max or the Bose 700. The earbuds use dual microphones on each bud to capture and cancel out ambient noise from your surroundings. They also use Sony’s QN1e processor and V1 chip to analyze and optimize the noise cancellation performance in real-time.

Noise Canceling ModeOperating Time
ON (Max. noise canceling)Up to 5.5 hours
ON (Ambient Sound Mode)Up to 5 hours
OFFUp to 6 hours

The result is a very effective and immersive noise cancellation that blocks out almost all kinds of noise, from traffic to chatter to wind. I have used these earbuds in various situations like going out for a walk, cooking in the kitchen, working from home, and traveling on a plane, and they have always delivered a quiet and peaceful listening experience.

Transparency Mode

The earbuds also have a transparency mode that lets you hear what’s going on around you without taking them off. You can activate this mode by tapping on the left bud once. The earbuds will then use their external microphones to amplify the sound from your environment so you can hear people talking, announcements, or alerts. The transparency mode is not the best I have ever used, but it is still pretty good and useful for situations where you need to be aware of your surroundings.

Noise-Cancellation Excellent and immersive noise cancellationMay not work well with wind noise
Comparable to over-the-ear headphonesMay interfere with the transparency mode
Adaptive sound controls to adjust to different environments

How is the sound quality of Sony WF-1000XM4 earbuds?

WF-1000XM4 earbuds on a yellow background

The Sony WF-1000XM4 earbuds have excellent sound quality that matches their noise cancellation performance. The earbuds have 6mm custom drivers that deliver rich bass, clear mids, and crisp highs. The sound is balanced, detailed, and dynamic, and it can handle any genre of music or audio content.


The earbuds also support Sony’s LDAC codec, which allows for higher-quality audio streaming over Bluetooth. LDAC can transmit up to three times more data than standard Bluetooth codecs, resulting in more accurate and realistic sound reproduction. However, LDAC is only supported on some Android devices, so if you have an iPhone, you will have to settle for the AAC codec, which is still decent but not as good as LDAC.

Custom Sound Experience 

The earbuds also have an equalizer that you can adjust in the Sony app. You can choose from various presets or create your own custom sound profile. You can also enable Sony’s 360 Reality Audio feature, which creates a spatial sound effect that makes you feel like you are in a live concert or a studio. However, this feature only works with some compatible streaming services like Tidal or Deezer, and it requires a subscription and a separate app.

Sound QualityExcellent sound quality with rich bass, clear mids, and crisp highsLDAC codec support for higher-quality audio streaming
LDAC codec support for higher quality audio streaming360 Reality Audio feature only works with some compatible streaming services
Equalizer and 360 Reality Audio feature for customization

How are the controls?

Sony WF-1000XM4 earbuds in black with case

The Sony WF-1000XM4 earbuds have touch-sensitive surfaces that can register different types of taps. You can customize what each tap does in the Sony app, but by default, they are set up as follows:

RightTwoNext Track
RightThreePrevious Track
RightLong PressVoice Assistant
LeftOneNoise Cancellation/Transparency Mode
LeftLong PressVolume Control

I like the fact that these earbuds can recognize multiple taps and long presses, which gives them more functionality and flexibility than some other buds that only have single or double taps. The touch controls are also responsive and easy to use, and they rarely register accidental taps.

The earbuds also have some smart features that make them more convenient and intuitive to use. For example, they have wear detection sensors that automatically pause the music when you take them off and resume it when you put them back on. They also have a speak-to-chat mode that automatically lowers the volume and activates transparency mode when you start talking to someone. You can turn these features on or off in the Sony app.

ControlsTouch-sensitive surfaces with multiple taps and long pressesMay register accidental taps or lose sensitivity over time
Customizable in the Sony appMay have trouble detecting voice or switching modes
Smart features like wear detection and speak-to-chat mode

What is the battery life of the Sony WF-1000XM4 earbuds?

Battery life infographics

The Sony WF-1000XM4 earbuds have a very good battery life that can last up to 8 hours on a single charge with noise cancellation on. This is longer than most other noise-canceling buds on the market, and it is enough for a full day of listening. The wireless charging case can provide another 16 hours of battery life, which means you can get up to 24 hours of total listening time with these earbuds.

They support fast-charging

The earbuds also support fast charging, which means you can get 60 minutes of playback time with just 5 minutes of charging. This is very handy for situations where you need a quick boost of power. The case can be charged wirelessly with any Qi-compatible charger or with a USB-C cable.


About the indicator

The case also has a large LED indicator at the front that shows the battery status of the earbuds and the case. The LED will glow green when the battery is above 30%, amber when it is below 30%, and red when it is below 10%. The LED will also flash blue when the earbuds are in pairing mode.

Battery LifeVery good battery life of 8 hours with noise cancellation onCase is larger than some other earbuds’ cases
Wireless charging case with another 16 hours of battery lifeNo button for Bluetooth pairing on the case
Fast charging feature for quick power boost

How does the WF-1000XM4 compare to other earbuds?

WF-1000XM4 Compare To Other Earbuds

The Sony WF-1000XM4 earbuds are not the only noise-canceling earbuds on the market. There are many other options that you might want to consider, depending on your budget, preferences, and needs. Here are some of the most popular earbuds that you might want to compare with the Sony WF-1000XM4 earbuds:

AirPods Pro

These are the most popular noise-canceling earbuds for Apple users, as they offer seamless integration with iOS devices, automatic switching between Apple devices, better mic quality, and spatial audio. However, they have a shorter battery life (4.5 hours), a less comfortable fit, a less effective noise cancellation, and a higher price ($249) than the Sony WF-1000XM4 earbuds. They also only come in white.

Sony Linkbuds S

These are the cheaper alternatives to the Sony WF-1000XM4 earbuds, as they cost $80 less ($199). These earbuds have a similar design and sound quality, but they have a lower noise cancellation performance, a shorter battery life (5 hours), and no wireless charging case. They also have a button for Bluetooth pairing, which is more convenient than the long press on the Sony WF-1000XM4 earbuds. They come in black and white colors.

Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II

These are the closest competitors to the Sony WF-1000XM4 earbuds in terms of noise cancellation performance, as they offer a very effective and adjustable noise cancellation that can adapt to different environments. They also have a good sound quality and a comfortable fit. However, they have a shorter battery life (6 hours), a larger and heavier design, and no wireless charging case. They also cost more ($279) than the Sony WF-1000XM4 earbuds. They come in black and silver colors.

Read the full Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II Review

FeatureSony WF-1000XM4AirPods ProSony Linkbuds SBose QuietComfort Earbuds
Noise CancellationExcellentGoodAverageExcellent
Sound QualityExcellentGoodGoodGood
Battery Life (with case)8 hours (24 hours)4.5 hours (24 hours)5 hours (20 hours)6 hours (18 hours)
Wireless Charging CaseYesYesNoNo
Bluetooth Pairing ButtonNoNoYesNo
Touch ControlsYesYesYesYes
LDAC Codec SupportYesNoYesNo
Spatial Audio SupportYes (with compatible services)Yes (with compatible devices)NoNo
Color OptionsBlack and SilverWhite onlyBlack and WhiteBlack and Silver

What are the issues?

The Sony WF-1000XM4 earbuds are not perfect and they do have some issues that you might want to be aware of before buying them. The only issue I faced with these earbuds was that sometimes the transparency mode would turn off by itself without any input from me. I think this was due to Sony’s adaptive sound controls feature switching between different modes based on my activity and location. However, turning this feature off in the Sony app fixed the issue for me.

Some other issues that some users have reported with these earbuds are:

  • The earbuds can get warm after prolonged use
  • The earbuds can sometimes lose connection or stutter when paired with multiple devices
  • The earbuds can sometimes have audio lag or sync issues when watching videos or playing games
  • The earbuds can sometimes have trouble detecting your voice when using speak-to-chat mode or voice assistant
  • The earbuds can sometimes have inconsistent touch controls or wear detection

These issues may vary depending on your device, software, settings, and environment. They may also be fixed or improved by future firmware updates from Sony.

my recommendations Is it worth buying the Sony WF-1000XM4?

Sony earbuds

The Sony WF-1000XM4 earbuds are definitely worth considering if you are looking for a pair of premium noise-canceling earbuds that can offer you great sound quality, battery life, comfort, and features. They are especially suitable for Android users who can benefit from LDAC codec support and Google Fast Pair. They are also compatible with iOS devices, but they may not offer the same level of integration and functionality as the AirPods Pro.

However, these earbuds are not cheap and they may not be the best option for everyone. If you’re looking for more affordable options, consider alternatives like the Sony Linkbuds S or other brands. Apple users might prefer sticking with the AirPods Pro or waiting for the rumored AirPods 3. If top-notch noise cancellation is your priority, you may want to compare them with the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds or consider over-the-ear headphones instead.

Ultimately, the choice depends on your personal preferences, needs, and expectations. The Sony WF-1000XM4 earbuds are not perfect, but they are certainly one of the best noise-cancelling earbuds on the market right now.

Picture of Sony WF-1000XM4 wireless ANC earbuds

Sony WF-1000XM4

  • Excellent Isolation, ANC
  • Foam ear tips
  • Comfortable
  • High price
Check Price

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