In this blog, I’m going to cover the new Sony WH-1000XM4 headphones. I’ll go over the specifications, the features, and then do some tests to see how good it sounds and how well it does to remove unwanted background noise.
Before I begin, I did want to let you know that I recorded a video review of this new Sony wireless headphones. If you’d prefer to watch the video rather than read this blog, I really won’t get my feelings hurt (really I won’t).
When you watch the video you get the added advantage of being able to see the product, and hear how it sounds for yourself. I just can’t do that in a blog.
So, if that sounds like something you’d be interested in, then I’ll insert the video below for easy access.
If you’re still reading this, then come along as I go through the specs and features of this new Bluetooth wireless headset.
When shopping for a high-end Bluetooth wireless headset, most people have some common things on their must have list. Some of these things include:
- Comfort - it has to be comfortable or it’s just not going to work
- Great sound quality - spending a lot of money, so you expect great sound
- Features and more features - you want options
- Quality - if you pay a premium price, you want a premium product
As I go through the details of this new Sony WH-1000XM4 Bluetooth wireless headset, you should come away with the sense that this model checks those boxes and more.
My first impression of this new Sony Bluetooth headset was very favorable. Right out of the box it gave me the sense that this is a high quality product. Naturally, there’s more to all this than just how the product looks, but as first impressions go, it scored well.
It’s made of what appears to be high quality materials, which lends itself to the perception that it’s of good quality. The black matt color with Sony logo accents gives it a refined and somewhat sophisticated look. It has padding on the headband that begins to hint at comfort, which carries weight in buying decisions too.
In order to look at the headset, you have to remove it from the hard carry case. As you unzip the case to view the headset, you’ll notice that the headset collapses which makes it easy to store. The case has a durable feel to it, and should prove to be convenient when traveling with your headset in tow.
The WH-1000XM4 has no evidence of looking cheap which is what you look for in a high-end headset like this. All in all, I was left with a great first impression right out of the box.
What comes with this headset?
When you open up the box that it comes in, you’ll get a few things:
- Hard carry case with zipper
- One USB -C cable
- One 3.5mm cable
- One Airplane connector
- One WH-1000XM4 Bluetooth Wireless Headset
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What are these headphones designed to connect to?
The Sony WH-1000XM4 is designed to be used with mobile phones, tablets and other Bluetooth devices including Bluetooth enabled computers. It’s my opinion that when connecting to a computer, using a USB adapter/dongle will give you far better performance over Bluetooth.
That feature isn’t available with this headset largely because it’s primary purpose is connecting to mobile devices, and not computers.
How long does the battery last?
38 hours if you’re not using the Active Noise Cancelling feature, and 30 hours if using it. It takes about 3 hours to fully recharge the battery.
If you’re unfamiliar with what ANC is, here’s a quick explanation. Active Noise Cancellation (ANC) is an electronic feature that assists in eliminating unwanted background noises.
By eliminating these sounds, you can better concentrate on your work or music. This is a feature that can be turned on or off. ANC is generally considered a feature that’s found on premium type headsets of which the WH-1000XM4 is considered.
What makes this headphone comfortable?
For starters, this headphone isn’t heavy. That’s not to say that it's a light and cheap feeling product. Not at all. When you hold it, it just doesn’t feel heavy, which is a good thing in a headset.
The second thing is it has large, oversized, doughnut shaped and I might add, super soft ear cushions. To me, they felt soft and light as air. Not a lot of headphones have ear cushions this soft, so this was nice to see.
Being oversized and doughnut shaped says that these cushions will full cover the ear rather than just going up against it. This helps with noise reduction that in turn, helps you to better concentrate on your work and music while not being distracted by the sounds going on around you.
As mentioned earlier, the WH1000XM4 has a headband that’s adjustable, so you can find the fit that’s right for you, but it also has padding on the headband. A cushion on a headband may seem ordinary and expected.
However, it may surprise you to know that a padded headband isn’t something that’s standard to all models. In the premium headphone space though it is, and Sony does a good job to provide some nice cushion comfort here.
What’s the wireless range on the WH-1000XM4?
Sony states that this headphone will provide up to 30 feet of wireless range. For Bluetooth type headphones, that’s pretty common. In some cases you might find that
you get less than 30 feet, where in others, you might get a pinch more. But it’s doubtful that you’d get a lot more than 30 feet no matter what your environment is like because it’s just the limitation of the technology.
What cool features come with this Sony Headphone?
That’s one of the areas where this headphone shines. Take for example the built in touch sensitive pad located on the side of the headphone. Slide your finger to increase volume, and the opposite direction to lower it. You can double tap to pause music and again to resume.
You have a button that you can press to hear someone who walks up to you and begins talking, without the need to remove the headphones.
You have another button you can press that allows you to hear the sound that’s going on around you. Sometimes people want to hear this, while other times not. You have the choice by the simple press of a button.
If you’re listening to music, for example, and you start talking, the music automatically pauses. That’s a pretty cool feature. Sony calls this speak-to-chat.
If you remove the headphones while listening to music, it will pause your music. Once you place the headphones back on, your music resumes. This is not only a convenient feature, but it helps to preserve battery life as well.
The Sony WH-1000XM4 has a feature called Adaptive Sound Control. The headphones learn your most frequently visited places such as your workplace or favorite cafe, and then automatically adjusts the noise reduction according to those environments.
This is a partial list of the technology that’s gone into this premium Bluetooth wireless headset. Sony even has an app that allows you to adjust a wide range of headset settings. This app is called Headphones Connect and is pretty extensive in what you can access and adjust on this headset.
Is this headphone beginning to pique your interest yet? I hope so, because it certainly has my attention.
How much is this bad boy, and what’s the warranty?
A very natural question to ask, how much is it? The MSRP on this Bluetooth wireless headphone is $279.99, and it comes with a 1-year warranty. Personally, I’d like to see a
longer warranty, but a 1-year warranty isn’t all that uncommon for Bluetooth wireless headsets.
The $279.99 price places this headset in line with other premium models, so the price is about what I would expect.
No headset is perfect, so what are the drawbacks of this headphone?
Shortcomings and drawbacks can be subjective. For me, I’d like longer wireless range if that were possible. 30 feet is about the maximum range you should expect, with the likelihood it will be less. For almost $300.00, I’d like more range.
Something else I learned that was a bit disappointing was you can’t use the headphone while the USB cable is plugged in for battery charging. You can’t even listen to music with it plugged in. Other brands do allow use of the headphone when charging, so that was a slight knock in my view.
Lastly, in my tests, the microphones were a bit on the average side. I thought the voice quality was fine, just not excellent. And, the blender test I threw at it, well, it didn’t do all that great to suppress that sound.
In fact, I felt that my voice began to clip a bit when talking while the blender was on. When not talking, I could easily hear the blender noise. Other headsets I’ve tested did a far better job, so I’d give the Sony an average rating on this.
Overall, I like this new Sony Bluetooth wireless headphone. What it lacks as noted earlier, I feel it more than makes up in the other areas. If your intended use demands excellent voice quality, in particular, in a noisy environment, this may not be the one for you.
But, if you listen to music, videos, podcasts a lot, and sit in on video meetings too, then this could very well be a wireless headset worth your time to consider further. The sound that comes from the speakers is excellent, and you have a full complement of tech features that’s sure to please.