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Review Sony WF-1000xM4 in-ear – sleek and silent

Pros

  • Measures very well
  • Beautifully made
  • Comprehensive app
  • Solid noise cancellation

Cons

  • Not comfortable
  • Only 3 sizes
  • No AptX (HD)
  • Prijs: € 280

    Build quality
    Comfort
    App
    Sound
    Price
    Sony WF-1000xm4

    The View

    Contents

    Sony has a name to uphold when it comes to this line of in-ears. Comfort, noise reduction, playback quality. Everything has to be right. That’s quite a lot, because the expectations are therefore high. And living up to them is more difficult every time.

    We test this pair of in-ears, just like the Nothing EAR(1), mainly on our CAT S62 pro Android phone. We install the corresponding Sony app to set things up the way we want. We also pair to our Lenovo T490 laptop to determine how smoothly that runs (no problems encountered).

    Comfort…. uh…. no

    Let’s get straight to the point: we are not very impressed with the Sony WF-1000xM4 when it comes to sound and comfort. We just don’t like the way they fit in our ears: they feel big and after a while we get irritated. The Nothing Ear(1) is much more comfortable. It is lighter, goes into the ear more easily and after a while you don’t feel them anymore. These Sony’s remain palpable. Like a clunky piece of plastic… too heavy, too big. It’s irritating.

    We also find that the reproduction of the Sony WF-1000xM4 is not impressively good. So we don’t really understand the praise stories… Yes: it is more detailed and a bit richer than the Ear(1), but that is acceptable at almost 3 times the price. However: on the road it is not all that exciting. You’re in the bus, on a bike (not recommended with noise-cancelling on), in a noisy environment … If we – as true lovers – really want to enjoy ourselves with music, it is practically impossible to do so on the road. And ‘on location’ we take an on-ear or over-ear. Not a pair of in-ears with noise-cancelling and built-in DSP.

    But perhaps the commuter citizen sees it differently. Perhaps they want a total package: top-quality reproduction, handy functions and good ambient noise reduction. And then the Sony might be worth considering. After all: it also does things well. However: for us, comfort plays a crucial role. And once again: we just don’t like the way the Sony’s fit. And our experience is that you will not use them if they don’t feel comfortable.

    Differences in codecs

    Sony chooses the SBC codec by default, because it needs less data. However, LDAC sounds many times better than SBC. We wonder why Sony does not simply measure the stability of the connection and make a choice based on that. After all, who bothers to check this? There will be an extraordinary number of users who simply don’t know what SBC, AAC or LDAC is. Let alone that they will go into the app and check which codec is active…. We switched between the two codecs with various types of music and clearly hear a difference. Especially in the mids and high frequencies less artifacts can be heard with LDAC. So it really pays to switch if the Bluetooth connection is good enough.

    Measurements

    Just a few more measurements of the Sony WF-1000xM4. And it must be said: these are without a doubt fine. We see a neat line in the response measurements. Clearly neutrally tuned and clearly in order. Spot on.

    The distortion measurements should be taken with a grain of salt; we had to measure at full volume because of compression. And that’s not realistic: no speaker or headphone can do that decently. We see a distortion of around 0.5% on average. The two peaks are resonance points. You may erase those from your memory, since that is the result of an overstressed unit. Still, hats off to Sony for keeping it so well under control.

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