Sony WF-1000XM4: An enthusiasts’ take on an impressive, popular True Wireless

(Notes: Pictures are delayed for personal reasons, for now I want to get this project published)


I know, I know, I am quite late to the party, but here I am nonetheless, and here, are my takes on the Sony WF-1000XM4:

Sony does hold quite the significance in my audio journey. I still own the first speakers I’ve been gifted by my dad, a Sony SS-K10ED. And since then, with any Sony product I’ve owned, it’s always given me the impression that Sony general produces quality products that are quite on-value, or in some instances value-packed, especially in their audio department. The Sony SS-K10ED, for example, incorporates a tweeter design that is also used in their flagship speaker at the time, and is quite interestingly named, extended definition tweeters, capable of up to 70khz, which is well beyond the human hearing in theory, but that’s not the point of the 70khz ability. But it doesn’t just stop there, the build, design and the sound is also quite good for the MSRP, and is quite a steal for the price my dad got it for used, even if it’s not in the greatest condition. And the MDRX50AP, a relatively cheap $30 “Xtra Bass” earphones, that surprisingly is very good with it’s main feature, the bump in bass for anything you listen to. Quite very tastefully done for me. Surprisingly scalable with the equipment you drive it with. And I still listen to the earphones, and have bought a second pair when I had thought I lost it, just recently. And for a gift to a parent from one of my siblings, a Sony bluetooth speaker, holds up until today, and is still being used around the house, as a preferred method of listening when in wet conditions, as that speaker advertises, and rightfully so during the summer it is extensively used near the pool, without so much as a glitch.

With their history in making quality and rather value-oriented audio products under my belt, and in my life, I was at a point where I wanted something small, easy to carry, and is noise cancelling for my flight to Taiwan, as well as chores, going for small errands, etc. Here comes the Sony WF-1000XM4 with their notorious naming. As such, I will refer to as the XM4 from now on, as the number behind in this series, does denote their generation, with this current one being the 4th generation of the earbud series. The series of which is differentiated with the starting model name, “WF” instead of “WH” for the headphones series. And so, after pondering and consideration, I got these, despite being the same thing my twin brother has, in a different color.

You should know how significant that is, as we generally don’t like to share things, much less buy the same things. I’ve tested my MBTI personality, and I so happen to be an ESTP-T, with E being extrovertedness, while my brother starts with an I, for the opposing personality of introvertedness. We are for the most part, quite the opposite in preferences. And although he had a black version of the XM4s, I wanted to get one, so I got the Cream colored one, just so we can differentiate it by color alone. I totally didn’t regret it. Not one bit.


This disclaimer is explicitly for the fact that all thoughts, evaluation processes and expressions are from me, and Sony has not seen this review prior to release. This product was purchased by me.


General Features

MAGNET High power neodymium magnets
FREQUENCY RESPONSE(BLUETOOTH® COMMUNICATION) 20Hz – 20,000Hz(44.1kHz sampling) / 20Hz – 40,000Hz(LDAC 96kHz sampling, 990kbps)



Bluetooth® Specification


Noise Cancelling


What’s In The Box

USB Cable: USB Type-C® Cable(USB-A to USB C®)

(Taken and modified from the Sony official website)


As this is a very mobile device, and does not need much more in terms of setup since I can’t physically connect it to an amp and such, I will be testing this as I’m travelling or whenever I have the chance. And, as you might have known from my blog, I’m actually now working in Taiwan, instead of my home base of US. It’s only temporary, and I’ve been using it during travels and during the quarantine I’ve had to do. (Also just note I’m here to work so I got a special visa to enter Taiwan, but the country is not actually open to normal visitors currently, and cases are spiking). So I will be speaking about my experience with it during the travels as well.

Related hardware:

  • Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Smartphone
  • Asus ROG Zephyrus G15 gaming laptop

Build Quality and impressions

Don’t call me an expert on Truly wireless earbuds, but I must say the feature list on the WF-1000XM4 is nothing to scoff at. There is plenty of features that can also not get taken advantage of, depending on one’s preferences and lifestyle. But when you can, and want to take advantage of them, convenience is such a spoiling experience. You never really want to go back to anything else without it. There is convenience features that will allow you to take the earphones off less, or help you when you happen to take off your earphones, motion (or the lack thereoff) detection and features that will go to the settings you want for what you are doing, and, if you allow it, where you are. That’s all before the noise cancelling abilities, which is the main feature you should be looking into, especially if you’re looking at this price range.

Speaking of which, I found one of their settings, adaptive sound control (check name), being one of the better features that really help noise cancelling. If you have allowed for the setting, this can detect what you are doing, and even improve the noise cancelling to tailor it to the situation. If you know about my situation from blog posts, I’ve been basically sent to Taiwan for work. And well, on the flight there, I’ve used the earphones with all the features available to take advantage of them. And sure as heck, these are one travel friendly, and travel adaptable headphones. A single, important feature can detect that you’re on a plane. And what does that mean when you take advantage of that? A very pleasant sleep for me! On a plane, the default noise cancelling can block out most sounds, and although pretty good, it doesn’t 100% eliminate the hum of a plane. And with the adaptive sound control, it lets you know it got environmental info, and your world goes even quieter. It’s still there, but it’s quiet enough that your ears are not strained from the hum, and it’s ignorable for a very very pleasant sleep. Just make sure you have enough battery in the headphones to wake up without the noise cancelling being stopped.

For the size, noise cancelling earphones from Sony has never been this small, and even though it’s much more smaller than the 3rd generation XM3 version, it does what the XM3 does, with more, and better (at least according to other sources). I’m personally impressed by what it can do for how small it is. Features like the speak to pause, motion detection, detection of whether they are put on or not, and the ability to adapt to the shape of your ears. The many conveniences that doesn’t seem possible with how small these are. It also holds a pretty good amount of charge outside of the case, and has a good amount of total charge with the case’s battery as well, (see amount of hours). I did note that the right side earbud does run out of battery a little faster than the other, and it seems to be the same with the 2 that is in possession the family (my brother has one too in a different color), so I think this has to do with either the noise cancelling processing hardware being in the right side of the earbuds, and given the small space, I believe a compromise had to be made. Both sides of the pairs in my possession and my brother’s were worn equally.

If there is one thing I really would like Sony to consider adding to the WF-1000XM4, it would be some sort of swiping gesture or ability to control also volume with the XM4’s touch points on both sides of the earbuds. At this point in time you can only set it to 2 different adjustable settings such as media next/previous/pause and the sound modes (ambient, noise cancelling, off), and the like. Sometimes I feel the ability to adjust volume would be nice along with those 2, which I have chosen as what I need and most use, and switch between. Having the volume as well, as the 3rd option would be nice to able to just use these and not mess with your phone for the controls.

Other than that, the build quality is pretty good, with high quality plastics, a smaller footprint than airpods, and great compatibility with android phones, although I don’t have an iPhone to test it out on.

Sound Impressions

On the base, no equalization sound, there is a heavier emphasis on the bass, and the mid ranges are a little more recessed and less emphasized compared to my V-Moda Crossfade Wireless 2 headphones (in wired config). However, that’s not all to the sound, with a very flexible ability to the headphones, and honestly, a sound signature that is not fatiguing. With a little help, you can definitely tune this to preferences and have earphones you can wear for long periods with a nice warm, and punchy bass to it

In terms of soundstage, the XM4s are pretty spacious sounding, and exhibit nice separation and can sound wide when needed. Depending on the mode you are using, a little more spaciousness can be achieved with the ambient mode, where the headphones pull in sound from your surroundings, to feel more open. Speaking of which ambient mode does not make it sound like you don’t have headphones on, there is still a sense of difference, mostly in smoothness, that reminds you, that you have your headphones on. Most of the time I can tune it out, and that makes it a nice way to be able to also interact with my surrounds while I enjoy my walk/ride. The noise cancelling is superb on these headphones, and don’t actually disturb the sound character, even if you equalize the sound to your tastes in the available free app, they are not really distinguishably different between the different settings of Ambient mode, Noise cancelling mode and off (where there is not sound pulled in or blocked out). You’ll be able to enjoy the dept and speciousness of most songs you’ll experience.

Despite using Bluetooth as the main format of playback for these headphones, since there is no other option, I found these to be very impressive and satisfying. I have used my Samsung Galaxy Note 20 and my Asus ROG G15 Strix Gaming laptop as the sources in testing, and both have LDAC support so both should present the best case scenario (which is the same with most devices as well), and I’m happy to report despite the format (the base format, maybe even with LDAC), this one performs very well with the intended format. Of course, there is a lacking comparison for me since most of my other reference material is wired, but I think this does very very well for being in a format, that would, in my V-Moda Crossfade Wireless 2 headphones, be a stark difference. The sound is impressive for what is compared to my preferred wired configuration for the V-Moda. It must also be noted that I can’t really go back to the wireless usage for the V-Modas because I just simply preferred the sound and detail in comparison with them much more. It was that much of a difference for this product, but for the XM4 I found it to be very good for what it is, and ever satisfying to listen to. I’ve never felt dissatisfied with the quality of the sound despite the format.

To elaborate on the sound quality more as well, I feel this has a rather typical Sony signature, which is also present in their cheaper MDR50AP (Xtra Bass) earbuds, with a warmer overall sound signature, emphasized bass, but good detail overall. This is actually pretty impressive because personally, I’ve never really encountered products with emphasized bass with satisfiable detail level (you can exclude my V-moda because they’re one of the few). There usually are sacrifices to be made when that is done. These XM4s produce pretty good detail (just a reminder that I will be talking about base, no equalization sound for this) naturally, and there is even a breath to the vocals that is usually heard on wired and higher quality audio, and audio components. This, to me gives this a more “high-end” sounding character which I’ve found to be one of the differentiating factors with cheaper and more expensive products. This is more impressive given that this is usually somewhat missing with the format limitation, which goes against what this product conveys. And with the experience with their extra bass lineup, I believe Sony has made headphones what does fit with a very wide variety of songs, and at base character. With more of an emphasis on bass, the XM4 will be great for popular songs today, which include bass elements, but also is very satisfiable with other genres, with the level of detail and soundstaging.

To be truthful, I’ve been torn on the subject of bass in general. What makes a great bass? Is it supposed to be impactful? Tight? Good enough? Emotionfull? Nevertheless, this Sony exhibits an impactful bass, with good response, but does sometimes feel a little “delayed” to me, as for example, in my speaker setup, my SB-1000Pro might feel like it decays a little faster than the XM4, but I also do like the overall feel of the bass, with good overall responses with the quick bass decays when called for in music, and repetition in electronic music. A baffling observation, but in terms of enjoyment, they are definitely very enjoyable, and are very impactful to the feel of music that require them. In terms of their character they are on the warmer side, and they are stable throughout the range. The warmer bass tone that I hear does give certain songs more of an emotional aspect which I very much enjoy.

Did I also mention how flexible it is with the EQ included with the free app? You can now tailor it even more towards your preferred signature, and song choices, as you can save presets and use the preset EQs included. And how accepting of the EQ this earbuds are! I’m surprised at how the sound changes in the earphones when you play around with the EQ. You can definitely boost bass as you want with basically 2 days to, with their EQ or a clear bass boost setting you can set, and although somewhat limited with only set EQ ranges you can adjust, but I feel these are the most important to affect the earphones themselves. I’ve personally liked to bump up the upper frequencies to book the vocals a little more and get a little more of that detail, and how it feels like you’ve gotten it back, is like you’re listening to a nearly different earphones. They are very EQ friendly earphones for sure, and think of the possibilities for just the general public if they are able to play around with it.


Sony again, racks up another value-orientated product to my list with the WF-1000XM4, creating an EQ friendly, impressively dynamic pleasant sounding, suitable for many genres, travel friendly, feature-packed truly wireless earphones with a powerful app that can please the masses. Although there are slight drawbacks personally such as the slightly uneven battery life between the left and right earbuds, and a sound character that gives a less transparent experience as the base sound character (which can be tuned out though). This is still a great overall package for everyday and travel-oriented situations, even I can get behind as an audiophile. Highly Recommend!



  • Free software is very good, easy to work with, and quite instant in application of settings
  • Very travel friendly features
  • Very adaptive earbuds that react to EQ very well

Possible Improvements

  • More even battery life between left and right earbuds
  • Better base character

Overall Rating: 4.5/5

  • Sound Character: 3.75/5 (base sound character)
  • Accuracy: 3.75/5 (base sound character)
  • Convenience: 5/5
  • Value: 4.5/5
  • Affordability: 3.5/5

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