Is Sony WH-1000XM4 Headphone a Worthy Upgrade?

WH-1000XM4 sony review by F450C

The WH-1000XM4 from SONY is an upgrade to the previous generation, the WH-1000XM3. We are pretty excited about what this upgraded version has to offer. As we can recall, the WH-1000XM3. Is already a great buy in itself. It’s one of the best, if not the best, noise-canceling headphones that you can buy in the market. So we are pretty hyped about what the WH-1000XM4 has in store for everyone.

Limitations and flaws of the WH-1000XM3

You can expect several upgrades and improvements from the previous version. But we find that these changes were not that massive. Though it can elevate the user’s experience, It’s not much of a massive upgrade for the price. But we were still quite happy with what we found out. Though it’s not a game-changer, it still amps up your listening experience.

So for us to truly appreciate the changes and upgrade, let’s dabble a bit on what we did not like about the previous version.

  1. The WH-1000XM3 is built a bit differently from the other SONY headphones. Instead of a metallic frame, the brand made use of a plastic one. Though it’s not that noticeable if you’ll see the headphones from afar, we felt that it did make the headphones a bit flimsy. Though the goal was to lighten up the load, which it certainly did.
  2. The comfort level is not that really sublime. And if you have a bigger dome with bigger ears per se, you might find the earcups too cramped up. And the base of the headband could put too much pressure on your entire head. This is perhaps one of the chief complaints of the WH-1000XM3. And we have heard a lot of users experienced headaches from using the headphones longer.
  3. You really will not enjoy using these headphones when you’re talking on the phone. It’s a great noise cancellation headset, but not for voice calls. The other party can still clearly hear the noises in your background. So this is not that pretty neat to use for voice calls when you’re jogging in the park where there are lots of people and dogs barking.  
  4. Lack of multiple device support. The previous model didn’t have the convenience of hooking it up to multiple devices at a time. You can only connect it to a single device.

WH-1000XM4 sony headphone

So how did the WH-1000XM4 fare?

Here are what we have discovered.

  1. Both headphones look exactly the same, From the color options to the entire look. Though the black color option of the newer model comes in a rather different shade. But you will not be able to tell it from afar. It still makes use of the same plastic frame. 

Though we aren’t fans of this, the newer model comes in at a much lighter weight. That means less pressure on your head. So that’s a nice upgrade.

  1.  The earcups of the newer version are a bit larger and softer. Plus the padding on the top band was also slashed off a bit to give way for more space. But it still came out soft. So, this was able to address our number 2 concern. The WH-1000XM4 did feel better on the ears and the head. So even those with a larger dome will be able to find it comfy.
  2. The brand did improve the noise cancellation when it comes to voice calls. The newer model was able to pick up calls better. The new version does have 5 microphones for better call quality. Sadly, it’s not enough to make it one of the best headphones for voice calls. But there is an improvement, so that’s something to still be giddy about. 
  3. Tada! Our prayers have been answered! Now, the upgraded version allows you to hook up the headphones to multiple devices. This amps up the convenience. This is feature perfect if you’re working on your laptop and need to answer calls on your phone every now and then. So you connect these two devices to the headphones all at once. This is better than hovering through the settings to pair and unpair it via Bluetooth whenever you have calls coming in. 
  4. The noise cancellation feature is better compared to the old version. We already love the noise cancelation of the WH-1000XM4, so this is a real treat. It can cancel out even high-frequency hums, so you can expect  more clear and precise sounds. Even the clunking noise when you type on your keyboard was removed. 
  5.  We also love the addition of the sensor, which is located on the earcups. This allows you to do several commands with your hands. For instance, you can place your hand on the ear cup to signal it to stop playing the music. So you don’t have to take off your headphones when you’re talking to someone. And as soon as you take your hands off, the music will start to play again. This is one of our favorite upgrades.
  6.  Also, the sensor recognizes when you are talking to someone. Once the sensor confirms that you are talking to someone, it will stop noise cancellation, halt the music, and amplify voices. It can be as simple as you saying, how are you or nice to see you. 

We find this useful but there’s a big but here. Some may find it irritating if the sensor perceives you’re talking to someone when you are not. This rings true if you have pets at home and you often talk to them. So that can disrupt your listening experience. But you always have the option to disable this feature. Or you can choose how long the music will be halted, after 15 minutes or 30 minutes.

WH-1000XM4 sony headphone review


  1. The sound quality of the newer version is more dynamic. But it’s not as impeccable s as a SENNHEISER or a BOSSE. But it does offer enough warmth, Though it might not be able to fully eradicate listening fatigue. That seems to be okay because the strength of these headphones lies in their ability to cancel out the noise when it’s playing music.
  2. In light of number two, like the old version, this is one of the best when it comes to noise cancellation. So that improved feature in the WH-1000XM4 is a real treat.
  3. The overall look is still simple and basic. you’ll find the newer model comfier with bigger ear pads. And It’s much lighter too. It’s not a fancy pair of headphones, it’s more of a minimalist and sleek one. 
  4. As for voice calls, this feature has been improved. But it still did not make these headphones our top choice for voice calls.
  5. Out of all the upgrade features, we have two favorites that we deem as worth the additional price. One, the ability to connect it to multiple devices. So you can pair it up with a laptop and still be able to take up calls with your phone. And two, the convenience of halting the music just by placing your hand over the ear cups is a real convenience.
  6. The new model has more upgrades on all the apps and stuff. So this keeps you in the loop on everything new. Thus, you will not be missing out on anything. 
  7. Another complaint of the previous model is that the touch controls do not respond much to freezing temperature. And we did not find any improvements on the newer model regarding this.  
  8. The battery life is longer for wireless headphones. You only need to charge the headphones for 10 minutes and you can enjoy 5 hours of playback. And when fully charged, it can offer up to 30 hours of listening time. And this is perhaps one of the longest battery life of any wireless headphones we have encountered. 
  9. These headphones are very comfy and sublime. They are more comfortable to wear compared to the previous model. 
  10. These are sleek and minimalist headphones. So it will also suit you if you are trying to stay away from big and bulky ones. Though the unit looks basic, it comes off clean and pristine. You’ll still be proud if you’d be caught using it while walking down the streets. 
  11. One of the complaints about the new model is that there can be a bit of annoyance with the control buttons. This is not a biggie, but it can be frustrating for some. The Bose QC 35s makes a great alternative to the WH-1000XM4 if you find the control to be too fidgety. We also had this same issue and we even think that the touch controls of the previous model were way better. 

Final Say

So is it worth the upgrade? If you need to pair your headphones to multiple devices, it’s a definite yes. And the overall sound quality and noise cancellations were also improved. The other added features may not be that important for some people to hop in on an upgrade, considering the higher cost. 

But if you are already happy with how your WH-1000XM3 sounds and you really don’t use it much for voice class, then you can stick with it. If you also do not need to connect it to multiple devices, the older version will still work for you. But if you are going to make calls regularly, an upgrade to the newer version is warranted. While the voice call features are not that superb, it’s far less annoying.