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Business News/ Technology / Tech Reviews/  Sony WH-1000XM4 review: Premium noise cancelling done right

Sony WH-1000XM4 review: Premium noise cancelling done right

If you’re buying premium noise-cancelling headphones in 2020, the WH-1000XM4 is definitely worth considering at ₹29,990

The WH-1000XM4 has a new speak to chat feature.Premium
The WH-1000XM4 has a new speak to chat feature.

NEW DELHI: As far as consumer audio products are concerned, Sony’s 1000XM series never fails to impress. But the problem with updating any consumer electronics product on a yearly basis is that you run out of ways to make them better. With the WH-1000XM4, Sony faces that uphill battle. Which doesn’t mean that this is not a good headphone, but it’s mighty difficult to separate it from last year’s WH-1000XM3.

If you’re here to find out what’s new, it’s a short but useful set of additions. The WH-1000XM4 has a new speak to chat feature, which is extremely useful. Instead of turning the music off when you have to speak to someone, you can simply start talking and the headphones will turn the music down. And it actually works.

It’s one of those features that you don’t think you need till you actually have it. Now that I’ve tried it, I want every noise-cancelling headset to be like this. I’ve tried turning on the television while music plays and playing recordings of airport announcements, but couldn’t trick the headphones into believing that it should turn the audio down. The only problem with this feature is that you can’t hum along to music, because it picks that up and pauses the track.

Next, the headphones also support multi-device connectivity now. You can connect two devices at a time and switch between them at will. It takes a little bit of fiddling around with Sony’s app the first time you do it, but that’s a one time task. The phone that’s currently playing music gets preference when it comes to calls.

Lastly, Android’s fast pair feature is now supported, which makes setting up the 1000XM4 with your phone really easy. The closer integration with Android also means you’ll get battery alerts when it’s about to run out of charge.

The fact that you can cover everything that’s new about the WH-1000XM4 in 200 words probably tells you that it’s not particularly an upgrade. But then, audio buyers don’t really buy new headphones or speakers every year either. If Sony is going to inculcate these features into its other noise-cancelling headphones over time, things are looking up for the consumer.

Other than this, the 1000XM4 retains the same audio quality as its predecessor. You get punchy bass and good audio detail. Like the subtle changes in design, you’ll have a hard time finding any difference here. And the same can be said about the noise cancellation as well, which remains as good as ever.

Overall, if you’re buying premium noise-cancelling headphones in 2020, the WH-1000XM4 is definitely worth considering. Rs. 29,990 is not something everyone can afford, but Sony doesn’t expect budget buyers to buy this either. The Bose Headphones 700 are its closest competitor, and it matches the WH-1000XM4 in almost every aspect, except the speak to chat feature. In my book, that’s a difference worth considering the Sony for too.

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Prasid Banerjee
An engineering dropout, Prasid Banerjee has reported on technology in India for various publications. He reports on technology through text and audio, focusing on its core aspects, like consumer impact, policy and the future.
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Published: 23 Sep 2020, 03:18 PM IST
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