Sony WH-1000XM4: I get the hype

I just bought a pair of the Sony WH-1000XM4 headphones during Amazon Prime Day (a.k.a. discounted heavily from their original $349 price) so I could review them, and I’ve been using them all weekend. They’re my first pair of proper noise-canceling headphones, and I’ve been incredibly impressed with them. I definitely understand why they get so much hype.

Four things I like so far:


A little background: I’ve been using my Beats Solo3 Wireless headphones for the past year and nine months, and I dig ‘em. I’m not a super picky music listener, and I like a lot of bass because I listen to tons of hip-hop. In that regard, the Beats suited my needs very well. But my biggest gripe with them has been comfort since they tend to squeeze your head after a while.

So when I picked up the XM4s, my first order of business was determining whether they’d be comfortable. Folks, I can confirm that these are some of the most comfortable headphones money can buy. The ear cups fit around your ears instead of on top of them, the head band has plenty of cushiony support, and they’re extremely lightweight. I haven’t done a super-intense multi-hour test yet, but I’ll do that when I prepare my full review.

Noise cancellation

“Industry-leading” is a great way to summarize the quality of the XM4’s noise cancellation. The first time I used it, I wasn’t expecting it to cancel as much noise as it did. My desk and bed are both right near window air conditioners that can sound like airplane engines when you’re trying to concentrate. However, when I turned on the XM4’s noise canceling, I heard a very light hum next to being muted. It was like not having the air conditioners on at all.

You can barely hear the outside world when you’ve got noise canceling on, which is impressive to say the least. I’m gonna do more testing, but so far I’m happy with the level of quality Sony has achieved with these headphones.

Sound quality

I’ve been listening to two albums all weekend: Logic’s YS Collection, Vol. 1 and Brian Kelley’s Sunshine State of Mind. One is a heavy hip-hop record, the other a summertime country playlist. Both sound incredible on the XM4s. I get a great amount of bass for the drums and basslines of Logic’s music, and a beautiful sound stage with well-balanced mids and highs are present for the airiness of Kelley’s songs. Again, the quality calls for more testing, but I can already tell these headphones can quickly become my favorite sounding headphones I’ve ever owned.

Multi-device support

I’ve never owned a pair of headphones with multi-device support, and you don’t realize you want it until you have it. I have the headphones paired to my iPhone, laptop, and iPad so no matter what combination of those devices I’m using, I can pair two of them to my XM4s and use them interchangeably while still hearing whatever content I’m playing.

This feature has proved wildly convenient for me, and I’m looking forward to this review process because of it.

In the background, I’m working on two reviews: one on these WH-1000XM4s and another on the Pixel Buds A-Series from Google. The latter will come before the former, so stay tuned.

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