Sony has reigned supreme in noise-canceling headphones for a few years now. Since the release of Sony’sSony’s seminal Sony WH-1000XM3, the best any other manufacturer could manage, has competed for second place. However, with the release of the Sony WH-1000XM4, who is the actual top dog?
The newer model, like the WH-1000XM3, hasn’t changed much, preserving the look nearly identical and making almost marginal improvements. However, the comparison isn’t as simple—newer doesn’t always imply better, and a number of the tradeoffs made by the WH-1000XM4 may have you reaching for last year’s (or the year before last, rather) iteration. Let’s make it simple to help you make the right choice:
Sony WH-1000XM4 vs Sony WH-1000XM3: Key Differences
Though there are speculations on the street that perhaps the Sony WH1000XM4 and Sony WH1000XM3 are nearly identical, with only a significant price difference and a few minor differences, I have discovered some significant differences between the two. Before delving into a thorough analysis, I’ve listed the major improvements that Sony has included in its new release.
- The Sony WH-1000XM4 employs Bluetooth 5.0 technology that permits multipoint connectivity. Meanwhile, the Sony WH-1000XM3 has Bluetooth 4.2 technology.
- The Sony WH-1000XM4 has ear cups that are 10% larger than the ones of the Sony WH-1000XM3. Both headphones, however, are equally comfy.
- Sony WH-1000XM4 is only one gram lighter than Sony WH-1000XM3; there is no significant weight difference.
- Sony WH-1000XM4 is much more fashionable and long-lasting than Sony WH-1000XM3. The XM4 is equipped with more sensors than the XM3.
- The speak-to-chat capability on the XM4s is an outstanding addition that quickly pauses anything you are listening to as you start talking.
- The Sony WH-1000XM3 has more outstanding call quality than the Sony WH-1000XM4.
- The DSEE Extreme Audio Processor is used in the XM4s, whereas the DSEE HX chip is used in the XM3s.
- When completely charged, the Sony WH-1000XM4 might last approximately 2-3 hours longer than the Sony WH-1000XM3.
Now that you’ve reviewed the primary differences between the Sony WH-1000XM4 and Sony WH-1000XM3, we’re ready to take you through a complete comparison of the two.
Sony WH-1000XM4 vs Sony WH-1000XM3: Features
Despite the slight upgrades, you’re undoubtedly wondering why you’d spend more for the XM4s. There is a single reason: they include Sony’s most recent audio processor, the DSEE Extreme.
The DSEE HX chip in previous XM3s upscales compressed audio files like MP3 to high-resolution quality in real-time. The newer DSEE Extreme performs the same but also includes Sony’s Edge-AI artificial intelligence, which claims to provide more realistic sound from these files.
Both headphones have Sony’s outstanding noise-canceling, effectively blocking the outside world; however, the XM4s go the extra step. To analyze outside noise in greater detail, they have employed a novel algorithm and a fresh Bluetooth System on Chip.
The XM3s’ Adaptive Sound Control recognizes user activity and adapts the ambient sound settings accordingly. The XM4s, on the other hand, contain a more sophisticated version of the technology that can learn to detect spots you frequent and adjust the sound accordingly.
The XM4 is also more user-friendly. While the XM3s can only link to one device simultaneously, the XM4s can communicate to two devices simultaneously, such as your laptop and phone. It may appear to be a minor distinction, but it could simplify your life.
Both headphones use the same control technologies, which include a touch-sensitive panel on the ear cup and your preferred voice assistant (Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant). You may also engage in Quick Attention mode by placing your palm over the cup, which decreases the music level so you can talk without taking off your headphones. This comes in handy when placing an order at a restaurant or interacting with a flight attendant.
The XM4s, however, have a couple of additional surprises up their sleeves. You receive a new Speak to Chat feature that recognizes your voice and reduces the level automatically, as well as better call quality due to the unique Precise Voice Pick-Up innovation.
Overall, both headphones provide an incredible bundle of features and excellent all-around noise-canceling ability, which makes them ideal for office, commutes, and long-distance travel. However, the XM4s offer some fantastic enhancements that push their sonic capability higher than what the older version is capable of.
Sony WH-1000XM4 vs Sony WH-1000XM3: Sound Quality
Sony XM3 vs XM4 headphones have excellent noise cancellation and 40mm drivers, yet what about actual audio performance? Are the XM4s worth the added cost? In a nutshell, absolutely. Here is why:
The XM4s, like the XM3s, have an analog amplifier paired with a DAC, which produces a rich, genuine sound. Since its release in 2018, the XM3s have won back-to-back What Hi-Fi Awards. They’re an incredibly entertaining and emotional listen.
The XM4s, on the other hand, elevate sound quality to a new level, offering a larger soundstage and revealing much more depths of detail than the XM3s.
Both the XM3s and XM4s are top-notch players, but the overall sound quality and features of WH-1000XM4 make its predecessors sound a little unrefined in comparison.
Sony WH-1000XM4 vs Sony WH-1000XM3: Call and Mic Quality
Following Sony’s recent debut, I was eager to learn more about the XM4s’ microphone and call quality. XM3 vs XM4 the call quality delivered by the XM3s is exceptional. As a result, our standards were already sky-high. However, I was disappointed by the call quality of the latest Sony XM4s.
The XM3s have superb sound accuracy, so I was curious to find out how Sony would improve on that. Without a doubt, the XM4s have superior noise cancellation. I hoped the same could be said about the microphone and call quality.
As previously said, every one of those headphones focuses on distinct angles of sound. The XM4s prefer to focus on the highs rather than the bass. Thus those with deeper voices will sound just a little quieter. However, if you’re using headphones for calling occasionally, it won’t annoy you too much. However, it is not suitable for routine professional calls.
Sony WH-1000XM4 vs Sony WH-1000XM3: Design
If you expected a drastic revamp, you’d be disappointed. That outcome is perhaps a little harsh, as the original design, with its slender and stylish profile, is perfectly fine.
The NFC logo on the WH-1000XM4 headphones is slightly less visible, and the writing along the headband has a new texture. This time around, the NC/Ambient button has been renamed Custom.
Sony has stuck to the authentic, and streamlined shapes with the new headphones, which are available in Black, Platinum Silver, and Silent White. The earpads on the WH-1000XM4s have been changed. The revised earpads are softer and less stiff, allowing for a more comfortable fit while maintaining a firm protective layer for the must-have noise-cancellation.
Sony WH-1000XM4 vs Sony WH-1000XM3: Connectivity
One of the most noticeable feature differences between the Sony WH-1000XM4 and WH-1000XM3 is their connectivity options. The Sony WH-1000XM4 supports Bluetooth 5.0, Bluetooth multipoint connections, and high-quality codecs such as AAC and Sony’s LDAC. Multipoint supports AAC and allows you to connect the headphones to two devices simultaneously, making switching between devices simple.
The Sony WH-1000XM3 employs Bluetooth 4.2 and is compatible with a more extensive range of codecs. In addition to AAC and LDAC, these headphones feature aptX, giving Android listeners a more constant high-quality alternative. The Bluetooth multipoint is also missing from the previous headphones, which is an awful trade-off.
You can select the better option between the two depending on your needs. The WH-1000XM4 is undoubtedly the way to go if you’re a hardcore Apple user. You won’t be losing aptX, and multipoint makes switching between devices more accessible.
If you’re an Android user—multipoint is excellent, but AAC isn’t as good on non-Apple devices—it might be worth buying the older model if you often don’t want to switch between devices. Both devices enable NFC pairing, which can be accomplished by simply holding your supported mobile up to the left earpiece. Even if you go without multipoint, pairing devices isn’t a problem.
Sony WH-1000XM4 vs Sony WH-1000XM3: Controls
The Sony WH-1000XM3 includes sophisticated controls that are simple to use—swiping left and right rewinds and changes music, respectively, while swiping up and down adjusts the volume.
Tap twice for audio playback (stop or resume) and call management (answer or end calls). Additionally, if you block the touch-sensitive pad on the right headphone with your palm, the music will be instantly turned down.
Finally, you can use Aware Mode by pressing the ambient button on the left earcup. You can also easily get to the main three assistants, Siri, Alexa, and Google Assistant. Although I enjoy the settings, the touch sensor does not always operate perfectly.
I noticed a tiny latency in reaction on occasion, and it became overly sensitive at times, resulting in unintentional entries from bumps and scrapes. The WH-1000XM4, on the other hand, features comparable touch panels and all of the control properties of the XM3.
However, they have some additional features, like the Speak-to-Chat mode that stops your music and allows ambient sound to enter when you start conversing. The companion app allows you to disable the Speak-to-Chat feature.
It detects your voice and promptly pauses the audio using built-in microphones and advanced signal processing. The Quick Attention characteristic allows ambient noise if you block the right ear cup. As a result, you can be conscious of your surroundings without halting the music or speaking.
Another advantage is what I mentioned in this post, wearing detection. When you take the headphones off, the music stops and resumes when you replace them. Isn’t it incredibly convenient? So, with these new features, the XM4 claims the lead.
Sony WH-1000XM4 vs Sony WH-1000XM3: Comfort
Users never bring up comfort issues with Sony headphones. Sony raises our expectations with each new product release. Both the Sony headphones – the Sony WH 1000XM3 vs Sony WH 1000XM4 are among the most comfortable headphones available. The Sony WH-1000XM4 offers some enhancements for added comfort.
Though both headphones appear identical, the Sony WH-1000XM4 is one gram lighter than the Sony WH-1000XM3. It weighs 254 grams. Other changes, such as the gapping around some areas of headphones, have been designed to give it a less weighty feel.
Both types offer substantial, soft padding that gives exceptional comfort. The XM4s, on the other hand, have 10% bigger ear cups making them even comfier.
Sony WH-1000XM4 vs Sony WH-1000XM3: Battery Life
When it concerns the overall battery features, everything is equal. Both last about 30 hours with ANC activated and about 38 hours without. They, too, employ USB-C charging. It takes approx. 3 hours to charge them completely.
A 10-minute rapid charge will offer users 5 hours of fun in a pinch. As a result, nothing distinguishes them. Is this what you’re thinking? That’s not true! The XM4 has Wearing Detection, which automatically pauses music when you remove your headphones. As a result, this characteristic may significantly reduce battery drainage.
However, because it is not a battery function, I will not award it a bonus point under this part and will assign both the same value.
Sony WH-1000XM4 vs Sony WH-1000XM3: Case
The Sony WH-1000XM3 headphones come with an excellent protective case that protects them from scratches, moderate falls, and water damage. It sports a fabric finish rather than the pleather-like coating that some Sony headphones have. Although it is not the most convenient case, it will readily fit in larger luggage.
The Sony WH-1000XM4 includes an excellent durable carrying case. It can guard against scuffs, falls, and moisture-related problems. Their case, much like Sony WH-1000XM3 Wireless, features a cloth finish.
Sony WH-1000XM4 vs Sony WH-1000XM3: Specs
|Specs||Sony WH-1000XM4||Sony WH-1000XM3|
|FREQUENCY RESPONSE||4 Hz-40,000 Hz||4 Hz-40,000 Hz|
|HEADPHONE TYPE||Closed, dynamic||Closed, dynamic|
|DRIVER UNIT||40mm, dome type (CCAW Voice coil)||1.57 “, dome type (CCAW Voice coil)|
|CORD TYPE||Single-sided (detachable)|
Approx. 3.94 ft. cable length
Approx. 3.94 ft. cable length
|SENSITIVITIES (DB/MW)||105 dB / mW (1 kHz) (the unit turned on)|
101 dB / mW (1 kHz) (he unit turned off)
|104.5 dB / mW (1 kHz) (the unit turned on)|
101 dB / mW (1 kHz) (the unit turned off)
|BATTERY LIFE (according to Sony’s website)||Max. 30 hours (NC ON)|
Max. 38 hours (NC OFF)
|Max. 30 hours (NC ON)|
Max. 38 hours (NC OFF)
|BATTERY CHARGE METHOD||USB||USB|
|BATTERY CHARGE TIME||Approx. 3 Hours (Full charge)||Approx. 3 Hours (Full charge)|
|BLUETOOTH VERSION||Version 5.0||Version 4.2|
|NOISE-CANCELING ON/OFF SWITCH||Yes||Yes|
|AMBIENT SOUND MODE||Yes||Yes|
|FORM FACTOR||Over Ear||Over Ear|
|ADDITIONAL CONTROLS||Voice Assistant||Voice Assistant|
|POWER-SAVING FEATURE||No||Auto-Off Timer|
|SONY OS SUPPORT||Supports Android and iOS|
Does Not Support Windows and macOS
|Supports Android and iOS|
Does Not Support Windows and macOS
|PRODUCT DIMENSIONS||7.27 x 3.03 x 9.94 inches||7.31 x 2.94 x 10.44 inches|
|WEIGHT||Approx. 8.99 oz||Approx. 8.99 oz|
While both have identical features on paper, it’s worth noting that the WH-1000XM4 performs somewhat better in terms of noise cancellation (due to the upgraded algorithm and new Bluetooth SoC). It’s not a significant improvement, but it’s apparent. To check this, I kept a vacuum cleaner running high in the foreground while turning on the WH-1000XM4 and WH-1000XM3. Both headphones were able to block out a significant amount of the lower and upper frequencies produced by the exceedingly loud vacuum cleaner. However, it did not totally eradicate the noise.
With the music on, fortunately, we could hardly hear the noise. Both sets do an excellent job of reducing ambient noise. You’ll be able to quickly filter out everyday noises such as traffic, barking, and noisy neighbors.
As previously said, the WH-1000XM4 is clearly the better model that blocks out more noise in the mid-range.
Whenever we evaluate gadgets and software for our readers, we properly examine them before drawing our conclusion. We did the same thing with these headphones.
Given the prices of these two headphones, we believe that the Sony WH-1000XM3 is a fantastic choice for good-quality headphones for playing music or gaming. You can also find them for a lesser price than the Sony WH-1000XM4.
But here’s the deal: the latest Flagship WH-1000XM4 has certain standout features that make it well worth the money. The modifications that have been added are great and have set a new benchmark for competitors.
It is entirely up to the headphone user whether you wish to save or indulge. The Sony WH-1000XM3 performs admirably, and the current pricing is a deal. However, in our opinion, the Sony WH-1000XM4, thanks to the improvements, is the clear victor, therefore, well worth the money.
We attempted to share a comprehensive feature analysis of the Sony WH-1000XM4 vs Sony WH-1000XM3 in this article and Reviewed hope you found it informative. Let our reviewers know what you think about this post in the comments box, and also share what you would like us to review next.
- 5 Best Ways to Listen to Music Together
- 13 Best Headphones for Mixing
- 12 Best Headphone Brands (According to You) + New 2022 Poll
- 12 Best Cat Ear Headphones
- 12 Best Outdoor Bluetooth Speakers