Sony WH-1000XM4 Wireless Noise-Canceling HeadphonesGET IT
Since the Sony WH-1000XM4 noise-canceling headphones look almost identical to the WH-1000XM3 they replaced, you have to dig a little deeper into seeing if the upgrade is worth it. We just put them on. No music. No active noise canceling powered up. With 10 percent larger earcups, which increase the amount of foam that rests against your head, these are extremely lightweight and comfortable. With up to 30 hours of runtime on a charge, it’s easy to see how you could wear these most of the day.
Now here’s why you would want to. At the top of our list isn’t the noise-canceling, which is rock solid when working in a busy house with a family and a constantly barking dog or walking on the street, but rather the practicality to pair with two devices. If you’re streaming music from your computer, the XM4s will allow you to answer a call on your phone pretty seamlessly. The system does seem to prioritize the phone in most instances, which we found helpful. A feature we loved on the previous version was Quick Attention: While wearing the headphones, place your palm against the right earcup and the volume dims and ambient sounds creep in, letting you respond to someone talking to you without taking the headphones off or searching for a pause button. But you’ll likely not need it because of the XM4’s new Speak-to-Chat feature. It automatically stops your music when you start talking and for 30 seconds after it senses a conversation. Most of the time it works well. Thankfully you can adjust the sensitivity of the microphone, which picks up your voice to start the Speak-to-Chat feature, in the app.
The physical buttons remain the same—just two—as much of the controls for things like volume, skipping, taking calls happens by tapping or swiping the right ear cup. This tends to be our gripe about most wireless headphones. The lack of physical buttons means memorizing specific gestures. And while they are intuitive on the Sonys—like swipe up to raise the volume, down to lower it—things can get tricky with answering calls or trying to access the Google Assistant or Alexa. There is a cheat sheet built into the app if you need a refresher. The sound on the XM4s still sounds great and the app’s equalizer lets you dial in different settings. We tend to find the Vocal setting a pleasing upgrade to podcasts.— Sal Vaglica, Men’s Journal Contributor
For access to exclusive gear videos, celebrity interviews, and more, subscribe on YouTube!Back to top