HomeTechNewsApple AirPods Professional vs Sony WF-1000XM4: Battle of the very best

Apple AirPods Professional vs Sony WF-1000XM4: Battle of the very best

sony wf 1000xm4 review glam

Chris Thomas / Android Authority

Desk of contents

The Apple ecosystem of linked gadgets offers seamless integration between iPhone, iPad, Mac, and even equipment such because the AirPods Professional. Many iOS customers have defaulted to selecting up the AirPods or AirPods Professional, however are these earbuds actually the very best out there choice? The Sony WF-1000XM4 current as a powerful challenger to the Apple earbuds, with superior lively noise-cancelling (ANC) and a bevy of options. We’re placing the earbuds head-to-head to see if Sony has executed sufficient to drag customers over the partitions of the Apple backyard.

Our verdict: Sony WF-1000XM4 review| AirPods Pro review

About this Vs: This text comes from the audio specialists at our sister website SoundGuys. Take a look at their in-depth take on the Apple AirPods Professional vs Sony WF-1000XM4.

Apple AirPods Professional vs Sony WF-1000XM4


AirPods Pro in ear

The AirPods Professional sport Apple’s now-iconic white, shiny design with protruding stems. The stems make it straightforward to insert and take away the earbuds out of your ear, although they’ll get caught on a masks or towel, sending your costly earbuds flying away. Every stem comprises a small imprint for contact and strain controls. Addressing the match problems with the unique AirPods, Apple consists of three silicone ear suggestions within the field with the AirPods Professional, or you possibly can choose up a pair of memory foam replacements for a greater seal.

Associated: Headphone buying guide — a beginner’s guide to all things headphones

Sony’s earbuds don’t have protruding stems and can be found in elegant black or silver coloration variants, every with copper accents. Even with a smaller general footprint, they nonetheless handle to suit a bigger floor space to function the contact controls. Most individuals will discover a snug match from the Sony WF-1000XM4, with earbud housings that observe the contours of the human ear. Sony consists of three units of reminiscence foam ear suggestions for a extra snug and steady match in comparison with the AirPods Professional.

sony wf 1000xm4 review hero

Each units of earbuds make for good workout companions, with an IPX4 ranking that may deal with sweat and lightweight splashes of water with no drawback. Reminiscence foam tends to put on down sooner than silicone although, so you could want to exchange the Sony ear suggestions earlier than the AirPods Professional’s. Each earbuds embody strain reduction vents, so that you received’t expertise an uncomfortable suction sensation when noise-cancelling is enabled.

Complete contact controls on each units of earbuds management music playback, ANC, transparency modes, and voice assistant. iOS or iPadOS system house owners can remap the AirPods Professional gesture and contact controls from the settings app, whereas Android customers are caught with the default controls. Each headsets assist computerized ear detection for auto-pause/play performance.

Airpods Pro Battery Indicator

Each charging circumstances stand horizontally and assist wi-fi charging. Wired charging on the AirPods Professional requires a lightning cable, whereas the Sony case makes use of a USB-C cable. The circumstances are compact and transportable, though neither boasts any sturdiness accreditation.

Software program

Whereas many AirPods Professional options are restricted to Apple system customers, Sony makes its software program out there on all platforms. The Sony Headphones Join app is obtainable on each the Google Play Retailer and Apple App Retailer, and features a host of customization choices. You should utilize the multi-band equalizer to regulate the Sony WF-1000XM4’s sound to your liking, toggle between listening modes, view battery standing, remap contact controls, choose most well-liked voice assistant, and extra.

sony wf 1000xm4 review in use 1

The app additionally consists of an ear tip match take a look at to make sure you’ve put in the right ear suggestions in your WF-1000XM4. A good fit and tight seal is important to the noise isolating efficiency of the earbuds, because it blocks out the environmental sounds round you to precisely hear your music. Apple additionally gives an ear tip take a look at, however you possibly can’t entry it on Android.

Google Quick Pair on the Sony earbuds makes for quick pairing to an Android system, whereas Swift Pair assist for Home windows 10 gadgets ensures a fast connection to your PC. It’s also possible to find your earbuds with a loud ring or examine their final recognized location by way of your cellphone.

AirPods Pro Connecting

A pop-up card makes for fast pairing between AirPods Professional and an Apple system. As soon as linked to an iPhone, you’ll unlock a number of options together with Discover My AirPods, hands-free Siri requests, battery optimization, Adaptive EQ, and Spatial Audio. These deep within the Apple ecosystem may also benefit from the computerized system switching between iCloud gadgets. Audio lovers alternatively can be disenchanted by the dearth of a customized EQ for the AirPods Professional to regulate the sound.

See extra: The best true wireless earbuds

Sony 360 Actuality Audio on the XM-1000XM4 is supported on Tidal, Deezer, and Amazon Music HD. In the meantime, Apple’s Spatial Audio solely works on Apple Music and with Dolby Atmos content material streamed from a suitable Apple system.


sony wf 1000xm4 anc isoation chart

The Sony WF-1000XM4 stands above and past the competitors in relation to noise-cancelling. The froth ear suggestions guarantee nice passive isolation, with robust ANC almost eliminating any remaining environmental sounds. Bass and low-midrange frequencies are actively quieted, lowering them all the way down to one-eighth as loud. Incidental noises (1000Hz and better) are quieted and made to sound as much as one-sixteenth as loud as they might with out the earbuds in. This simply outperforms the AirPods Professional, which at most reduces ambient noises to one-sixth the loudness.

Apple AirPods Pro isolation chart HATS

Apple’s noise cancellation isn’t dangerous — it’s really fairly good in comparison with most earbuds — it simply can’t sustain with the Sony WF-1000XM4. Midrange frequencies are quieted to sound roughly half as loud with ANC enabled in comparison with how they’d sound when you weren’t utilizing the AirPods Professional in any respect. Each earbuds scale back your probability of experiencing noise-induced hearing loss, because the passive and lively isolation will forestall you from cranking up the quantity to counter background noise.

Ear suggestions that seal to your ear canals are the easiest way to dam out unpredictable noise and optimize noise-cancelling, with the Sony reminiscence foam ear suggestions excelling on this regard.

Associated: Best noise-cancelling true wireless earbuds

Sound high quality

Out of the field, the AirPods Professional performs higher in opposition to objective testing measurements than the Sony WF-1000XM4. Informal listeners will benefit from the sound from both set of earbuds, however solely Sony permits you to modify the frequency response.

sony wf 1000xm4 frequency response chart

In comparison with the SoundGuys home curve (pink), you possibly can see within the chart above that the Sony earbuds (cyan) are barely bass-heavy. Notes as much as middle-C will sound a bit louder than the artist meant, which might inadvertently masks vocal harmonics and higher-pitched devices. This sound profile could also be pleasing to followers of pop and hip-hop music however it might appear as if element is lacking out of your favourite songs. You’ll be able to treatment this by decreasing the bass and midrange frequencies within the EQ settings of the Sony Headphones Join app.

Apple AirPods Pro frequency response chart HATS

With a extra correct frequency response, the AirPods Professional is flexible throughout a variety of music genres and doesn’t require any tinkering. The AirPods Professional place noticeably much less emphasis on bass and extra emphasis on treble in comparison with the Sony earbuds. There may be additionally a really correct mid-range response on the AirPods Professional, resulting in an general impartial sound that most individuals will get pleasure from.


Apple AirPods Pro 11 in hand

When you aren’t going to get the identical microphone high quality as an external boom mic or devoted desktop microphone, each earbuds work effective for skilled and private calls. They every characteristic wind-reduction know-how for taking calls on the go. It’s also possible to choose which earbud microphone the headset makes use of, or depart it on auto.

We’ve included demos under so you possibly can hear precisely how effectively every microphone performs and resolve for your self which is greatest.

Apple AirPods Professional microphone demo:

Sony WF-1000XM4 microphone demo:

Bluetooth connection

sony wf 1000xm4 review ear tip

With extra Bluetooth codec assist, the Sony WF-1000XM4 can attain a greater connection on a greater variety of gadgets in comparison with the AirPods Professional. The Sony earbuds assist SBC, AAC, and LDAC, whereas the AirPods Professional solely provide SBC or AAC. AAC permits for greater switch pace with Apple gadgets however is unreliable on many Android gadgets. Due to this fact, if you find yourself utilizing AirPods with an Android cellphone you’ll doubtless need to pressure SBC playback.

Be taught extra: Understanding Bluetooth codecs

The AirPods Professional makes use of Bluetooth 5.0, which is nice for energy effectivity. Nevertheless, as soon as once more Apple is outdone by Sony, which gives upgraded Bluetooth 5.2 with the WF-1000XM4. This model gives higher battery life and opens the door to LE audio. Sony additionally provides you the choice to prioritize sound high quality or connection stability from inside the Headphones Join app.

Battery life

Apple AirPods Pro Lightning input charging case

In our testing with fixed playback at 75dB (SPL) with ANC turned on, the Sony WF-1000XM4 earbuds lasted for much longer than the AirPods Professional earbuds. The Apple earbuds lasted 5 hours and 6 minutes when linked to an iOS system, whereas the Sony earbuds lasted seven hours and 43 minutes. The AirPods Professional charging case offers over 4 cost cycles earlier than it wants a recharge by way of Lightning cable or wi-fi mat, whereas the WF-1000XM4 case offers an additional two cost cycles.

The Sony earbuds additionally recharge sooner than the AirPods Professional. 5 minutes within the WF-1000XM4 charging case offers 60 minutes of playtime, whereas it takes 10 minutes to attain 60 minutes of playback with the AirPods Professional.

sony wf 1000xm4 review case pairing

Because the battery cells in true wi-fi earbuds are so small, it’s unlikely both of those earbuds will final for greater than a few years. The bodily limitations alongside each day charge-deplete cycles end in a short-lived product. Should you’re in search of a long-term funding, the bigger batteries present in Bluetooth headphones make for a extra compelling choice.

Battery optimization software program on iOS gadgets slows the degradation technique of the AirPods Professional. iOS learns your utilization habits, after which prevents the case from charging past 80% till you’re able to hearken to music. Nonetheless, when you care in regards to the atmosphere you’re higher off sticking to wired earbuds and headphones with replaceable elements.

Apple AirPods Professional vs Sony WF-1000XM4: The decision

An essential issue we’ve but to say is the worth of the earbuds. The AirPods Professional retail for $30 USD lower than the Sony WF-1000XM4. With frequent gross sales dropping the AirPods under $200, Apple’s ‘buds are a significantly better worth than Sony’s. I cash isn’t any object, or you could find the Sony WF-1000XM4 on sale, you need to seize the Sony earbuds as an alternative as they’re the higher set of noise-cancelling earbuds.

The Sony WF-1000XM4 noise-cancelling true wireless earbuds in black against a white background.

Sony WF-1000XM4

Noise-cancelling earbuds with loads of software program options to set themselves aside.

Should you don’t personal an iPhone, the Sony WF-1000XM4 clearly makes extra sense, with extra customization choices on Android. Even on Apple gadgets, the Sony earbuds nonetheless provide much better lively noise-cancelling, a greater match, and higher battery life.

Apple AirPods Pro product image

Apple AirPods Professional

The Apple Airpods Professional are Cupertino’s premium in-ear model earbuds. They embody lively noise cancellation in addition to assist for spatial audio.

Nonetheless, we received’t blame you if you’re an iPhone consumer and resolve to stay inside the Apple ecosystem with the AirPods Professional. You have got fewer customization choices with these earbuds, however almost anybody can choose them up and have an fulfilling expertise. The AirPods Professional sound nice proper out of the field, and on the very least are a far superior choice to the usual AirPods.

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