After holding back its big move for almost two years, Sony served a hard dish this time, trying to re-bright the "wireless noise reduction leader" sign. This is a response to competitors and a complement to the past.
The size of the storage box is reduced by 40%, which is the ideal form of true wireless earphones
When I placed the Sony WF-1000XM4 in my palm for the first time, I should be able to describe my mood at that time with overjoyed. Of course, what was placed in my palm at the time was the complete body of the WF-1000XM4: an "ultra-compact" earphone charging storage box, which contained two earplugs.
The reference point for the "super compact" here is naturally the huge charging box of the previous generation WF-1000XM3. Compared with the previous generation, the WF-1000XM4's charging case has been reduced by 40%.
In the face of WF-1000XM4, WF-1000X and WF-1000XM3 are more like "prototype" and "engineering machines" of M4.
It can be seen that the charging box of the WF-1000XM4 is two full circles smaller, which is similar in size to the AirPods Pro charging box. The size of this charging box is very ideal, you can carry it with you and put it in your pocket easily.
For users with small ears, especially girls, it doesn’t seem to be too worrying. Compared with the previous generation, the volume of the earphone cavity of the WF-1000XM4 has been reduced by about 10%, which means that it can adapt to a smaller ear cavity space downwards. After actual measurement, several "small ear" users who don't like to wear in-ear earphones all said that they can accept the wearing feeling of WF-1000XM4.
Excellent connection stability, you can also use it to answer phone calls and video conferences
In 2019, we took the WF-1000XM3 to Shibuya intersection, which is known as the busiest in the world. Because the wireless environment is very complicated, it can be regarded as the most extreme environment for testing wireless headset connectivity.
WF-1000XM3 uses binaural independent TWS true wireless solution. The stability and delay performance are much better than the original noise reduction beans, but it will still get disconnected when the traffic volume increases and the wireless environment becomes complicated. There is still much room for improvement in the stability of the situation.
And this time, we also chose another extreme environment to test the wireless stability of WF-1000XM4. We went to Shanghai Disneyland and watched a large-scale projection light firework show with over ten thousand tourists in front of the castle.
So, in the noisy sea of Disney, I tried to make a call to a colleague using a not-so-strong mobile phone signal, and got feedback that "I can hear clearly, and the sound quality is okay." In daily situations, it can still meet the needs of the call, there is no need to say that you take off the headset and switch back to the handset to answer.
After that, I also used the WF-1000XM4 to connect to the mobile phone, and completed several Zoom online conferences outside, and the sound effect of the call was also satisfactory. But if you want to compare with the excellent AirPods Pro, the call quality of the WF-1000XM4 is still slightly inferior, but it is definitely not a shortcoming.
According to Sony’s official introduction, this V1 chip can capture more ambient sounds from the dual feedback microphones on the headset, and with stronger computing power, it can provide stronger noise reduction performance.
In fact, in addition to active noise reduction, the passive noise reduction of earplugs is also indispensable. In addition to the design that fits the ear cavity better, the WF-1000XM4 only comes standard with an elastic earplug made of polyurethane foam material, which can tightly fill the ear canal to achieve a stronger sound insulation effect.
The passive noise reduction and sound insulation effect enhanced by this earplug can just make up for the shortcomings of active noise reduction in dealing with high-frequency noise. For example, you can occasionally encounter baby screams when crying at airports and train stations. WF- 1000XM4 can also be well isolated this time.
However, considering that the noise reduction intensity of WF-1000XM3 is still at a relatively good level for the moment, we have selected some more severe environments for WF-1000XM4 this time to explore its upper limit of noise reduction.
First of all, in the scene of the Disney fireworks show, for the noisy vocal scene, when I switched on the noise reduction mode in the crowd, the WF-1000XM4 seemed to move me away to an empty and quiet place.
In the course of the flight, the regular noise of the aircraft traveling in the stratosphere is of course needless to say, the moment of landing during landing and the huge noise generated by the engine reverse thrust, the internal sound decibel can reach 83dB, and at this time WF- The 1000XM4 can still isolate the noise, and its specific performance is similar to that of the WH-1000XM4 with earmuffs, and the ear pressure is handled well.
The last thing to face is the helicopter noise with the loudest decibel. In the initial stage of the flight, I was wearing the noise-canceling headphones and microphones equipped on the helicopter. After confirming that it was safe to take off the headset, I switched to the WF-1000XM4. At that time, I noticed that the ambient sound level in the cabin was 90. ~100+dB, after turning on the noise reduction, the sound of the propeller is drastically reduced to a very low level. Unexpectedly, the noise reduction strength of the WF-1000XM4 is even better than the noise reduction headphones (passive) equipped in the machine.
In terms of noise reduction, WF-1000XM4 still stands firmly in the first echelon, which is not surprising.
On the contrary, the improvement of environmental sound is also the highlight of WF-1000XM4. Thanks to V1's ability to capture more ambient sounds and higher computing power, the WF-1000XM4 also obtains a more natural and low-latency ambient sound performance, and the sound delivered to the ear is as if not wearing headphones. , The sound is much more real than before.
Mainstream good sound, true wireless also has LDAC
In the sound configuration part, the Sony WF-1000XM4 uses an improved 6mm moving coil unit, and the V1 processor integrates a DAC and amplifier, which can process 24bit audio signals.
For the wireless transmission part, WF-1000XM4 supports LDAC Bluetooth transmission technology. When playing music, it can transmit data at about 3 times (or more) the amount of data in AAC or SBC encoding (the maximum transmission speed is about 990 kbps). The transmission includes High-profile music with more information content. For non-lossless music, Sony’s new DSEE Extreme technology can increase the amount of information in music under the blessing of AI, enriching high-frequency musical instruments and female voices.
Of course, the WF-1000XM4 will still have a more obvious roughness when it comes to lower specifications or some of the more special songs. This part can be saved by DSEE Extreme. If it is required by a higher standard, there is naturally still room for improvement.
But if it is placed in the category of true wireless headphones, its performance is already top-notch. It’s just that I still want to pour a bucket of cold water, because the above listening experience is based on the WF-1000XM4 paired with an Android phone. If it is connected to an iPhone or other devices that do not support LDAC, it is estimated that only AAC and SBC connection methods are left. , The sound quality performance will also be a little discounted.
More environmentally friendly packaging, longer battery life
This time, the WF-1000XM4 packaging box is made with a new type of zero-plastic environmentally friendly material that Sony has led research and development: "Native Hybrid Material". It is made from bamboo, sugar cane and post-consumer recycled paper. The raw materials are clearly traceable and do not contain any plastic components. It is green, recyclable, durable and strong.
But the next practical problem that WF-1000XM4 will face is whether consumers can buy it.
You know, when most consumers buy true wireless headsets, they often start from the perspective of mobile phone accessories, and mobile phone manufacturers will make targeted optimizations for their own products, so the current consumer decision-making orientation, Then it becomes "Which cell phone you use, you can buy a true wireless headset."
According to this guideline, the low-maintained Sony mobile phones in the country will naturally not be the driving force for the purchase of this flagship noise-cancelling headset. First of all, it will be considered, of course, there are still many Sony fans, and then the Sony products are strong. People with confidence and low purchasing power. Therefore, the market competitiveness of Sony WF-1000XM4 depends entirely on its product strength and the appeal of the Sony brand.
Compared with these TWS headsets that are positioned as "mobile phone accessories", the sound quality and noise reduction of WF-1000XM4 are already in the forefront of the industry, but when it comes to things in the intelligent category such as interconnection with mobile phone hardware, WF-1000XM4 It's a little helpless, and the details of the interaction can't fully conform to the user's intuition, and it's more like an "outsider".
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