Apple AirPods Pro vs. Sony WF-1000XM4: I used both earphones for a month

They are not missing of excellent true wireless earphones you can buy, but Apple’s AirPods Pro and Sony’s WF-1000XM4 are among the best of the harvest. Sony’s earphones are just a little bit more expensive for $ 280 (£ 250, AU $ 450) versus $ 250 (£ 249, AU $ 249) for the AirPods Pro, then the decision it really comes down which phone you have and your primary use Case. You’re watching for earphones mainly to listen to music, or are you looking for for a handyman couple?

I was using both set for over one month for help you determine which one is right for you. I compared them between different categories like sound And call quality, how comfortable to wear for extended periods of time and overall battery life.

Lexy Savvides / CNET

Sony’s earphones deliver excellent sound quality and a little of the strongest noise cancellation you can find in a couple of true wireless earphones. can also reproduce in high resolution Bluetooth audio streaming on Android. The controls they are fully customizable and the battery lasts longer than the AirPods Pro. But they are substantially heavier than Apple’s earbuds and smaller ears may have to experiment to find the earbuds to provide a secure fit.

The AirPods Pro do everything very well: calls, music playback, noise cancellation and transparency procedures. They don’t have as much bass as the Sony WF-1000XM4, or a battery that lasts that long, but they are a strong choice for IOS users who want fast switching and spatial audio for music And movies. they might also to be more comfortable for some ears compared to Sony gems and you can regularly find them for under $ 200.

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A month with Sony WF-1000XM4 and AirPods Pro


The AirPods Pro are more comfortable, above all for smaller ears

These earphones could not be more different in they design. The Sony WF-1000XM4 are round, while the AirPods Pro have a short stem that attaches down from your ear. Apple’s earphones are noticeably lighter and fit better in my small ears compared to Sony earphones, above all for prolonged wear. Larger ears shouldn’t have a issue with the Sony gems, but as always, the fit varies from person to person.

Both pairs have three sizes of earbuds for help get a snug fit. Sony’s suggestions are a hybrid foam mix, while Apple’s are in silicone. while most people should take care with tips included, in reality found I had to move on to different suggestions on both of them. I use Third-party Comply foam tips on the AirPods Pro and the tips in Sony silicone of the old WF-1000XM3. The advice provided with Sony gems are not small enough for me and i really wish there was a size XS in the box.

I highly recommend using the ear adapts test on both of these buds a help get the best tight and optimal sound quality. You can find this in iOS settings for the AirPods Pro or within the Headphones Connect app on the Sony WF-1000XM4 (iOS and Android).

The WF-1000XM4 has touch panels that can change tracks, activate noise cancellation or even accept a call, while the AirPods Pro have clickable stems that do the same tasks. Sony’s earphones are the only ones that allow you to adjust the volume from the touch panels. Both support a voice assistant for hands-free control: Siri for the AirPods Pro on iOS; Google Assistant and Alexa for the WF-1000XM4 on Android; Google Assistant, Alexa or Siri for the WF-1000XM4 on iOS.

you also to be in able to wear both earphones in rain or during a sweaty workout as it is rated IPX4, which means they can withstand splashes of water. The charging cases, however, are not water resistant.


Lexy Savvides / CNET

Sony WF-1000XM4 sound dynamic e bright

To listen music on Sony Gems are a real pleasure. The definition between the frequencies is excellent, with voice that sounds clear and crunchy. The bass is prominent without being overwhelming. It gave me chills to hear some of my favorite tracks in a range of genres, from rock to hip-hop to classical music. The AirPods Pro also sound great, but they’re not that dynamic on defaults and have no like big of a bass response like Sony buds. I preferred to answer calls and podcasts on the AirPods Pro because the sound the profile is more neutral and balanced for solo voices in general.

The AirPods Pro have an adaptive equalizer, so it constantly changes the sound profile automatically. You can edit the sound further on using an equalizer in your favorite music app, or use the Headphones Accommodations feature in iOS settings. Sony earphones have an equalizer in the app, even if i found I did not need to use it’s much like the default sound the profile worked very well on a range of music genres.


Lexy Savvides / CNET

Sony earphones also support LDAC, a high resolution audio codec for Bluetooth headphones on android phones. I’ve listened to several songs on HiFi from Tidal and quality of the main stream, slightly noticing more definition with respect to the same track with Streaming CAA. Unless you’re an audiophile, I don’t think you will be in able to say a lot of a difference, especially since Sony’s DSEE Extreme upscaling really is good and makes streams lower bitrates sound great.

You can listen to the microphone samples in video on This Page for both couples, registered on iOS and Android. Overall, me found the AirPods Pro performed better for calls than the Sony WF-1000XM4, both for phone calls e on Zoom or Google Hangouts.

Spatial audio on AirPods Pro is more robust of 360 Audio

This is because it is available for music And movies in a wide range of apps from HBO Max to Apple Music, Disney Plus and Apple TV Plus just to name a few. IS also plug-and-play, so you just put the AirPods Pro in your ear, turn on spatial audio in iOS settings, then watch or listen to yours content. Sony’s 360 audio only works for music playback in a smaller number of apps like Marea and It also it takes a little longer to set up, involving shooting photos of your ears.

Sony wins the noise-cancellation of the crown, but AirPods Pro win transparency mode

Both earphones have active noise cancellation to block out sounds from outside world and do a great job of drowning out constant sound through a range of frequencies. To my ears, Sony takes the edge for low frequencies like traffic, commuting or noisy engines to create more of a cocoon of silence compared to AirPods Pro.

Each pair also has an environment sound mode, or what Apple calls transparency mode, to let that in sound so you are aware of your surroundings. The environment of the WF-1000XM4 sound mode has 20 levels of adjustment to fine-tune the effect. can also choose to focus on voices over Other sounds, which works really well. it does not do it sound as natural as transparency mode on the AirPods Pro, which to my ears it is best in class and almost feels like you’re not wearing earphones at all.


Lexy Savvides / CNET

The battery of the WF-1000XM4 will be last you all day

I couldn’t believe the Sony earphones would get me anywhere near the 8-hour rating on the box. But in mine test listening music at moderate volume with ANC, I was able to wear them for 8 hours and 10 minutes before they ran out of juice. There’s a catch, however: if you broadcast in streaming using LDAC, the battery life will be drop about 5 hours. The AirPods Pro last up to 5 hours with ANC or transparency mode in my test under the same conditions.

Any case also contains an additional cost, up at 24h total for both pairs. The cases also support wireless in charge, or you can squeeze them up with USB-C for Sony and Lightning for Apple. Something other reviews may not mention is that the Sony charging case (at least the black version I was using) shows every bump, drop and scratch that I have thrown to it over the past month.

The AirPods Pro are the only pair that offers a quick change, so you can do it without a problem move between different Apple devices registered with the same Apple ID. The Sony WF-1000XM4 doesn’t offer any multipoint functionality, so if want to move between your phone and laptop during work day for example, you will need to enter the Bluetooth settings and switch over manually every time.

Sony WF-1000XM4 or AirPods Pro?

Both of these earphones offer excellent balance of performance and the quality of the audio. There is no pair suitable for all sizes as they have strengths in different areas. Buy the AirPods Pro for the best experience on iOS and Apple devices thanks to fast switching, spatial audio and great call quality. Get the Sony WF-1000XM4 for high resolution LDAC Bluetooth streaming on Android, long battery life and noise nullifying that rivals over- earphone.

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