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Apple's AirPods Pro are the flagship earbuds in the company's lineup, but there are plenty of other third-party truly wireless earbuds out there on the market. Sony is one of the main contenders in the space, so MacRumors videographer Dan took a look at the brand-new WF-1000XM4 earbuds to see how they stack up.


The awkwardly named WF-1000XM4 buds are priced at $279, just a bit higher than the AirPods Pro at $249, although we've been regularly seeing discounted pricing on AirPods Pro in the $200 range (including $189.99 for Prime Day), so that's one factor in favor of the AirPods Pro, at least for now.

When it comes to performance, the XM4s offer solid audio quality that can be tweaked to find the perfect balance using Sony's Headphones Connect app for iOS and Android, something Apple doesn't offer. The XM4s also offer excellent active noise cancellation (ANC), but AirPods Pro also perform well in that regard.

While fit is a very personal aspect, Dan found that both sets of earbuds fit well for him, with the XM4s offering a very snug fit that seals well in the ear while the AirPods Pro might be a bit more comfortable over the long term.

Both sets of earbuds are strong performers overall, but where the AirPods Pro really set themselves apart for Apple users is the H1 chip and the capabilities it brings. Instant pairing and automatic switching across devices are very convenient, and the AirPods Pro deliver several other Apple-specific features like Find My integration and audio sharing for connecting multiple sets of earphones to one device simultaneously.

Check out Dan's video for his full thoughts on these aspects and more when it comes to comparing the AirPods Pro and the new Sony WF-1000XM4 earbuds.

Article Link: Video: Sony's New WF-1000XM4 Earbuds vs. Apple's AirPods Pro
 

JamieLannister

macrumors 6502a
Jun 10, 2016
630
1,565
I have BOTH.

Sound quality: WF-1000XM4

Fitment: TIE - but winner is the WF-1000XM4 due to the foam inserts I prefer over the silicone ones from APP

Adjustments: no competition here, winner: WF-1000XM4

Battery life: WF-1000XM4; however, I don't listen more than 3-4 hours tops. So I would say for the money it's value is there

Codec support: easy winner: WF-1000XM4 (LDAC)

Range: TIE

Ease of sharing between devices (multipoint+): no contest, APP!

Which ones I use most? Due to the microphone quality being better, much better than the WF-1000XM4, the APP is the one I actually use most. But for quality NC, my goodness, these WF-1000XM4's are just astonishingly good. I would say they rival my WH-1000XM3's (due to the foam fitment in the ear).

Both don't fall out of my ears but this is subjective since everybody's ear is different. Overall I am pleased with the APP due to the ease of use and connection quality and microphone but those WF-1000XM4's are just amazing sound quality/NC vs the APP. If you can afford, get both!
 

anthb

macrumors newbie
Apr 1, 2016
21
22
I have the Sony WF-1000XM3’s and have had several issues with them from day-one. They have very bad Bluetooth performance and sometimes takes minutes to connect to my iPhone. I’ve even had them replaced with very little difference. Won’t buy Sony in-ears again.
Yeah. This. I’m not wowed by mine (even things like accepting an incoming call is flaky) but the plus is they were on an Amazon special offer.
 
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I7guy

macrumors Nehalem
Nov 30, 2013
34,366
24,143
Gotta be in it to win it
Dan, good job on this video (and past videos). I liked the call quality of the airpods pro better, but YMMV. They are so close in call quality I wouldn't use call quality as a determining factor. To me the decision would boil down to fit, equalizer and H1 chip.
 
Last edited:

SactoGuy18

macrumors 601
Sep 11, 2006
4,442
1,568
Sacramento, CA USA
It's going to be VERY interesting to see if Comply Foam comes up with a special ear tip specifically for the WF-1000XM4. I use Comply ear tips with my Powerbeats (4th generation) and they work well.
 
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jmgregory1

macrumors 68040
I have BOTH.

Sound quality: WF-1000XM4

Fitment: TIE - but winner is the WF-1000XM4 due to the foam inserts I prefer over the silicone ones from APP

Adjustments: no competition here, winner: WF-1000XM4

Battery life: WF-1000XM4; however, I don't listen more than 3-4 hours tops. So I would say for the money it's value is there

Codec support: easy winner: WF-1000XM4 (LDAC)

Range: TIE

Ease of sharing between devices (multipoint+): no contest, APP!

Which ones I use most? Due to the microphone quality being better, much better than the WF-1000XM4, the APP is the one I actually use most. But for quality NC, my goodness, these WF-1000XM4's are just astonishingly good. I would say they rival my WH-1000XM3's (due to the foam fitment in the ear).

Both don't fall out of my ears but this is subjective since everybody's ear is different. Overall I am pleased with the APP due to the ease of use and connection quality and microphone but those WF-1000XM4's are just amazing sound quality/NC vs the APP. If you can afford, get both!
I was considering the Sony’s to replace my year+ old APP’s, but the reviews I’ve watched made the Sony’s appear to have significant issues with call quality, which is what I use my APP’s for 10 hours a day - not that I’m on the phone for 10 hours a day, but within the 10 hour window I’m working. The other thing that was a deal breaker, that took a while for someone to comment on, was that the Sony’s didn’t offer the pressure equalization effect that the APP’s have. I can’t stand in-ear headphones that produce positive pressure, so not having that, even if the Sony’s sound better, last longer, fit better, makes them a no-go for me.

And as it turned out, one of the issues I had with my APP’s was the rattling that Apple admitted was an issue for early build APP’s - and got them replaced with a new pair just a couple of weeks ago, so I’m back to enjoying the APP’s for both work and my workout music listening.
 

jimmy_uk

macrumors 68020
Oct 19, 2015
2,382
3,194
UK
I have the Sony WF-1000XM3’s and have had several issues with them from day-one. They have very bad Bluetooth performance and sometimes takes minutes to connect to my iPhone. I’ve even had them replaced with very little difference. Won’t buy Sony in-ears again.
Odd as my release day WF-1000XM3'S have worked flawlessly with my 7 Plus with daily usage.

I have tried and returned the WF-1000XM4s as I didn't find them comfortable, not a fan of comply style tips or the ear pressure created by the seal. ANC was better than the M3 but not by alot.

Happy to stick with my M3's until the next ANC champs - possibly the Air Pro 2? Fingers crossed they work out the rattle issue.
 

hajime

macrumors 604
Jul 23, 2007
7,855
1,290
I have BOTH.

Sound quality: WF-1000XM4

Fitment: TIE - but winner is the WF-1000XM4 due to the foam inserts I prefer over the silicone ones from APP

Adjustments: no competition here, winner: WF-1000XM4

Battery life: WF-1000XM4; however, I don't listen more than 3-4 hours tops. So I would say for the money it's value is there

Codec support: easy winner: WF-1000XM4 (LDAC)

Range: TIE

Ease of sharing between devices (multipoint+): no contest, APP!

Which ones I use most? Due to the microphone quality being better, much better than the WF-1000XM4, the APP is the one I actually use most. But for quality NC, my goodness, these WF-1000XM4's are just astonishingly good. I would say they rival my WH-1000XM3's (due to the foam fitment in the ear).

Both don't fall out of my ears but this is subjective since everybody's ear is different. Overall I am pleased with the APP due to the ease of use and connection quality and microphone but those WF-1000XM4's are just amazing sound quality/NC vs the APP. If you can afford, get both!

For Dolby Atmos, which is better?
 

Unregistered 4U

macrumors G4
Jul 22, 2002
10,260
8,252
$30 for the headphone connect app? I mean, if the sound quality is similar, that’s what we’re talking about, right?
 
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