Airpods Pro vs Sony WF-1000XM4 Earbuds - comparison and Review

Airpods Pro vs Sony WF-1000XM4 Earbuds – comparison and Review

Airpods Pro vs Sony WF-1000XM4 Earbuds is two of the most powerful and capable pairs of earbuds on the market. With incredible features, powerful active noise cancellation, and a similar price tag, the question arises: Which pair is the better buy? In this article, we will dig into the similarities and differences, as we put these earbuds to the test. I don’t want this to be subjective, so I will actually show you tests of the active noise cancellation, the microphone quality, and everything else you’ll need to know.

Airpods Pro vs Sony WF-1000XM4


So the apple AirPods pro
and the new sony xm4 earbuds are two of
the most powerful and capable pairs on the market
with incredible features powerful noise
cancellation
and a similar price tag the question arises of
which one is actually the better buy
between these two earbuds obviously you
have a lot of capability here but in
this article


we’ll be diving into the similarities
and differences and actually show you
some testing that you can
see for yourself
including the microphone test active
noise cancellation test
and of course, we’ll be covering anything
else you might want to know before
considering buying
one of these earbuds so which one’s
actually the best well
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this article

Airpods Pro vs Sony WF-1000XM4
Airpods Pro vs Sony WF-1000XM4

Airpods Pro Features


I’ve obviously been using the AirPods
pro for quite a while now
and they’ve been a long-term favorite
for apple users obviously have a ton of features
great connectivity with the apple
ecosystem and they have a lot of things
that they really did right
but now sony has the xm4 earbuds which
before we looked at the xm3s and we said
you know what there were a couple things
you could discredit some features that
weren’t quite there
they were really large very bulky some
people didn’t like the comfort


but now sony really came back with some
vengeance here and if you saw my
original review
i talked about some of the great
features we have on here including a
long battery life
fantastic active noise cancellation the
ldap codec for better audio experience
and of course they come with phone foam
tips so we’ll get into the testing
in a second but let’s first talk a bit
about the physical design so
i talked about how the xm4s are
substantially smaller than the xm3s from sony
and that’s great but when looking at the
cases side by side

Subtle Difference


you’ll see that the airpods case is
still a bit smaller on top of that it
does have tighter tolerances
and a more solid metal hinge there so
the case design i do prefer the air pods case
but you know another downside is that
you do actually have that lightning
cable on the bottom i think usb type-c


is becoming more and more popular
and so as far as charging goes you might
be more likely to find a usbc cable of
course that’s a really subtle difference there
but when we open up the cases the
earbuds really couldn’t be more
different looking at them side by side
you can see


of course the airpods have that classic
stem and the sony earbuds are a little
more compact
in just one kind of sphere so you guys
can leave a comment and let me know
which one you think looks better
my personal preference leans towards the
sony earbuds i like the design of them
better
but i know some people really like that
iconic AirPods look
so i mean like i said leave a comment
and let me know which one you think
looks better

Advantage and Different Colors


an advantage is that you do have two
different colors available with the sony xm4s
whereas the AirPods obviously only have
one color and of course on top of that
the way they’re controlled is also very
different so
the sony earbuds have a customizable touch
controls so you can touch on the outside
once twice
three times you can hold it and of
course on the AirPods you have that
little pinch


four sensor they’re both ipx4 water
resistant they’re both very secure in
your ears i have no problem running with
these or doing workouts
but as far as comfort goes they are
fundamentally different obviously
the way they fit in your ear is going to
be slightly different so everybody has
different ear shapes and you have
different preferences


but the ear tips themselves are very
different so the air pods come with
three different little silicone tips and
the sony buds come with three different
foam tips
and the foam tips you kind of have to

Benefits


compress them a little bit and then you
put them in the ear
they expand they block out a lot of
sound around you and
they do provide a lot of benefits that
we’ll talk about when we get to sound
quality and active noise cancellation in
this article
but as far as comfort goes i do lean a
little bit towards the airpods pro i
found that after about two hours or
three hours
the sony earbuds do become slightly less
comfortable for me


that’s just again my own preference my
own ears everybody’s different
but i find that they’re a little bit
hotter and they do kind of press my ears
a little bit more
and of course, the last thing you’ll
notice physically is that the sony earbuds
when you hold them side by side are
a little bit larger by the volume they don’t
really look larger when you’re wearing them
but that does give them room for a
the better battery life you’re looking at
eight hours per charge in the earbuds
24 when you include the case whereas on
the AirPods you’re looking at

Same Battery Life


almost half that four and a half hours
in the earbuds but 24 hours with the case
so as long as you’re not wearing them
for more than four hours at a time and
you put them back in the case to
recharge
you should get the same battery life the
full 24 hours but for anyone looking for
that long-term use
that is a huge advantage almost double
the battery life with those sony earbuds
now that’s pretty much the last thing i
want to mention with the physical design
differences


the only other thing maybe in this
category would be the packaging comes a
little bit different
these sony earbuds come in a recycled
cardboard container so it’s a little bit
more eco-friendly
i think that’s a big positive i like to
see that that direction that
more manufacturers should be moving that
way the price for these earbuds is
really not that different so the airpods
pro you’re
looking at about (price maybe change when you buy) us dollars while
the sony wf-1000xm4s
sell for about 280 so slightly more
expensive but

Compatibility


you’re more than likely to see sales on
either one of these and i’ll put links
below so you can find those sales
so next let’s talk a little bit more
about compatibility of course these are
both Bluetooth earbuds
they connect to anything that connects
to Bluetooth whether that’s a tablet
a smart tv a phone it really doesn’t
matter but


when it comes to compatibility you do
have other features and other
functionality that you’ll get
within certain ecosystems so the obvious
example here the airpods pro
are going to work far better with apple
products if you have an iphone and an
ipad
then you’re going to be connecting very
seamlessly between them if you switch
devices it’ll just kind of switch with
you and it gives you a great experience
overall

Same Experience ( Seamless Switching )


you can use airpods pro on an android
phone and for the most part you’re
getting a lot of the same experience
but you’re missing out on some big
things you’re missing out on that
seamless switching
you’re missing out on the hands-free
siri you’re missing out on the ability
to even get firmware updates for example
and some other things like that so as
far as compatibility goes
apple’s known to not really play nicely
with others and the airpods pro


are no exception now the sony earbuds do
play really nicely with most devices so
for example if you have an android phone
you can get the sony app if you have an
iphone you can
get the essentially same sony app and
you’re able to have a full access to all
of their different features
i will point out that if you have an
android phone you do have a slight
advantage with the sony earbuds
being that you do have access to their
ldac which is their

Same Experience ( Seamless Switching )
Same Experience ( Seamless Switching )
Access to Both Alexa


proprietary codec giving you a higher
resolution audio but
aac on the iPhone is still going to
sound really good on these as well
of course, they also connect to any other
a device like i mentioned and you do have
access to both alexa
and google assistant on the sony earbuds
whereas you only have siri on the
AirPods pro so anyone who uses Alexa or
google assistant
again another obvious advantage there
and you can get updates no matter what
the ecosystem you’re in so


for compatibility i think the clear
winner here is going to be the sony
earbuds and that kind of leads me into
the next category of features so
both of these have a lot of features but
let’s start off with these sony earbuds
now the sony xm4s have something called
speak to chat which means that
if i just start talking it’ll detect
that it’ll turn my music way down and
turn on like a transparency mode so i
can hear my surroundings
this is a great feature if you’re if you
have to ask like a bus drive or

Music Back Up


something or you’re commuting and
you just need to quickly talk but you
don’t want to take your earbuds out
it’ll it’ll give you
the ability to talk to somebody for like
15 or 20 seconds and then after that
it’ll turn your music back up
really convenient feature these both
have some version of 360 audio or
spatial audio
which is a really nice thing you can
hear like the surroundings it’s a lot
better than


normal stereo audio they also have
customizable touch controls
you have google fast pair which again if
you have an android phone as soon as you
open the earbuds case
it’ll show up on your phone and you can
pair with that for the first time
and you also have eq adjustments so a
lot of functionality and features
with the sony earbuds oh and one other
thing if you just happen to hold the
earbud you can hear your surroundings
again

Functionality

another great thing if you’re on a train
and you want to hear like what the next
stop announcement is
great thing to do now the airpods of
course have a lot of their own
functionality as well
uh they have like seamless apple
switching between apple devices
you have find my air pods you have
hands-free siri you have an adaptive eq
and like i said you do have that spatial
audio as well
and you have a really nice mono mode now


i want to point out that
mono mode does also work on the sony
earbuds i know in my previous article i
said it was a master slave connection
that’s actually not really true so what
i was testing was actually when you have
voice assistant enabled which
i assume most people would then it acts
like a master slave connection but if
you go in the app and you disable the
voice assistant
which is really unfortunate then it acts
as an independent connection which i
thought was really interesting
very strange that sony does that and
it’s definitely i would chalk that up as
a drawback

Independent Connection


but the good news is if you want an
independent connection if you want to
listen to just one ear but at a time
you can do that but the compromise is
going to be the voice assistant so with
that being said let’s actually get into
a microphone test now
okay so this is a microphone test we are
in a studio right now and these are the
sony wf-1000xm4 earbuds


i’m talking at a normal volume and this
is probably what it would sound like if
i was on a phone call with you
next up these are the apple airpods pro
again we’re talking in a studio
environment right now so there’s not a
lot of echo
leave a comment below and let me know if
you can hear what i’m saying now we’re
gonna go outside to a louder environment
to see how they sound out there okay so
now we’re outside in a louder
environment with some traffic behind us
we already know the airpods generally
sound really good

Sound Quality


indoors and outdoors for the past year
they’ve been really leading the pack
all right now these are the sony
wf-1000xm4s again plenty of traffic
behind me so leave a comment and let me
know which one you think sounds better
okay and that brings us into the
category of sound quality which of
course is a very important one when
you’re


talking about earbuds and the sony
earbuds first of all have a little bit
more emphasis on the bass
you can fix this in the eq but they are
more bass capable in my opinion
than the airpods which honestly i think
is a good thing it makes it sound a
little bit more warm


a little bit more full a little bit more
rich and for a lot of music out there
it’s going to be more fun to listen to
with the sony earbuds now the airpods
have a little bit more of an emphasis
around a thousand hertz and a little bit
more emphasis on vocals


uh the bass is definitely a little bit
disappointing for anybody who looks for
more bass heavy music but in general the
airpods they still sound really good
sony does have the ldap codec so if
you’re using an android phone as i
mentioned before
you can have access to that high
resolution audio i love it i think it’s
a great thing to have they also have
their

Uprising Audio


hsee extreme or dse extreme rather
and it’s kind of like uprising audio
files it’s something that i don’t
especially use often
but it does exist if you want that and
they also have an eq in the app as well
so it is easier to adjust the sony
earbuds to the eq you want
and like i said they are very capable
they do have a lot of bass and with the
foam ear tips you get a lot more
isolation from the sound around you
so you don’t have to turn up the volume
really loud on the earbuds to get a
really


loud sounding music or a song playing
through these earbuds so as far as the
sound quality goes between these two
to make it as simple as possible i think
most people would probably most enjoy
the sony earbuds i think they sound
better in general they’re more bass
capable and i think for a lot of genres
out there

Noise Cancellation AirPods


they are going to be the superior choice
of course, if you’re looking
looking for more acoustic stuff maybe
some ed Sheeran type stuff or podcasts
the AirPods definitely have their place
and their benefits there
but i mean you guys can leave a comment
if you used both of these let me know
which one you think
sounds better like i said my preference
is definitely with the sony’s and with
that being said
the final category i want to talk about
is actually the active noise
cancellation and

Noise Cancellation AirPods
Noise Cancellation AirPods


we’ll get into a test and i’ll show you
guys in a second exactly how these
perform but really to summarize
the winner here is going to be the sony
earbuds they’re very very powerful
really an incredible capable pair of
earbuds and the big benefit they have is
kind of a one-two punch
so not only do they have great active
noise cancellation
but they also have far superior active
noise or passive noise blocking
using those foam tips so if you put in
the sony earbuds

Noticeable Things


and then you put in the air pods you’ll
notice that the sony earbuds are
way quieter because they have those
foam tips now maybe you can get some
after-market foam tips for your airpods
and you might have a little more similar
comparison here but
talking about the active noise
cancellation the sony earbuds still win here
so one first observation is that when
you put them both in your ears
you’ll notice that the sony earbuds are
quieter and i mean in a quiet
environment


they don’t make quite as much white
noise the AirPods do tend to have a
really really subtle
white noise obviously everything is
going to have to make some sound when
it’s doing active noise cancellation
but sony’s do a much better job of
reducing that now
when you start cranking up the volume
around you different sounds are going to
react differently but i found that the
sony’s

Substantially Better


do a better job for almost any type of
sound out there crowd sounds i found
they do substantially better
on top of that any kind of like loud
tinny sound if you’re hitting like a
cymbal
or jingling keys it really blocks it out
a lot better on the sony earbuds
for general white noise they both do a
great job in fact this is where the ear
the air pods really start to catch up
and they’re pretty much neck and neck
for just a basic white noise whether
that’s like a jet engine or something
like that


but again once you start factoring in
the foam ear tips the sony earbuds
really take the lead here so as far as
active noise cancellation goes we’ll get
into a test in a second, i’ll show you
guys a little bit more about that
but the clear winner here has to be the
sony earbuds so this is by no means a
perfect test but to demonstrate the
the general magnitude of the anc i played
several sounds through a speaker
and turned it up incrementally until i
could hear it through my earbuds so
the first sound was a crowd sound and
this i can actually hear at volume 16 on
the airpods

Stream Sounds


and volume 22 on the sony so this means
that the sony blocked out more sound for
crowd sounds
when it came to jet sounds this is a
more basic white noise this was actually
volume 20 for both of them which was
very impressive for the AirPods
then with the stream sounds, this was
actually a landslide for sony
it was volume eight for the AirPods and
volume 28 where i actually heard it
with the sony earbuds so overall a big
win for sony


but the airpods did a pretty decent job
with the jet sound and that brings us to
the conclusion of this article overall
which one is the better pair to buy
i would say that it depends on what
you’re looking for if you’re looking for
better sound quality
the best active noise cancellation an
incredible battery life and
a really nice aesthetic design i would
say the sony xm4 earbuds are the clear
a winner here personally i prefer them for
most situations
but of course as always with apple
the ecosystem is going to be what gets you
if you are in the apple ecosystem and
you have an apple watch an iPhone and an
iMac

Connect to Multiple Devices


then it’s going to be hard to say no to
this because one of the big drawbacks of
the sony earbuds is that they don’t
allow you to connect to multiple devices
if they allowed you to i think that they
would be a more obvious winner here
but if you’re in the apple ecosystem
switching between your imac and your
iphone
is really important to me and i think
that’s a really nice feature the air
pods too


but you can leave a comment below let me
know which of these two you think is
better which one would you buy
and which features would you like to see
on either one of these as always if you
enjoyed this article please consider
liking and sharing.

ADDITIONAL REVIEW NOTES:

PHYSICAL DESIGN
Battery life: 8/24 hrs vs 4.5/24 hrs
Comfort: Airpods are slightly comfier and better for longer listening, but the foam tips help the Sony buds a ton when it comes to sound isolation and listening experience
Water resistance: both IPX4
Controls: pinch vs tap
Bluetooth: 5.0 vs 5.2
Both work with mono-mode
Price: Maybe change when you buy
Sony come in more eco friendly packaging, but Apple is improving, so they may have some better recycling programs in the future

COMPATIBILITY
Google, Alexa vs Siri
Updates
App availability

FEATURES


Sony:
Speak to chat
360 Realty Audio
Customizable touch controls
Google fast pair
EQ adjustments
Airpods:
Mono mode
Seamless apple device switching
Find my airpods
Hands-free Siri
Adaptive EQ
Spatial audio

MICROPHONE TEST

SOUND QUALITY
Sony has more bass
AirPods have a more genre-agnostic profile, but a deemphasis around 1000 Hz
Sony has LDAC and supports WiFi audio files
Sony has a versatile EQ in the app
I prefer the Sony sound quality. More warm, powerful, and full sounding. By comparison, the AirPods emphasize vocals more but

ACTIVE NOISE CANCELLATION


Crowd sound: vol. 16 vs 22
Jet sounds: vol. 20 vs 20
Stream: vol. 8 vs 28
Sony earbuds have much less white noise (a more true silence)
Higher pitches, spontaneous sounds, low volumes, and most other situations, Sony XM4 earbuds prevail.

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