There is no scarcity of, however Apple’s AirPods Professional and Sony’s WF-1000XM4 are among the many cream of the crop. Sony’s earbuds are solely a bit dearer at $280 (£250, AU$450) in comparison with $250 (£249, AU$249) for the AirPods Professional, so the choice actually comes all the way down to what telephone you’ve got and your major use case. Are you searching for earbuds primarily to take heed to music, or are you searching for a do-it-all pair?
I have been utilizing each units for over a month that can assist you decide which is best for you. I in contrast them throughout totally different classes like sound and name high quality, how snug they’re to put on for prolonged intervals of time and total battery life.
Sony’s earbuds supply glorious sound high quality and a few of the strongest noise cancellation you’ll find in a pair of true wi-fi earbuds. It’s also possible to stream high-resolution Bluetooth audio on Android. The controls are totally customizable and the battery lasts longer than the AirPods Professional. However they’re considerably heavier than Apple’s earbuds and smaller ears might should experiment to search out ear ideas to offer a safe match.
The AirPods Professional do the whole lot rather well: calls, music playback, noise cancellation and transparency mode. They do not have as a lot bass because the Sony WF-1000XM4, or a battery that lasts as lengthy, however they’re a powerful selection for iOS customers who need fast switching and spatial audio for music and flicks. They could even be extra snug for some ears than the Sony buds, and you’ll recurrently discover them underneath $200.
AirPods Professional are extra snug, particularly for smaller ears
These earbuds could not be extra totally different of their design. The Sony WF-1000XM4 are spherical, whereas the AirPods Professional have a brief stem that sticks down out of your ear. Apple’s earbuds are considerably lighter and match higher in my small ears than the Sony earbuds, particularly for extended put on. Bigger ears should not have a problem with the Sony buds, however as all the time, match varies from individual to individual.
Each pairs have three ear tip sizes to assist get a cosy match. Sony’s ideas are a hybrid foam combine, whereas Apple’s are silicone. Whereas most individuals must be positive with the included ideas, I truly discovered I needed to change to totally different tips about each. I exploit third-party foam ideas from Comply on the AirPods Professional and Sony’s silicone ideas from the older WF-1000XM3. The information supplied with the Sony buds aren’t sufficiently small for me and I actually want there was an XS dimension within the field.
I extremely suggest utilizing the ear match check on each these buds that can assist you get the most effective seal and optimum sound high quality. You’ll find this within the iOS settings for the AirPods Professional or throughout the Headphones Join app on the Sony WF-1000XM4 (iOS and Android).
The WF-1000XM4 have contact panels that may change tracks, activate noise cancellation and even settle for a name, whereas the AirPods Professional have clickable stems that do the identical duties. Sony’s earbuds are the one ones that allow you to alter the amount from the contact panels. Each help a voice assistant for hands-free management: Siri for the AirPods Professional on iOS; Google Assistant and Alexa for the WF-1000XM4 on Android; Google Assistant, Alexa or Siri for the WF-1000XM4 on iOS.
You will additionally be capable to put on each earbuds within the rain or throughout a sweaty exercise as they’re rated IPX4, which suggests they will face up to splashes of water. The charging circumstances, nonetheless, usually are not water-resistant.
Sony WF-1000XM4 sound dynamic and vivid
Listening to music on the Sony buds is an actual pleasure. The definition throughout frequencies is great, with vocals sounding clear and crisp. Bass is outstanding with out being overwhelming. It gave me the chills listening to a few of my favourite tracks in a spread of genres, from rock to hip-hop to classical music. The AirPods Professional additionally sound nice, however they don’t seem to be as dynamic on default settings and haven’t got as huge of a bass response because the Sony buds. I did desire taking calls and podcasts on the AirPods Professional as a result of the sound profile is extra impartial and balanced for solo voices total.
The AirPods Professional have an adaptive equalizer, so it is continually altering the sound profile mechanically. You may tweak the sound additional by utilizing an equalizer in your favourite music app, or use the Headphones Lodging function within the iOS settings. Sony’s earbuds have an EQ within the app, though I discovered I did not want to make use of it very a lot because the default sound profile labored rather well throughout a spread of music genres.
Sony’s earbuds additionally help LDAC, a high-resolution audio codec for Bluetooth headphones on Android telephones. I listened to a number of songs on Tidal’s HiFi and Grasp stream high quality, noticing barely extra definition than the identical monitor with AAC streaming. Except you are an audiophile, I do not suppose you can inform that a lot of a distinction, particularly as a result of Sony’s DSEE Excessive upscaling is admittedly good and makes decrease bitrate streams sound nice.
You may hear microphone samples within the video on this web page for each pairs, recorded on iOS and Android. General, I discovered the AirPods Professional labored higher for calls than the Sony WF-1000XM4, each for telephone calls and on Zoom or Google Hangouts.
Spatial audio on AirPods Professional is extra sturdy than 360 Audio
That is as a result of it is out there for music and flicks in a variety of apps from HBO Max to Apple Music, Disney Plus and Apple TV Plus simply to call just a few. It is also plug-and-play, so that you simply put the AirPods Professional in your ear, activate spatial audio within the iOS settings, then watch or take heed to your content material. Sony’s 360 Audio solely works for music playback in a smaller variety of apps like Tidal and Nugz.internet. It additionally takes a bit longer to arrange, involving snapping pictures of your ears.
Sony wins the noise-canceling crown, however AirPods Professional win transparency mode
Each earbuds have lively noise cancellation to dam out sounds from the surface world and do a wonderful job of drowning out fixed sound throughout a spread of frequencies. To my ears, the Sony takes the sting for low frequencies like site visitors, commuting or rumbling engines to create extra of a cocoon of silence than the AirPods Professional.
Every pair additionally has an ambient sound mode, or what Apple calls transparency mode, to let in sound so that you’re conscious of your environment. The WF-1000XM4’s ambient sound mode has 20 adjustment ranges to fine-tune the impact. It’s also possible to select to deal with voices over different sounds, which works rather well. It would not sound as pure as transparency mode on the AirPods Professional, which to my ears is finest in school and virtually feels such as you’re not carrying earbuds in any respect.
The WF-1000XM4 battery will final you all day lengthy
I could not fairly imagine the Sony buds would get me near the eight hour score on the field. However in my testing listening to music at a average quantity with ANC, I used to be capable of put on them for eight hours and 10 minutes earlier than they ran out of juice. There’s a catch, although: when you stream utilizing LDAC, your battery life will drop to round 5 hours. The AirPods Professional last as long as 5 hours with ANC or transparency mode in my exams underneath the identical circumstances.
Every case additionally holds extra cost, as much as 24h complete for each pairs. The circumstances additionally help wi-fi charging, or you possibly can juice them up with USB-C for Sony and Lightning for Apple. One thing that different opinions may not point out is that the Sony charging case (a minimum of the black model I have been utilizing) reveals each bump, drop and scratch that I’ve thrown at it over the previous month.
The AirPods Professional is the one pair that provides fast switching, so you possibly can seamlessly transfer between totally different Apple units signed into the identical Apple ID. The Sony WF-1000XM4 don’t supply any multi-point functionality, so if you wish to transfer between your telephone and laptop computer in the course of the work day for instance, you may have to enter the Bluetooth settings and change over manually every time.
Sony WF-1000XM4 or AirPods Professional?
Each of those earbuds supply a wonderful steadiness of efficiency and audio high quality. There is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all pair given they’ve strengths in several areas. Purchase the AirPods Professional for the most effective expertise throughout iOS and Apple units due to fast switching, spatial audio and nice name high quality. Get the Sony WF-1000XM4 for high-res LDAC Bluetooth streaming on Android, lengthy battery life and noise canceling that rivals over-ear headphones.