Sony WF-1000XM4 review

Unlike previous generations of Master Edition phones – which have served as limited-edition versions of existing devices – this year’s Master Edition entries actually bring more than just altered designs to the table, right down to new chipsets. Learn more. As shown in the press imagery, there are three colourways to choose from – two glass-backed variants with either a ‘Dashing’ silver or dark blue finish, or the ‘Racing Yellow’ version, which features yellow vegan leather with a strip of black patterned glass running down from the rear camera module.

I prefer the new shape – which is designed to fit the ear cavity – but there are smaller/lighter earbuds out there, so anyone with small ears might find them to be a little bulky. The only wireless earbuds that I’ve tested that come close are the Bose QC Earbuds. Note: We may earn a commission when you buy through links on our site, at no extra cost to you. Sony has also enabled specific locations to be registered such as your office, a café you frequent or the gym.

Sony WF-1000XM4 earbuds The standard Master Edition is priced at €399 and arrives in Voyager Grey, packing 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage, while the Explorer Master Edition costs €499 (again, in Voyager Grey) and sports 12GB of RAM and 256GB of storage. Sony WF-1000XM4 case As with a Master Edition incarnation of the standard GT, there’s also the possibility of a Realme X9 Pro/GT Neo "Concrete" model (similar in style to the Concrete Realme X2 Pro Master Edition). And those numbers are with ANC on so with it of the XM4 can last an impressive 36 hours. This third model weighs fractionally more and measures marginally thicker than its fully glass-backed counterparts. Talking to someone I know, I’d rather take at least one bud out, but I can imagine them being handy for situations like ordering a coffee before getting a train when your hands are full and it’s difficult to remove an earbud.

Now: $499 ($230 off) Ambient Sound Control can automatically switch between different modes as you move or arrive at a particular location. Realme GT Master Edition Explorer press image As for retail availability outside of China, the phone went on sale on 21 June. The firm says they "reproduce a dynamic sound despite their small size, and the high compliance diaphragm reproduces a rich bass range." and I’m in no position to argue considering how good they sound.

If the name wasn’t enough of a clue, the GT’s focus is undoubtedly speed; with 5G, the latest WiFi 6E, LPDDR5 RAM, UFS 3.1 storage, Bluetooth 5.2, 65W fast wired charging and a 120Hz high refresh rate AMOLED display. I found the buds to sit in my ears quite nicely and although I have somewhat unusually small ear canals, the smallest size of tip was sufficient. Like the buds, the case has been shrunk, although a lot more at 40% smaller. In China, the Master Edition starts at CNY¥2,399 (roughly £270/€315/US$370), while the Explorer Master Edition starts at ¥2,899 (roughly £330/€380/US$450). After a string of leaks, Realme launched two new members of the Realme GT – in the GT Master Edition and the Explorer Master Edition – in China on 21 July.

However, it really is what you do with it that counts here as the WF-1000XM4 sound nothing short of breathtaking. One area that hasn’t had an upgrade compared to the last model is battery life with Sony touting a total figure of 24 hours – that’s eight from the buds and then a further 16 from the charging case. Almost everything can be customised in the app, too, so you can get things just how you like them – or simply turn anything off you don’t get on with. This doesn’t affect our editorial independence. He also covers a range of topics including home entertainment, phones, laptops, tablets and more.

Now: £362.21 upfront or £30.34 p/m (Up to £234.12 off) Previously, it was thought that the Race/GT Pro would top out at 256GB of storage, however, the latest specs promise up to 512GB of internal space, along with an OLED display boasting an unusual 160Hz high refresh rate and three cameras on the back, instead of four – fronted, again, by a 64Mp sensor. As well as a new, more compact design, the XM4 have a ton of new smart features including Ambient Sound Control and Speak-to-Chat. By Alex Walker-Todd, Consumer Tech Editor Alex Walker-Todd| 23 Aug 2021 The phones then launched globally on 18 August and went on sale on 23 August. Xiaomi took the lead, with the Xiaomi Mi 11, followed by Samsung and its S21 series; all boasting the 888 (in select markets). At £250/US$280, they are more expensive than their predecessors but match rivals like the Bose QC Earbuds and AirPods Pro. ⚡️ #realmeGT European debut in June Price comparison from over 24,000 stores worldwide View more prices realme gt series hero As for the 12GB RAM model, it was an Amazon exclusive, arriving on Prime Day and again sporting a discounted early bird price of €499 across 21 June and 22 June, after which pricing became €599.

Globally, Realme has done things a little differently. There’s also a headphone jack and USB-C port. During the Realme 5G Summit – broadcast on 3 June – Madhav Sheth, CEO of Realme India and Europe, announced that "the Realme GT 5G performance flagship will be released globally in June and the Realme GT camera flagship will be released in July." Of course, you get things like an ambient mode to hear your surroundings with an adjustable level (20 levels to choose from, no less) and wind reduction on the main mode, but there’s so much more here with the same features of the over-ear WH-1000XM4 packed into earbuds. Despite not selling directly in the US, Realme uses USD as its international currency and as such, lists the starting price of the Master Edition at US$399 and the Explorer Master Edition at US$499.

Realme Race Pro specs We’re teaming up with @AliExpress_EN for our most anticipated drops: Now: $499 ($250 off) In my testing, the battery life held up very well often getting around one hour per 10% of juice even with ANC on – albeit sitting in my fairly quiet office. Lastly, it’s nice to see eco-friendly packaging here of which 99% is made from recycled and sustainable materials. They might be at the premium end of the wireless earbud market in terms of price but the Sony WF-1000XM4 really do offer the most premium experience with astonishingly good sound and countless features. The new design is more compact and lighter and that’s really just the tip of the iceberg. There’s no set date on when to expect this model but the fact that it too appears to bear Fukasawa’s signature – as previous Master Edition devices have, suggests that it might not be that far off from release.

Sony WF-1000XM4 Sony WF-1000XM4 size Photos shared by tipster WhyLab on Weibo, show a device with a curved display and a matte grey back, which align with RMX3116 – recently listed on China’s TENAA system. While there are a lot of similarities between the two devices, opting for the phone that relies on MediaTek’s hardware costs ¥ 1,799 for the 6GB RAM/128GB model, ¥1,899 for 8GB of RAM instead of 6GB or ¥2,399 for the top-spec 12GB RAM/256GB SKU; with a direct pricing conversion working out to £200/€235/$275, £210/€250/$290 and £265/€310/$365, respectively The GT was already confirmed to be launching worldwide, with its European availability primarily run via Ali Express – the same approach Realme took for the European launch of the company’s Narzo smartphone series, which features in prominent markets for the company, such as India. That’s for the 8GB RAM/128GB storage SKU, while the higher capacity 12GB RAM/256GB model came in at ¥3,299 (approximately £365/€425/US$510).

Now: $599 ($360 off) The big driving force behind choosing the GT Neo over the standard GT comes down to price. Now: £657 (£142 off) The audio quality is rich, crystal clear and balanced. On the software front, there’s also a dedicated GT Mode (exclusive to the GT Series), which optimises performance and frame rate for sustained gaming. When you deliberately remove the buds, sensors will ensure the music is automatically paused and then resumed when you put them back in. Just note that you’ll need to use a streaming service that supports it like Deezer or Tidal with the correct subscription plan.

Now: $24.98 ($24 off off) As spotted by GSMArena, Realme’s online store did accidentally leak European pricing just a day ahead of the phones’ global launch; with both available in one SKU each. And like a lot of things in the app, if you don’t like either actions or locations can be switched off and you can customise just about everything with fine-tuning if you like. Although I can understand the argument of AirPods Pro for iPhone users.

sony wf 1000xm4 review 3 The V1 processor handles DSEE Extreme upscaling, wind reduction and a lot more, then there’s the LDAC support for Hi-Res Audio Wireless as well as 360 Reality Audio spatial audio. Price comparison from over 24,000 stores worldwide View more prices The 64Mp Sony IMX682 lead camera sensor uses "multi-frame synthesis" (machine translated) to improve detail in shots and reduce quality degradation when zooming in; which sounds similar to the process used by the Realme 8 Pro when zooming to 3x magnification. Sony Connect Headphones app The main feature is called Ambient Sound Control and can automatically adjust the profile depending on where you are or what you’re doing.

You get three sizes of tips in the box, and they are a memory foam type material to achieve a comfortable and air-tight fit. Realme UI 2 atop Android 11 makes up the user experience, while on the front resides a 6.43in 120Hz Full HD+ AMOLED display, a dual-cell 4500mAh battery, dimensions of 158.5mm x 73.3mm x 8.4mm (identical measurements to the standard glass-backed version of the GT) and 5G support. For example, ambient sound will be engaged when you start walking and noise cancelling when you stay still – these are defined as actions with running and transport having presets.

The other key differences between the standard GT and the GT Neo are the chip’s use of Bluetooth standard 5.1 in place of 5.2, slower 50W wired charging (despite still shipping with a 65W adapter) and an assortment of different colours. Now: $69.99 ($29.99 off) You will need to connect to a device that also supports LDAC, mind, although that’s not too difficult as it’s available on phones running Android 8.0 or later. To bolster the phone’s gaming abilities, Realme has also integrated dual graphite plates and a liquid cooling system to keep the GT Neo frosty under load.

They are available direct from Sony or a range of retailers in the UK including Amazon, Currys PC World, Argos and John Lewis. Following on from the above-leaked image, which was originally thought to be a first look at the standard Realme GT, well-known tipster IceUniverse served up a leaked document, claiming that the ‘Realme Race Pro’ (‘Race’ being the GT’s original codename) will instead be the device to feature the 125W charging tech, along with a 5000mAh battery, 12GB of LPDDR5 RAM and will run on Realme UI 2 (based on Oppo’s ColorOS 11), which means it too will run on top of Android 11. Most of the phone’s spec sheet leaked ahead of launch but the complete, official picture is as follows: Now: £439 (£110 off) Sony WF-1000XM4 battery life Now: £1,499.97 (£400 off) Now: £549 (£200 off) Now: £899.90 (£100 off) This doesn’t affect our editorial independence.

While the Realme GT was unveiled in China on 4 March, it wasn’t until 15 June that the phone launched in markets further afield, including the UK, Europe and India. Only the best deals on the best products handpicked by our expert editors It’s a great little case with an LED on the front, USB-C on the back and wireless charging. For iPhone users, the XM4 supports AAC.

Note: We may earn a commission when you buy through links on our site, at no extra cost to you. Chris has been reviewing all kinds of tech for nearly 10 years and specialises in audio. Now: £689 (£130 off) Now: £37 Clubcard Price (£13 off) Alex Walker-Todd The phone officially launched in China on 31 March and sports a near-identical spec sheet to its launch sibling, save for one principal difference: its chipset. Sound quality is one thing, but many people will be buying the XM4 for the active noise cancelling (ANC) and other smart features. The app can help you find the right ear-tip size by testing the fit and there’s an EQ if you want to customise the sound.

In China, the GT was the most affordable Snapdragon 888-powered phone to date, with an opening price of just CNY¥2,799 (approximately £310/€360/US$435), moving up to ¥2,899 following release. The XM4 never fell out, even when chasing my dog around the garden, which surprised me. Only the best deals on the best products handpicked by our expert editors The GT Neo is available from Realme’s own website and major Chinese online retailers.

Here’s the Realme Race/GT Pro’s rumoured spec sheet, as it stands: There’s no plastic in sight. Still, the XM4 are worth considering no matter what phone OS you’re loyal to. While there are earbuds that can go longer, these figures are still very respectable and, perhaps crucially, are better than Apple and Bose rivals. Alex has covered every phone, tablet and wearable Health & Beauty worth shouting about over the past eight years.

We get Reviews Editor Chris Martin’s Realme GT review in episode 74 of our weekly podcast Fast Charge, as well as thoughts on the Master Edition line: In the Headphone Connect app, you can register places from learned locations or just set your own via a map. Was: £596.33 upfront or £49.94 p/m Speak-to-Chat does what it says on the tin, so the earbuds can detect when you’re speaking in order to both pause your music and switch to ambient mode if it’s not already on. Now: £649 (£150 off) DSEE Extreme (Digital Sound Enhancement Engine) technology means the earbuds can upscale compressed audio in real-time. In the US, you can buy them from Amazon, BestBuy and Newegg.

Now: £744 (£355 off) Sony’s latest flagship wireless earbuds are here and the WF-1000XM4 arrive with high hopes of being the best you can buy, taking on Apple, Bose and plenty more. As for the design, it’s similar in style to the standard GT, featuring a contrasting strip running down the back, from the triple camera sensor. Now: $449 ($150 off with code Extra50) No sooner had Xu Qi Chase finished celebrating the original Realme GT’s unveiling on stage did he turn to tease the next entry in the GT family: the GT Neo. From: Virgin Media Furthermore, they support 360 Reality Audio which is Sony’s spatial audio technology for a surround sound experience.

Now: £679 (£120 off) Realme X9 Pro Master Edition collage 1 Source WhyLab Weibo Importantly, they are 10% smaller than the previous gen and weigh 7.3g each. Only the best deals on the best products handpicked by our expert editors The GT Explorer Master Edition, meanwhile, ups the ante with a more capable Snapdragon 870 and a camera led by an OIS-supported Sony IMX766 sensor Both new flavours of Master Edition sport aesthetics created by Japanese designer, Naoto Fukasawa – who has an existing partnership with Realme, based on previous Master Edtion devices. It almost goes without saying that the headphones support digital assistants – Alexa and Google – but there are still more smart features to talk about, with talk being an apt word.

On the outside of the buds are touch-sensitive buttons that work really well and although it’s not a higher rating, the IPX4 water resistance should be enough for most people, meaning they can cope with splashes and sweat. Now: $99.99 ($50 off) Now: $799 ($200 off)

Sony WF-1000XM4 review

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p>By Chris Martin, Reviews Editor Chris Martin| 21 Jul 2021 As you might expect, Sony’s flagship earbuds come with a flagship price. Fast charging means you can get an hour of playback from a short five-minute charge. ⚡️ Narzo Series lands very soon Realme GT press image crop I tested the XM4 earbuds with a range of devices and audio sources and they simply sound amazing whatever you decide to hit play on. Realme X9 Pro Master Edition leak back close Source WhyLab Weibo If you’re still unsure about a pair of buds check our best wireless earbuds chart for a selection. Now: £794 (£305 off) Look out for him on Tech Advisor’s YouTube channel. As we’ve become accustomed to with Sony headphones, the noise-cancelling technology is insanely good and arguably the best you can get.

I’ve tested the black colour but you can choose silver if you like, with both sporting a gold trim. The XM4 support the LDAC codec which can transfer three times more data than conventional Bluetooth and enables Hi-Res Audio Wireless. Now: £1,029 (£120 off) Only the best deals on the best products handpicked by our expert editors Gone is the elongated oval shape of the WF-1000XM3, replaced with a circular bud with a bump on the side where the ear tip protrudes. Now: £641 (£258 off) And let me tell you, Sony has not held back here. Now: Up to $550 off (With free Galaxy Buds 2) The Realme GT Master Edition features the following specs, including a Qualcomm Snapdragon 778G chipset, alongside a street photography mode developed in partnership with Ricoh and a street shooting filter courtesy of Nomo Cam: Now: $59.95 ($40 off) Realme GT Neo press image One of the earliest expected features of the GT was blisteringly-fast 125W ‘UltraDart’ fast charging, so when it was discovered that the GT’s fast charging only topped out at 65W, many were left wondering which devices would debut Realme’s UltraDart charging tech.

On top of top-notch sound quality and noise cancelling as standard, the XM4 are packed to the rafters with additional tech and smart features. Not to be outdone, Realme also stepped up with the March release of its new performance flagship phone, the Realme GT. The Realme GT Neo switches out the standard GT’s fundamental selling point – its powerful Snapdragon 888 SoC – for MediaTek’s fresh-faced Dimensity 1200 silicon (the same chip you’ll find powering the excellent OnePlus Nord 2). Now: From £21 per month Now: $599 ($130 off) Learn more.

The list of features goes on with Speak-to-Chat, ear detection and more. Now: £759.21 (£189.79 off) Realme Race leaked image You’ve got to have the cash to splash, but if you do then you really can’t get better than the Sony WF-1000XM4 for wireless earbuds. Realme GT Neo teaser image As part of Qualcomm’s annual Tech Summit in late 2020, we were introduced to its next flagship-tier mobile chip: the Snapdragon 888, and manufacturers – including Realme – clamoured to shout about their upcoming phones powered by this hot new silicon.

According to the Taiwanese chipmaker, its latest 5G-capable flagship 6nm chip serves as the successor to the Dimensity 1000+ and sports 1 + 3 + 4 octa-core architecture with support for up to 168Hz high refresh rate displays. Hidden under the stealthy shell is a lot of tech to make this happen including Sony’s Integrated Processor V1 which, in part, reduces distortion. However, the WF-1000XM4 come with so many extra smart features that they really stand out from the crowd.

Chris Martin Now: $499.99 ($50 off) As mentioned earlier the case now has Qi wireless charging making it easier to top them up. Realme X9 Pro Master Edition collage 2 Source WhyLab Weibo Sony has proven that size isn’t everything by sticking with 6mm drivers when you can get earbuds with drivers twice the size, or even bigger. If you are familiar with Sony’s previous earbuds, you’ll notice that the XM4 introduce an overhauled design.

The 8GB RAM SKU arrived as an AliExpress exclusive, complete with a discounted early bird price of just €369 – running from 21 June to 25 June – after which the price rose to a (still-competitive) €449, making it the most affordable Snapdragon 888-powered phone on the market to date. From: Laptops Direct I found getting the buds in and out effortless. Their back covers resemble suitcases, formed from 3D sculpted vegan leather, laid in strips that create bands of relief across each phone’s rear; meant to “symbolise the joys of travelling", according to Fukusawa.

There’s still more to learn about whether the GT Pro will ever see the light of day, but we’ll update this feature whenever relevant information comes to light. Realme GT Master Edition press image

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