Tuesday, June 28, 2022

Bose QuietComfort Earbuds vs Sony WF-1000XM4

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Bose’s QuietComfort earbuds were a surprise hit when they debuted in late September 2021. The earbuds easily hovered at the top of the noise-canceling pile, outpacing everything else in the field when it comes to filtering out the distractions of the outside world to provide pure sound. Peace

Of course, everything must pass, and Bose’s undeniable supremacy came to an end with the release of the anticipated follow-up to Sony’s WF-1000XM4, the trend-setting, game-changing WF-1000XM3. With the same $280 MSRP, and similarly great noise-canceling technology, the latest offerings from Bose and Sony are natural rivals. But which one is the best? More importantly, which one is right for you? Check out our side-by-side comparison below to find out.

Buy Bose QuietComfort Earbuds on Amazon

Buy Sony WF-1000XM4 on Amazon

design and fit

credit: Reviewed/Ryan Vaniata

The Bose QC earbuds are elegantly designed, but also big enough for modern buds.

Perhaps the most remarkable thing about the QuietComfort Earbuds—after their noise cancellation, of course—is their striking design. These are heavy buds for the 2021 landscape, measuring 1.5 inches in length and weighing 8.5 grams each. The wireless charging case barely fits in most pant pockets, and there’s also a clumsy mechanical button to open. That doesn’t mean the buds aren’t pretty, with shimmering plastic exteriors and multi-point ear tips for a secure and comfortable fit. Like Sony’s rival buds, they also offer IPX4 water resistance for rain and sweat protection.

Although Sony’s XM4s are a bit bulky on their own, they still weigh just over 7.4 grams. They break away from the XM3’s tab design for a more traditional earbuds look, with copper-colored beads that house microphones. They also have distinctive ear tips, in this case foam ones that can be squeezed to fit into your ear canal.

Some reviewers have noted that while these ear tips can eventually wear out quicker than traditional silicone tips, they provide a snug and comfortable fit and excellent passive noise isolation. The wireless charging case is also much smaller than both the Bose and XM3 Buds, making them super easy to carry around.

Sony_WF-1000XM4_earbud_interior_in-hand

credit: Reviewed/Ryan Vaniata

Foam ear tips create passive noise isolation, while sensors allow for auto-pause and play.

Although both earbuds sound good, the Sony XM4’s lighter, more pocketable design wins out in this department.

our choice: Sony WF-1000XM4

Features and Controls

Both the earbuds have a solid list of features, most of which are accessed through their respective apps. One unfortunate feature missing for either pair? Multi-point pairing, which means you can’t easily switch from phone to computer without much effort. This is an area in which our favorite earbuds, the Jabra Elite 85t, have them beat.

Bose QuietComfort earbuds wear closest

credit: Reviewed/Ryan Vaniata

The QuietComfort earbuds offer easy swipe controls on the right earpiece for volume.

Bose’s app falls short on common features like EQ and Earbuds Finder. But there’s an impressive amount of fine-tuning available for functions like in-ear sensor detection (on/off), automatic transparency mode when taking calls, and even how much you can hear yourself on a call. You can customize the level of noise cancellation and transparency modes (i.e. how much outside sound you let out) for each of three “Favorite” modes, from 0-10, which are then selectable via the earbuds’ on-board touch sensor. are eligible.

Coming to the touch sensor, Bose does a decent job, especially after the brand added the ability to control the volume by swiping up or down with the right earbud. One weird omission is that there’s no way to leave the song behind.

Sony has its own standout omission (for a pair of earbuds at this price, anyway): there’s no earbuds finder here, and there’s also no way to add onboard volume controls without losing the other controls. If you want volume control, you’ll have to skip the onboard staples like play/pause or swapping between ambient, off, and noise canceling. Clearly, those aren’t controls you want to disable, so volume just takes a back seat. Surprisingly, there’s no way to adjust the noise-canceling level in the XM4—the maximum you get.

Sony_WF-1000XM4__fit

credit: Reviewed/Ryan Vaniata

The Sony duo has plenty of features, but you get to select volume over the other key controls.

Sony’s earbuds are still flush with features, though, with Sony hits like push-to-talk to dim music and turning on Transparency Mode for Quick Chat, a decked-out EQ, Sony’s 360 Reality Audio feature, and the ability to use Includes parameters such as capacity. One bud at a time (Bose also offered this). There’s even Sony’s Adaptive Sound Control, which is designed to learn your location patterns and adjust ambient sound options accordingly, though I find it easier to adjust manually.

Considering both earbuds have some great features and their own notable omissions (for their steep price, anyway) it’s a tie.

our choice: draw

noise cancellation

Bose Quiet Comfort Wear Away

credit: Reviewed/Ryan Vaniata

Both the earbuds offer great, competition-crushing noise cancellation.

That’s another draw (spoiler alert) because both of these buds are fantastic at blocking out the world around you. If you want to go deeper, there are a few minor differences: Sony’s buds don’t. Completely Block out low drones like Bose, though a small touch of music takes care of that. Sony’s buds, on the other hand, do a little better at blocking out high-frequency sounds, to the point where you can say goodbye to almost all distractions with music at moderate volumes. You can’t go wrong with either pair here; Both cream rest area.

our choice: draw

sound display

Sony_WF-1000XM4_Listening

credit: Reviewed/Ryan Vaniata

The WF-1000XM4’s sound is one of the best you’ll hear in the genre.

There is no debate when it comes to sound performance. Sure, Bose’s earbuds do a good job. They deliver clarity, good balance, well-defined bass, and while their upper register can be a bit screaming, it’s a good hearing that will satisfy most ears.

Sony’s WF-1000XM4 is on another level though. The sound is taut, clean, powerful, and brilliantly brings everything to life. Unlike Bose’s buds, which are limited to SBC and Apple’s AAC Bluetooth codecs, the WF-1000XM4 includes Sony’s LDAC for higher resolution listening with compatible Android phones (though not aptX). To be honest, the more I listen to XM4s, the more I love them. In fact, while I originally put Sennheiser’s great Momentum 2 right over them, it’s close enough that I’d take my favorite audio tour. They are so good.

our choice: Sony WF-1000XM4

battery life

Sony’s duo crushes the competition when it comes to next-generation battery life, at 8 hours per charge (3 hours more than Apple’s AirPods Pro), and that’s with ANC and/or transparency modes. They are rated for up to 12 hours of duty-free listening without it. For their part, Bose’s QuietComfort Earbuds max out at a mid-but-respectable 6 hours with active noise cancellation or transparency mode. Both Buds offer two extra charges in the case, but certainly if that extra charge equals more listening time, it’s a better value.

our choice: Sony WF-1000XM4

Sony_WF-1000XM4_buds_and_case_on_stump

credit: Reviewed/Ryan Vaniata

And the winner is…

Sony’s earbuds are our clear winners here. While both pairs are the king (or queen) of cancellation, the Sony WF-1000XM4’s superior battery life, sleek design, and jaw-dropping sound quality are also great to pass for money.

If you’re a fan of Bose and you love their sound signature, the QuietComfort Earbuds are still a great option, especially considering how easy the onboard controls (volume included) are to use, how much they wear out. are comfortable, and of course, how good their noise cancellation really is. But for our money, when it comes to top noise cancelers, Sony’s latest takes the brass ring.

Buy Bose QuietComfort Earbuds on Amazon

Buy Sony WF-1000XM4 on Amazon

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