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Sony WH-1000XM4 review: As good as it gets

Small improvements add up to a better overall experience

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The Sony-WH1000XM line has been much hyped and it’s for a good reason. Ask anyone who’s ever used or reviewed these headphones and they’ll tell you how it’s one of, if not, the best they’ve ever used. The same is true for its latest version — the Sony WH-1000XM4.

It maintains the simple and sleek design

The red marker to quickly point which is right or left is also still here

The product’s name is visible on either side so you don’t mistake it for the earlier versions

On the left side you’ll find the power button and the custom button that, by default, triggers your preferred Voice Assistant

You have the USB port for charging and 3.5mm jack for when you want to stay wired

There’s a sensor inside the left ear cup so it knows right away when you take it off to pause music and conserve battery

And it still comes with this equally nice and sleek case

It’s also pretty bendy like the WH-1000XM3, but we don’t recommend you twist it like this often

Sony pretty much improved everything it could possibly improve on save for the name. To answer your questions about the device, Rodneil and CJ share their experiences while using the headphones.

Rodneil (L) going back to the next track and CJ (R) summoning the voice assistant

Oh and about the name, for brevity we’re mostly going to refer to the WH-1000XM4 as just the XM4. We’ll also do the same for other devices in the same line, i.e. WH-1000XM3 to XM3.

What new feature on the XM4 were you most excited about? 

Rodneil: I wouldn’t exactly say excited but the ability to pair with two devices simultaneously was a long-time coming feature and I’m glad it finally made it to the XM4. Although, it’s prudent to point out that using the multi-device pairing feature will disable LDAC on phones that support it. That said, it still sounds amazing even with this turned off.

In case you didn’t know, LDAC is Sony’s proprietary audio coding technology which essentially transmits higher quality audio with less data and compression. Most flagship phones support this feature.

I imagine the Speak-to-Chat feature would work great if you’re out and about. However, since I am currently in isolation, the only thing it did was highlight how my voice doesn’t really sound good when I try to sing-along to TWICE’s songs. 😑

CJ: Honestly, I thought Sony did such a great job with the XM3 that I couldn’t think of anything they could have possibly added to the XM4. But using the XM4 over the last week, there’s a few new features that I really value.

As Rodneil mentioned, the ability to pair with two devices simultaneously is probably the most appreciated, even though it disables LDAC.

Funny enough, for me, the new Speak-to-Chat and Ambient Sound Controls turned out to be something I found incredibly useful. It’s like I’m wearing “Smart” headphones.

The XM4 will detect when you’re walking around outside and tune down the noise cancellation to allow you to hear ambient sounds like cars passing by. But most impressive of all, though a little gimmicky at times, it can now detect when you’re speaking and will turn down the noise cancellation and volume.

Pretty handy when you want to stop by that coffee shop to get your morning coffee on your way to work in the morning. Of course, if you find these features too buggy, you can switch them off in the Sony Headphones app.

Where and when would you typically use these headphones? 

Rodneil: Pre-pandemic, I would put it on to zone out of the workplace and zone in on whatever I’m working on. Now that we’re in a new normal and I’m working alone at my place, I mostly use headphones during video calls and as accessories when shooting smartphones haha.

But anything with noise-cancelling, for me, is extremely helpful in maintaining focus. I usually put these on when I’m about to go on a writing marathon. I’ve been pretty scatter-brained the past few months and having headphones with ANC really helps me lock in.

Just looking out the window, pondering my life choices while tuning out the world

I also recently downloaded the DLC for Marvel’s Spider-Man on the PS4 and have used the XM4 while gaming. Immersive might be an understatement to describe the experience. It sounds even better on certain other games that really pay a lot of attention to sound.

CJ: Thankfully Malaysia has gotten back to some sort of normality so we’re all out and about right now.

The XM4 is great for my morning commutes to work and back home, be it via the LRT or a GrabCar with a really chatty driver. I’m really antisocial in the mornings and I can’t handle conversations. With the XM4, wear them, switch them on, and the active noise cancellation blocks everything out. You’re on your own private island in the middle of nowhere, just you and your music — it’s amazing.

But that being said, pre-pandemic, the main reason I’d get these headphones would have been for traveling. Long flights, or even a long bus ride, are so much easier to deal with when you have a good pair of noise cancelling headphones. With the crazy long battery life, the great noise cancellation, and the solid audio quality, the XM4 is more than equipped to handle it.

Have you used this during calls, zoom meetings? Did the person on the other line think you sounded okay?

Rodneil: I’m mostly just listening in the handful of calls and meetings I attended while I had these. But on a couple of calls that I had to speak, the other person on the line said I sounded… okay.

I called the same person using a much cheaper pair of TWS earphones but that one had the stem design which had mics. Those mics picked up my voice better than the ones on the WH-1000XM4 and they’re a fraction of the XM4’s price.

However, they can’t hold a candle to the XM4’s sound quality. Just know that these were made primarily for listening and noise-cancelling. The mics on the XM4 are decent but the quality for calls leaves room for improvement.

CJ: Same here actually. They’re just… okay for voice calls. But then, with these headphones they’re all about the audio quality, for listening to music.

I don’t think microphone quality should be high up on your radar of expectations with any of these sorts of high-end ANC headphones.

If you have the XM3, should you upgrade to this?

Rodneil: It’s been over a year since I used the XM3 and I would say that for the most part, you’re getting pretty much a comparable quality performance. Despite the long gap between the devices, the XM4 feels like a refinement of the XM3 instead of a full-on upgrade.

If your only concern is getting top-notch noise-cancellation along with the cleanest, fullest sound you can experience from headphones then the XM3 is still a fine choice. It’s now cheaper wherever you can get Sony headphones and you’re only missing a few bells and whistles like Speak-to-Chat and marginal improvements in overall quality.

CJ: Likewise, I think if you have the XM3, there’s no reason to upgrade to the XM4.

In fact, thanks to the XM4 launching, prices for the XM3 have actually dropped quite a bit, making them even better value for money right now since they are still one of the best ANC headphones out there.

Like Rodneil said, the XM4 is more like a refinement of the XM3. If you’re not on a budget, the XM4 is by far the best ANC headphones right now, and really easy to recommend.

How can Sony top this?

Rodneil: For what it’s trying to be, the Sony WH-1000XM4 is probably as good as it gets. The noise cancellation is best-in-class and the sound quality is the type that will make you want to dance like an idiot.

I guess you can say Sony can tweak the design or add more colors. However, from the get-go it seems that’s not how these are being positioned. And Sony has an entirely different line if you want spunkier looking headphones.

Personally, I think it’s a great chance to reboot and rename (please, Sony, please) this line of headphones should the next one try something radically different while also maintaining everything we love about it.

CJ: Remember when I said I didn’t know how Sony could improve on the XM3? Well, I don’t know how Sony could possibly improve on the XM4 either. It has everything you or I could even want in a pair of noise cancelling headphones, and there’s really no flaw to speak of.

I know a lot of people have voiced their opinions on how Sony needs to innovate on their headphone design though, which would be the only way they could really improve on these.

Maybe they could explore a different, cooler design on an alternate model, kind of like how Bose dropped the new Bose 700NC headphones after the last Bose QC35 II headphones.

Questions from Matchketeers

Michael Lascano — Would like to know if noise cancellation is better for virtual meetings vs bose (700 NC)? 

Dornak del Rosario – Microphone comparison of xm3 and xm4 when doing calls.

CJ: IMHO between the Bose 700 and the Sony XM4, I really think the XM4 is the better all around package. Better audio quality, better noise cancellation, better “smart” features. They’re almost the same price but the Sony’s are way better value for money.

For virtual meetings though, I’d wager they sound pretty much identical. It’s only when it comes down to the music listening that you’d hear the difference in soundstage.

Michael Joshua Ano-os —  Does it sound better when playing music on YouTube? 

Rodneil: It’s certainly better than any other headphones or earphones I’ve used in the past. That’s true whether I’m playing music from YouTube, Spotify, or any other app.

Is this your GadgetMatch?

The Sony WH-1000XM4 is priced as follows: 

  • Philippines — PhP 19,999
  • Malaysia — MYR 1,599
  • Singapore — SG$ 549 
  • US — US$ 349.99 

That’s pretty much the launch price of every other headphone in the same line. For some people, that’s a big ask for a pair of headphones. The thing is, you’re not getting just any other pair of headphones.

The Sony WH-1000XM4 is easily the best choice as the premium, everyday headphones. It’s the perfect travel companion — that is, for when we can all actually travel again — and is just a stellar package of sleek and subtle design, astonishing sound quality, and unmatched noise cancellation. You can’t go wrong with these.


In Singapore, Sony is running a trade-in promotion for the WH-1000Xm4. Customers can have SG$ 80 off by trading selected noise cancelling models. Click here to find out the models that qualify and for more details.

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Razer now has its own gaming finger sleeves

Keeping your thumbs dry

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Razer has somehow transformed into the ruler of gaming lifestyle accessories. After releasing treasure troves of peripherals and devices, the company has slowly branched off into stranger and stranger niches including toasters and SUVs. Razer is now blending peripheral with accessory in its latest product: Razer Gaming Finger Sleeves.

If you haven’t heard of finger sleeves before, think gloves but only for your fingers — or, in this case, finger. The Razer Gaming Finger Sleeves are meant to be worn on your thumbs. It’s specifically made for mobile gamers.

Made with a mixture of sliver fiber fabric, nylon, and spandex, the sleeves can keep your thumbs dry for serious gaming on your phone. Despite wrapping your thumbs, Razer says that the fabric is still breathable at 0.8 millimeters. They’re also a universal fit for any type of thumb.

Mobile gaming is one of the most popular forms of entertainment especially in Asian countries like the Philippines. Playing on your phone can easily whittle away the time spent in traffic or outdoors. However, since some countries are too warm and humid, sweat can just as easily accumulate and create an unsightly portrait on our otherwise pristine phone screens.

The Razer Gaming Finger Sleeves are out now and retails for US$ 9.99.

SEE ALSO: Razer unveils its Phantom Keycap Upgrade Set

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The Pulse 3D Wireless Headset now sports Midnight Black

Nicely paired with the DualSense controller and your “Midnight Black” PS5

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Pulse 3D Wireless

Back in June, Sony announced two additional colorways for its next-generation DualSense controller. Apart from the classic white, the PlayStation 5’s newest controller also received a Midnight Black and Cosmic Red. This time around, they’ve extended the invitation to another PS5 peripheral, the Pulse 3D Wireless Headset.

Much like the DualSense controller, the headset will also come in Midnight Black. Other than this, everything else is pretty much the same for the Pulse 3D Headset. In essence, it still gives you deeper, more immersive 3D sounds to games that fully take advantage of this. It’s just that now, you have other color options to choose from. Whether or not this also comes in Cosmic Red, Sony has yet to announce that.

It’s worth noting that included in the PS5’s second major update is an equalizer for the 3D Pulse. It adds another layer of control for players. This lets them enjoy the game precisely the way they want to. But if tweaking isn’t your thing, there are also three presets: Standard, Bass Boost, or Shooter.

The Pulse 3D Wireless Headset in Midnight Black will be available on October 29 for PhP 5,590/ SG$ 149 / MYR 469/ DR1,699,000 / THB3,490 / VND2,699,000.

SEE ALSO: How to use the DualSense controller with PC, Mac

 

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Xiaomi Pad 5, Mi Smart Projector 2 go official

Along with other AIoT products

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Xiaomi has always been rich with AIoT products. You need it, they have it. And now they’ve expanded their lineup even further with Xiaomi Pad 5 and Mi Smart Projector 2 just to name a few.

Xiaomi Pad 5

Meant for work, school, and then play, the Xiaomi Pad 5 is an all around tablet. You’re getting an 11-inch WQHD+ 120Hz display so you’ll definitely enjoy tapping on this slate. It’s powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 860 processor for all your work and play needs.

Taking work even further, you can pair it with the Xiaomi Smart Pen. Its 4096 pressure sensitivity and 240Hz touch sampling rate hopes to emulate a natural writing experience.

Mi Smart Projector 2

If you wanna enjoy media on a larger screen than the 11-inch Xiaomi Pad 5, you can consider getting the Mi Smart Projector 2.

It has a 1920 x 1080 Full HD resolution in a compact size. It’s a handy, portable, plug and play device with Dolby Audio support. The device can quickly project a perfectly square screen on most walls. It also runs on a certified Android TV system with built-in Google Assistant.

Mi Smart Band 6 NFC

Xiaomi takes its latest smart band further by adding NFC. It still has all the monitoring tools you know and love like SpO2 function, sleep tracker, and stress-level detection. And all the workout and exercise functions are still present.

What’s new with NFC? Xiaomi collaborated with Mastercard with a focus on contactless payment. Payments can now be fast, secure, and convenient. No need to pullout your card or cash. It now also has Amazon Alexa built-in.

Xiaomi Mesh System AX3000 (2-Pack)

Having connection problems at home. Have no fear, the Xiaomi Mesh System AX3000 is here. Two of them. It offers a strong and reliable Dual-Band Wi-Fi 6 network coverage of up to 4,000 sq.ft. It also supports a maximum number of connections up to 254 devices.

Pricing and availability

The Xiaomi Pad 5 will be available in two colors: Cosmic Gray and Pearl White.

Xiaomi Pad 5

  • 6GB+128GB — EUR 349
  • 6GB+256GB — EUR 399

Mi Smart Projector 2 — EUR 599
Mi Smart Band 6 NFC — EUR 54.9
Xiaomi Mesh System AX3000 (2-Pack) — EUR 149

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