Sony WH-1000XM4 Sony WH-1000XM4

Accessories

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

Small improvements add up to a better overall experience

Published

on

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.

Accessories

Machenike: Best budget peripherals?

Worth it?

Published

on

By

I’ve been wanting to get myself a mechanical keyboard to slowly work towards building a PC from scratch. Of course, this is sensible considering I have a laptop to plug them into. You know, getting the pretentious privileged feel of not struggling amidst a world still in shambles?

So, while the hunt was dreadful on hypothetical money I didn’t have, we stumbled upon an affordable alternative that we didn’t quite expect. But, in a good way–I think.

What is Machenike?

Machenike is a Chinese professional gaming hardware brand. It’s the first established esports hardware brand in China with investors like Haier and partners like Alibaba Groups. Now, Machenike has its fair share of rounds online. But, it’s getting a lot of traction especially when people are looking to upgrade their work-from-home set-ups. With affordability, performance, and aesthetic seemingly in check, are their peripherals really worth the buy? Here are the ones we tried out:

Machenike K7 mechanical keyboard

Let’s put facts out there: there’s no escaping plastic with peripherals. From god-awful unachievable to wallet-saving prices, most peripherals are mainly made of plastic. So, don’t act all surprised to find that Machenike’s mechanical keyboard line is mostly plastic. Considering its price-point, this is kind of a steal.

The Machenike K7 comes in four variants depending on the keyboard color (RGB or Ice-blue) and switch color (blue or black). The keycaps have a matte texture with opaque keycap letters, characters, and controls to show off your pick of color.

Design-wise, the keyboard shows-off its minimalism, unicorn-vomit rainbow aesthetics, and multi-functionality. You can connect it via cable or Bluetooth and play around with RGB settings.

Every click is audible and only requires a reasonable amount of actuation force. Which, you’ll need to make sure you double-check before ordering one (the blue switch is 60g and the black switch is 80g).

Is this the mechanical keyboard for you?

Overall, the keyboard looks and feels great despite low-quality keycaps and unbranded switches. So if you’re looking for a mechanical keyboard but are strapped for cash, this is a really good one.

It’s got great features, a simple and sleek design, and reliable performance under its belt. So, it’s definitely a keeper. The Machenike K7 is on sale on Lazada for just PhP 1,498.

Machenike M6

Machenike M6 and M7 gaming mouse

The Machenike M6 is a wired ultra-light gaming mouse with RGB capability. The mouse comes with four variants depending on color (white or black) and mouse sensitivity (6400 DPI or 16000 DPI).

Meanwhile, the Machenike M7 is a wireless gaming mouse with RGB capability and up to 10 days of battery life. The M7 has three variants depending on mouse sensitivity (2400 DPI or 16000 DPI), OMRON switches (10M or 20M), and battery (600mAh or 1000mAh).

Machenike M7

As for design, the Machenike M6 gaming mouse has a unique honey-comb design that lets the Machenike’s logo and mouse internals peek through. It strikes out more than the M7’s minimalistic black design with RGB accents at the bottom. Both mice are made of plastic but, that comes with the price-point. They’re both minimalistic in design and have customizable features at the bottom.

Overall, they’re both reliable performance-wise and can deliver on accurate use and play. But personally, the M6 is a bit too light for my liking which is more on preference than anything else.

Are these the gaming mouse for you?

Overall, the Machenike M6 and M7 both deliver on your gaming mouse needs despite cheap components. It’s a matter of preference on wired or wireless mouse (although the M7 has a wired option), aesthetics, and weight. So, if you need an affordable gaming mouse, this is definitely a good pick.

The Machenike M6 is on sale on Lazada for PhP999 and the M7 for PhP 1,199

More wins on top of the price

As affordable as the Machenike peripherals are, there are more wins for the brand on delivering your orders within 3 days. This typically isn’t a win elsewhere on the planet but, knowing painful order waiting times on some tech essentials, this is a big fat W for the brand.

Continue Reading

Accessories

Nokia-branded audio products coming soon to the Philippines

Starting with the entry-level Nokia E3100 earbuds

Published

on

Nokia is not just about smartphones nowadays — it has its own laptop smart TVs, routers, and of course, audio products. Soon, Filipinos can get their hands on these audio products as RichGo — an official licensee of the Nokia brand for mobile accessories — brings them to the country’s shore this 2021.

The first of these audio products is the entry-level true wireless stereo (TWS) earbuds, Nokia E3100. With its launch price of PhP 1,999, it could be the cheapest TWS earbuds yet upon its launch. Despite the price, it offers rock-solid specs for casual listeners and work-from-home professionals. Inside both earbuds are 6 mm dynamic drivers and a 45 mAh battery rated for 2.5 listening hours. The case itself holds a 400 mAh battery for a total of 10 listening hours.

Nokia E3100 connects via Bluetooth 5.0 and charges via USB-C. It also supports auto-pairing function, as well as voice control through Siri or Google Assistant. One unique thing about the earbuds is their design, which features a five contrasting, multi-colored design. Plus, it also has IPX3 certification for weatherproofing, which is quite rare in its class.

Consumers eyeing their first TWS earbuds can snag the Nokia E3100 on March 3 through Shopee. Aside from the entry-level earbuds, other audio products from the Essential and Professional series lineup will launch in the Philippines as well. These audio products will also be available to buy in retail stores over the coming weeks.

Continue Reading

Accessories

OPPO unveils Enco X, flagship TWS earphones with ANC

AirPods Pro competitor?

Published

on

OPPO is dead serious about bringing quality audio experience for its users. That’s now more evident than ever with the launch of the OPPO Enco X.

The OPPO Enco X is the company’s flagship true wireless (TWS) earphones with Active Noise Cancellation (ANC) — a must for any flagship earphone. It was developed in partnership with Danish speaker manufacturer Dynaudio.

Hi-Fi quality

The Enco X features what OPPO calls the DBEE 3.0 Sound System. It’s a tech they developed with Dynaudio to create a coaxial dual-driver design. Essentially, it’s what enables the Enco X to produce high definition sound that’s well-around with some natural depth. The company also shared that the DBEE Sound System has been around since 2007 — it was a tech that they introduced in one of their mp3 players way back when that was still a thing.

Active Noise Cancellation

The Enco X has what OPPO calls the hybrid active noise cancellation. That means the feature is available in four different settings: max noise cancellation for maximum audio enjoyment during busy transit commutes; noise cancellation to soften noise in café or office environments; transparency mode for users to be aware of their surroundings without taking off their earphones; or simply turn off noise cancellation.

25 hours of Battery Life

With the charging case, it promises up to  25 hours of music playback or 15 hours of call time. Without the charging case, users can also enjoy 5.5 hours of music playback or 3.5 hours of call time. Even with max noise cancellation activated, the earphones will be able to last for four hours without the charging case or 20 hours with the charging case.

Intelligent Controls

The OPPO Enco X earphones are equipped with touch controls to easily skip to the next song or switch between the different noise cancellation modes. Users can double-tap either earpiece to skip to the next song or answer/end a call; slide up or down on either side of the earphones to control the volume; press and hold either side of the earphones for 1 second to switch between two selected noise reduction modes (by default, these are Transparency mode and max noise cancellation mode); and tap three times to activate Google Voice Assistant, Apple’s Siri, and Amazon Alexa.

Pricing and availability

The OPPO Enco X is available in Black and White. It will retail for for SG$ 259 and will be available in March at OPPO Concept Stores, OPPO’s Shopee and Lazada Flagship Stores and authorized retailers.

 

 

Continue Reading

Trending