As an audio editor, sound quality is everything, even when choosing headphones to take with you on your travels. But there are other factors to consider when looking for the best performance on the move.
The Sony WH-1000XM4 headphones may have been around for a while, but they’re still my favorite travel headphones. The new He, who replaced the XM4 last year, confesses to feeling a little guilty about not liking the WH-1000XM5 version, but he has solid reasons to make them his travel choice.
First, it’s foldable, so it’s very practical to slip into your work bag or travel bag, and it also has a much smaller protective case. Also, judging by the number of companions who have older versions of Sony’s XM series headphones on their heads on my commute, I’m not alone.
- The Sony WH-1000XM4 headphones are priced at $349 / $350 / AU$438 on Sony’s website. (opens in new tab)It is also available from online retailers such as Amazon. (opens in new tab)best buy (opens in new tab)and Walmart (opens in new tab)and regularly discounted.
Choosing headphones to accompany my regular work commute to and from Tom’s Guide office, or long-distance trips, was not a decision I made entirely consciously. My selection came as part of my daily testing routine while evaluating new headphone designs over the past 12 months. Eventually, I found myself coming back to this pair of headphones over and over again. Due to their high performance and practical reliability, these headphones have become my go-to travel companions.
Look around airports, streets and train stations and it’s easy to see that the best headphones and earbuds are essential accessories for travel and how you spend your time. Headphones have become an integral part of our entertainment experience. We download our favorite shows and movies to our best tablets and best phones to kill time on flights, listen to our favorite songs offline while walking to the office, and mind the noise around us. With the best pair of noise canceling headphones, a pair of quality headphones can make a big difference on your journey.
What I Look for in Travel Headphones
Luckily, there are plenty of different headphones to try, but most headphone buyers have one shot at choosing the perfect travel headphones. We recommend that you consider the function.
For me, first and foremost, any pair of headphones should sound great. You can even compromise on sound quality and read a book to pass the time on a long flight or train journey. They have to offer structure, and robust connectivity. Oh, and they have to look pretty good too.
Battery life is also an important factor to consider, along with whether you need a set of headphones with some kind of noise-cancelling technology to block out the sounds of other travelers.
As it happens, the Sony WH-1000XM4 headphones are highly rated overall, with effective noise cancellation and a battery life that runs up to at least 30 hours of playtime.
Sony WH-1000XM4: Control app connection
I try new wireless headphones all the time on the train to work, and I can’t count the number of times I can’t connect to the co-branded control app I’ve downloaded to my playback device. Some apps are essential for adjusting noise canceling levels or tweaking EQ settings to get a sound balance that suits your taste. However, these are often useless for my travels due to poor network and Wi-Fi connectivity.
As you can see, some control apps need to connect to an external server over the internet using Wi-Fi or mobile networks, similar to Bluetooth wireless connections between playback devices that transmit the audio signal to the headphones. , the signal may be unstable. Travel by public transport.
Then, of course, there are firmware updates, which are a regular necessity for my taste, and often seem to pop up as soon as I start listening to headphones on long journeys.
So far, Sony’s Headphone Connect app has been pretty reliable. I’ve never been plagued with connectivity issues or firmware updates during my daily commute. In fact, on my way home on the train, I was able to perform all of the audio customization tweaks I suggested in How to Make Sony Headphones Sound Even Better, without any app connectivity issues at all.
Sony WH-1000XM4: Excellent comfort
If you wear headphones on long journeys, they should be comfortable. All in all, the WH-1000XM4’s comfort and fit have been great for me. You can easily spend the majority of your travel time on your head without the ear discomfort of the clamping force or ear pads. However, I often give my ears an hour or so to rest to prevent listening fatigue and fatigue from developing. It can be used without problems every day during the three consecutive holidays.
I found the headband extender to be flexible enough for a snug fit. The plush cushions on the ear pads are like resting your head on a soft pillow. Larger earcup cutouts are more breathable and prevent moisture build-up during long listening sessions.
Sony WH-1000XM4: A Popular Travel Choice
After extensive listening to compare the XM4 headphones to the next-generation WH-1000XM5 flagship version, we found that the older version remained popular given its superior sound and ANC performance, construction and practical foldable design. It’s easy to see why.
The new flagship headphones should be commended for moving to the XM series and bringing environmental certification to their design, but they’re not very practical from a travel perspective.And Sony and many others agree. It looks like you are.
Despite being superseded, Sony’s XM4 headphones are still available and are among the most popular travel headphones you’ll find on your commute. I know some of my colleagues in the Tom’s Guide office feel the same way. These are the best travel companions. It helps you switch off and relax, making your travel time to your destination faster.