It’s the audio war of our time: Sony vs Bose. Bose has an incredible reputation for sound, but the new Sony headphones might just be better.
Luke Hopewell is a gadget veteran with over a decade of experience reviewing everything from speakers to headphones, TVs to movies and everything in-between.
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Sony vs Bose: our take
Both headphones are great, and you won’t have a bad experience no matter which you pick.
If it was our money, for example, the Sony WH-1000XM4 come out ahead. Again, only just.
The Sony app is smarter, the noise-cancelling is better and the overall experience is better by a nose.
Bose 700 noise-cancelling headphones
The Bose 700 noise-cancelling headphones are the side of this equation that stays the same. Nevertheless, they’re still pretty incredible.
Their svelte design takes the podium for the best-looking product Bose has ever designed. The telescoping metal arms feel sturdy and the cups sit flatter on your head than the chunkier Sony headphones.
The sound stage is just as nifty as the design, with beautiful, crisp sound pumped through two very comfortable cups.
Via the Bose Music app, there are 11 different noise-cancelling settings and simple bass/mid/treble. These allow you to customise your listening experience, but there are no presets or audio effects here to augment the experience at all.
Sony WH-1000XM4 noise-cancelling headphones
Sony is back with another edition of its incredible headphones, the WH-1000XM4. But even if you squint, you may struggle to tell the new model apart from its older siblings.
The WH-1000XM4 headphones don’t just look similar to the previous models. They look identical. I’ve done a blind test on more than a few folks now, and nobody can tell the difference.
Those similarities really carry over to the sound quality, too. The WH-1000XM4 is an absolute apex predator when it comes to noise cancelling and sound quality. It’s a gorgeous stage that situates three-dimensional sound all around you.
The over-ear cups are slightly larger than the previous model (albeit imperceptibly), making them more comfortable to wear for long periods of time.
And I really mean long periods of time: the battery life is unbelievable. I’ve been using the WH-1000XM4 daily for a couple of hours over the last few months, and I’ve only charged it twice. The way it sips power boggles the mind.
The only other real change between the two is the addition of Bluetooth 5.0. The new platform allows for multiple device pairing simultaneously.
That means you can have your WH-1000XM4 connected to both your laptop and your smartphone at once. And, for example, not have to fiddle to switch the audio between each when a phone call comes in.
Sony WH-1000XM4 vs Bose 700: which is better?
Let’s get one thing straight. No matter which headphones you pick out of these two, you won’t have a bad experience.
The Bose 700 are the best-looking headphones the company has ever produced, and they definitely look better than the still-chunky Sony WH series.
That being said, the Sony WH-1000XM3s did edge out the Bose 700 the last time we tested the two. The same is still true of the new Sony WH-1000XM4, still narrowly beating the Bose 700.
In our tests, we found that the Sony WH-1000XM4 performed better than the Bose 700 for noise-cancelling, as well as customisability.
Sound on the Bose 700 is near-perfect, but we still found the Sony Headphones app gave us more choice when it came to tweaking the sound for the best performance.