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Sony WH-1000XM4 vs Bose 700 Noise-Canceling Headphones (2021): Which Is Better?

Updated on 14 August 2020: Users have been awaiting the release of the Sony WH-1000XM4, and Sony has finally released the much-awaited successor to the XM3s in the summer of 2020. How do the Sony WH-1000XM4s fare against one of the top-rated headphones from their rival, the Bose Noise Canceling Headphones 700? We compare the two in our thorough review below.

Sony WH-1000XM4 vs Bose 700 Noise-Canceling Headphones Comparison Chart

ModelSony WH-1000XM4Bose Noise Canceling Headphones 700
 Sony WH-1000XM4 Noise Cancelling HeadphonesBose Headphones 700
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at Walmart

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at Walmart

Dimensions 3.03″ x 7.2″7 x 9.94″2″ x 6.5″ x 8″
FoldableYesNo
Active Noise CancellationYesYes
ANC Levels311
Customizable EQYesNo
Runtime30 to 38 hoursUp to 20 hours
Recharge Time3 hours3 hours
Quick Charging10 minutes for 5 hours of runtime15 minutes for up to 3.5 hours of runtime
Bluetooth5.05.0
Multi-Point PairingYesYes
Audio CodecsSBC, AAC, LDACSBC, AAC
Touch ControlsYesYes
Voice ControlsYesYes
App ControlSony Headphones ConnectBose Music
WaterproofNoNo
Color OptionsBlack, SilverBlack, Luxe Silver, Soapstone

Design

The foldable Sony WH-1000XM4 feel slightly more comfortable than the Bose 700 Noise-Canceling Headphones

The XM4s (top, middle) have thicker ear pads that feel more plush and comfortable while the Bose 700 have a more sleek, elegant look

Right off the bat, the Bose 700 Noise Canceling Headphones are noticeably slimmer and sleeker than the bulky Sony WH-1000XM4. While both are comfortable and stay secure on the head without too much clamping, the XM4s win in the comfort department by a hair.

The XM4s and the Bose 700’s earcups are plush, well-padded, and comfortable, so they can be worn for hours on end. Many users find the Bose 700 earcups more comfortable than the Sony WH-1000XM3s, and Sony seem to have listened to this feedback. The XM4s now have slightly more breathable, wider earcups that won’t squeeze the ears.

While the Bose 700 may look more compact and sleek than the Sony XM4 at a glance, many may find the Sony to be more portable. The XM4s’ earcups are designed to fold inward, so it can fit in a smaller carrying case. On the other hand, the Bose Noise Canceling Headphone’s earcups can only be folded flat.

Noise Cancellation

The Sony XM4s have slightly better active noise-cancelling than the Bose 700 NoiseCancelling Headphones

While both deliver premium noise-canceling technology, Sony’s noise-cancelling edges out Bose’s

Both headphones command premium price tags that are justified by their topnotch noise-canceling features. The XM4s and the Bose 700 headphones fared well when tested against noisy environments. Thanks to their noise-cancelling capabilities and microphones, the caller on the other end of the link will still hear you loud and clear even if you’re in the middle of a bustling street. Having said that, the Bose 700 sounds slightly clearer than the Sony XM4s that tend to produce a faint static during calls.

With 11 ANC levels, the Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700s deliver impressive noise-canceling, but not on par with the Sony XM4 just yet. The Bose 700’s ANC settings let you completely muffle the sound around you or hear ambient sound. The Sony WH-1000XM4s also feature ambient sound that you can easily activate with a touch of an earcup. In addition, the XM4s can adju t the ANC depending on your features and the atmospheric pressure for when you’re on the plane.

Where the Bose NC 700 trumps the Sony headphones is in the microphone system department. The Bose Noise Canceling Headphones are equipped with an adaptive mic system made up of eight microphones that work together to significantly improve phone calls even when in a crowded place. On the other hand, the XM4s only have five.

Sound Quality

The Sony noise-canceling headphones offer EQ customization; the Bose NC 700 deliver a balanced sound profile.

Bose’s traditional neutral sound signature is consistent in its line of headphones

Known for its premium sound, the Bose brand doesn’t disappoint when it comes to audio quality. The Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 deliver the company’s traditional signature of warm bottom ends and slightly scooped mids. These wireless ANC headphones offer active EQ and top-notch bass response that’s not over the top and its clear instrument separation remains hard to beat.

Those who appreciate heavier bass and fully customizable EQ should go for the Sony WH-1000XM4 headphones. Whether you like a bass-heavy or more balanced sound signature, you won’t be disappointed with the Sony as its app lets you adjust the EQ settings to deliver the sound profile that you prefer. The Bose app doesn’t offer EQ customization just yet, but we’ll see if this feature will be available once they roll out software updates.

Set up and Controls

Both the Sony headphones and the Bose NC 700 feature touch, app, and voice controls

The Sony XM4 (left) and the Bose NC700 (right) have built-in Alexa and Google Assistant

Pairing the Sony XM4 and the Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 with your device is a smooth and straightforward process. The Sony WH-1000XM4 is equipped with Bluetooth 5.0, an upgrade from the 4.2 version found in the XM3. The Bose 700 headphones also use Bluetooth 5.0 for a quick and easy pairing process and great latency performance.

They are both compatible with smart assistants like Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, and Siri. The WH-1000XM4 takes it up a notch with its “Speak to Chat” feature. This lets you activate your smart assistant hands-free, unlike with the XM3s where you need to press a button to be able to prompt Alexa or Google Assistant.

Apart from using the controls in their respective apps, both the Sony and the Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 feature touch controls on their earcups. You can manage calls, adjust ANC levels, volume, mic settings, and more through the earcup’s responsive touchpads.

Additional Features

The Sony XM4 and Bose NC 700 allow multi-point pairing connection; the XM4s feature adjustable EQ settings and a longer battery life

The Sony WH-1000XM4, boast up to 30 hours of battery life

Both headphones support multi-point pairing connection. If, say, you’re watching a video on your tablet and you receive a phone call, you can switch to your mobile device and answer the call using your noise-canceling headphones.

When it comes to their battery capacity and runtime, the Bose 700 is behind even when compared to the Sony XM3s. At full charge, the Bose can be used for up to 20 hours and a quick 15-minute charge can give you up to 3.5 hours more. Meanwhile, the Sony WH-1000XM4 have a runtime of up to 30 hours with ANC on and 38 hours if it’s off. A quick 10-minute top-off will yield an impressive 5 hours extra battery life, perfect for when you’re in a rush.

Verdict

The Sony WH-1000XM4 are Sony’s best noise-cancelling headphones by far, but those who just want a great pair of NC headphones without the customizable EQ will find the Bose 700 enough

Both the Bose and Sony noise-cancelling headphones offer top-notch audio quality and features that are hard to match. Clearly, you can’t go wrong with either headphone. With that said, the Sony WH-1000XM4s are overall better than the Bose Noise Canceling Headphones 700 as they feel slightly more comfortable and their customizable EQ lets you enjoy clear, crisp audio no matter what genre you’re listening to.

If you want to save a couple of dollars, you won’t be disappointed with the Bose NC 700 either. Their superb noise-cancelling and wide soundstage are among the reasons why the Bose 700 remain highly-rated noise-cancelling headphones.

You can read our in-depth comparison of the Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 and the Sony WH-1000XM3s here.

FAQs

📌 Are Sony noise cancelling headphones better than Bose?

We’d rate the Sony WH-1000XM4 headphones to be better overall than Bose’s flagship Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 due to its customizable EQ and slightly better active noise cancellation features.

📌 Can Bose noise cancelling headphones be used for shooting?

It’s not recommended to use Bose headphones with active noise cancellation for ear protection in a shooting range since they can be damaged by the loud noises inside. You should use hearing protection that physically dampens noises instead.

📌 Are noise cancelling headphones better than normal headphones?

In general, noise cancelling headphones will enhance music sound quality a lot better than standard headphones. They’re able to block out external noises so that you can only hear sounds from the track you’re playing.

📌 Is Bose 700 worth the money?

If you’re after a lightweight, durable, and highly stylish pair of headphones, the Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 will not disappoint.

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Rhodaline Escala-Phelps

Managing Editor and Team Leader at Compare Before Buying. Writer and researcher passionate about people, product comparisons, culture, and current events.