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Sony WH-1000XM4 vs Bose 700 Noise-Canceling Headphones (2020): Should You Wait?

Unofficial photos and details of the Sony WH-1000XM4 headphones are out. Users have been awaiting the successor to the top-rated Sony WH-1000XM3, but if previous releases are any indicator, Sony won’t launch them until late summer/fall 2020. We collate what we know about the upcoming Sony WH-1000XM4 and compare them side by side with another highly-rated ANC headphones, the Bose Noise Canceling Headphones 700.

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

ModelSony WH-1000XM4Bose Noise Canceling Headphones 700
 sony-wh-1000xm4
Leaked photo by Everton Favretto
Bose NC 700
PriceTBACheck Price
Dimensions~2.94″ x 7.31″ x 10.44″2″ x 6.5″ x 8″
FoldableYesNo
Active Noise CancellationYesYes
ANC LevelsTBA11
Customizable EQYesNo
Runtime~40 to 50 hoursUp to 20 hours
Recharge TimeTBA3 hours
Quick Charging~10 minutes for up to 4 to 5 hours15 minutes for up to 3.5 hours
Wireless ChargingTBANo
Bluetooth5.05.0
Multi-Point PairingMore likelyYes
Audio CodecsAAC, SBC, aptX, aptX HD, LDACSBC, AAC
Touch ControlsYesYes
Voice ControlsYesYes
App ControlSony Headphones ConnectBose Music
WaterproofTBANo
Color OptionsTBABlack, Luxe Silver, Soapstone

Design

The foldable Sony WH-1000XM4 look bulkier than the Bose 700 Noise-Canceling Headphones

Sony wh-1000xm4 Vs Bose 700 noise canceling headphones
Leaked photos of the rumored Sony WH-1000XM4 (left) released by Everton Favretto and the Bose 700 NC Headphones (right)

While Sony hasn’t released any official photos of the WH-1000XM4 yet, the leaked photos for Sony’s FCC filings show that they won’t look too different from the WH-1000XM3s. If that is any indicator, then the Bose 700 Noise Canceling Headphones will look slimmer and sleeker than the bulky Sony XM4.

Both the Sony WH-1000XM models 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-1000XM3 as the latter’s feel more cramped and can squeeze the ears when worn. If Sony listened to its fans, then we can expect more comfortable, breathable earcups from the upcoming Sony WH-1000XM4.

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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 Sony’s 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 XM3’s Active Noise Cancellation is hard to beat, and the same, if not better quality, can be expected from the upcoming WH-1000XM4s

Sony wh-1000xm4 Vs Bose 700 noise canceling headphones
While both deliver premium noise-canceling technology, Sony’s noise-cancelling edges out Bose’s

The Sony WH-1000XM3 are hands-down one of the best noise-canceling headphones in the market today. The premium price tag it commands is justified by the unparalleled quality and noise-canceling features that come with a pair of Sony XM3s.

While the leaked document on the Sony WH-1000XM4 doesn’t say anything about its noise-canceling feature, it will be safe to expect that the upcoming headphones will have better ANC. Whether the XM4 will come with an upgraded “QN2” HD Noise-Canceling Processor can only be confirmed once Sony’s official press release is out.

With 11 ANC levels, the Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 also deliver impressive noise-canceling. Although not on par with the Sony’s, the Bose NC 700 are a close second. You can adjust its ANC to the highest setting to completely muffle the sound around you while the lowest setting lets you hear ambient sound.

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. As many users complain about the XM3’s muffled sound during calls, it is highly like that Sony will improve its microphone system in the WH-1000XM4s to be released.

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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 quality, the Bose brand doesn’t disappoint when it comes to audio quality. The Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 deliver Bose’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.

Those who appreciate heavier bass and fully customizable EQ should go for the Sony WH-1000XM4 and WH-1000XM3 headphones. Whether you like a bass-heavy or more balanced sound signature, you won’t be disappointed with the Sony. 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 XM3 (left) and the Bose NC700 (right) have built-in Alexa and Google Assistant and the same can be expected from the upcoming WH-1000XM4

Pairing both the Sony and the Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 with your device is a smooth and straightforward process. The leaked FCC filings of the Sony WH-1000XM4 reveal they will upgrade to Bluetooth 5.0 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.

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They are both compatible with smart assistants like Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, and Siri. Another detail we learned from the leaked document on the WH-1000XM4 is it will have the “Speak to Chat” feature. This more likely means you can activate your smart assistant simply by speaking, 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 Bose NC 700 allow multi-point pairing connection while the Sony WH-1000 offer adjustable EQ settings; the Sony will have a longer battery life

The XM3, the predecessor of the upcoming Sony WH-1000XM4, boast up to 30 hours of battery life

A feature available in the Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 that’s not offered in the Sony XM3s is multi-point pairing. 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. Since the upcoming Sony WH-1000XM4 may use Bluetooth 5.0, it is highly likely that they will also offer multi-point pairing connectivity.

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.

The upcoming Sony WH-1000XM4’s will more like be double than that. It is safe to expect that its battery life will be around 40 to 50 hours from the 36 hours offered by the XM3s. A quick 10-minute charge will more like give around 5 hours of extra juice. While these are educated guesses, we can only definitely say the Sony XM4’s exact runtime and quick charging feature once they’re officially released as their new drivers and technlology may affect battery life

Verdict

A pair of Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 is a worthy alternative while waiting for the release of the Sony WH-1000XM4

Both the Bose and Sony offer top-notch audio quality and features that are hard to match. Since waiting for the Sony WH-1000XM4 may take a while, the Bose Noise Canceling Headphones 700 are a great alternative, thanks to its impressive ANC and high-definition sound.

If you really want the noise-canceling capability and customizable EQ found in Sony headphones though, the Sony WH-1000XM3 typically sees significant markdowns. They are sometimes cheaper by 70 USD from its launch price, thus offering more value for your money.

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

Rhodaline Escala-Phelps
Rhodaline Escala-Phelps

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