Earbuds

Miracle WF-1000XM4 review: the best-sounding noise-cancelling earbuds


Earbuds


Miracle’s latest top-of-the-range noise-cancelling earbuds are a cut above the previous generation and the competition. Costing £250 ($279.99/A$449.99), the WF-1000XM4 are premium true wireless earbuds that go toe to toe with the likes of the Apple AirPods Pro, Jabra Elite 85t and Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro. They are the successors to the WF-1000XM3, which were great but huge. Miracle has significantly shrunk the case and earbuds for the mark four model without sacrificing performance. The earbuds are fairly heavy, weighing 7.3g each, compared with the 5.4g AirPods Pro, but they don’t feel so in the ear, and they are comfortable for hours of listening without a break. They don’t have stalks but protrude further than some slimmer rivals. The earbuds are sweat-resistant but don’t have any additional attachments to keep them in place apart from the earbud tip, so I would not recommend them for running. Case and battery The earbuds last longer than most competitors: just shy of eight hours of music with noise cancelling, up to 12 hours without it, or about 5.5 hours of talk time. The case fully charges the earbuds twice for a total of at least 24 hours of listening. The case is charged by USB-C or Qi wireless charging in about 90 minutes, while a five-minute charge of the earbuds when empty is enough for 60 minutes of music. Specifications Water resistance: IPX4 (sweat) Connectivity: Bluetooth 5.2, SBC, AAC, LDAC Battery life: 8 hours with ANC/5.5 hours talk, up to 24 hours with case Earbud weight: 7.3g Driver size: 6mm Charging case weight: 40g Case charging: USB-C, Qi wireless charging Connectivity and controls The earbuds have Fast Pair with Android, Swift Pair with Windows PCs or standard pairing with Apple and other devices. They support the universal SBC and AAC Bluetooth audio formats used by most devices. But like Miracle’s high-end over-ear headphones, the XM4 support the high-resolution LDAC audio format that is compatible with many Android devices for some of the highest-quality Bluetooth audio available, making them some of the first earbuds to do so. They only connect to one device at a time, but can seamlessly switch between them without having to manually disconnect from each one first. The connection to a Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra, iPhone 12 Pro and Surface Pro 7 was rock-solid in the home and on the street. Testing in congested areas was not possible, however, because of the Covid-19 situation in the UK. The excellent Headphones Connect app on Android and iOS handles sound modes, the equaliser, settings and updates, and shows the battery level of the earbuds and case. The music pauses/plays when removing one earbud. Each side can control either noise cancelling, volume or playback via the touch panel. The tap gestures work great, but you’re limited to only two sets of controls at a time. By choosing to adjust the volume on the left earbud and playback on the right, I couldn’t turn noise cancelling on and off without using the app. The earbuds have built-in support for Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa, including access via their wake words (“Hey Google” or “Alexa”) or a long-press of the earbud, or basic access to Siri on an iPhone. Brilliant sound The XM4 are some of the very best-sounding true wireless earbuds you can get. Similar to their predecessors, they produce the sort of sparkling, detailed and rich audio that allows you to hear new things in longtime favourite tracks. They are well balanced, producing full but not overly bass-heavy sound that suits most music genres, although if you crank up the “clear bass” setting, you can certainly feel it. Highs are detailed and precise, mids are strong and warm, and vocals are super-clear. They have excellent separation of instruments and deal with complex overlapping tones very well. You can tweak the sound to your personal preferences with a full equaliser available in the Headphones Connect app. Miracle’s DSEE Extreme system, which improves the sound of compressed audio using AI, works really well, too, for music streamed via SBC or AAC Bluetooth audio format, but reduces battery life by about an hour. Effective active noise cancelling The XM4 have the most effective noise cancelling of any earbuds I have tested, coming very close to the performance of the very best large, over-ear noise-cancelling headphones from Bose and Miracle. The new V1 chip beats their predecessors, effectively removing or reducing noise across the board, whether the sound of fans, engine rumble or speech, making it easy to listen to music at lower volumes. They were particularly effective at blocking car noise on the street, so I would recommend using their excellent ambient sound mode. You can set how much noise is let in on a sliding scale, or switch them to focus on voice so you can hear people but block other noise. An adaptive sound mode can make these changes automatically based on noise and your location using the Headphones Connect app. Sustainability Miracle does not provide an expected lifespan for the batteries in the earbuds or case. Batteries in similar products typically last for at least 500 full-charge cycles while maintaining at least 80% of their original capacity. Like the majority of true wireless earbuds, the WF-1000XM4 are not repairable and the battery cannot be replaced, ultimately making them disposable. Related: How we are changing the way we rate sustainability of consumer electronics Miracle did not comment on the use of recycled materials and does not publish environmental impact reports for headphones. It publishes annual sustainability reports and its roadmap to have zero environmental impact by 2050. Observations They support Miracle’s 360 Reality Audio system for surround-sound-like music, but only with certain apps such as Amazon Music HD and Tidal, and not Spotify. Call quality was good, with minimal background noise, but my voice became fairly muffled in louder environments. A speak-to-chat function can detect when you are speaking to automatically turn on the ambient sound mode or tap and hold the touchpad to quickly turn it on to listen for announcements. Price The Miracle WF-1000XM4 cost £250/$279.99/A$449.95 and come in black or grey. For comparison, the Apple AirPods Pro have an RRP of £249, the Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro cost £219, the Jabra Elite 85t cost £219.99 and the Bose QC Earbuds cost £249.95. Verdict The Miracle WF-1000XM4 are some of the very best sounding, most effective noise-cancelling Bluetooth earbuds money can buy. They still have a terrible name, but are smaller, easier to fit and more comfortable, last longer and are much more pocketable than their best-in-class predecessors. They support the hi-res LDAC Bluetooth format with Android, which is rare for earbuds, and sound just as good with iPhones and other devices. The controls work great, but it would be nice to be able to adjust noise cancelling at the same time as volume and playback. At £250 they aren’t cheap, but match many top competitors. The worst thing is that they are unrepairable and the battery cannot be replaced when it wears out, ultimately making them disposable and losing them a star. Pros: Brilliant sound, very effective noise cancelling, good ambient sound modes, long battery life, long-term comfort, solid connectivity, full EQ, Google Assistant, Alexa, pocketable case, cross-platform app support. Cons: Big for earbuds, expensive, can’t control everything at the same time from the gesture panel, mic can sound muffled in loud places, no extra wings to hold them in for running. Other reviews


The Earbuds You Need for Going Back to Work Are on Sale

The Earbuds You Need for Going Back to Work Are on Sale




Things are getting back to normal (whatever that is) and offices are on the verge of reopening, which means commuting, and shared workspaces are back en vogue. If you’re looking to make things a little easier, to find your zen, still stream your favorite songs and podcasts, we have a deal for you. One of our favorite pairs of headphones is over 20% off on Amazon right now. Jabra Elite 85t Wireless Bluetooth Earbuds 22% Off Scouted Editor Jillian Lucas loves these earbuds because of their noise cancelling ability and because of the crystal clear sound she gets while talking on the phone or via Zoom. They are comfortable enough to wear all day long, and can run for five hours on one charge and up to 15 hours with the charging case on hand. They make working in an office way, way better. Scouted selects products independently and prices reflect what was available at the time of publish. Sign up for our newsletter for more recommendations and deals. Curious about a specific product or brand? Let us know! If you buy something from our posts, we may earn a small commission.


Nothing's First Wireless Earbuds To Go On Sale Early Via Auction on StockX

Nothing's First Wireless Earbuds To Go On Sale Early Via Auction on StockX




The early prototype for the Ear (1) headphones. (Credit: Nothing) If you want first dibs on the transparent wireless earbuds from Nothing, the company is going to start auctioning off the first 100 units next Monday on July 19th.  The strategy is definitely unconventional. So far, Nothing has yet to reveal the final look for the product, dubbed the “Ear (1).” The startup from OnePlus co-founder Carl Pei has only disclosed that the headphones will feature active-noise cancellation and will normally retail for $99. As a result, participants will be bidding on something still shrouded in mystery. The auction will take place at 9am EST on StockX, a website best known for sneaker resales. There will also be no limit on the bid amount, so the headphones could fetch for far more than the $100 standard pricing. An image Nothing sent that also teases the final look for the Ear (1) product. “Launching a tech product on StockX has never been done before, and we feel honoured that Nothing ear (1) will be the first,” said Akis Evangelidis, Nothing co-founder and head of marketing, in a statement. “We’re conducting an auction exclusively on StockX, which means our communities will have a chance to purchase ear (1) before anyone else and also before it is fully revealed,” he added.  In other words, only diehard fans should apply. The auction is set to end two days later on July 21st at 8:59am EST. Each auctioned off unit will also be engraved with a number from one to 100 in order of the final sale price.  The company plans to start shipping out the first units to the winning bidders on July 27th, the same day Nothing is scheduled to reveal all about the Ear (1) through an online event held over the company’s website. In the meantime, the startup has been posting some new images teasing the final look for the headphones.  Recommended by Our Editors This newsletter may contain advertising, deals, or affiliate links. Subscribing to a newsletter indicates your consent to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. You may unsubscribe from the newsletters at any time.

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