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Sony WH-1000XM4 vs Bose NC 700: Which should you buy?

While the Sony WH-1000XM3 headphones were the frontrunners back in 2018, the Bose NC 700 headphones gave them a run for their money. Sony can’t rest on its laurels with the new WH-1000XM4 model if it’s to keep Bose at bay.

The Sony WH-1000XM4 are some of the most anticipated headphones in a long time, with the WH-1000XM3 being the go-to recommendation for those looking for a stellar over-ear noise-cancelling experience.

Nevertheless, Bose has continued to make quality products in and the NC Headphones 700 are nothing to be sniffed at – gaining a Trusted Reviews score of 4.5/5 in our full review. Has Sony beaten Bose by a nose once again?

Sony WH-1000XM4 vs Bose NC 700 – Price

With the new WH-1000XM4 headphones, Sony is keeping its pricing tactics steady. The new headphones cost £349, the same price as the Bose NC 700 cost when they debuted. Not many will gasp at the price, as it is definitely in line with the market.

What Sony does have to contend with is strong competition from headphones that have been reduced in price, including its own WH-1000XM3.

The Bose NC 700 can now be picked up for around £290, making them an intriguing proposition for Bose fans or those not interested in stumping up the extra cash.

Related: Best noise cancelling headphones

Sony WH-1000XM4 vs Bose NC 700 — Design

The design of the Sony WH-1000XM4 headphones is almost identical to the WH-1000XM3, with new earpads softer for an improved fit.

While the WH-1000XM4 are far from unsightly they have, perhaps a more conventional appearance. On the other side of the ring, the Bose NC 700 headphones definitely went for a look.

The unique one-strip headband on the NC 700 gives the headphones a more premium, futuristic and, frankly, more stylish look than the Sonys.

Bose has its sights set on comfort too, with our review stating that they simply float on your head with cushy comfort. In this case the Sony and Bose are evenly matched, and neither will give anything less than top-notch comfort and fit.

However, another thing Sony and Bose won’t give you is a chance to show off too much personality when it comes to finishes. The Sony comes in black and Platinum Silver, while the Bose come in black, luxe silver, as well as limited edition Soapstone finish which spices things up a little.

Related: Best headphones

Sony WH-1000XM4 vs Bose NC 700 — Features

While it could be said the Bose NC 700 and WH-1000XM3 were almost on par when it comes to features, the new WH-1000XM4 have added some intriguing new ‘intelligent’ features.

The Sony XM4s contain a new Bluetooth Audio SoC for sensing and adjusting music and outside noise at over 700 times per second, as well as Multi-point connection for switching between two Bluetooth devices at once.

Then there’s Speak-to-Chat and Adaptive Smart Control. Speak-to-Chat pauses audio when you’re talking, useful for those awkward moments when you need to pipe up but can’t take your headphones off quick enough. Adaptive Smart Control learns from the locations you visit, remembering the ideal audio settings for the next in the area.

By comparison, Bose doesn’t have many answers for these features and, instead, has a focus on apps. The Bose Music app is easy-to-use and allows you to check the battery, manage voice assistants and more. While the Bose AR app is going for something a little more outlandish for the augmented reality fans out there, but more hardware is required to take advantage.

Sony WH-1000XM4 vs Bose NC 700 — Sound

Both of these headphones are awash with industry-leading audio tech, offering quality noise-cancelling, audio upscaling and more.

The Sony WH-1000XM4 headphones have the new DSEE Extreme technology, developed with assistance from Sony Music Studios Tokyo. This new engine uses Edge-AI to restore high range sound lost via compression as well as upscaling digital tracks in real-time.

There’s also the HD Noise Cancelling Processor QN1, which remains from the previous model. The processor uses four microphones to improve noise cancellation in real-time – adapting to your surroundings

All these tech-centric features are on top of the stellar way the Sony headphones also handles the audio basics. The basics is an area the Bose NC 700 also nails while, although the neutral tone of its performance isn’t quite as good as what the XM4 is capable of.

The noise-cancelling and wireless performance of the Bose NC 700 remains great, though, but based on the early impressions of the WH-1000XM4, we do feel they’re superior in the audio stakes.

Sony WH-1000XM4 vs Bose NC 700 — Verdict

With the Sony WH-1000XM3 being the over-ear noise-cancelling headphones for a couple of years, it was always going to be an ask for the NC Headphone 700 to take on its successor which arrives a year after the Bose did.

Undoubtedly, the NC 700 ran the XM3s close, and there may be some who prefer the more stylish look, noise-cancelling and sound of the Bose more. However, the Sony WH-1000XM4 are an excellent upgrade to one of the best headphones around that may have already been better than Bose’s offering.

What Bose have in their favour is time. The NC 700 are now discounted to below £300, and if that’s your price point, it’s a great deal to be had. However, for the best of the best, it’s worth stumping up the cash for the new WH-1000XM4 headphones.

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