Sony WF-1000XM4 is perhaps one of the best consumer true wireless earbuds you can get today; of course, it comes with a hefty price tag. At this point, it seems Sony has a winning formula, and they are using the heck out of it. It was released the same year as the Panasonic Technics EAH-AZ60. While the AZ60 costs a few bucks less than the 1000XM4, it should sound the same, right? Or Does it?
Design and Comfort
The AZ60 comes in a fairly compact build, secure fit, and IPX4 rating. While it fits securely, it doesn’t have any ear fins, and as for eartips, you get seven pairs of them. While they fit securely in your ears, these might slip from your hand. Living inside these earbuds are 8mm drivers, responsible for the impressive sonic performance. You’re also getting user-friendly on-ear touch control on both buds, and the controls are customizable from their dedicated app.
Sony takes it to another level, taking customer feedback and researching the human ear; they have designed the WF-1000XM4. These also feature a compact design but sit more inside the ear than the outside. Besides a new design, there are also new foamy thick ear tips. These thick boys ensure you’re getting the best fit and noise isolation. On top of that, these ear tips fit snugly in your ear canal. Also, just like the AZ60, the 1000XM4 is IPX4 rated.
When it comes to sonic performance, the WF-1000XM4 is in a league of its own, to the point that it’s almost the best TWS you can grab. Let’s focus on its bass and lows first; this one puts out a stellar performance even with bass-heavy songs. You will feel the pulsing bassline as it is meant to be, without muddying up the lows and mids. It’s not just the bass; you will find clarity, texture, and expressive, dynamic range all across the sound spectrum. Also, it’s not just the tunes; the vocals will sound heavenly to you. Every expression and emotion can be portrayed effortlessly with these pairs of TWS.
At this point, it’s easy to say how much of a massive upgrade the WF-1000XM4 is from its predecessors – the details in the bass, the balanced sound, and the overall refinement gives Sennheiser a run for their money. We all knew the 1000XM4’s sound magical; what about the EAH AZ60? The TWS from Panasonic puts out impressive performance too. Whatever you’re listening to, you will find incredible clarity and details. The bass will be powerful but not muddy, and the improvements on the low ends are great too. But, some corners were cut in musical performance to increase functionality.
You will notice, especially upbeat music, that the AZ60 leaves you craving for more punch and drive. While it won’t make you dumb the earbuds in the trash, it is noticeable. For the price you’re paying, though just a couple of bucks less, more driving performance was expected.However, the problem with AZ60 is that there’s no AptX support. It’s just sad; for the money you’re paying, AptX is the least you should get. They try to make up for it with LDAC support, but Aptx support would have been better. So for sonic performance, the 1000XM4s won
The WF-1000XM4 has been the clear winner for noise cancellation, beating both Apple’s Airpods Pro and Bose QuietComfort earbuds. The noise cancellation on these earbuds is powered by Sony’s new chipset, allowing you to tune out almost any noise, whether it’s your local cafe or the airplane engine. Besides the new chipset, you also need to thank Sony’s thick boy foam ear tips for that.
Now, the AZ60 also delivers impressive noise-canceling performance. Whether it’s a high-frequency sound like chattering at a cafe, or a low frequency like the jet engine beside the plane’s window, it will drown those out. However, high frequencies aren’t its strong suit. But, there’s a slight problem, a hissing problem. Yes, these TWS make hissing sounds; while it’s negligible, it’s certainly a buzzkill for many people. So, while the ANC on these won’t outrun Sony or Bose, it still put out fantastic performance, despite the minor drawbacks. When it comes to noise-canceling, the 1000XM4 takes the cake too.
As for battery life, the EAH-AZ60 will last you for six to seven hours with the ANC turned on, and with the chagrin case, you can push it up to 24 hours of listening. But, if you’re jamming to music over the LDAC connection with ANC turned on, you will get less playback time. You will get nearly five hours of earbuds listening time and sixteen hours of battery life with the charging case.
Focusing on 1000XM4, with ANC turned on, you will get eight hours of playback time and sixteen more hours with the case. Sony already took the crown with battery life. With ANC off, the earbuds will last you 12 hours and 24 more hours with the charging case.
So, Sony WF-1000XM4 is the clear winner, offering uncompromised sonic performance, insane noise-canceling capabilities, and stellar battery life. So, if you want to burn a hole in your pocket, these buds are perfect for you. As for the Panasonic EAH-AZ60, while it’s not up there with the Sony, it’s still a good pair of earbuds, granted you don’t mind the missing AptX support. Its sonic performance is great, as well as its noise canceling. So, it’s a great choice but not a great alternative.