Right off the bat, we will realize that all 3 Sony headphones share a similar design principle. The WH-1000XM4 has a more elegant and upper-class aesthetic that has made it a subtle status symbol. Next, the WH-H910N has a modern and iconic design that stands out from the crowd. It comes in 5 different colorways and the earpads have various patterns on them, making them really special and appealing to the younger crowd. On the other hand, the WH-XB900N looks the most alike to the WH-1000XM4 but it refines the look with minimal lines and subtle branding. The headband of the WH-H910N covered with silicone while the WH-1000XM4 and WH-XB900N have plush cushions. The ear cushions on all the headphones are also large enough to encase your ears. From my experience, I can wear all of them all day without fatigue. They do manage to keep their low-profile look. with mostly plastic. It is worth noting that the WH-1000XM4 as the best build quality followed by the WH-H910N, then the WH-XB900N with the cheapest feeling hollow plastic outer shell.
Moving on to comfort, all 3 headphones have fared well. They do not cause any wearing fatigue at all. The WH-1000XM4 has plush cushions that help with long listening sessions. This time, the earcups are much more spacious than the previous WH-1000XM3. It still has the least clamping force which makes them quite easy to fall over during vigorous movements. This time, there is an addition of wearing detection which would help pause your music when you remove your headphones from your head and it is available solely on the WH-1000XM4, Next, the WH-H910N fares decently with spacious oval earcups and a little bit stronger clamping force. The WH-XB900N has the thickest earcups and the strongest clamping force which makes it the most stable headphone. However, the clamping force is not too strong that it hurts the user. It is manageable when compared to its competitors. All headphones never added any pressure to the crown of the head or to the jawline even after long hours of wearing them.
Next, Sound Quality. In my opinion, I find that the sound of WH-1000XM4 is the best for all genres of music. The bass is strong and tight but it never bleeds into the mids. The mids are clean and articulate and highs have clarity and never sounded too sharp. The instrument separation is the best as well when compared to the rest. Next, the 25mm drivers of the WH-H910N work best with pop and jazz and other genres that put a great emphasis on the mid-range and vocals combined with the clarity of instruments. However, its sound signature simply does not cut it for bass-heavy tracks. Which brings us to the next headphone, the WH-XB900N. This is the best headphone for any bass-heavy genres like EDM, Hip-Hop, and Rap. The bass response on the WH-XB900N is the punchiest and deepest amongst all 3 headphones. It is also important to note that all 3 headphones offer sound tuning with selected presets and customization with the Headphones Connect app, available for download on the App Store and Play Store, and due to the support for LDAC or AptX HD codecs with a compatible device. The WH-1000XM4, now adds a new function known as, Speak-to-Chat. How it would work is the fact that the mic on the headphone will learn your voice and immediately pause your music when you start talking. The timing of how long the music will be paused could also be customized in the app ranging from 15 seconds to 6o0 seconds. In terms of call quality, the WH-1000XM4 has the best microphone voice pick-up quality amongst the 3 headphones. It managed to pick up the least ambient noise and allows the voice of the caller to sound the most natural. The WH-H910N is second in place with a decent quality mic and the WH-XB900N is last with a slightly muffled down voice-up and the most background noise.
Moving on to the next part, Noise-Cancelling. From my test, the WH-1000XM4 managed to successfully beat the rest. With its advanced sense engine and noise-canceling processor, it offers the best Adaptive Sound Control as well as Atmospheric Pressure Optimizing. Adaptive Sound Control, which is offered on all 3 models, allows for toggling of different noise-canceling modes like Walking, Staying, Transport and Running. Each has different levels of noise-canceling and ambient sound mode. These are all automatically detected by the headphone itself. Users can toggle the amount of ambient sound let in, focus on voice-only or just turn it off completely. Atmospheric Pressure Optimizing is another feature that helps to optimize the noise-canceling to fit different environments such as in an airplane or on the ground. However, it is only available on the WH-1000XM4. The WH-H910N is next in line for noise-canceling. It works well at cutting high frequencies but it is definitely not as effective. Lastly, the WH-XB900N works well too, however, it did not beat the rest since it did not cut off as much higher frequency noises. It is worth knowing that all 3 headphones have quick attention mode which allows you to hear announcements or talk to someone quickly without taking out your headphones.
In the portability category, the WH-1000XM4 is the best as it folds up into a much more compact profile for easy storage. It also comes with a hard-shell carrying case to protect the headphones and a spot to store all your cables. Next, the WH-XB900N can be folded into similar fashion as the WH-1000XM4 but it does only come with a soft carrying pouch that will not protect from drops. The WH-H910N is the worst with the capability to only fold up and store in the same soft carrying pouch, making it the most prone to damage if handled roughly.
All 3 Sony headphones are compatible with the Sony | Headphones Connect app, which is available for download on the App Store and Play Store. The app allows users to take full control of the sound customization and Noise-Cancelling function. There are buttons on all the headphones themselves to cycle through different noise-canceling modes or bring up smart assistance. Moving on to wireless usage, with all 3 headphones I experience absolutely no Bluetooth drop-outs or hiccups. The WH-1000XM4 and WH-H910N have Bluetooth 5.0 support while WH-XB900N stuck with Bluetooth 4.2. The WH-1000XM4 and the WH-XB900N support all High-Res Audio codecs like LDAC, AptX HD, and AptX, however, the WH-H910N supports only LDAC. You can connect to two devices on the WH-1000XM4 but you will have to drop LDAC codec support for that. The rest of the headphones, on the other hand, can only connect to 1 device at any one time. The cable of all 3 headphones does not have any inline controls or mic. Hence, playback controls or answering of calls is unavailable. The WH-1000XM4 and WH-XB900N have a 30-hour battery life while the WH-H910N has 35-hour battery life. All 3 headphones do charge via USB-C but the WH-1000XM4 charges fully in 3 hours, the WH-H910N takes 5 hours and the WH-XB900N takes 7 hours.
THE BOTTOM LINE
Overall, all 3 headphones come at very different price points and have very different target audiences. Now, let's recap and break down the differences to further understand which is the best for your ears. First, the WH-1000XM4 is the most popular amongst those who have the budget to afford it. It has the best build quality, sound quality, and customization, as well as loads of features. Not to forget, it still holds its position as the best noise-canceling headphones in the industry up till today. Next, the WH-H910N is the newest headphone that is aimed squarely at appealing to youths. With its wide range of colors and designs choices to choose from, it is arguably the most stylish headphone amongst safe black and white models from other brands. It may not have done so well with songs with heavy bass but it makes up for that in its bright, clear and articulate vocal and instrument works. Next, we have the bass-heads favourite, the WH-XB900N with its subtle branding and minimalistic design. It may look plain outside but I guarantee it packs a serious punch when the bass drops.