Sony finally releases the WH-1000XM4, almost two years on from the WH-1000XM3
There were no surprises at Sony's "Announcement for Music Lovers 2020". During the 17:07 minute livestream, the company only unveiled the WH-1000XM4. As expected, the new entry into the WH-10000XM series retails for US$349.99 and £349.99 in the UK, with pricing remaining unchanged in other regions too. The design of the WH-1000XM4 also remains true to its predecessor. Sony has made a few tweaks to the thickness of the headband and ear cups, along with some changes to the hinge design, but it would be hard to tell the WH-1000XM4 from the WH-1000XM3.
Sony claims to have improved the active noise cancellation (ANC) of its new headphones though, despite the continued use of its HD Noise Cancelling Processor QN1. The company has upgraded the WH-1000XM to a new MediaTek MT2811 Bluetooth Audio SoC that brings Bluetooth 5.0 connectivity, but at the expense of Qualcomm aptX and aptX HD Bluetooth audio codecs. Sony has added DSEE Extreme too, which builds on the DSSE HX upscaling algorithm that the company included on the WH-1000XM3.
Additionally, Sony has added "Speak-to-Chat" functionality, which amplifies ambient sounds if you begin talking. In practice, this allows you to keep your headphones on as you talk to people, if that is your thing. Sony has implemented something called "Precise Voice Pickup" technology too. This uses five of the microphones inside the headphones to optimise call quality. It is unclear how much Precise Voice Pickup has improved call quality compared to the WH-1000XM3, though.
The WH-1000XM series can now connect to two Bluetooth devices simultaneously and will pause automatically if you remove the headphones from your head. Battery life remains at 30 hours with NC on and 38 hours with NC off, though.
The Sony WH-1000XM4 are available to order now in multiple markets. The headphones will start shipping immediately, too.