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Sony’s WF-1000XM4 may be the best noise-canceling earbuds yet

Sony‘s WF-1000XM3 were some of the best high-end true wireless earbuds around, especially if you prioritized sound quality and noise canceling. Today, Sony announced their successors, the creatively named WF-1000XM4, and they are a remarkable improvement in many respects, including even better noise cancelation and sound quality, improved controls, and a much better design

My review unit actually arrived just a few hours before the publication of this article, so you can take this as a ‘hands-on’ piece as well. Unfortunately, Sony’s Android software had not yet bet updated to support the new headphones — required to customize the controls and access spatial audio — so my impressions are obviously incomplete.

Notably, the WF-1000XM4 are a bit more expensive than their predecessors, at $280. This is perhaps because Sony wants to position them as a higher-end alternative to Apple’s $250 AirPods pro. Or perhaps it’s just because they are packed with technology. Let’s sum up some of the changes since the XM3:

  • Sony has a new V1 processor that improves noise canceling, which Sony claims is “the industry’s highest.” So far, I believe those claims. These block out sound as much as any true wireless earbuds I’ve heard, right alongside the Bose Quiet
  • The headphones are allegedly better at reducing wind noise, a problem that plagued the XM3
  • They use a new 6mm driver with a 20% larger magnet, which should mean better sound quality.
  • They now support the LDAC codec, which is definitely an improvement over the XM3’s AAC, although it may not be that audible to most people.
  • They feature a bone-conduction sensor in addition to dual microphones for better intelligibility during calls.
  • They come with support for Sony’s 360 Reality Audio, although this was added to the XM3’s via an update. This provides a spatial audio experience, like Apple’s Airpods, but it requires the use of participating streaming services.
  • They are officially IPX4 water-resistant.
  • They can be charged wirelessly.
  • Battery life lasts up to 8 hours per charge with noise canceling on, with 16 more hours in the case for 24 hours total. With ANC off, that figure goes up to 12+24 hours.
  • They supports hands-free access to the Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa. Just say ‘Hey Google’ or ‘Hey Alexa.

The most obvious difference between the XM4 and the XM3 is in their design. The earbuds look completely different to the XM3, with a more organic, bulbous shape that is a little smaller and better conforms to my ears. They’re still quite large, so I suspect people with smaller ears may still have some issues finding a good fit, but it should be a definite improvement for most folks.

I would’ve been fine if the earbuds maintained the same overall design though. The more important change is arguably in the new case design, which is way smaller than their predecessors. The XM3 had a laughably large case that made for a big ol’ bulge in your pocket. The XM3’s case is only slightly larger than that of the Pixel Buds or AirPods Pro.

The internal components of Sony's WF-1000XM4

My impressions so far are that sound quality is excellent, and noise canceling is fantastic, and the touch and voice controls seem responsive, but a hair less so than the Pixel Buds or Pixel Buds A.

I haven’t been able to try some of the software features yet, but I’ll need more time before I can write up a full review anyway — stay tuned. If the headphones have already caught your eye, you can pick them up from retailers now.

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Sony WF-1000XM4 leaks again, this time in a promotional video

The Sony WF-1000XM4 has leaked once again, this time in an official promotional video that provides all of the details about the true wireless earbuds, including demonstrations of their features. The video appeared on Reddit yesterday where it remains live at this time; it follows a leak from earlier this week that included high-quality images and more.

The leaked Sony WF-1000XM4 promotional video was published on the subreddit /r/SonyHeadphones by user ‘Low-Ratio3193’ who claims that it is authentic (and it certainly does look like a legit promotional video). The content is spoken in English and includes French text.

The video confirms many of the features recently leaked by German website WinFuture.de, including the classy design, noise cancellation, Sony V1 integrated processor, support for high-resolution audio, Sony’s DSEE Extreme, and a speak-to-chat function with hear-through audio for those times you need to talk with someone (without removing the earbuds).

Other features listed in the promotional video include adaptive noise control and what appears to be a function that allows ambient audio through when an announcement is detected. Beyond the audio features, the video also confirms some of the hardware features we’ve previously seen leaked.

The WF-1000XM4 will offer 8 hours of run time with the fully charged earpieces, plus another 24 hours from the charging case. Fast-charging support offers an hour of audio playback with only five minutes spent on the charger. The video also shows a USB-C charging port on the case, wireless charging support, and both white and gold color options.

The previous WinFuture leak claimed the WF-1000XM4 will cost €279.90 EUR, but North American pricing and availability remain unclear.

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Sony’s WF-1000XM4 are looking like amazing high-end earbuds

Sony‘s upcoming WF-1000XM4 earbuds, a replacement for the already quite good WF-1000XM3, have been leaking extensively over the past couple of months. But thanks to a report by WinFuture, we are now getting our clearest look yet at the devices — including some notable specs. Behold:

You can find more images in WinFuture’s report.

The seemingly official renders, show a very different design from the XM3s, one that’s apparently smaller — or at least more bulbous. The case definitely looks smaller, which I appreciate as the XM3’s case was absolutely ginormous compared to most options on the market.

Here’s what else the report has to say:

  • The XM4’s will apparently support Sony’s LDAC codec, which is the gold standard for Bluetooth audio quality
  • The headphones will be able to last 8 hours on a single charge with ANC on, with two more full charges in the case, for a total of 24 hours. While the total time isn’t more than most other earbuds, the single-charge duration should make them useful for long-flights
  • With ANC off, you get an extra four hours per charge, so 12 hours on a single charge and 36 hours total.
  • Speaking of ANC, Sony’s new V1 processor will reportedly improve noise-cancelling sound quality
  • The headphones will be IPX4 water-resistant
  • They’ll support Qi wireless charging and USB-C charging
  • A new ‘Precise Voice Pickup’ technology should help improve microphone quality
  • There will be at least black and white color options

They WF-1000XM4 (I really wish Sony would come up with a better name, that’s a bit of a pain to type) will retail for €279.90, or approximately $341. The XM3’s retailed for €250/$230, so I’d expect the US price to be somewhere between $300 and $350.

That definitely puts them more towards the premium price bracket for wireless earbuds, but with LDAC onboard, Sony has some more audiophile appeal. With the headphones reportedly making an appearance in June, it shouldn’t be long until we find out more.

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Sony WF-1000XM4 earbuds fully leak, including white/gold option

Another leak has surfaced that all but confirms certain details about Sony’s anticipated WF-1000XM4 true wireless earbuds. The model, which we’ve seen leak in the form of both images and renders, will allegedly pack active noise cancellation, as well as a number of other high-end features. With this, Sony’s new true wireless earbuds will be set to compete with the AirPods Pro.

The new leak comes from German website Winfuture, which has a solid track record for revealing products before they’re officially announced. This time around, the leak involves the Sony WF-1000XM4, including what appears to be press photos credited to Sony. The images show the true wireless earbuds with black/gold and white/gold color options.

The big feature here is the Active Noise Cancellation, which will block out most unwanted ambient noises for those times you need peace and quiet. The report also alleges that the upcoming WF-1000XM4 will support Sony’s LDAC tech for streaming hi-res audio, as well as an IPX4 housing for water resistance in those cases where you get caught in the rain.

As expected, the earbuds will be joined by a charging case that, the report claims, will combine with the batteries in the earpieces to offer a total of 24-hours runtime with ANC turned on and 36 hours with it turned off. The case reportedly supports USB-C for wired and Qi for wireless charging.

The WF-1000XM4 true wireless earbuds are expected to launch soon, though we don’t yet know when Sony will reveal them. The report claims the earbuds will be priced at around 279.90 EUR in Europe, which would work out to around $350 USD.

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Leaked image thought to be Sony WF-1000XM4 earbuds

A leaked image has turned up online that claims to be an unreleased Sony audio product known as the WF-1000XM4. The image is reportedly of the packaging box sleeve of the WF-1000XM4, and while the image is a bit blurry, it does look legitimate. However, as with any leaked image, it can’t be ruled out that the image is a hoax.

Near the top of the image, an oval-shaped hole can be seen that looks a bit like a USB-C charging port but is more likely an opening for the microphone. Logo placement on the side of the earbuds is a bit strange as it would be difficult to see when the earbud is inserted into the ear.

We would have expected the Sony logo to be on the flat surface that can be easily viewed when the earbud is being worn. Most similar products don’t have a prominent logo on the surface, so perhaps Sony is following suit. In this particular image, the tip that inserts into the ear canal appears to be made of memory foam.

The round area colored in gold is presumably an external microphone for noise cancellation. Sony makes some of the most popular noise-canceling headphones out there, and the tech makes sense on earbuds as well. The round design of these earbuds could allow for a larger internal battery for more run time.

While we can’t say for sure that this is a new Sony product, the colors certainly look like the design of other Sony products. Assuming the leaked image is real, there is no indication of when the earbuds might come to market or how much they might cost. Sony does tend to fall on the high-end side of things with its audio products, and presumably, the WF-1000XM4 would follow suit.

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