With working from home shaping up to be the status-quo for some time to come, even as vaccination spreads, cutting out background noise with a decent set of active noise-canceling headphones is still arguably the easiest route to reintroducing a little domestic bliss. Typically that can be an expensive prospect, but a new promotion on the Sony WH-1000XM4 takes some of the sting out of it.
Launched last year, the WH-1000XM4 had big shoes to fill. Its predecessor, Sony’s WH-1000XM3, proved to be the big headphone shock of 2018, out-performing ANC heavyweights from Bose and others with their uncanny ability to oust environmental noise.
The WH-1000XM4 didn’t stray too far from that equation. In fact, you’d need eagle-eyes to spot the external differences, with Sony making minimal changes to the aesthetics. On the inside, much-requested features like multipoint Bluetooth and improvements to voice call quality – without knocking down battery life – gave them a fitting polish.
Normally, they’re priced at $349.99 – which is, frankly, already competitive – but in a new promotion they’re down to their lowest price so far. $278 gets you the WH-1000XM4 in black, silver, or Sony’s rather fetching blue. That’s a 21-percent discount.
Your money gets you up to 30 hours of battery life, with a 10 minute charge via the headphones’ USB-C port good for a further 5 hours of playback. Sensors in the ear cups automatically pause music playback when you take them off, also helping save power. Alternatively, holding a hand on the side of the headphones temporarily turns on the exterior microphones and pipes sound through to your ears, allowing you to hold an impromptu conversation with someone.
The WH-1000XM4 work with iPhone and Android devices, as well as tablets, laptops, and other Bluetooth devices. Sony also throws in a cable for using a 3.5mm headphone jack, and a two-pin adapter for when we can finally get back on planes that have old-school audio sockets. Onboard Alexa can be optionally switched on, and they’ll work with Apple’s Siri and Google’s Assistant.
There’s plenty of choice in ANC headphones right now, though few hit this balance of price and performance. As always, there’s no telling how long the $278 promotion might last.
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