Sony has finally announced its long-awaited WH-1000XM4 wireless noise-cancelling headphones. For the past two years its predecessor has been one of the absolutely best in market. Will the new versions live up to the hype? Let’s take a look at what its packing and how much it costs in Australia.
Sony XM4 Design
At first glance the Sony Wh-1000XM4 headphones look exactly like the previous generation. This includes the same amount of padding, adjustable band, buttons, aux cable and USB-C port.
This lack of change isn’t a bad thing. The XM3s are incredibly comfortable and the USB-C port was ahead of its time.
The only real change in the XM4 headphones is the inclusion of an airplane adaptor. If we weren’t in the middle of a pandemic this would be a great addition for long haul flights. Ah well, maybe one day.
On the device front, the XM4’s can connect to two simultaneously, letting you switch between the two quickly.
The noise cancellation on the XM3 headphones were already superb, but Sony reckons the XM4s are even better. Each can has two microphones that capture ambient noise, which is then transferred to Sony’s HD QN1 noise-cancelling processor.
A new System on Chip (SoC) will then sense and adjust your music and noise at over 700 time per second, making the noise cancellation happen in real time.
The XM4s also boasts new smart listening technology that can adjust the ambient sound based on your preferences and surroundings. Location settings can also be used to learn and tailor these sound preferences to places you frequent regularly, like work or the gym.
Another handy edition is speak to chat mode. Toggling this on will pause your music when you to speak, allowing you to quickly engage in conversation when you need to. Like the last gen you’re still able to gently cover the right ear cup to trigger ambient sound, which lowers the volume and turns noise cancellation off until you uncover it.
If you do need to take off your headphones quickly, the new wear detection mode will pause your music automatically. It will resume again once it detects you wearing them again.
Much like noise cancellation. the sound quality on the XM3’s were incredible. But Sony says this is taken to the next level in the XM4s due to AI upscaling. This is used to repair the audio lost during compression. According to Sony, its Edge-AI can even recognise different instruments and genres.
The other new element is 360 degree audio, which is said to make the listener feel like they are actually at a live performance.
This is an extremely cool, but limited inclusion. It’s only available on Android and on a few limited apps like Tidal, 360 by Deezer and nugs.net. Having tried some of Sony’s experimental 360 audio at CES in 2019, this is a bummer because it was an incredible experience.
According to the spec sheet there is no battery improvement for the WH-1000XM4s. Like the previous generation you get up to 30 hours of playback with noise cancellation on and 38 with it off. It also has a quick charge function that gives you five hours of playback from just 10 minutes of juice.
While this is still a really beefy battery, it’s a bit disappointing to see zero change two years on from the XM3’s.
Sony WH-1000XM3 price Australia
You might want to sit down for this. Here in Australia the Sony WH-1000XM4 headphones cost $549.95. That’s $50 more than the original XM3 RRP.
And look, they’re bloody spectacular headphones. And based on my experience with the XM3’s they’ll be future proofed and last you for years. So if you don’t mind an investment or paying for quality, that’s what you’ll be getting.
But if you just can’t justify that price, XM3’s go for around $300 – $350 now and are still incredible from a sound, comfort, noise cancellation and usability perspective.
The Sony WH-1000XM4 wireless headphones are available in Australia now.
Sony WH-1000XM4 review
We have a first look review available right now!