In 2016 What Hi-Fi? celebrated its 40th anniversary. To mark the occasion we picked our 40 most influential products from those four decades.
- The What Hi-Fi? Hall of Fame, part 1: 1970s
- The What Hi-Fi? Hall of Fame, part 2: 1980s
- The What Hi-Fi? Hall of Fame, part 3: 1990s
- The What Hi-Fi? Hall of Fame, part 4: 2000s
- The What Hi-Fi? Hall of Fame, part 5: 2010s
Sony WH-1000XM4 (2020)
Sony has come to dominate our headphone category in recent years, perfecting not only the art of true wireless earbuds, most recently with the WF-1000XM4, but also the business of over-ear, noise-cancelling headphones. And the WH-1000XM4 are the best example yet, continuing the company's dominance of the category in fine style.
Sony didn't need to reimagine the design but with the XM4s it did manage to make them slightly lighter while increasing the size of the pads for a more comfortable fit. Noise-cancelling technology and the ability to adjust the level of ambient sound were still on board, while there was also Sony's LDAC tech for higher-quality wireless audio quality. Sony moved from the DSEE HX to DSEE Extreme processor, promising better delivery of lower-quality files, while there was also support for 360 Reality Audio. Elsewhere the battery life was boosted and Sony promised an improvement to the noise-cancelling.
Crucially, the overall sound quality continued to keep ahead of the pack. Despite an increasingly competitive market, the XM4 headphones continue to set the pace for timing, dynamics, punch and entertainment. They're simply the best sound-per-pound wireless noise-cancelling headphones we've had the pleasure of hearing.
The XM4s become the third pair of headphones to make our Hall of Fame (following the Sennheiser HD600 from 1998 and the Bose QuietComfort 15, 2009) and are the perfect poster child for what has become one of the most popular product categories in the tech world.
Read the full Sony WH-1000XM4 review