How does one improve on greatness? Sony seems to have worked it out. While its WH-1000XM3 wireless noise-cancelling headphones have scooped multiple awards and enjoyed a best-in-class reputation since their release, the veritable electronics giant hasn’t rested on its laurels in making their successor.
Rather than simply sit back and bask in their deserved success, Sony’s engineers have hunkered down and found a way to squeeze even more out of its popular premium headphones. The result? The new Sony WH-1000XM4: perfected successors to the XM3 and, quite simply, the best there is.
The WH-1000XM4 – available in classy black or sleek silver colourways – might not look all that revolutionary next to their nigh-on-identical predecessors, but everything from the headband curvature to ear pad size has been fine-tuned in the name of all-day comfort – and that’s just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to their across-the-board improvements.
The WH-1000XM4’s noise-cancellation blocks out more pesky interruptions than ever before, courtesy of the new advanced algorithms performed by their QN1 processor. Alongside the headphones’ Bluetooth chip, the processor measures incoming audio signals and external acoustic environments in real-time – not just occasionally but 700 times per second – and enhances sound quality accordingly. Adaptive Sound Control adjusts ambient sound settings by intelligently detecting your frequent locations and activities, too.
As noted in What Hi-Fi?’s fresh five-star review, the WH-1000XM4 deliver “a hugely impressive noise-cancelling performance. You feel isolated from the outside world, which leaves you free to enjoy the music being fed into your ears.” Simply put, their noise-cancellation is as effective as a ‘Do Not Disturb’ sign on a hotel room door, allowing you and your podcast or playlist quality alone time, free of interruption.
Need to have a brief exchange with a colleague or passer-by? The WH-1000X4’s Speak-to-Chat feature pauses music when you start a conversation to avoid you having to remove them from your head. Taking a call from your connected mobile? Sony’s Precise Voice Pickup Technology utilises five built in microphones and advanced audio signal processing to ensure your voice is crystal clear.
The WH1000XM4 can also pair with two devices simultaneously – handy if you’re listening to music on a laptop but also want to be connected to your phone for calls. Flying the flag for convenience even more fervently, it will automatically switch to the correct device if, say, a call comes in.
Such luxuries are all too often a burden on battery life, of course – but not here. The WH-1000XM4 can easily entertain a return transatlantic flight from a single charge, their battery a staggering 30 hours with both Bluetooth and noise-cancelling activated (or 38 hours without noise-cancelling).
Catering for the forgetful folk among us who tend to remember that their headphones are low in juice just moments before heading out the door (yes, us too), they can deliver five hours of music playback from just a 10-minute charge.
But what is unrivalled noise-cancelling and unprecedented usability without best-in-class performance? Sony has indeed signed, sealed and delivered the WH-1000XM4’s fate by blessing its latest headphones with unrivalled sound quality.
With an all-new DSEE Extreme sound processor that is capable of upscaling even the lowest-quality music to high-resolution quality, restoring details of original recordings that are inevitably lost in compression, the Sonys are clearer, punchier and even more toe-tappingly rhythmic – better in every way. And paired with a source that supports Sony’s own Bluetooth codec (LDAC), they promise even better performance due to the technology’s considerably higher transmission rate over conventional Bluetooth.
Already raking in five-star reviews and awards – including What Hi-Fi?’s prestigious Product of the Year 2020 gong and even more exclusive Hall of Fame honour – the Sony WH-1000XM4 are true class leaders in their field. Want the best in the business? You need look no further.