When Sony launched its WH-1000XM3 noise-canceling headphones back in 2018, everyone was quick to name them their top headphones pick. Some went as far as naming them their gadget of the decade, but that is still up for debate. However, no one can deny that XM3 destroyed the competition, and now, two years later, we were still looking for a pair of headphones to dethrone it.
Little did we know that Sony was planning to, yet again, set the bar even higher and steal the crown from itself. The company just announced the follow-up version of XM3, the brand new and improved WH-1000XM4, which go up for preorder for $349.99, the same price as the previous model.
How did Sony manage to improve its already perfect headphones and not raise the price? We’re still looking into that. But right now, let’s see why the WH-1000XM4 is all you can wish for and more.
Sony seems to like the XM3 packaging a lot because when you open the XM4 box, you can see the same winning formula they used two years ago. The XM4 comes with the same hard-shell carrying case as its predecessor, and the headphones are arranged in the same semi-folded way.
Three accessories accompany the headphones: a short USB-C charging cable, an airplane travel adapter, and an analog cable for headphone jacks. Even though the USB-C cord could have been a bit longer, we can’t complain.
XM3’s sleek design that fans loved returns with the XM4 model. Sony did not want to alter its recipe for success too much, so it resumed to just making a few changes here and there. At a glance, it’s almost impossible to tell the two models apart, but you know what they say, right? If it ain’t broke, then don’t fix it.
Most of the design changes were made to improve the comfort of the headphones if that’s even possible. The headband’s arc was refined, and the top cushion is thinner, to add less pressure to your head. The XM4 weights just 1 gram less than the previous model, but they feel a lot lighter.
Battery life remains the same as the previous model, which is a bit of a surprise from Sony, but we can’t complain. If the noise-canceling feature is on, you get 30 hours of life, and if you turn in off, you get eight additional hours to enjoy your favorite music – the best you can get for a pair of wireless headphones.
Sony added some impressive smart features, including a wear sensor. Now, you don’t need to take your headphones off or pause your media to talk to someone. The Speak-to-Chat sensor detects you are trying to speak to someone and pauses your media automatically. The wear sensor pauses your tunes when you take your headphones off as well.
What’s more, Sony finally added a Bluetooth multipoint pairing feature, which is what most people felt was missing from the XM3 model.
When it comes to sound quality, Sony is once again impeccable. The XM4 is paired with DSEE Extreme technology, which uses AI to analyze music and restore certain frequencies that may disturb the ear.
All in all, Sony’s WH-1000XM4 are designed close to perfection, and even though they are not exactly the most affordable model on the market, they are the best that you can get.