Sony’s WH-1000XM3 is one of the best pairs of active noise-cancelling headphones on the market, but based on a Walmart product listing (which we’re guessing was accidental because it was taken down), the successor to Sony’s current top-of-the-line cans should be even better.
While Walmart’s leaked listing for the upcoming WH1000XM4 doesn’t contain any product shots, it does include a price and details a number of important new and upgraded features.
Starting at $350, the WH-1000XM4 costs the same as the WH-1000XM3 and is expected to feature similar if not slightly improved active noise cancellation with the addition of extra on-board mics. The WH-1000 XM4's battery life should be about the same, too, with an expected runtime of 30 hours on a single charge. However, with the inclusion of new fast-charging tech, the WH-1000XM4 can suck up enough juice for five hours of music playback in just 10 minutes, according to Walmart’s product page.
It also appears the WH-1000XM4 can be more easily paired with multiple devices over Bluetooth, allowing users to switch between audio coming from a phone or a laptop with a single button press. This change addresses one of the few complaints we had about the original WH-1000XM3, and with wireless headphones quickly becoming the default audio solution for so many people, this should be a huge boon for anyone looking to use the WH-1000XM4 both at home and on-the-go.
Sony also seems to be leaning more on machine learning for things like its Edge-AI audio processing, which can upscale compressed audio (like you typically get from streaming music services like Spotify and others) in real-time, according to the listing. That will enable the WH-1000XM4 to restore lost details in a song’s highs.
Finally, in another potential huge upgrade to everyday usability, the WH-1000XM4 should come with new Precise Voice Pickup Technology, which could improve the previous model’s mediocre voice quality by combining five on-board microphones with advanced audio signal processing.
Other notable specs include the use of large 40mm drivers with Liquid Crystal Polymer diaphragms, built-in touch controls, support for voice assistants, and Adaptive Sound Control that automatically adjusts your audio depending on the environment you’re in, like a cafe, quiet workplace, or outdoors.
When asked directly for more info regarding the WH-1000XM4, Sony representatives declined to comment. Based on the specificity in Walmart’s listing, we expect Sony’s next high-end headphones will be announced well before the end of the year.
The WH-1000XM4 looks exactly what people want in a successor to Sony’s current flagship ANC headphones. Honestly, the one thing I didn’t get and was hoping to see is Sony’s switch to a more normal naming scheme, instead of sticking with a mostly arbitrary string of numbers of letters and numbers. But considering everything else Sony is adding, that’s a pretty minor gripe.