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Every Feature in Sony's Upcoming High-End Noise-Cancelling Headphones Just Leaked

Illustration for article titled Every Feature in Sonys Upcoming High-End Noise-Cancelling Headphones Just Leaked
Photo: Adam Clark Estes (Gizmodo)

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.

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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.

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Here’s of a screenshot of the listing in case it Walmart takes it down. Click to enlarge.
Here’s of a screenshot of the listing in case it Walmart takes it down. Click to enlarge.
Screenshot: Sam Rutherford (Gizmodo)

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.

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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.

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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.

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Senior reporter at Gizmodo, formerly Tom's Guide and Laptop Mag. Was an archery instructor and a penguin trainer before that.

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DISCUSSION

Hmmm... tough to tell from only the leaded document, but it’s concerning that they may have dropped aptX and AAC and only kept LDAC in the new model.

Not that LDAC isn’t all that and a bag of chips, but it’s definitely a power/CPU drain on my Note 10, and I usually prefer aptX for the balance of power/CPU and fidelity.