Their predecessors, the Sony WH-1000XM3 Wireless Headphones have been on top of our list of the best headphones since their release way back in August 2018 – and if Sony’s upcoming headphones can build on their success, we could be in for a real winner.
Over 18 months on, and the world is ready for a new pair of noise-canceling headphones from Sony.
We initially thought that we might see the new wireless headphones at CES 2020 – and while you can check out the best headphones of CES, you won't find the Sony WH-1000XM4 among them, as they were notably absent from the tech show. The next possible release window? MWC 2020 in February, where Sony could announce the Sony Xperia 2.
We don’t know much about the rumored headphones, but we can hazard an educated guess as to what the Sony WH-1000XM4 might bring to the table, as well as the features we want to see from the successor to the world’s best headphones.
Cut to the chase
- What is it? The Sony WH-1000XM4 headphones, the follow-up to the XM3s
- When will they be released? We don't know for sure, but they could be released at MWC in February.
- How much will they cost? That’s TBC, but at least $349 / £300 / AU$499 based on the XM3s.
Sony WH-1000XM4 headphones release date
At this stage, we only have the FCC filing, which doesn’t give a firm indication of release date – however, clearing an FCC filing usually suggests that a launch is imminent.
We were hoping to see the Sony WH-1000XM4 are CES 2020 in Las Vegas, but the tech show came and went with no mention of the new cans.
The next big Sony event is expected to land during MWC, which runs February 24-27; we're expecting to see the new Sony Xperia 2 during the show, so we could well see some new Sony headphones, too.
Sony WH-1000XM4 headphones price
At this stage, Sony hasn't confirmed the existence of the WH-1000XM4, let alone the price – however, we can hazard a guess based on previous Sony headphones.
The new cans will probably be at least as expensive as the WH-1000XM3, which cost $349 / £300 / AU$499 at launch (as did their predecessors, the Sony WH-1000XM2).
Sony WH-1000XM4: what we want to see
Noise cancelation on calls
The noise cancellation offered by the Sony WH-1000XM3 Wireless Headphones is undoubtedly very good – the best, in fact. However, innovations in noise-canceling technology means that we could see an upgrade in the new Sony WH-1000XM4.
The Sony WH-1000XM3 successfully fought off competition from Bose in 2019, Sony could take a leaf from its competitor's book and apply noise-cancellation to phone calls as well as music, just like the Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700.
These Bose headphones use an eight-microphone system; six of which enable traditional noise cancellation so you can hear your music uninterrupted.
Two of these microphones are paired with two separate mics, which work together to isolate your voice and reject environmental noise during phone calls. This means that your voice sounds clearer to the person on the end of the line, with less background noise getting in the way of your conversation.
When using the Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700, we found the call quality to be remarkably clear, even when walking on a busy London street. It's a big selling point of these Bose cans, so we wouldn't be surprised to see a similar microphone array in the new WH-1000XM4.
Improved audio quality
Again, the Sony WH-1000XM3 Wireless Headphones sound fantastic – but 18 months on, we'd be disappointed if the new cans didn't sound better than their predecessors.
The current Sony cans use 40mm dome-type dynamic drivers, which do a great job of displacing air and creating a powerful sound – to improve this sound even further, Sony could opt to use a premium driver material like beryllium like the Focal Stellia headphones.
Sony may also swap its copper-clad aluminum voice coils for ones made of pure copper, which are lighter, more malleable, and less susceptible to electromagnetic interference than their aluminum counterparts.
The new Sony WH-1000XM4 could have better connectivity than previous models if Sony decides to use Qualcomm's latest Bluetooth codec, aptX Adaptive, which delivers lower latency, higher resolution wireless audio than its predecessors.
Headphones using this codec, like the Bowers & Wilkins PX5 Wireless Headphones, operate with low latency when you're watching videos or playing games, avoiding that annoying lag between audio and visual that sometimes occurs over Bluetooth.
This codec also allows for the delivery of Hi-Res Audio over a wireless connection, leading to better-sounding music.
Should I buy the Sony WH-1000XM3?
If you were thinking of buying the Sony WH-1000XM3, you may be put off by the idea of a new model taking their place in the near future.
However, the current noise-cancelling Sony headphones could be a great option if you're looking to save money – since Black Friday, we've seen some great Sony WH-1000XM3 deals.
In fact, they recently hit their lowest price ever at Walmart in the US, and we've seen similar price drops in the UK, too.
Check out the best Sony WH-1000XM3 prices in your region below: