Sony WH-1000XM4 leak gives us first look at rumored noise-cancelling headphones

sony wh-1000xm3
The Sony WH-1000XM3 (pictured) are getting a follow-up. (Image credit: Sony)

We've been waiting for a Sony WH-1000XM4 release date ever since an FCC (Federal Communications Commission) filing from Sony revealed the model number of what could be a brand new pair of noise-cancelling headphones

While we don't have a release date just yet, we have been given our first glimpse of the new cans, which are set to follow on from the success of the Sony WH-1000XM3 Wireless Headphones – our best headphones of 2020. 

According to The Verge, photos of the Sony WH-1000XM4 were discovered by Twitter user Everton Favretto in an Anatel listing – Brazil's version of the FCC. 

If these really are the Sony WH-1000XM4 – and it's important to note that Sony hasn't confirmed their existence, yet alone the legitimacy of these photos – they look incredibly similar to the Sony WH-1000XM3. Practically identical, in fact. 

sony wh-1000xm4

A photograph from the listing shows how similar the Sony WH-1000XM4 (pictured) look to their predecessors.  (Image credit: Sony)

Longer battery, better Bluetooth

While we can't glean much from the photos, a user manual that was included in the listing does reveal a little more information. It's worth noting, however, that this user manual seems to be a draft document, and therefore the details could absolute differ when the final product is released. 

That being said, it does suggest some of the ways the WH-1000XM4s will improve upon their predecessors, including and upgrade from Bluetooth 4.2 to Bluetooth 5, which should bring a longer wireless range, more stable connectivity, and speedier data transfer.

Power consumption seems to have dropped from 8W to 2W, which could make the headphones last longer; indeed, battery life also appears to have increased from 36 hours to 40 hours. 

There also appears to be a new feature called 'speak to chat', which could allow you to summon your voice assistant of choice (whether that's Google Assistant, Alexa, or Siri) by uttering a wake word. Right now, you have to press a button on the WH-1000XM3s to ask your voice assistant to do your bidding.

Hopefully those extra features won't come at a premium. At this stage, Sony hasn't even confirmed that it will be releasing the 1000-XM4s, 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 – and if they can keep to this price or even undercut it, it's likely that Sony will remain the king of wireless headphones for the foreseeable future.

Olivia Tambini

Olivia was previously TechRadar's Senior Editor - Home Entertainment, covering everything from headphones to TVs. Based in London, she's a popular music graduate who worked in the music industry before finding her calling in journalism. She's previously been interviewed on BBC Radio 5 Live on the subject of multi-room audio, chaired panel discussions on diversity in music festival lineups, and her bylines include T3, Stereoboard, What to Watch, Top Ten Reviews, Creative Bloq, and Croco Magazine. Olivia now has a career in PR.