(Cybertech) – After several leaks and rumours, the Sony WH-1000XM4 wireless headphones are now official, and while they look similar to their predecessor, there is a whole load of new tech inside to strike them apart.
In design terms, they are actually lighter than the XM3s, but with larger, softer cushions. The headband has been tweaked too, for greater comfort. However, the main changes can be found inside.
The noise cancelling processor is the same as last year’s – Sony’s QN1 chip – but new algorithms allow for more external ambience to be blotted out. Plus, a new Bluetooh Audio system on chip (SoC) allows for faster processing.
DSSE Exreme tech has been adopted on the new model, which uses artificial intelligence to improve compressed audio tracks. And the XM4’s are tweaked to playback Sony’s 360 Reality Audio tracks at their best – which can be found on music services, including Tidal and Deezer.
Adaptive sound control is new on the latest headphones. It changes the ambient sound settings automatically, depending on your location and listening conditions. For example, when on a plane or Tube train, it will switch on full adaptive noise cancellation, but if you are at home with few external distractions, it will adjust to suit.
In addition, the mode can utlise the GPS on your phone to mark frequently used locations, to switch to specific settings whenever you arrive at the gym or workplace, say.
Another new feature is “speak-to-chat”, which detects the moment you talk and therefore automatically switches off the music and turns on full ambient sound so you can talk to someone externally, without having to take the headphones off. When you finish your conversation, the music starts again.
A quick attention mode is also included, which allows you to instantly decrease the volume and enable ambient sound by just holding your hand over the right earcup.
A sensor is included inside the left earcup to detect when the WH-1000MK4 ‘phones are worn. Combined with motion detectors inside both ears, the headphones will pause the music when you remove them – and power off entirely if you leave them for 15 minutes.
Battery life is quoted at up to 30 hours, with five hours worth of playback available after just 10 minutes of charging.
Finally, the Bluetooth capabilities of the headphones now includes the possibility to pair two Bluetooth devices at the same time, with easy switching between them and calls being prioritorised automatically.
The Sony WH-1000XM4 wireless ANC headphones will be available later this summer in black and silver colours. They will be priced around £350 / €380.
Writing by Rik Henderson.