Sony’s best headphones are getting even better, for the same price

Nick Woodard

The Sony WH-1000XM4, the long-awaited update to the best-in-class WH-1000XM3, have been kept tightly under wraps by Sony. No official details, no official release date. Nada.

That’s not to say we don’t have any information on the WH-1000XM4, however. Thanks to several leaks, we’ve pieced together a picture of these new over-the-ear headphones.

Here’s everything we know so far.

Near-identical design

Thanks to a filing with Anatel, a Brazilian telecommunications agency, we have an idea of what the WH-1000XM4 will look like. The design, we’re happy to report, isn’t all that new. When we got our hands on the WH-1000XM3 for the product’s inaugural review, the slim profile, lightweight feel, and comfortable fit stood out. From the photos included in the filing, the upcoming WH-1000XM4 look similar to their predecessors, which is fine by us.

Even better battery life

The Sony WH-1000XM3 came loaded with 30 hours of battery life and an exceptionally quick charging time that yielded five hours of playback after 10 minutes of charging. That was an impressive feat, to say the least, and the new headphones may be raising the bar.

According to that same filing, the XM4 headphones are expected to tack on 10 hours of battery life, bringing total playback time to 40 hours. On top of that, rated power consumption will reportedly drop from 8W down to 2W from the XM3 to the XM4, respectively.

The price (might) stay the same

Until just recently, we didn’t have any leaks or tips leading to pricing information about the Sony WH-1000XM4. But thanks to a leaked image on Reddit, first reported by WhatHifi, we have a better picture of what these headphones will cost.

The leaked image, posted by a Redditor with the username “u/insaneandmundane”, is allegedly from Walmart’s store inventory, and suggests that the new headphones will retail for $348. The Sony WH-1000XM3 retailed for $350 when they came out, so this seems to fit right in with Sony’s standard pricing for their premium headphones.

The image is obviously nowhere to be found on Walmart now, but it does offer hope that Sony’s new cans are on their way sooner rather than later.

Coming soon?

Sony has not announced an official release date for these new headphones. But, we have an educated theory on when these cans will be unveiled to the world.

If history is any indication, we think you can look forward to the release of the WH-1000XM4 ahead of IFA 2020, set for September 4-9 in Berlin — assuming it won’t be canceled as a result of recent travel concerns. The WH-1000XM3 were released in the same time frame for IFA 2018, and earned our best wireless headphones award at the show that year.

Again, Sony hasn’t confirmed a specific date to unleash these headphones. Until we hear otherwise, though, we’re betting on IFA 2020.

A few desired updates

Officially, we don’t know much else about the XM4. We do, however, know what we’d like to see from these new headphones. Chief among these hopeful updates would be the ability to connect to more than one device at a time.

With the XM3, that was one of our sole complaints with an otherwise superb pair of headphones. While we’re on the subject, we’ve got a few more items on our wish list for the XM4:

  • longer USB charging cable
  • longer battery life
  • wireless charging
  • use of onboard mic when analog cable is in use
  • ability to use while charging

Admittedly, some of these are wants more than needs. The XM3 did have 30 hours of battery life in a single charge, after all. Nonetheless, we think they are necessary additions should Sony want to stay atop the true wireless headphones rankings.

If Sony can add that feature while holding on to the traits that made the XM3 great, they could have another winner on their hands.