Sony’s WF-1000XM3 true wireless earbuds are regarded as an excellent entry in the crowded earbud market but look a little dated. Today, Sony announced a follow-up —the $279.99 WF-1000XM4 earbuds. The new earbuds update the design and features. But alas, they retain the terrible naming scheme.
As we saw in previous leaks, Sony redesigned the earbuds and case to give them a more modern look. Sony promises the new design is both lighter and more stable They aren’t particularly revolutionary, and you might confuse them for other true wireless earbuds on the market at first glance, but it’s still an improvement over the previous generation. The case sees a redesign too, naturally, and even includes QI wireless charging.
The previous earbuds already have active noise canceling (ANC), but the new earbuds improve on that. The WF-1000XM4 referred to as “M4” for the rest of this article, earbuds house a newly designed Integrated Processor V1 that improves on Sony’s impressive ANC capabilities. The M4 earbuds contain two microphones on each bud, one for feedback and one for feedforward. That allows the earbuds to listen to ambient noise and emit an opposite canceling noise.
Now, when it’s a windy day the M4 earbuds can detect that and compensate. But that’s not all the processor does. It also enhances sound quality, reduces distortion, and enables LDAC codec processing and DSEE (Digital Sound
Enhancement Engine) Extreme.
LDAC is important to any audiophiles, as it supports HighResolution Audio Wireless by transmitting three times as much data as conventional Bluetooth can manage. Speaking of Bluetooth, Sony says the new processor improves transmission so connections are more stable and less prone to drop-out.
The earbuds should get about eight hours of playback time, and the case will provide another 16 hours bringing the total to 24. But if you run low and need some music, a five-minute top will land you another hour of playtime. And with IPX4 water resistance, you don’t have to worry about minor splashes or sweat on the earbuds.
Sony’s overhead WH-1000XM4 cans introduced a handy new “Speak-to-Chat” feature, and that makes its way to the M4 earbuds. If you have music playing and you speak to someone, the earbuds will detect that and automatically pause for you. When you stop talking, the music will start playing again. Or if you prefer, you can take out the earbuds and they’ll automatically pause.
New adaptive sound controls will determine where you are and what you’re doing, like walking down a street or working from home, and automatically adjust ambient sound profiles to match. You can even enable a feature to learn where you visit frequently, like a gym, so more quickly adapt.