Sony says its new WF-1000XM4 earbuds set a new standard for noise cancellation

Sony has unveiled its new WF-1000XM4 true wireless earbuds — the latest entry in the 1000X series.

The company claims to have developed a new noise-canceling standard with these buds,  building a specially designed integrated processor to intelligently eliminate more ambient sounds than ever before.

Black Sony WF-1000XM4 earbuds against white background

This processor works in conjunction with dual noise sensor microphones that detect outside noise, and dual 6mm drivers that are purpose-built to block it out. But Sony’s war against any/all sounds not emanating from your headphones goes even deeper than that.

The Bluetooth-enabled earbuds feature Adaptive Sound Control, meaning that they actually respond dynamically to changing listening environments, whether you’re walking the noisy streets or sitting in a quiet café. One particularly cool example of this is Automatic Wind Noise Reduction mode, which detects when it’s blustery and automatically adjusts — so it won’t sound like you just jumped out of a plane when you call your friends on a windy day.

To further optimize phone calls, Sony calibrated the microphones on these buds to pick up sounds from the user’s mouth only, and claims they’ll catch every word, even when you’re in very noisy environments. Lastly, the WF-1000XM4 are built with speak-to-chat technology, which automatically pauses the music as soon as the user speaks to someone, letting in the ambient noise that had been shut out. Touch controls will also allow you to activate/deactivate noise cancellation and play, pause, or skip songs.

Silver Sony WF-1000XM4 earbuds in case against white background

Sound quality should get a boost thanks to the latest version of Sony’s upscaling tech, DSEE Extreme, which is designed to improve how compressed music files are rendered. The buds are also compatible with 360 Reality Audio, Sony’s immersive audio format, but you’ll need to use a compatible streaming service (Deezer, Nugs.net, Tidal) to take advantage. Sony’s Headphones Connect app (available on iOS and Android devices) will help you set up 360 RA, manage virtual helpers like Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa, and customize your audio settings.

In terms of battery life, Sony says you can expect up to 8 hours of use from the headphones (12 hours with ANC turned off), and up to 16 hours from the charging case, which amounts to 24 hours of charge, all told. Sony has added wireless charging to the case so those with Qi-compatible mats (or phones that allow device charging) can forget about using a wire.

Silver Sony WF-1000XM4 earbud case against white background

In sum, while Sony’s claims about these headphones may seem lofty, we were so blown away by its noise-canceling WH-1000XM4 headphones (part of the same 1000x series product line), that we’re optimistic that Sony has indeed created a new standard for personal audio. Those headphones took the number one spot in three different Digital Trends lists: Best wireless headphones for 2021, best noise-canceling headphones, and best headphones. So, if Sony can do for earbuds what it did for over-the-ear headphones, consider us very much sold.

The WF-1000XM4s are available now on Sony’s website and at Amazon, Best Buy, and other major retailers. The earbuds carry a suggested retail price of $280 and come in two colors: Black and silver.

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