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Walmart leaks details on Sony’s WH-1000XM4 wireless headphones

The lid has been lifted on the Sony WH-1000XM4, the company’s previously best-kept secret and the long-awaited update to the best-in-class WH-1000XM3, thanks to a listing for the product on Walmart’s website.

Some of the details have slowly been uncovered by previous leaks, and we still don’t know when these new headphones are due to be released. But we now know a lot about what Sony has in store with the WH-1000XM4.

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.

Sony WH-1000XM3 Wireless Noise-Canceling Over-Ear Headphones
The WH-1000XM4 will look a lot like its predecessor. Image used with permission by copyright holder

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.

Walmart’s listing also tells us that Sony’s latest flagship headphones will once again use 40mm drivers with a frequency response up to 40kHz.

Battery life stays the same

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 seem to be maintaining the status quo.

According to that same Anatel filing, the XM4 headphones are expected to tack on 10 hours of battery life, bringing total playback time to 40 hours. But, according to the Walmart listing, the headphones’ battery life will stay put at 30 hours. We can’t say we weren’t excited for the bump in battery, but that playback time is still nothing to scoff at.

The price (might) stay the same

Thanks to a leaked image on Reddit, first reported by WhatHi-fi?, we’ve had an idea of what these headphones will cost for at least a month. Now, the new Walmart leak all but confirms the price of the WH-1000XM4.

Both the Reddit image and the Walmart posting have the new cans priced at $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 its premium headphones.

Intriguing new features

There have been leaks regarding pricing and design of the XM4 in the past, but the details included in the Walmart posting give us our best glance yet at the features built into the new pair.

In addition to the active noise cancellation technology that made the XM3 a powerhouse, Sony seems to be taking aim at call quality with the XM4. With the help of “Precise Voice Pickup Technology,” which according to the listing utilizes five built-in microphones and audio signal processing, the headphones are claimed to get a bump in clarity for phone conversations. We can’t confirm this claim yet, but it’s something we’ll no doubt test when the XM4 make their official debut.

According to the Walmart listing, the XM4 will be able to connect and switch between multiple devices. The headphones will also support the audio codec LDAC, which Sony claims will be capable of transmitting three times more data than the current Bluetooth standard. Sony will pair this with a technology called “Edge AI,” which is designed to upscale compressed digital music files in real time.

Other features include adaptive sound control, which is meant to recognize frequently visited locations and match the sound of the headphones to those environments, and ambient sound control to allow the outside world in at the appropriate times.

Coming soon?

Sony has not announced an official release date for these new headphones. However, 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, which is still set for September 4-9 in Berlin, with some substantial changes to the event to comply with social-distancing standards. 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.

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Nick Woodard
Former Digital Trends Contributor
  As an A/V Staff Writer at Digital Trends, Nick Woodard covers topics that include 4K HDR TVs, headphones…
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