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(Pocket-lint) - Sony has officially announced the WF-1000XM4 true wireless headphones, replacing its two-year-old 1000XM3.

Smaller and smarter, the 1000XM4 pair have plenty of extra features, plus some tweaks to the audio tech that purportedly makes them sound better than before.

They are 10 per cent more compact than before, ditching the pill-shaped design for a more conventional form factor. The charging case has slimmed down too, by 40 per cent, and has gained Qi wireless charging capabilties.

Sony's new integrated V1 processor now calls the shots, with improved adaptive noise cancelling tech on board. There are now two ANC microphones for each ear, feed forward and back, to better asses environmental ambience to block it out.

Automatic wind detection functionality can also switch off the front-facing mic to avoid additional sounds being generated.

Each bud sports a new 6mm driver unit with increased magnet volume and a high compliance diaphragm for improved performance, especially in low frequencies.

Even the earbud tips have been enhanced, being now made of a polyurethane foam which increases noise isolation and fits more snuggly in the ear.

Sony's proprietary DSEE Extreme technology is on board, which enhances non-high fidelty audio tracks, while the Sony WF-1000XM4 in-ears support Hi-Res Audio Wireless streamed via LDAC. 360 Reality Audio is also supported. There is no Qualcomm aptX support, however.

As with the 1000XM3 buds, each of the XM4s connect to your device independently to reduce latecy - many alternatives send the Bluetooth signal to one ear, which then relays it to the other.

The speak-to-chat feature from the over-ear WH-1000XM4 headphones has made the leap to true wireless. When selected in the Sony Headphones Connect app, you only need to start to talk and the buds will pause the music.

You can also hear an announcement or other important external sound by just placing your finger over the left earbud. This will reduce the volume and allow ambient sound to be heard.

Both buds are IPX4 water resistant and have a quoted 8-hour battery life. A further 16-hours of charge is available in the case.

Alexa and Google Assistant are supported through wakewords for the first time in this series.

The Sony WF-1000XM4 true wireless headphones will be available in silver or black later this month priced at £279.99 / £250 / €280.


Writing by Rik Henderson.