Sony WH-1000XM4 headphone leak hints at even longer battery life

These are the first images of Sony’s WH-1000XM4 wireless headphones; the hotly anticipated followup to the company’s beloved WH-1000XM3 over-ear cans due to their extraordinary noise canceling, comfort, and battery life.

The M4s were first spotted by Everton Favretto in photos posted by Anatel, Brazil’s version of the FCC. That helps explains the lack of artistry. The most striking thing you’ll notice is just how similar (identical?) they look to the current M3s.

Fortunately, the Anatel filing also includes a user manual that hints at changes inside. We’ll have to be careful, however, not to rely too much on the included manual as most of the specs, including the weight and hours of wireless operation, have been replaced by “XX” placeholders instead of actual values. It’s clearly a draft document.

Nevertheless, here’s how the M4s improve upon the M3s according to the draft manual:

  • Bluetooth v5 (updated from v4.2)
  • 2W of rated power consumption (down from 8W)
  • 40 hours of operation when connected via headphone cable and noise cancelation on max (up from 36 hours)
  • Something new called “speak to chat,” perhaps making it easier to work with Google Assistant, Siri, and Alexa (they require a button press now)

Bluetooth 5 and that lower power draw should allow the M4s to operate even longer when in wireless mode — much longer if they’re really only consuming 1/4 of the power of the M3s. That might not be reason to upgrade from last year’s Sonys which already have great battery life, but it could make the M4s a very attractive buy if they maintain the $349.99 list price.

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