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Leak offers a better look at Sony's next rival to the AirPods Pro

Sound quality might not be the main upgrade.

Published onMay 10, 2021

A woman wears the Sony WF-1000XM3 earbuds and reaching for the touch panel of the left 'bud.
  • A leak appears to have revealed Sony’s upcoming WF-1000XM4 true wireless earbuds.
  • They may support Hi-Res audio and wireless charging.
  • They could arrive as soon as June.

There may be good news you’ve been waiting for the sequel to Sony’s excellent WF-1000XM3 true wireless earbuds. The Walkman Blog has obtained what it says are leaked images of the Sony WF-1000XM4 — a sequel that may include more than just ergonomic or sound quality changes.

The WF-1000XM4 design appears to be curvier and more ear-friendly than the previous Sony offering. However, the leak also supports earlier claims Sony will add Hi-Res audio support. It likewise hints at faster wired charging and an AirPods-style wireless charging case.

Related: The best true wireless earbuds

You might also get six hours of listening per charge. That’s on par with Sony’s previous official figures, so don’t expect additional playback time. There’s no mention of water resistance to help the buds survive gym workouts.

It’s not certain when Sony might release the WF-1000XM4. However, the FCC filing for the earbuds has bumped up the end of short term confidentiality (the duration companies can keep key details secret) from the original September 27 to June 9. There’s no guarantee Sony will ship or announce the XM4 by that point in June, but the change hints the company might be ready to introduce its latest audio flagship sooner than this fall.

We liked the XM3 precisely because it blended good base sound quality, strong active noise cancellation and adaptive sound into an elegant package. It’s one of the few cross-platform wireless earbud options that hits all the right marks. Sony may have a success on its hands with the WF-1000XM4 if it can build on that earlier formula.

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