Sony WH-1000XM4 leak reveals killer features — and Bose is in trouble

Sony WH-1000XM4
(Image credit: Future)

The Sony WH-1000XM4 are set to succeed the rather excellent Sony WH-1000XM3, and some killer leaked features could make these great headphones even better. 

As one of the best wireless headphones you can buy, the Sony WH-1000XM3 impressed us with superb audio quality and class-leading active noise cancellation; the Sony WH-1000XM4 are expected to do the same. But Twitter user justplayinghard pulled apart the Sony Headphones Connect APK and uncovered some interesting smart features that the WH-1000XM4 are expected to have. 

The Android Application Package teardown revealed that the Sony WH-1000XM4 could connect to two devices at once, allowing for the wearer to switch between them on the fly. It’s a small thing, but unpairing the WH-1000XM3 from one device and linking it to another can be a pain, and the next-generation wireless headphones could remove that hassle in one fell swoop.  

There is one minor fly in the ointment in that, as the WH-1000XM4 are set to lose the ability to use the Hi-Res Audio LDAC codec when pairing to multiple devices. Though being able to swap between two devices easily might be worth the drop in audio fidelity in certain scenarios.

The APK teardown also revealed that the WH-1000XM4 will get a boost in audio upscaling by using an upscaler called “DSEE Extreme.” This is likely an upgrade of the DSEE HX upscaler in the Sony WH-1000XM3. 

Another interesting feature the WH-1000XM4 are set to get is the "Smart Talking" function. According to XDA Developers, which confirmed justplayinghard’s findings with its own teardown, the feature will enable the ambient sound mode of the headphones to kick in automatically when a voice is detected. This means background sound will be filtered through the noise-cancelling headphones to allow the wearer to hear a conversion without removing the headphones. 

The WH-1000XM3 can be configured to pick up some voices using ambient sound settings. Similarly, the right ear can be covered to temporarily disable active noise cancellation and let in background sounds. But this feature isn't always that intuitive, and the WH-1000XM4 could greatly improve upon it. 

Finally, the WH-1000XM4 are expected to cleverly adjust headphone settings depending on the wearer's location or when they enter a preset location by tapping into Google Maps data. This would be a significant upgrade over the WH-1000XM3, which requires you to register ambient noise locations manually.

While not much is expected to change in the design of the Sony WH-1000XM4 , the headphones are shaping up to get a significant upgrade in smarts over the WH-1000XM3 and could be an even stronger rival to the class-leading Bose 700. But we’ll have to wait until the wireless headphones launch before we make any further judgment; sadly, no release date was uncovered in the APK teardown. 

Roland Moore-Colyer

Roland Moore-Colyer a Managing Editor at Tom’s Guide with a focus on news, features and opinion articles. He often writes about gaming, phones, laptops and other bits of hardware; he’s also got an interest in cars. When not at his desk Roland can be found wandering around London, often with a look of curiosity on his face.