will this be the biggest headphone launch of 2020? – Which? News
Sony claims its new wireless, noise-cancelling WH-1000XM4 over-ear headphones are ‘industry-leading’. And, on paper, at least, the specs impress.
These over-ear headphones have a claimed battery life of up to 30 hours and work with Siri, Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa.
If you’re a fan of immersive sound while you’re on the go, these could be a good option.
With a recommended retail price of £350, they’re pricier than their nearest rival – the Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 – but does this mean they’re better?
Head to our reviews of the best noise-cancelling headphones
Sony WH-1000XM4 vs Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700
The table below summarises the key features and tech specs of these two popular sets of headphones.
|Sony WH-1000XM4||Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700|
|Claimed battery life||30 hours||23 hours|
|Adaptive noise cancelling||Yes||Yes|
|Smart voice assistant||Siri, Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa||Siri, Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa|
|Bluetooth connectivity||Pair with up to two devices||Pair with one device|
|Additional features||Atmospheric pressure optimiser, Speak-to-chat||Conversation mode|
Sony WH-1000XM4, RRP £350
From what we know so far, these latest Sony headphones will be much the same as the WH-1000XM3 (more on this below), with some added extras.
Like its predecessor, this set of headphones is operated by touch controls and has the option to adjust the level of ambient sound, depending on how much of the outside world you want to let in.
You can also link up the headphones to your Siri, Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa for hands-free voice control.
It has Speak-to-chat, which automatically pauses your music when you’re talking, so you don’t do that awkward shouty thing when someone speaks to you.
It also has an atmostpheric pressure optimiser, which alters the sound when you’re at high altitude, such as on an plane.
It can be paired with two Bluetooth devices at the same time and there will be two colour options on offer: black and silver.
Look out for our review of the Sony WH-1000XM4 headphones once we’ve had results back from our laboratory in mid-September 2020.
Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700, £264
This Bose model has similar features to the Sony headphones, but with a shorter battery life, no option to fold them, and they weigh slightly more.
Like the Sony headphones, these Bose headphones have has voice assistant technology for Siri, Google and Alexa.
There’s also conversation mode, which is similar to the Speak-to-chat feature on the Sony headphones.
Head to our review of the Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 to find out how they performed in our tough audio tests.
Is now the time to buy the Sony WH-1000XM3 headphones?
Sony’s new launch is the next generation of the Sony WH-1000XM3, which we tested back in October 2018.
The XM3s are currently cheaper than their Bose rivals, with some retailers selling them for as little as £245. They offer pretty similar specs, although the Sony headphone have a better battery life of 27 hours.
With the launch of the Sony WH-1000XM4, this could see their price drop even further, so keep an eye out in case you can snap up a great deal.
Don’t forget to read our review of the Sony WH-1000XM3 headphones first, to make sure they’re a genuine bargain.
Cheap alternative headphones
If you can’t afford to spend £200+ on a pair of headphones, here are some alternatives to consider:
JBL Live 650BTNC
These noise-cancelling over-ear headphones have been spotted at one retailer costing as little as £89, and they offer some great specs for that price, including a claimed 22 hours of battery life and smartphone voice assistants.
Read the review of the JBL Live 650BTNC headphones to find out if they can provide a crisp clean sound and realistic bassline.
Jabra Elite 85h
Offering an impressive claimed 36 hours of battery life, these headphones also have a ‘Hear through’ setting that lets in more sound from your environment if you prefer. In our tests, the expert panel also judges headphones on their fit and comfort – vital for over-ear models.
Read the full review of the Jabra Elite 85h headphones to discover our experts’ thoughts.
Sennheiser PXC 550-II
These headphones from Sennheiser are marketed as travel headphones, as they’re foldable with a compact carry case. They automatically power up and down when you twist the cups 90 degrees to fold or unfold them, and pause music when you take them off your head.
Read our full review of the Sennheiser PXC 550-II headphones to see whether they have great sound and effective noise cancellation.
Latest headphones on test
We’ve got a host of headphones reviews for every type of listener. So whether you prefer noise-cancelling over-ear models, lightweight wireless in-ear buds or wired in-ear headphones, head straight to our headphone reviews to find out which are the best.
Some of our most recently tested headphones include:
Discover how our experts test headphones for sound quality and comfort by reading our How we test headphones guide.