Sony’s first-generation WH-1000 headphones were a whole new world for Sony – Noise cancelling was the domain of Bose, yet today (well, before the pandemic), Sony has a solid foot in the door of that all-important business and frequent traveller market – stand by for the Sony WH-1000XM4!

I’d say their leg and half their body is in the door and that’s because Sony created a cracking great product. The best noise canceling, excellent features (like palm on the ear to let in ambient sound for conversation, and swipe gestures), as well as a sleek design.

They have improved, year on year, but in 2020, the 4th Generation (WH-1000XM4) reminds me of the first – a real leap forward.

Abel Makhraz from Sony said of the launch “We are delighted to announce the highly anticipated WH-1000XM4 wireless headphones with industry-leading noise cancellation. As the successor of the acclaimed WH-1000XM3, these new headphones offer improved noise-canceling performance and hands-free calls with multi-point connectivity, as well as a better fit with a lighter design.

Speak-to-Chat is an exciting new feature that instantly pauses your music when speaking, allowing you to have a conversation without needing to take off the headphones or press a button. Overall the WH-1000XM4s are the perfect companion when on the go or working from home.”

What is Speak-to-Chat?

That’s the ground breaking feature for my mind.

Here’s how it works. You’ve got the Sony WH-1000XM4 headphones on, paired to your phone, Noise Cancelling on – enjoying your music.

Someone approaches you – you say “Hi mate” – and the music stops, ambient sound is allowed in, and you can have a whole conversation.

When the chat is over, wait, and the music restarts.

The default wait is long, but you can reduce it to 15 seconds. This is a game-changer.

360 Reality Audio

Sony will tell you this is the big feature, using some amazing tech to capture photos of your ears (you do this with your phone) and mapping them to ensure the perfect sound for immersive audio content.

What content? I don’t know. But it works. The Demo in the app alone proves that.

For me though, it’s music that matters. And let me tell you, from a couple of days testing – it’s good, real good.

These headphones will set a new benchmark, and show a solid continuous improvement from Sony.

I’ll have a full review in the weeks ahead – if you’re game, they’re launching this month for $549.95 in Black and Platinum colours.