Next-gen Sony wireless earbuds to take on AirPods Pro with Bluetooth 5.2 support

Sony's WF-1000XM4 noise-cancelling true wireless headphones are set for a battery and audio boost from Bluetooth

Sony WF-1000XM3 true wireless headphones
(Image credit: Sony)

It's been too long since we saw (or heard) some new noise-cancellers from Sony – the company has dominated our list of the best noise-cancelling headphones for a long time, and anything new from it is exciting. And it looks like our wait will be over soon – new Sony WF-1000XM4 true wireless headphones have been spotted, and look set to have next-gen Bluetooth 5.2 connectivity.

The Sony WF-1000XM3 were truly excellent headphones (earning the full five stars from us), but with a slightly clunky design, they were a bit overshadowed by the juggernaut of Apple's AirPods Pro. But a new version could make them the wireless earbuds of choice, especially as people start to travel more again.

Noted by NotebookCheck (via What Hi-Fi), a mysterious product under a codename thought to be the Sony WF-1000XM4 has just received certification from the group that controls Bluetooth, as well as from the FCC, putting this product as likely close to launch. Even better is that the device in question is down as supporting Bluetooth 5.2, the newest version of the venerable wireless standard.

Bluetooth 5.2 takes advantage of all the latest things that Bluetooth can do – including higher bitrate audio and direction-based location of devices – but also adds new audio protocols that are lower power while maintaining quality, and that are designed to better work with true wireless headphones, as well as multiple audio devices.

That could mean the potential for better battery life at the same levels of audio quality, and much easier switching between devices you've paired the headphones with.

Of course, whether any given Bluetooth 5.2 device will actually support all of these options is another matter. It's up to the maker whether they enable the location-based tracking of a device or not, or which audio protocols they want to support.

What Hi-Fi notes that leaks about the WF-1000XM4 say that it wouldn't include any form of aptX Bluetooth audio, for example, but would support Sony's own LDAC high-quality equivalent, which wouldn't be a surprise.

We expect to see best-in-class active noise cancellation, though, and hopefully a version of the impressive audio upscaling chip used in the Sony WH-1000XM4.

Matthew Bolton

Matt is T3's former AV and Smart Home Editor (UK), master of all things audiovisual, overseeing our TV, speakers and headphones coverage. He also covered smart home products and large appliances, as well as our toys and games articles. He's can explain both what Dolby Vision IQ is and why the Lego you're building doesn't fit together the way the instructions say, so is truly invaluable. Matt has worked for tech publications for over 10 years, in print and online, including running T3's print magazine and launching its most recent redesign. He's also contributed to a huge number of tech and gaming titles over the years. Say hello if you see him roaming the halls at CES, IFA or Toy Fair. Matt now works for our sister title TechRadar.