If you’re buying noise-cancelling headphones on Black Friday, these are the ones to get

Sony / Pocket-lint

Sony WH-1000XM4

$248 $348 Save $100

These headphones might be a couple of years old now, but they still sound fantastic, with top-notch noise cancellation that won’t leave you wanting. Great value headphones for those looking under $250.

As a tech journalist, I know the draw more than anyone for the newest, shiniest tech. However, the fact of the matter is, that so many of these regularly updated models only offer relatively small improvements on their predecessors – so going for the last-generation model makes good financial sense if you’re on a bit more of a budget.

The Sony WH-1000XM4 went straight to the top of our best headphones buying guide when we reviewed them in August 2020, getting a perfect 5 stars for their sound quality, noise cancellation and overall comfort.

While the WH-1000XM5 came along in 2022, with an arguably more stylish design and slightly improved performance, the XM4 remain a stellar buy, especially when you can pick them up for $248 on this incredible Black Friday deal – $80 cheaper than the XM5’s Black Friday deal.

Why you should buy the Sony WH-1000XM4

If you’ve got $250 to spend on some noise-cancelling headphones on Black Friday, then you really won’t buy better than the Sony WH-1000XM4. The adaptive noise cancellation here is great, for a start, and can be tweaked to suit exactly how much or how little of your surroundings you want to hear, all the way down to a full transparency mode.

They’re smart too. They can do this automatically, by understanding when you’re sitting still or on the move, for example, and you can make your own adjustments and customisations for your taste – even setting different profiles for different locations that the headphones will learn over time.

They also sound incredible with pretty much any genre of music you throw at them.

Related: Sony WH-1000XM5 vs Sony WH-1000XM4: What’s the difference?That means basslines are plenty punchy and there’s fantastic clarity through the mids that ensures vocals are always clean and expressive. There’s just an effortless nature to them that stretches all the way up into the treble, which never sounds pushed. Yes, the XM5 may have them pipped at absolute dynamism in those higher registers, but that’s only really evident if you had the XM5 to compare. And besides, once you remember the $80 you saved that’s sitting happily in your bank account, the music sounds all the sweeter anyway. They really won’t leave you wanting.

You can expect a fairly decent 30 hours of battery life from a single charge, with a fast charge that will give you five hours of playback in just 10 minutes. An auto-off setting means these will also power down after 15 minutes of being removed from your head – and that’s hugely handy if you’re as forgetful as me when it comes to switching headphones off. It means you’re less likely to get caught short without charge, which is something I hugely appreciate.

This wear sensor is also on board for auto pausing your music whenever your raise an earcup, to save you fiddling with your settings. However, for quick chats with colleagues and coffee shop workers, there’s also a handy speak-to-chat function that pauses your music automatically and turns on transparency mode temporarily whenever the built-in mic pics up your voice.

Feature packed and great sounding, the Sony WH-1000XM4 really are a great pair of headphones that I continue to recommend even three years on since their release. They’ve aged very well indeed, and offer superb value with this top Black Friday deal.

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