Sony WH-1000XM5 Review: Forget the weird redesign, these are the best sounding headphones around

Sony has been able to pick up the unruly WH-1000XM4 noise canceling headphones for years, but it’s still the headphones that all manufacturers are trying to beat. But this is Sony, the season of the release cycle, and the company doesn’t want to give up its crown.

Since its launch in 2020, the WH-1000XM4 has consistently been on the list of the best wireless headphones for three years. So it’s no exaggeration to say that the new Sony WH-1000XM5 has some big boots. But by Kenichiro Yoshida, Sony did it.

Sony, the industry leader in consumer audio for years, defeating things like Bose and Sennheiser like a few nasty flies, has a listening experience with the WH-1000XM5. I promised to raise it further. Many new drivers, processors, and more microphones have been added to improve active noise canceling (ANC). There is also a slimmer, trimmed down redesign that may add a touch of marmite.

Now you’re ready to test Sony’s latest flagship headphones.

Will Sony continue to be the king of consumer audio with the WH-1000XM5? Will they withstand two years of hype? Are these our new favorite headphones?

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Test method

The first thing we saw was the design and how it felt when worn. I wanted to know what scenarios these headphones are suitable for – at work, on the train, or in the gym? And how sturdy were they? Were they comfortable to wear?

I also tried out the controls and features of the headphones and used the app to tinker with settings, 360-degree reality audio, location-based features, and more. What’s more, we have tested improved ANC functionality and call quality both outdoors and indoors. Obviously, sound was another big factor. These need to sound good and we wanted to be blown away, as was the case with the Sony WH-1000XM4.


  • type: Overyear
  • Noise cancellation: yes
  • weight: 250g
  • Battery life: 30 hours NC on, 40 hours NC off
  • Connection type: Bluetooth 5.2 with multipoint, NFC, 3.5mm jack
  • Bluetooth codec: SBC, AAC, LDAC
  • Voice control? Yes, we have integrated Alexa and the Google Assistant
  • Does it include a removable cable? Yes, 3.5mm
  • Strong Points: Sounds impeccable, extremely comfortable, intelligent features and excellent call quality
  • Cons: Disadvantages: A slightly warmer, controversial design change
  • evaluation: 10/10


The difference between the new Sony WH-1000XM5 and 2020XM4 headphones is a complete redesign, some like it and some hate it. Sony favored a more streamlined set of cans, throwing away hinges, nigles, creases and grooves. It’s a little winding, a little sleek, and the headband makes it all look like it’s part of one uniform unit.

There are trade-offs there. The hingeless design prevents it from folding or folding into small balls. Instead, each earcup is pulled out of the headband independently of each other, with Bose 700NC headphones or Apple’s AirPods max.

This new design should help counter wind interference, even if it can be more cumbersome to carry. If you’ve walked between two skyscrapers where the wind is trapped, you know that the strong forces of Mother Nature can cause havoc on ANC. The WH-1000XM5 stood on the ground, especially on windy days, but here’s a closer look at the actual performance of the ANC.

Slightly lighter than the XM4’s 254g, as comfortable as its predecessor, the luxurious synthetic leather memory foam earcups and padded headband section give the ears a fairly light feel and strong clamping force. There is none. However, after using for several hours, my ears sweated a little and became warm. Therefore, it could not be said that it was excellent in controlling body temperature. The headphones seemed to soak it all.

The XM5s chassis is made primarily of a recyclable polymer called acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS), which Sony has been paying attention to in recent months. Since the material is chopped and melted automobile parts from Japan and the United States, we expect that Sony’s headphones will continue to increase in the same way with recyclable ABS. It’s smooth, a little rubbery, and very nice to touch. The packaging for these headphones is also plastic-free, and it’s clear that the company is trying to reduce its use.

Like the XM4, it has no water resistance rating. Therefore, keeping them away from the gym or head during sweaty workouts is not suitable for either case, but at the office, on a trip, or while commuting.

Like the XM4 at launch, it comes in only two colors, black and silver. Headphones aren’t too flashy and don’t look luxurious. You can’t identify them as more than black headphones at a glance, and we liked the overall look of their predecessors.


The hingeless design is not flat and may be a bit controversial.

(Alex Lee)

All Sony WH-1000 series headphones are always very smart and feature-rich, and the same is true for the new XM. There’s a great quick attention feature that supports Alexa voice commands, where you scoop your right ear to turn down the volume and turn on transparent mode, and when you start talking, talk to a chat that turns on transparent mode.

We are not yet a big fan of chat features. It may be activated when you are singing along with your favorite song, and the notification sound may become noisy. You can turn off the notification sound, but it also turns off all other alerts / verbal feedback. Like the XM4, we’ve decided to turn off chat altogether, but it can be useful for some users.

Some headphones have a proximity sensor that is used to detect that the wearer has removed the headphones. This will automatically pause the music and turn it off after a period of time. This sensor is hidden behind the actual mesh of the earcup. Previously it was displayed on XM4. We love this feature and it’s not a feature commonly found in over-ear wireless headphones.

The capacitive touchpad has the same clean gesture controls as the WH-1000XM4s, and the headphones have two buttons. One is a button to switch between ANC mode and ambient mode, and the other is a button to turn on the power, pair, and check the battery capacity. It was left. It’s very easy to use.

Some great features can only be accessed by downloading the Sony Connect app. It has a quick access feature that allows you to double or triple click the ANC button to access a specific service. At the moment, this only works with Spotify Tap. There’s also 360 Reality Audio that works with Deezer and Tidal, you need to take a picture of your ears for analysis (yes, a little creepy), and with a Bluetooth toggle you can prioritize either sound quality or connection stability. increase. And of course the equalizer.

There is also an optional DSEE Extreme feature. It uses AI to recreate the lossless version of the truck. It’s off by default, but it works pretty well. It also has a great multipoint connectivity feature that allows you to connect two devices and switch between them seamlessly.

Active noise canceling

Sony had perfected the ANC for the low frequencies of the XM4 headphones, but medium and high frequency sounds often sneaked through. The brand has clearly worked hard to improve ANC for high frequencies, which is especially noticeable on the XM5s. Noise canceling is pretty astounding and is a lot better than the XM4 (which already had a good ANC).

When I turned on ANC, I didn’t hear the doorbell ringing, but it seemed to suffer from sharp, fast sounds, such as passing through a freight train when testing outdoors. ANC adapts to the environment, so it seems to determine the amount of sound to block, rather than letting you decide. If you want to get the most out of your ANC, you can’t boost it.

That said, ANC is very smart because it can be activated while walking, performing actions, or in specific locations. You need access to location services, all of which can be set in the app. Both of these work great. As soon as I got up from my chair and started walking, ambient mode was turned on. Noise cancellation was turned on when we arrived at the local subway station. It’s really fun to use.

Improved active noise canceling and now works better with high frequency sounds

(Alex Lee)

The ANC was excellent overall, and when used in an isolated location in the park, I could hear the surrounding background noise consistently, especially the high frequency sounds, and barely hear anything.

Regarding battery life, it takes about 30 hours with ANC on and about 40 hours with ANC off. This is fairly standard for today’s wireless headphone pairs and is the same as the WH-1000XM4. If you charge it for 10 minutes, you can use it for another 5 hours, but if you have a USB-PD compatible AC adapter, you can charge it at high speed for up to 3 hours in just 3 minutes. However, it takes about 3.5 hours to charge from empty to full charge.


This is where the Sony WH-1000XM5 really shines. I was able to devise the look of these headphones and how to handle adaptive noise cancellation, but I was much more impressed with the sound quality of these cans than with the WH-1000XM4.

The WH-1000XM5s is equipped with a new 30mm driver unit and carbon fiber dome, which is said to improve high frequency sensitivity and provide listeners with “more natural sound quality”. And from the bat, that’s exactly how our truck was heard.Stravinsky’s Spring celebration With incredible sound, rich, melodious, warmth and colour, these headphones delicately switch between strings and woodwinds, as if they were born to get this song out of the earcups.

For higher tempo tracks like Tame Impala, they don’t miss the beat On it, The track maintains a sense of musicality. LCD Soundsystem Drums How do you sleep There was an important, exciting punch punctured by the electronic bassline and James Murphy’s vocals. You won’t hear headphones that sound better than these, and you’ll blow the XM4 out of the water.

The call quality is very good. This may be due to the four beamforming microphones and Sony’s AI noise reduction structure that separates the audio above the background noise. I heard it clearly and clearly when talking to my family on the phone, and just as clearly when I recorded a voice memo on WhatsApp. It’s just a great experience and isn’t seen very often when it comes to headphones. This usually makes a terrible noise when making a call.


These are the best headphones. Amazing sound quality for easy processing of all songs, increased levels of active noise canceling at high frequencies, and smart features are all next-generation upgrades to modern headphones.

The design may be a bit controversial and a little impractical as it can’t be folded. Still we want to be able to control the level of our ANC, but they are the little nigle we can live in. The big problem may be that they are still sitting pretty warm in our ears.

It’s slightly more expensive than when the XM4 went on sale (£ 349 vs. £ 379 for the XM5). In addition, older models can now be purchased at a fairly reasonable price (£ 276.95, – steal, given that they remain some of the best headphones around. Need to get a new model? If you value sound quality and smart features, definitely.

Sony WH-1000XM5

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