sony wh-1000xm5 review- 14 Facts You Must Know Before Buying

Sony WH-1000XM5 Review [October 2023]: 14 Facts You Must Know Before Buying

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Has the latest entrant in the Sony WH-1000 lune up overridden its predecessors? In this piece of Sony WH-1000XM5 review, we will see how this delivers and the 15 facts you must know before buying.

In fact, we have classified Sony WH-1000XM5 as one of the best wireless headphones in our list of the 11 Best Headphones For Music: 11 Super Picks For Music Lovers.

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the WH-1000XM5 are beyond doubt the best in class noise canceling headphones. These headphones are a statement to rivals from Bose, Sennheiser, and Jabra to sit up and take notice.

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User expectations with Sony wireless noise-canceling headphones are always high. With each new entry, their expectations even soar.

Sony WH-1000XM5 is the latest in the series that come on the market recently. These are the flagship wireless over-ear headphones of Japanese electronics. And are the direct successor of the WH-1000XM4 in the line-up.

Indeed, Sony is one of the most popular brands in the wireless audio market segment. The WH-1000XM5 belongs to one of the most revered family trees in its audio department.

The WH-XM5 came After the successful launch of 2 excellent noise-canceling over-ear headphones.

Following the Sony WH-1000XM3 and WH-1000XM4, it raised the bar among its customer expectations.

As always Sony doesn’t disappoint its brand lovers this time also. It has done it again. The brand loyalists need not worry.

The XM5 takes care of all your expectations. Though I already have a few sets of other headphones, I used this one for a couple of months.

For me, the WH-1000XM5 are beyond doubt the best in class noise canceling headphones. These headphones are a statement to rivals from Bose, Sennheiser, and Jabra to sit up and take notice.

The headphones come with a new design and improved ANC. The two processors and eight microphones let it stand out in the crowd.

How does it perform in all departments and what are 15 facts you must know before buying? Let’s deep dive and find out.

1. What is in the Box- Sony WH-1000XM5 Over-Ear Headphones?

The box of the Sony WH-1000XM5 over-ear headphones comes with the following articles:

  • WH-1000XM5 45 headphones
  • 1/8” TRS Charging cable
  • Carry Case
  • Audio Cable
  • User Manual
  • Troubleshooting Guide

2. Sony WH-1000XM5 Over-Ear Headphones Release Date?

The Sony WH-1000XM5 headphones were released in May 2022. This is two years after the launch of its predecessor WH-1000XM4. The brand started shipping these headphones in May this year.

3. Sony WH-1000XM5 Over-Ear Headphones Design and Build

The XM5 over-ear headphones have a new design with increased internal processing power. But, this also comes at a little higher than their predecessor.

The Sony borrows a few features from WF-1000XM4. This is a clear indication of giving tighter, and more compact dimensions. For sure, I could see this pair is more streamlined, slimmer, and even minimal.

This comes after two generations of more or less identical over-ear headphone designs. Impressive, the WH-1000XM5 headphones are a noticeable departure from their predecessors.

At best I could describe the WH-1000XM5 headphones as they are a little more rounded. I found this in comparison to their predecessors. A little cleaner, a little slimmer.

There are fewer visible articulation points.  There is a more discreet noise-canceling mic port. I am also happy that these headsets have a slim headband with a leather-like cover. This lets the device hide connection and expansion points.

The shape of the ear cups is also more or less different from the oval shape of the WH-1000XM3 and WH-1000XM4.

The current model’s pull-out expansion point is more sturdy than the previous design. This is useful to create fewer pressure points. It was a very common complaint with its predecessor.

The WH-1000XM5 has a soft coating and vegan faux leather. The padding is deeper and wider to accommodate larger ears. It makes the headsets more comfortable for everyone.

Yet, I found it very annoying that the XM5 headphones’ earcups are non-foldable. It’s more advisable to pack them into a carrying case. And then put them into your backpack.

The carrying case is foldable. And it takes a little more space than the headphones themselves. Also, the XM5 looks a little less premium than the WH-1000XM4.

At the same time, It’s also interesting that weighs 250 gms. It’s 4 grams lighter than the XM4 which weighs 254g.

The XM5 is made from Sony’s own Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene (ABS).  It’s the same material used in his LinkBuds wireless earbuds. The synthetic leather covering makes the band is very smooth. The comfort level is the best in the headphone range.

The XM5 feels secure without being too tight on the ears. The new aerodynamic design helps improve airflow across the headphone frame. This helps reduce wind noise.

When I put these headphones on my shoulder, felt little uncomfortable. They felt pretty awkward and bounced around my shoulder a little more than I would have liked.

4. Features and Specifications- Sony WH-1000XM5 Over-Ear Headphones

After two years of wait, the Sony WH-1000XM5 came on the market as the successor to the WH-1000XM4.

Indeed, the headset has improved sound quality better active noise cancellation. It’s a real joy to play your favorite track with the WH-1000XM5.

The headphones come with an onboard processor V1.  This is a great complement to a noise-canceling QN1  processor. This promises to deliver better performance.

The over-ear noise-canceling headphones feature Bluetooth 5.2. Besides, they also support SBC, AAC, and LDAC Bluetooth codecs for connectivity.

I am very pleased to see there is also a multipoint connection that lets me connect up to two devices at once. The headphones feature 30mm dynamic drivers. And an all-new and improved design and it’s lighter. It’s also more comfortable than other 1000X series of headphones.

There is a combination of buttons and touch controls. The right earcup has playback and volume control touch-sensitive areas. This works with gestures on the touch-sensitive area.

The headset has 8 microphones for ANC. The driver size with these headphones is smaller than the previous ones. The XM5 has 30mm as against 40mm with the previous.

But I don’t see the drivers making a lot of difference.

The XM5s are one of the best-in-class headphones Sony has ever released in the WH-1000X series. They deliver well in all areas.

The multi point connectivity did work well for me. But one thing I find a little annoying is it only allowed one function; LDAC/Multipoint at a time.

Sony has its own DSEE Extreme feature. It allows AI to upscale compressed audio to near-hi-res quality in real time. It also supports Sony’s 360 Reality Audio.

The WH-XM5s supports quick pairing with Android and Windows devices. Google Assistant and Alexa support is available.

All that said, I grossly missed the customizable controls. But, it’s a fair deal the controls are so intuitive that you don’t need to customize them at all.

5. Sony WH-1000XM5 Over-Ear Headphones - Battery Life

The new entrant in the Sony WH-1000X lineup comes with good new features. If I speak about the battery life, it doesn’t offer extra hours than its siblings.

The battery life of the Sony WH-1000XM5 is more or less the same as its predecessor. Rather, there is no change, to be frank.

I have seen many times, if the headphones have better or more streamlined features, they will also impact the battery.

The company says WH-1000XM5 delivers up to 30 hours of battery backup. I found it very impressive, I could manage and listen to music for a little over 30 hours.

Thus, you need not worry about the battery being drained out very fast. It did very well for me even when I am on a long journey.

As usual, turning the ANC while playing, the battery backup drops to some extent. Still, this is excellent battery performance. It delivers at par with the company’s claims.

The WH-1000XM5 matches as much as their score in our experiment.

I also put the LDAC on to see if it has any effect on the battery. And I saw the numbers drop a bit.

Even if the cans run out of battery, the Sony WH-1000XM5 overcomes this with a quick charge feature. Your headphones are ready to deliver 3 hours of wireless playback with 3 mins of quick charge.

But, you need to use a USB PD charger for this.

6. Sony WH-1000XM5 Over-Ear Headphones - Wearing Comfort

Attending many virtual conferences, online calls, and zoom meetings in a day takes a toll.  I also love listening to music in a break to relax after a hectic schedule.

The WH-1000XM5 does a good job. It’s a great wearing comfort that no one can take away from these over-ear headsets.

The XM5s are mild and very cushy. You can wear them all day long without fatigue on your ears. What I find a little downside is the headsets don’t have water or sweat resistance.

I didn’t have a problem in the absence of this feature. But, it could be a significant drawback if you sweat a lot.

The headband is slimmer than its predecessor. It’s more plushy also and gives a sheer wearing comfort for long listening hours.

At the same time, ear cups have less cushion. But, it has nothing to do the comfort. The WH-1000XM5 is lighter than its predecessor, weighing in at 250 grams. I could put these can hours on top of my head with no signs of discomfort.

Unlike its predecessor WH-1000XM4, I didn’t find a painful hotspot created on top of my head and over my ears.

Though the earcups are less plushy, they are very streamlined and cover your ears very well. The previous model didn’t do very well accommodating people with large ears.

The WH-1000XM5 has extensive padding and is good to deal with all ear sizes.  The memory foam with the headband and ear cups makes for a snug fit and provides perfect clamping force.

Don’t worry, you will not experience the sensation of crushing your ears.

7. Sony WH-1000XM5 Over-Ear Headphones Sound and Bass Review

Sony is one of the leading players in the audio market segment. The WH-1000XM5 delivers great performance. I tried my pair of headsets in different music genres.

I am impressed with the clarity and audio separation they provide. I could hear every note with great details at a higher frequency.

I was way back from Dubai recently and played Elevation by U2, and In the End by Linkin Park.  I also spent time listening to Take Five by Miles Davis. I did notice a clear difference between each song. It was also joyful to identify each instrument while listening.

The cans deliver clear instrument sound with Take Five. At the same time, I enjoyed the boom on Elevation. I love XM5’s immersive musical experience.

When you want to get away from the outside world and indulge in musical nirvana, the V1 processor does the job.

When I was returning from Dubai I was unaware of what was happening until my co-passenger nudged me. Sony’s noise canceling technology is one of the best in the industry.

There is negligible wind noise so there is absolute clarity on call from both ends. FLAC files are very good in these headphones. But, the DSEE Extreme can even pull out more detail when streaming music on Spotify. The Sony WH01000XM5 also delivers a great listening experience on YouTube Music.

Sony tends to boost the bass a little more than other frequencies. This gives the same warm, bass-boosted sound profile you like to listen to.

The bass is even richer and punchier on Bruno Mars’ Uptown Funk. But, it’s a little disappointing this comes with the compromise of midrange clarity. Yet, much of this is disabled when LDAC and DSEE are on.

If you’re an audiophile, I am sure you might want to dive into the app’s custom EQ and tweak the bass response a bit. The mids alone are delivered with undeniable precision.

The WH-1000XM5 headphones also have impeccable timing. I listened to Billie Eilish’s Bad Guy also and found the drum drive and heaviness on it.

All in all, these headsets reproduce the sound in great detail.

8. Sony WH-1000XM5 Over-Ear Headphones Microphone and Call Quality Review

The latest entry in the 1000X iteration comes with excellent microphones. The number of microphones on the XM5 has doubled. It has 8 microphones as compared to 4 on the XM4.

This hardware change is very helpful when it comes to call quality. Call quality on the XM5 is perfect. The wind noise is reduced to a great extent.

Thus, you can hear both ends of your call clearly. To be frank, I have nothing to complain about here.

I am also very happy that there is not much no sound leakage. Almost none.

To be more sure about it, I sat next to my colleague in the office. I didn’t feel a noticeable sound leakage even at max volume. This is an improvement over the previous version, based on what people around me said at the time.

The doubling of microphones provides a few advantages. This allows the onboard noise-cancelling processors to analyze more audio data. And at the end, it improves active noise-cancelling performance.

It can also double the number of beamforming microphones near the user’s mouth.

It’s beyond any doubt the call quality is crystal clear. And microphone delivers excellent performance.

9. Sony WH-1000XM5 Over-Ear Headphones- App Use and its Features

The Sony Headphones Connect app is yet another excellent feature. The headphones work with the app very well.

The app has customizable noise cancellation and listen-through modes. Besides, the app also features Speak To Chat, 360 Reality Audio. The native hands-free support is very coordinated.

There is a flawless integration of Google voice assistants and Alexa. Google Fast Pair and Swift Pair for Windows devices are also supported.

As I said you can also adjust adaptive sound control settings within the app. The app also features a custom equalizer and several preset EQs.

It’s also very handy to switch between multipoint and DSEE using the app.

Speak to Chat is not an exciting feature. It’s a bit irritating when it goes on and off time and again. I experienced this drawback when someone else in the room is talking in high decibels.

The app also tracks how much time you spend playing music with your headphones.

This is a nice feature for life loggers.

10. Sony WH-1000XM5 Over-Ear Headphones Wireless and Bluetooth Review

The Sony WH-1000XM5 has excellent Bluetooth connectivity. It supports pairing with more than one device. This way, you can stay connected to your smartphone and PC at the same time.

It also supports Google Fast Pair and Swift Pair on Windows. Thus, it’s perfect if you have a compatible device you want to pair with these headphones.

Yet, PCs using the default codec, the SBC codec, have higher latency. There’s also a 190ms delay when using LDAC over PC, Sony’s proprietary codec for Hi-Res audio. High latency can throw audio and visual out of sync, which can be very hard to notice with audio content.

This is disappointing, I could not use LDAC with two connections together. That is to say, I had to disconnect one device for function.

I must say it has low latency on iOS and Android devices. And this makes it a good choice if you enjoy streaming videos on PCs.

We must understand that apps and devices do not compensate for latency in the same manner.

These headphones come with a 1/8 inch TRS cable that can receive audio. But, you cannot use the microphone.

Unlike the Sony WH-1000XM4 Wireless, there is no airline adapter.

The Sony WH-1000XM5 offers full audio and microphone compatibility. This is very interesting to see when wirelessly connected to a Bluetooth-enabled PC.

11. How Do Sony WH-1000XM5 Over-Ear Headphones Pair with Devices?

The Sony WH-1000XM5 comes with Bluetooth V5.2 and 1/8-inch TRS cable. That apart, it also supports SBC, AAC, and LDAC Bluetooth codecs for connectivity.

Thus, the pairing with devices straight forwards, easy and seamless. I will have more details in future.

12. Sony WH-1000XM5 Over-Ear Headphones - Noise Cancelling and ANC review

The Sony WH-1000XM5 has excellent sound isolation. These headphones feature an auto-adaptive ANC system. This optimizes performance based on your surroundings.

But, it’s very disappointing there is no way I could turn off optimization. This is not the case with the Sony WH-1000XM4.

As a result, it’s noticed that ANC changes with the slightest head movement. This indeed comes as the system does not provide consistent noise isolation.

The bass range may not perform as well as its predecessors. But, their mids and highs deliver better than their outgoing siblings. Again, in comparison to the XM4, XM5’s ANC can block out ambient noise better than the former.

There is not a significant difference. But, for me, these headphones seemed better suited for office use. Both continue to do an excellent job in this area.

Yet, the noise in the high-frequency range is difficult to hear. And sensitivity to this type of noise decreases over time.

If you want to use it while commuting, it’s a deal breaker. The XM5 can’t separate you from roaring engine noise much better than the XM4. Indeed, it blocks that noise more.

The Sony WH-1000XM5 completely matches the company’s industry-leading noise-cancellation features.

13. Control and Portability- Sony WH-1000XM5 Over-Ear Headphones

I have been using many over-ear headphones over the past few years. Sony has always impressed me with its overall performance delivery. And the Sony WH-1000XM5 has even better controls that are responsive and easy to use.

I didn’t see a significant change in its command layout and range. These are more or less the same as the Sony WH-1000XM4 wireless headsets.

The right earcup has a touch-sensitive area and the left earcup has two physical buttons. You can take a couple of swipes to increase or decrease the volume you want to play.

This is a flexible option when you don’t want to use the swipe and hold feature. Some commands also have beeps and voice prompts. But, these are less than older Sony products.

I find the portability of these headphones above average. Unlike the Sony WH-1000XM4 over-ear headphones, the design is a bit bulky.

I wish I could fold them to reduce their footprint. But, it’s easy to rotate earcups to lay flat. This helps them to fit into the carry case easily.

14. Sony WH-1000XM5 Over-Ear Headphones- Frequency Response

I am very impressed! The Sony WH-1000XM5 has excellent frequency response consistency. It’s consistent for the most part.

But, if you have thick hair or wear glasses, you may find that the earcup seal on your head breaks. In the end, there is a drop in the bass.

There is some variation in the range response as well. Yet, a good fit will result in more consistent audio delivery.

The Sony WH-1000XM5 has excellent centering accuracy. Over-emphasizing the low to low-mid frequencies makes the mix muddy and confusing.

But, the mids and highs balance is better than the Sony WH-1000XM4 Bluetooth headphones. So, vocals and lead instruments like Kendrick Lamar’s song Mother I Sober still sound crystal clear.

  • Great Active Noise Cancellation
  • Exceptional comfort and fit
  • SBC, AAC, and LDAC Bluetooth codecs
  • Multipoint connection and Quick charge
  • Very good app and features
  • Excellent battery life
  • Noy fully portable
  • Slightly boosted bass and low mids
  • Does not have water resistant feature
  • Does not fold fully

Conclusion: Helping You Make Informed Decision Easy

The Sony WH-1000XM5 Wireless is the successor to the Sony WH-1000XM4 Wireless. It was released in May 2022. These over-ears headphones have a new look and design. This puts them apart from their predecessors.

Beyond looks, Sony has also tweaked performance elements. This also includes tweaking the XM4’s burgeoning sound profile.

In addition, it also improved the performance of the built-in microphone. Tweaking and automating the Active Noise Cancellation (ANC) system.

No doubt these are the best pairs of headphones in the world. This becomes so because of their class-leading noise-cancelling features and well-balanced audio.

That’s not to say that some problems haven’t occurred. High price and more or less the same functionality may be a drawback. Some issues may be fixed in future firmware updates, but for now, we recommend to give a try to the XM5.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs): Things You Must Know Before Buying

A: The noise cancellation of the Sony WH-1000XM5 is highly effective. It utilizes advanced technology to block out a wide range of ambient sounds, creating an immersive listening experience. Whether you’re in a noisy office, a crowded street, or on a bustling plane, the headphones excel in isolating you from external noise, allowing you to enjoy your audio content with clarity.

A: Absolutely! The Sony WH-1000XM5 headphones are equipped with a built-in microphone and advanced noise-canceling algorithms, ensuring crystal-clear phone calls even in noisy environments. The microphone’s noise-rejecting capability filters out background sounds, making your voice come through clearly to the person on the other end of the call.

A: Yes, the Sony WH-1000XM5 boasts an impressive battery life that’s perfect for long journeys. With up to 30 hours of playback time on a single charge, you can confidently rely on these headphones to keep you entertained throughout your travels. Additionally, a quick 10-minute charge provides around 5 hours of playback, ensuring that you’re never without your favorite tunes for too long.

A: Customizing the audio settings of the WH-1000XM5 is easy and convenient. You can use the Sony Headphones Connect app, which allows you to fine-tune various audio parameters according to your preferences. You can adjust the equalizer presets, sound positioning, and even toggle adaptive sound control. This personalized audio tuning ensures that you enjoy your music just the way you like it.

A: Yes, the Sony WH-1000XM5 supports multipoint connectivity. This means you can connect the headphones to two devices simultaneously, such as your smartphone and laptop. This feature is particularly handy for those who want to seamlessly switch between devices without the hassle of disconnecting and reconnecting each time.

A: Absolutely! While the Sony WH-1000XM5 is known for its wireless capabilities, it also supports wired connections. The headphones come with a headphone jack and an included audio cable. This is a useful option, especially when you want to conserve battery life or if you’re using a device that doesn’t support Bluetooth.


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