Sony WH-1000XM5 review: Lengthy stay the king

The predecessors to the Sony WH-1000XM5 have been king of the hill, and these new headphones take that crown. With new drivers, options, and design, the Sony WH-1000XM5 are an intriguing set of headphones among the many flagship lively noise-cancelling (ANC) gadgets available on the market. They excel in journey or on the workplace, particularly.

On this planet of headphones, just a few firms’ new releases are literally price taking note of, and chief amongst these is Sony. Right this moment we’re taking a look at the newest replace to the corporate’s flagship lively noise-cancelling (ANC) headphones: the Sony WH-1000XM5. With an entire redesign, these are a few of the greatest ANC headphones available on the market — even at an eye-watering $400. We obtained to spend a while attending to know the Sony WH-1000XM5 in wet Vancouver, and we’re glad to share our notes with you.

Who’re the Sony WH-1000XM5 for?

The Sony WH-1000XM5 are for anybody who finds themselves listening to music in diversified situations in the course of the day, comparable to commuters, workplace employees, city-dwellers, and college students. They’re particularly good for individuals who spend loads of time on calls, and people wanting higher-bitrate Bluetooth audio.

What are the Sony WH-1000XM5 like to make use of?

The WH-1000XM5 include a number of bells and whistles, and Sony nonetheless will get a lot of the fundamentals proper. There are a couple of points, however the WH-1000XM5 are an formidable set of headphones. For instance, these cans take goal at a couple of options which have confirmed widespread on different headsets, like Discover My Gadget help by way of Android and Quick Pair.

Clad in a smooth coating and vegan leatherette, the contact space along with your head gives ample friction however is smooth sufficient to not be a hassle. The place the pads on the earlier WH-1000X headsets have been a little bit odd for these with bigger ears, the padding of the Sony WH-1000XM5 is deep and broad sufficient to accommodate bigger ears, and consequently, they’re comfy.

Although 250g will not be precisely featherweight in comparison with different ANC headphones, the WH-1000XM5 are gentle sufficient to spare your noggin from excessive strain along side the padding on the headscarf. The band itself has a friction rod design just like the Grado Labs SR60x, as an alternative of the notched observe of the older Sony wi-fi headphones. Whereas it’s not precisely an enormous deal, it means there’s no setting you possibly can simply bear in mind to suit: you merely modify on the fly.

After you’ve been utilizing your headphones for some time, it’s possible you’ll begin noticing they deal with loads of belongings you don’t take into consideration. The ear sensor is sort of good at pausing music when you’ve eliminated the headphones out of your head. Creature comforts like the choice to allow ambient noise passthrough by cupping your hand over the suitable ear cup additionally make a return. It’s good with the ability to hold the cans on whereas somebody dumps one thing off in your desk, reasonably than taking them off and placing them again on 100 occasions as they cease and begin a disjointed dialog.

For these on the lookout for health club buddies or those that stay in wet climes: these might not be the headphones for you.

For those who’re on the lookout for health club buddies or dwelling in wet climates, the Sony WH-1000XM5 might not be the headphones for you. Included within the headphones’ literature is a reasonably amusing graphic telling you to not sweat on these headphones, or take them out within the rain. I get the sensation which means these are most likely a little bit extra weak to moisture than older Sony headphones, however with out a definitive IP score it’s powerful to make certain.

How do you management the Sony WH-1000XM5?

A finger tapping the ear cup of a Sony WH-1000XM5 worn on a head.

Zak Khan / Android Authority

The primary controls for the Sony WH-1000XM5 are very very like they have been on the final three iterations of the sequence, utilizing a capacitive contact panel on the suitable ear cup. All of the outdated gestures make their return, as outlined under:

Motion Perform

Swipe up

Quantity up

Swipe down

Quantity down

Swipe ahead

Monitor ahead

Swipe again

Monitor again

Maintain (middle)

Voice assistant

Double faucet middle

Pause / resume

Cup hand

Ambient sound passthrough

On the WH-1000XM5’s left ear cup there are two buttons: an influence button and an ANC mode button. Holding down the facility button will flip the headphones on, and after three seconds will begin pairing mode. From there, you possibly can pair the same old approach along with your telephone, or observe the pairing course of to your laptop.

Urgent the NC/AMB button will toggle the ANC mode. You may choose both ANC, ANC off, or Ambient sound modes — the latter of which lets you hear every thing occurring round you by piping in outdoors noise recorded by the microphone array.

How do you join the Sony WH-1000XM5?

Angled view of the Sony WH-1000XM5 power and noise cancelling buttons

Chris Thomas / Android Authority

Like many different Bluetooth headphones, you possibly can join the WH-1000XM5 to your supply gadget by way of wi-fi connection or a 3.5mm cable. If you’re listening with a wired connection, you possibly can flip the headphones on to allow ANC, or you possibly can go away them off to forgo that characteristic (though they may sound fairly a bit completely different in passive mode).

On the underside of the suitable ear is a USB-C port, which lets you cost the headphones. Annoyingly, you continue to can’t use this connection for wired digital music playback.

What codecs do the Sony WH-1000XM5 use?

In keeping with Sony.com, the Sony WH-1000XM5 can hook up with your Bluetooth-enabled gadgets by way of the LDAC, AAC, and SBC Bluetooth codecs. Sony didn’t return aptX help right here — for that, you’ll want to choose up the older Sony WH-1000XM3 or any among the best aptX headphones. In case your gadget helps LDAC, you have to to dive into your developer choices on Android if you wish to profit from the codec. By default, the headphones will join utilizing the “Finest effort” mode which just about all the time defaults to decrease bitrates. We recommend going with 660kbps in case you’re adventurous sufficient to do the deep settings dive. That choice appears to supply one of the best mixture of sound high quality and sign stability throughout the whole vary of WH-1000X gadgets, with the WH-1000XM5 being no exception. The high-quality 909kbps choice appears to work advantageous with regard to skipping, however it’s possible you’ll discover a couple of jumps in audio playback in case you go away your telephone in your pocket with this setting.

Must you get the Sony Headphones Join app?

The Sony Headphones Connect headphone app on a smartphone with a hand reaching out to the terms of use warning.

Chris Thomas / Android Authority

If you wish to get probably the most out of your headphones, it’s best to positively get the Sony Headphones Join App (iOS/Android) to your telephone. I say that as a result of not solely is it required for options like ANC optimization, 360 Actuality Audio, and a customized equalizer that saves the settings on to the headset, but it surely’s additionally the principle car for Sony to get you updates to your headphones.

Whereas there are loads of goodies within the Sony Headphones Join app, there are additionally a couple of pitfalls. Specifically, it asks for a lot of non-public info that it could or might not do different issues with. Sadly, options like Google’s Quick Pair completely require a stage of information sharing that may really feel creepy. Sharing location information for headphones? It could appear a little bit intrusive, however how else are you going to make use of a discover my headphones characteristic? It’s a bit tough. Equally, asking for images of your ears is usually a little off-putting, however that information is put to good use in adjusting the sign to your headphones to implement 360 Actuality Audio.

How good is the battery lifetime of the Sony WH-1000XM5?

The Sony Headphones Connect headphone app on a smartphone with a hand reaching out to the terms of use warning.

Chris Thomas / Android Authority

SoundGuys’ commonplace battery take a look at yielded a results of 31 hours, 53 minutes with ANC on, barely higher than Sony’s marketed battery lifetime of 30 hours for the WH-1000XM5. Disabling ANC and re-running the take a look at improved the end result considerably (by greater than 20 hours!), yielding a complete battery lifetime of 53 hours and 6 minutes underneath the identical take a look at situations.

In both case, that is properly past a standard week’s price of commuting, or a long-haul flight. For those who’re in a bind, simply three minutes of charging will provide 180 minutes of playback. In fact, if you end up with out a USB-C cable, you possibly can all the time use the helpful 3.5mm cable for direct analog playback.

How properly do the Sony WH-1000XM5 cancel noise?

The Sony WH-1000XM5 signify a reasonably large enchancment in total noise attenuation, and never simply in ANC efficiency. They’re significantly better at isolating your ears from noise than earlier iterations, that means the offending blasts of incidental sound are bodily blocked from reaching your ears. ANC can solely achieve this a lot, so it’s virtually all the time preferable to dam out sound reasonably than cancel it.

The Sony WH-1000XM5's ANC performance vs Bose QuietComfort 45

Chris Thomas / Android Authority

In fact, the ANC itself can be superb. In SoundGuys’ checks, it provided a tangible profit in comparison with earlier iterations of the WH-1000X line, in addition to notably higher efficiency within the low finish when in comparison with headphones just like the Bose QuietComfort 45, Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700, and Sony WH-1000XM4. The headphones make engines, trains, and avenue noise drop off to about one-eighth their authentic perceived loudness. Principally, the WH-1000XM5 are the headphones to get in case you completely have to cease shopping for cans for various functions in your life.

How do the Sony WH-1000XM5 sound?

Close-up shot of Sony Headphones Connect app on iPhone 11 Pro.

Chris Thomas / Android Authority

Like most shopper ANC headphones, the Sony WH-1000XM5 enhance bass most likely a little bit an excessive amount of, and positively to the detriment of the midrange. We’re used to seeing this by now, however in comparison with extra “high-end” headphones, you’ll discover the very sturdy bass emphasis instantly. The comparatively subdued midrange would possibly sound a bit off because it will get drowned out by the a lot louder highs and lows. With none equalization, it’s possible you’ll discover that stringed devices, horns, woodwinds, and even greater vocals can get dulled in your favourite tunes.

The Sony WH-1000XM5 frequency response vs Apple AirPods Max

Chris Thomas / Android Authority

Over time your ear will attune itself to the bass emphasis, and switching to a saner, extra subdued equalization will hold forth at first. We encourage you to mess around with the choices within the Headphones Join app in case you can, as a result of there’s a good bit of adjustment that may be accomplished in that regard. I extremely counsel nudging the “clear bass” setting down two notches a minimum of.

On the opposite finish of the frequency vary is the highs — and people too are a little bit over-emphasized in comparison with our goal curve. Whereas it doesn’t look so dangerous on the chart, the under-emphasis within the mids means the swing in quantity will make issues like cymbal shimmer, hi-hats, and the assault on snares stand out in a combination. This might be most pronounced on tracks that rely closely on uncrowded mixes, and many instrumentation, like in An Night with Silk Sonic, by Anderson .Paak and Bruno Mars.

With none equalization, it’s possible you’ll discover that stringed devices, horns, woodwinds, and even greater vocals get dulled in your favourite tunes.

How do the Sony WH-1000XM5 sound wired?

Wired, the Sony WH-1000XM5 sound close to an identical to their efficiency in wi-fi mode, however solely when the headset is lively (powered on). For those who select passive listening, the efficiency is lower than stellar. They work advantageous, however they don’t sound like $400 headphones in that state. To be utterly truthful, this is quite common and anticipated with headphones which have each lively and passive wired connection choices.

The best way to equalize the Sony WH-1000XM5

Whereas the enhance to the bass and low mids are what some might deem a little bit excessive, equalizing it out might be a little bit little bit of a ache. To not fear although — we are able to provide some prompt settings so that you can check out with both the Sony Headphones Join App or a third-party choice like Wavelet (in case you like how this works, please think about shopping for the professional model of the app).

Sony WH-1000XM5 equalizer suggestions

Chris Thomas / Android Authority

Within the Sony Headphones Join app, dropping the “Clear Bass” setting two notches will go a protracted option to bettering your music, however you too can try and mirror this curve with the frequency sliders. Alternatively, you possibly can load this textual content file into the Android app Wavelet to see the way you just like the sound. Take note of the chart (or screenshot it) so you understand roughly the best way to modify the sliders within the Sony app, in case you determine that we’ve missed the mark for you personally. When you’ve accomplished this, you possibly can experiment by yourself utilizing our goal as a place to begin!

How does the Sony WH-1000XM5’s microphone sound?

Right ear cup of the Sony WH-1000XM5 placed flat on table

Chris Thomas / Android Authority

Sporting an eight-microphone array and an AI (I can solely assume it’s truly machine studying) noise rejection algorithm, the Sony WH-1000XM5’s name high quality is sort of good. Whereas it’s not going to face in for a devoted condenser mic or something, that is going to knock the socks off any Zoom name or telephone assembly.

The microphone array notably excels at rejecting outdoors noise, which you’ll hear in our samples under. For those who assume we’ve mislabeled any of those, I guarantee you we didn’t: the take a look at is automated, and every file is called correctly.

Sony WH-1000XM5 mic demo (Preferrred):

Sony WH-1000XM5 mic demo (Workplace):

Sony WH-1000XM5 mic demo (Road):

Sony WH-1000XM5 mic demo (Wind):

If you wish to see what different individuals are saying about these headphones, by all means, vote within the ballot under. After you vote, the outcomes will show, and we’ll replace the mic rating as soon as we’ve collected sufficient responses.

How does the microphone sound to you?

281 votes

1 (Terrible)

3%

2 (Dangerous)

1%

3 (Okay)

17%

4 (Good)

42%

5 (Excellent)

36%

Sony WH-1000XM5 review: The decision

Testing the Sony WH-1000XM5 in the lab with state-of-the-art equipment

Chris Thomas / Android Authority

For those who’re on the lookout for headphones that may go along with you to the workplace, in your subsequent journey, or deal with working from house, the Sony WH-1000XM5 are a superb purchase. In fact, your wants will dictate what’s definitely worth the cash to you, however $400 USD is some huge cash to gamble — that is as near a positive factor as you will get within the headphone world.

Glorious ANC efficiency, respectable sound high quality, and a number of recent options like Discover My Gadget help in Android makes for a really succesful set of cans. Whereas it’s disappointing that NFC and an IP score aren’t current on the Sony WH-1000XM5 spec sheet, it’s a tradeoff I feel most might be completely advantageous with making. The positives clearly outweigh the negatives within the lab and in actual life.

Product shot of the Sony WH-1000XM5 in black on a white background.

Sony WH-1000XM5

Sony’s flagship WH-1000XM5 headphones provide wonderful ANC and comfort options to make for the general greatest noise-cancelling headphones you will get.

How do the Sony WH-1000XM5 examine to the Sony WH-1000XM4?

Top-down view of Sony WH-1000XM5 beside the Sony WH-1000XM4 on a metal surface

Chris Thomas / Android Authority

Whereas the Sony WH-1000XM4 will stay available on the market for some time, there’s little motive to get them over the newer WH-1000XM5 except you will get them on a steep low cost. The sound high quality is barely worse, they’re a little bit lighter on options, and a few of the controls don’t fairly work in addition to they do on the WH-1000XM5. Nonetheless, in case you have been to seek out the WH-1000XM4 at $280 to $320 USD, it wouldn’t be a foul concept to seize them off the shelf at that value. You gained’t get precise characteristic parity, however you’ll have the ability to take pleasure in a lot of the issues we like concerning the WH-1000XM5 just like the 360 Actuality Audio, ear detection, multipoint, and app options.

The Sony WH-1000XM4 has far more emphasized highs than the WH-1000XM5A chart compares the ANC performance of the Sony WH-1000XM4 and WH-1000XM5 Bluetooth headphones, revealing the XM5 to be the better pick in this regard.

Our major concern with the Sony WH-1000XM4 is the truth that they’re rather a lot tougher to EQ properly, despite the fact that their sound high quality is comparable in some ways to that of the WH-1000XM5. That top-end over-emphasis is very easy to listen to in your music, and is usually a bit grating in case you don’t tone it down with a preset or adjustment.

How does the microphone examine to the Sony WH-1000XM4?

The Sony WH-1000XM4 microphone is excellent however it might’t examine to that of the WH-1000XM5. Pay attention under.

Sony WH-1000XM4 mic demo (Preferrred):

Sony WH-1000XM4 mic demo (Workplace):

Sony WH-1000XM4 mic demo (Road):

Sony WH-1000XM4 mic demo (Wind):

How do the Bose QuietComfort 45 examine to the Sony WH-1000XM5?

Tchriusop-down view of Sony WH-1000XM5 beside the Bose QuietComfort 45 on a metal surface

Chris Thomas / Android Authority

This one’s no contest, the Sony WH-1000XM5 drub the Bose QuietComfort 45 each in total noise attenuation and wi-fi audio efficiency. Positive, the frequency response of the Bose is greatest if you use the treble reducer preset, however out of the field, it sounds fairly grating. The Sony however is bassy, however a bit extra consumer-friendly — all whereas providing a a lot greater bitrate for better-quality listening.

The Bose QuietComfort 45 has less objectionable bass emphasis, but a lack of higher-quality codecs may frustrate you.A chart compares the Sony WH-1000XM5 and Bose QuietComfort 45 ANC performances to one another, revealing that the two headsets are very close.

In fact, firmware updates may enhance both set of headphones, so this one’s rather less reduce and dry. Nonetheless, greenback for greenback the Sony WH-1000XM5 are a transparent winner on the time of publication.

How do the Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 examine to the Sony WH-1000XM5?

When evaluating the Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 to the Sony WH-1000XM5, it’s clear that each headsets are on the prime of their video games, however Sony’s noise-cancelling and passive isolation overtakes Bose’s right here too. The ANC chart under reveals that Bose nonetheless does a superb job attenuating frequencies within the mids and into the lows, however the XM5 headphones are finally the higher purchase.

A frequency response chart for the Sony WH-1000XM5 shown in cyan and the Bose Noise Cancelling 700 shown with a dotted yellow line. The chart shows that the Sony headphones boost bass more than the Bose headphones.A chart compares the noise cancelling of the Bose NCH 700 and Sony WH-1000XM5 to show that the Sony has better attenuation across the frequency spectrum.

So far as sound high quality is anxious, the Bose NCH 700 sound higher straight out of the field as a result of the WH-1000XM5 enhance bass and treble fairly a bit greater than our home curve recommends. Which means you might have a tough time listening to vocal element from Sony’s headphones whereas concurrently feeling just like the treble is just too “piercing.” You may equalize the sound with both headset and, to Sony’s credit score, the Headphone Join app EQ is extra superior than the Bose Music app EQ.

Regularly requested questions concerning the Sony WH-1000XM5

I can not determine between the Sony WH-1000XM5 and Apple AirPods Max, that are higher?The Apple AirPods Max and their smart case on a white desk.

Chris Thomas / Android Authority

Selecting between the AirPods Max and Sony WH-1000XM5 actually boils right down to your price range and your smartphone. Solely iPhone homeowners will have the ability to take full benefit of the AirPods Max, whereas Android telephone homeowners will miss out on primary performance and firmware updates.

The AirPods Max technically have higher ANC than the WH-1000XM5. Whenever you click on both chart to increase it, you possibly can see how far more sub-bass the AirPods Max attenuate in comparison with the XM5 headphones. Click on the charts under to increase.

Sound high quality can be higher with the AirPods Max out of the field, and also you get Adaptive EQ regardless of which gadget you utilize it with. That mentioned, different issues like automated ear detection and Apple Spatial Audio solely work with Apple gadgets. The microphone high quality can be far more dependable on the WH-1000XM5 and it does a greater job throughout sub-optimal situations.

AirPods Max microphone demo (Preferrred):

AirPods Max microphone demo (Wind):

How does the microphone sound to you?

17 votes

1 (Terrible)

12%

2 (Dangerous)

12%

3 (Okay)

24%

4 (Good)

29%

5 (Excellent)

24%

In the end, the WH-1000XM5 are extra suited for individuals who use each Apple and non-Apple gadgets, whereas the AirPods are actually solely out to serve one shopper: Apple’s.

What are the advantages of noise-cancelling headphones?

Noise-cancelling headphones can quiet your commute and make it simpler to pay attention when you arrive on the workplace. We like ANC tech as a result of it might additionally cut back your threat of noise-induced listening to loss. One of the best ANC headphones attenuate frequencies throughout the spectrum and with the isolation and ANC provided by a headset just like the WH-1000XM5, you’re unlikely to extend the amount to harmful ranges as a way to fight exterior sounds that make it exhausting to listen to your music.

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