If you ever were a buyer interested in getting a pair of noise-canceling headphones, irrespective of how confusing the name might be to remember, we bet you have read or at least heard about the Sony WH-1000X line. The XM4, which launched in 2020, only brought feature upgrades like Bluetooth Multipoint and Wear Detection (with marginal improvements to Noise Canceling), leaving the physical design and other aspects fairly unchanged.
But the WH-1000XM5, unveiled on May 12, 2022, brings changes across the board, and in this article, we have detailed everything you need to know about these new headphones.
Sony WH-1000XM5: Price & Availability
When the Sony WH-1000XM4 came to market, they cost $350, similar to its predecessor. With the XM5, Sony will be running a $50 premium, bringing its price to $399 (or £379). Also, the OEM will continue to sell the XM4 alongside this release without a price cut at $350 (Europe currently has a reduced cost of £279).
Note: The Sony WH1000-XM4 is routinely available for a lower price on Amazon or Best Buy, so keep an eye out for deals if you determine it to be the better option for your use case.
As for availability, the headphones will start shipping from May 20, 2022, in select regions — we have been able to find listings for North America and some European countries.
The Sony WH-1000XM5 features a refined design and audio hardware that promises more detailed audio partnered with Noise Canceling performance that's hard to beat! It starts at $399 and is the option to get if you're looking for a comfortable pair of headphones that offer everything you may ever need.
The Sony WH-1000XM5 brings an all-new design language to the series, marking a departure from the design that has been the standard for over four years. It features a step-less slider for height adjustment (instead of the stepped metal band seen previously) and does away with the swivel-based collapsible nature of the XM4.
The synthetic leather material — used on the inner side of the headband and earcups — sees a change. It is now softer and has an increased area of padding than before. According to Sony, this makes the headphones more comfortable, even taking some pressure off the ears and distributing it around the head.
While I am fond of how the new headphones look, the collapsible nature of my WH-1000XM4, and the ability to fold them inwards when they sit on my neck are positives not worth giving up in my books.
As for controls, these remain similar. The outer side of the right cup serves as the touchpad for gestures and has the USB C port, while the left has the power button, noise control switch, and headphone jack.
You will also notice four cutouts on each earcup; they are for the microphones responsible for capturing your voice and the noise-canceling feature.
Audio & Noise Cancelation
A significant change on the Sony WH-1000XM5 is its shift to smaller 30mm drivers — 40mm on WH-1000XM4 — which other reviews have stated produces a tighter sound that's cleaner and more detailed and deals better with bass when compared to the XM4, which could get quite muddy.
In my experience, when you pump up the bass on the XM4 they can ruin the listening experience for some songs and even overpower the vocals significantly. If the 30mm drivers on the XM5 are going to produce a lighter sound profile, I surely would like to give them a shot. Look forward to a possible review on the Pocketnow in the coming months.
Also, the new 30mm drivers have a light yet rigid dome made using a carbon fiber composite material, which Sony claims improve high-frequency sensitivity for more natural sound reproduction.
Like last year, the Sony WH-1000XM5 supports only the SBC, AAC, and LDAC codec with DSEE Extreme in tow. If you didn't know DSEE Extreme is an AI layer that upscales digital music files in real-time.
For audio nerds, the frequency response on this pair of headphones remains to be from 4 Hz to 40000 Hz. When using a Bluetooth connection, the response changes to 20Hz to 20000 Hz in 44.1 Khz audio samples, while using LDAC expands the response curve to between 20 Hz and 40000 Hz.
Noise Cancelation performance on this generation sees an improvement due to Sony's combination of eight microphones (four on XM4) and the Integrated V1 Processor, which they claim unlocks the potential of the QN1 Noise Canceling Processor.
The XM4 is great at blocking out the low-end sounds, and only the highest-pitched voices make it through the headphones when listening to any type of audio. The XM5 is said to improve upon this performance, so if you are looking for isolation, the headphones should be able to provide it.
Sony WH-1000XM5 features a marginal improvement in battery life over the previous generation, but a longer charge duration does pull back its advantage a little.
With Noise Cancelation active, XM5 will last for 30 hours of continuous use, matching the XM4. But if you leave the feature off, these will provide 40 hours of use (38 hours on XM4).
And when the time comes to charge them, the XM5 will need a three-and-a-half-hour-long session to juice them from 0 to 100%. This year, a 3-minute charge will also provide 3 hours of use, but we don't think it's quite different than the effect the XM4's "10-minute charge for 5 hours of use" provided as batteries tend to charge slower once they reach a specific level.
Keep in mind that using DSEE Extreme and the Equaliser significantly affects these numbers.
What's in the Box?
For $399, Sony only offers the essential bits and pieces required for WH-1000XM5 in the box. Once you open the new package — made entirely from recyclable material — you will notice a larger than normal carrying case. Within which are the headphones, and behind the flap present in the middle, you will find the Connecting Cable and USB C to USB A cable charging cable.
The dual-prong airplane adapter, which came with WH-1000XM4, has been removed from this iteration.
|Category||Sony WH-1000 XM5|
|Weight||250 grams (approx.)|
|Frequency Response||4 Hz - 40000 Hz |
20Hz-20,000Hz (Bluetooth, 44.1kHz sampling)
20Hz-40,000Hz (Bluetooth, LDAC 96kHz sampling)
|Battery||3.5 hours charge time |
30 hours playback (ANC On)
40 hours playback (ANC Off)
24 hours continuous communication (ANC On)
32 hours continuous communication (ANC Off)
|Connectivity||Bluetooth 5.2 |
|Cord Type||Single-sided (detachable)|
|What's In The Box||Carrying Case |
USB C to USB A Cable
Connection Cable (AUX)