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SONY WH-1000XM5 review

8.5Expert Score
Awesome

The Sony WH-1000XM5 headphones are still the best in the world due to their class-leading noise-canceling features and well-balanced audio, but a higher price point and similar functionality to earlier models make them a bit more complicated to sell.

Design
8.6
display
8.4
Performance
8.8
Pros
  • Intelligent ambient features
  • Outstanding noise-cancellation
  • Amazing sounding performance
  • Comes with an appealing app
Cons
  • Water resistance is not available
  • Less portability
  • Not a huge upgrade over the WH-1000XM4
  • Costlier than previous models

Detailed Review of SONY WH-1000XM5

1

Detailed overview of SONY WH-1000XM5

One of the most prestigious family trees in the history of modern audio can be found in the Sony WH-1000XM5 headphones. The WH-1000XM5 arrives after two over-ear noise canceling headphones that were best in class, which is unusual in the personal audio industry.

The Sony WH-1000XM3 and Sony WH-1000XM4 received excellent reviews and it is anticipated that the WH-1000XM5 will continue those flawless audio trends.

The Sony WH-1000XM5 can mark the biggest design change the line has seen since its inception. In terms of specs and performance, they mostly do follow in the footsteps of their predecessors (a little too closely).

2

Features of SONY WH-1000XM5

The Sony WH line has long been known for its active noise-canceling features, and the WH-1000XM5 headphones continue this fine tradition. The WH-1000XM4 already eliminated low-frequency noises like the rumble of an airplane’s engines or the din of a crowded public transportation system effectively, but the XM5s are more effective in the higher frequency range. That’s partly due to the new 30mm driver design, which, despite being smaller than the old 40mm design, uses a high rigidity dome and a soft edge to lessen the bite of higher-pitched sounds. The WH-1000XM5 headphones from Sony come with a ton of smart features, the standout of which is active noise cancellation. Many of these features automatically activate without your intervention and enhance the listening experience overall.

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3

Design of SONY WH-1000XM5

The WH-1000XM5 headphones represent a significant change from the two generations of over-ear headphone designs that were essentially identical. The WH-1000XM5 headphones are a little curvier than their predecessors, which is the best way to sum them up in a nutshell. There are fewer obvious points of articulation, more covert noise-canceling mic ports, and a slimmer headband with an additional leather-look covering to conceal its joins and extension points. Everything is cleaner and more streamlined. The space where your ears rest is also little different in shape from the WH-1000XM4 and WH-1000XM3’s oval cavity. The headphones are not quite as portable as they once were as they can no longer fold in on themselves. It also appears to have less padding than earlier Sony headphones in the line, even though the headband is better concealed and integrated into the overall design aesthetic.

4

Battery Life of SONY WH-1000XM5

Few areas of the Sony WH-1000XM5s’ performance could have been enhanced over those of their 1000XM4 predecessors, so many had hoped that battery life would be one such area. While the 30 hours with noise canceling turned on are comparable to the prior model, Sony claims that the 40 hours with noise canceling turned off represent a two-hour improvement over the WH-1000XM4s. We found that we did not quite reach the advertised 30 hours with ANC turned on, but we also had a tendency to turn the volume up louder than the normal person would. Using the USB-PD standard, you would get three hours of playback from just a three-minute charge of the headphones. Sony has undoubtedly made an effort to enhance the overall charging experience.

5

Audio Quality of SONY WH-1000XM5

To provide the best sound quality from your connected devices, Sony is once again relying on a one-two punch of both LDAC codec and DSEE Extreme support. Your high-resolution audio option is LDAC, which dynamically compresses and decompresses tracks to deliver much more wireless bandwidth than a typical Bluetooth connection could manage. However, DSEE Extreme manages to squeeze out a little bit more detail even when you are using a meager standard-resolution streaming service over Bluetooth by using AI upscaling techniques to retrieve some of the audio data that can be lost otherwise. Both perform admirably. The soundstage is still huge and able to offer all components of a mix room to shine and breathe even with the change in drivers.

Specifications

Battery charge methodUSB
Battery charge timeApprox. 3.5 hrs
Effective range10m
Frequency range2.4GHz band (2.4000GHz-2.4835GHz)
Bluetooth versionBluetooth Specification Version5.2
Atmospheric pressure optimizingYes
Personal NC optimizerAuto NC Optimizer
Supported audio formatsSBC, AAC, LDAC
ProfileA2DP, AVRCP, HFP, HSP
Headphone typeClosed, dynamic
Supported content protectionSCMS-T
Volume ControlTouch sensor
MagnetNeodymium
Driver unit30mm

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