Sony WH-1000XM5 review | Engadget

have been (largely) true. Sony did certainly have a follow-up to its stellar prepared for a correct debut. Today the company introduced the WH-1000XM5 ($400), its newest flagship noise-canceling headphones geared up with all the issues we’ve come to count on from Sony’s 1000X line. This time across the company gave its premium cans a giant exterior redesign. In the method, it massively elevated consolation whereas additionally increasing the unbelievable efficiency when it comes to noise cancelation and general sound high quality.


One of the most important modifications for the 1000XM5 is the design. Sony slimmed down the headscarf whereas holding the underside mushy and cushiony. My solely gripe with the brand new look is you can see the place the housing for the adjustable arms ends and the softer padding begins. You solely see it if you take the headphones off, however it’s noticeable.

Sony WH-1000XM5


  • Supreme consolation
  • Great sound
  • Powerful ANC
  • 30-hour battery life


  • More costly than the M4
  • Occasional audio points on macOS

Sony additionally connects the headscarf to the ear cups in a single spot on the M5, somewhat than the U-shaped bracket that mounted to the M4 in two locations. There’s nonetheless loads of swivel and rotation for the ear cups, so there’s no sacrifice to motion. In truth, I’d argue these modifications give this new 1000X a extra trendy look, than all the earlier fashions. The lineup has an analogous design up by way of the M4, so Sony was overdue for a giant overhaul.

Despite solely being 4 grams or 0.14 ounces lighter than the WH-1000XM4, this new model feels prefer it weighs loads much less if you put them on. The weight distribution is healthier, plus the artificial leather-based ear cups are fairly cushiony. I had no drawback carrying these for hours at a time and at no level did I really feel stress round my ears or on the highest of my head.

With upgrades to design, sound quality and active noise cancellation, the WH-1000XM5 keeps its place above the competition. These headphones are super comfortable as well, and 30-hour battery life is more than adequate. The M5 makes it clear that Sony won’t be dethroned anytime soon.

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The exterior panel of the correct ear cup nonetheless homes the contact controls. Here you possibly can play/pause with a double faucet, skip tracks with a horizontal swipe or swipe vertically to regulate quantity. Tap and maintain summons your voice assistant and if you get a name, merely double faucet to answer. All of these contact controls work effectively too, reliably accepting faucets and swipes with out error. On the sting of the left ear cup, there are bodily buttons for energy and noise cancellation. The former also can put the headphones in pairing mode and provide you with a battery stage replace whereas the latter cycles by way of a mixture of ANC, ambient sound and off.


As is the case with most of Sony’s earbuds and headphones, the Headphones Connect app is the place you tweak settings and allow a number options. When you fireplace up the software, a battery life proportion is prominently displayed on the correct facet, with tabs for Status, Sound, System and Services slightly below. The first, Status, offers you entry to the finer particulars of Adaptive Sound Control or Sony’s useful computerized switching of noise canceling settings based mostly on exercise or location.

Of course, when you select to have issues change based mostly on the place you’re, you’ll have to offer the app permission to trace your whereabouts. If you do, you possibly can set the M5 to routinely allow ambient sound if you’re on the office, for instance. Adaptive Sound Control can be configured to vary the EQ and allow/disable Speak-to-Chat for a specific location or exercise.

Sony Headphones Connect app

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The Status panel will even permit you to see which gadgets are at the moment related because the M5 lets you hyperlink as much as two concurrently. And lastly there’s a media participant right here, which I’ve by no means touched throughout a number of critiques. The Sound tab offers you entry to Ambient Sound Control, the flexibility to allow/disable Speak-to-Chat, the equalizer and audio presets. If you recall, Speak-to-Chat routinely pauses the audio and prompts ambient sound when it detects that you simply’re talking. In my expertise, it may typically be fooled by coughs, however that’s not the case anymore. You also can configure the headphones for 360 Reality audio, along with switching Bluetooth connection high quality and using DSEE Extreme. That latter makes use of AI to breed the frequency response that’s sometimes lost to compression.

System is the place you possibly can allow multipoint connectivity, change voice assistants, disable the contact management panel and add performance to the noise canceling button. You also can go for that final management to activate Spotify Tap with both a double or triple press. And final however not least, Services is the place you join numerous apps for straightforward entry. If you need to use Spotify Tap, for instance, you’ll have to sync it with Headphones Connect right here.

Sound high quality

With upgrades to design, sound quality and active noise cancellation, the WH-1000XM5 keeps its place above the competition. These headphones are super comfortable as well, and 30-hour battery life is more than adequate. The M5 makes it clear that Sony won’t be dethroned anytime soon.

Billy Steele/Engadget

Sound high quality has by no means been a problem with the 1000X line, and it’s positively not on the M5. In truth, it’s one more factor Sony upgraded on these headphones. New 30mm carbon fiber drivers deal with the audio, together with tracks in LDAC and DSEE Extreme. I thought the M4 was well-tuned for a spread of genres, however the bass appears punchier right here. Whether it’s the digital collisions of The Glitch Mob, the grungy blues of Jack White or the driving bass in Kendrick Lamar’s catalog, the decrease vary is each nice and highly effective, increasing the general soundstage.

The distinction between the M4 and the M5 is within the finer particulars. There’s extra depth, making every thing appear extra immersive. But there’s additionally extra readability, so the subtleties can shine. I’m speaking about issues like the feel of somebody strumming an acoustic guitar or Jack White’s iconic distortion hovering above the opposite devices. Everything remains to be balanced, and the bass solely gives the correct quantity of oomph. Switch over to one thing fully acoustic like bluegrass and the bass stays in examine so the choosing, and the highs, can lower by way of unhindered.

What’s extra, activating DSEE Extreme doesn’t make an enormous distinction within the sound high quality. On different Sony gadgets, that algorithm’s means to recuperate among the element lost to compression makes a noticeable affect. On the M5, the outcomes are refined, and on some songs I had a tough time choosing up on any change in any respect. It’s fairly spectacular.

I solely have one grievance about sound high quality, and it might really be a Bluetooth situation somewhat than a real audio drawback. When listening to music or watching a video on my MacBook Pro, I’d often expertise fast dropouts or skips. It didn’t occur typically and, oddly, I by no means heard it when taking part in one thing on my iPhone. The audio stutters a bit only for a second, such as you’re watching a video on a nasty web connection, after which it continues. I examined each WH-1000XM5 models despatched to me and observed the difficulty on each. I’ve reached out to Sony for more information on the potential trigger.

Active noise cancellation

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