Get insider access
Preferred store
Your browser is not supported or outdated so some features of the site might not be available.
We've recently released our Test Bench 1.7 update for Headphones! Read the Noise isolation R&D Article to learn more.

Sony WF-1000XM5 Truly Wireless Headphones Review

Tested using Methodology v1.7
Reviewed Aug 21, 2023 at 10:34 am
Latest change: Writing modified May 14, 2024 at 01:21 pm
Sony WF-1000XM5 Truly Wireless Picture
7.1
Neutral Sound
8.2
Commute/Travel
8.3
Sports/Fitness
7.5
Office
5.7
Wireless Gaming
5.5
Wired Gaming
6.7
Phone Calls

The Sony WF-1000XM5 Truly Wireless are the next generation of the Sony WF-1000XM4 Truly Wireless. A few changes in design and performance have provided an elevated experience compared to their predecessor. Physically, these premium buds have a smaller, more rounded shape and use memory foam ear tips, allowing them to block out a lot of background noise passively. Not everyone will like how they feel and fit, especially if you have small ear canals. Their noise cancelling (ANC) system has also improved, and there's been some sound re-tuning to help balance out the predecessor's recessed treble.

Our Verdict

7.1 Neutral Sound

The Sony WF-1000XM5 are decent for neutral sound. Out of the box, they have a warm sound profile that delivers extra boom without overwhelming vocals and instruments, which still have enough clarity and detail. If you prefer a different sound, their companion app has a graphic EQ and presets, so you can fine-tune them. They also support LDAC, a hi-res audio codec that offers high-quality audio streaming over Bluetooth.

Pros
  • Graphic EQ and presets available.
  • Support LDAC.
Cons
  • Not very immersive passive soundstage.
  • Not everyone will find their ear tips comfortable.
8.2 Commute/Travel

The Sony WF-1000XM5 are great for commuting and travel. These lightweight buds are easy to take with you on the go. Their ANC system can block out the low rumbles of bus engines well, and with the ANC on, they last over eight hours continuously. There are a couple of additional charges in the case if you need it too. Not everyone will find their memory foam ear tips comfortable, especially if you have small ear canals.

Pros
  • Excellent overall noise isolation performance.
  • Well-built and stable fit.
Cons
  • Not everyone will find their ear tips comfortable.
8.3 Sports/Fitness

The Sony WF-1000XM5 are great for sports and fitness. Even though they don't have stability fins, these lightweight buds won't fall out during tough reps at the gym. They're also well-built and are certified IPX4, so they can survive splashes of water without taking damage. Their long continuous battery life will last through runs in the park, too. Their memory foam ear tips can cause fatigue within your ear canal if you don't get a good fit or have small ear canals, though.

Pros
  • Rated IPX4 for water resistance.
  • Well-built and stable fit.
Cons
  • Not everyone will find their ear tips comfortable.
7.5 Office

The Sony WF-1000XM5 are good for office use. They're equipped with an ANC system that can easily block out background noise like chatty coworkers and the hum of computer fans. They also support multi-device pairing, allowing you to stay connected to your PC and smartphone simultaneously. If you like to listen to audio at high volumes, others around you won't hear it. However, while their memory foam ear tips will get you a firm seal once properly fitted, some people may find that the tips put too much pressure on their ear canal, which can be uncomfortable.

Pros
  • Excellent overall noise isolation performance.
  • Well-built and stable fit.
  • Supports multi-device pairing.
Cons
  • Not everyone will find their ear tips comfortable.
5.7 Wireless Gaming

The Sony WF-1000XM5 are Bluetooth-only buds and have high latency on PCs, so you'll notice that your audio and visuals fall out of sync.

5.5 Wired Gaming

The Sony WF1000XM5 are truly wireless buds; you can't use them wired.

6.7 Phone Calls

The Sony WF-1000XM5 are fair for phone calls. Their integrated mic can decently separate your voice from background noise but has trouble capturing speech well. Even if you're talking in a quiet environment, your voice sounds thin and a bit unnatural. On the upside, the buds have a 'Capture Voice' feature that automatically turns on when you're taking a call and allows you to monitor your voice when you're talking, as well as head controls, which you can activate via the companion app. Thanks to their ANC system and foam-tip ears, they can also block out a significant amount of ambient noise.

Pros
  • Excellent overall noise isolation performance.
Cons
  • Mic has poor recording quality.
  • 7.1 Neutral Sound
  • 8.2 Commute/Travel
  • 8.3 Sports/Fitness
  • 7.5 Office
  • 5.7 Wireless Gaming
  • 5.5 Wired Gaming
  • 6.7 Phone Calls
  1. Updated May 14, 2024: We've added a comparison between these headphones and the Technics EAH-AZ80 True Wireless in Bluetooth Connection.
  2. Updated May 10, 2024: This review's Bass Accuracy and Noise Isolation - Common Scenarios sections have been updated to mention the Sennheiser MOMENTUM True Wireless 4.
  3. Updated Apr 04, 2024: We've retested ANC Wind Handling with updated methodology.
  4. Updated Apr 04, 2024: The following test groups have been updated following Test Bench 1.7: Noise Isolation - Full Range, Noise Isolation - Common Scenarios, and ANC Wind Handling. There have also been text changes made throughout the review, including to the usages and product comparisons to match these results.
  5. Updated Apr 04, 2024: We've converted this review to Test Bench 1.7, which updates our Noise Isolation test. We've also expanded the scope of this test to include Common Scenarios in addition to Voice Handling and Wind Handling.
  6. Updated Jan 23, 2024: We retested the Noise Isolation, comparing the performance of firmware 2.0.1 with 3.0.1, and updated the text to reflect the findings.
  7. Updated Dec 12, 2023: The following test group has been updated following TB 1.6: Bluetooth Connection. There have also been text changes made throughout the review, including to the usages, to match these results.
  8. Updated Dec 12, 2023: We've converted this review to Test Bench 1.6 , which updates how we measure latency. We've updated and renamed the following test groups: Wired Connection, Bluetooth Connection, and Wireless Connection (Dongle). We've also added new codec latency measurements and provided an audio sample of recorded latency.
  9. Updated Nov 17, 2023: We've added a comparison between these headphones and the Devialet Gemini II True Wireless in Battery.
  10. Updated Nov 06, 2023: We've added a comparison between these headphones and the Bose QuietComfort Ultra Earbuds Truly Wireless in Stability.
  11. Updated Oct 27, 2023: Compared their build quality and IP rating with the Jabra Elite 10 True Wireless'.
  12. Updated Sep 19, 2023: Added a note that the Denon PerL Pro True Wireless support the aptX Lossless Bluetooth codec.
  13. Updated Aug 30, 2023: We've updated Noise Isolation with an updated in-text graph and more explanation. We've also corrected the number of extra charges in Battery, added a mention of head gesture controls in Controls, and updated the Case text to mention durability.
  14. Updated Aug 23, 2023: We've made minor changes to the Comfort text to improve clarity.
  15. Updated Aug 21, 2023: Review published.
  16. Updated Aug 14, 2023: Early access published.
  17. Updated Aug 09, 2023: Our testers have started testing this product.
  18. Updated Aug 02, 2023: The product has arrived in our lab, and our testers will start evaluating it soon.
  19. Updated Jul 25, 2023: We've purchased the product and are waiting for it to arrive in our lab.

Differences Between Sizes And Variants

The Sony WF1000XM5 come in a couple of color variants: 'Black' and 'Silver'. We tested the Black variant; you can see our model's label here. If you encounter another variant of these headphones, please let us know in the forums, and we'll update our review.

Compared To Other Headphones

The Sony WF-1000XM5 are the successor of the Sony WF-1000XM4 Truly Wireless, and there have been a few improvements to their design and performance worthy of their premium price tag. Their noise isolation performance has improved greatly, putting them on par with heavy hitters like the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II Truly Wireless. A large reason behind their capabilities is their form-fitting memory foam ear tips rather than their ANC, as this allows them to easily and passively isolate you from a significant amount of sound. Their sound has also balanced out a bit, with a bit more treble, lessening the overall dark sound of their predecessor.

Check out our picks for the best noise cancelling earbuds, the best wireless Bluetooth earbuds, and the best Sony headphones.

Sennheiser MOMENTUM True Wireless 4

The Sennheiser MOMENTUM True Wireless 4 and Sony WF-1000XM5 Truly Wireless are both very competitive premium earbuds. Both are neck and neck regarding their noise isolation, with the Sennheiser filtering a bit more midrange-y noise and the Sony blocking a bit more bright trebly noise. The Sennheiser's default sound profile is warmer and balanced in the mids, with a bit of boom, which you can EQ. Both earbuds support quality Bluetooth codecs, with the Sennheiser using aptX Adaptive (Low Latency, High Quality, and aptX HD). However, if you care about virtual surround sound, only the Sony headphones support that. The Sony are slightly less chunky and use memory foam ear tips to isolate and secure their fit. Their sound is more boomy and bright, but you can also EQ them. They support LDAC Bluetooth codec, and their wireless range is greater.

Sony WF-1000XM4 Truly Wireless

The Sony WF-1000XM5 Truly Wireless are the next generation of the Sony WF-1000XM4 Truly Wireless. A couple of upgrades have been added to the XM5, like a new design that makes them more comfortable in-ear and a tweak to their sound profile to improve their treble response. Their noise isolation performance is significantly better too, but a large part of this is due to their memory foam ear tip design, which forms a tight seal in your ear, and passively blocks a lot of sound. Overall, they're an improvement from their predecessor and are worth considering if you liked the XM4s.

Bose QuietComfort Ultra Earbuds Truly Wireless

The Bose QuietComfort Ultra Earbuds and the Sony WF-1000XM5 Truly Wireless are both premium wireless in-ears with similar strengths. Choosing between them is a matter of personal preference. Both buds are great for commuting and travel use as they have a comfortable fit, decent battery life performance, and excellent overall ANC performance. The Sony headphones have a warm sound profile by default, but users that prefer bass-centric music genres, like electronic and hip-hop, will appreciate the rumble and punch present in the Bose. Ultimately, you can tweak the sound profiles of both buds to your liking via their EQ. The Sony headphones are a slightly better choice for those who prioritize taking phone calls, however, due to their superior noise handling performance.

Jabra Elite 10 True Wireless

The Sony WF-1000XM5 Truly Wireless are better than the Jabra Elite 10 True Wireless for most purposes. The Sony headphones' biggest advantage is their ANC performance, as they can block out much more noise across the range. They also leak less audio and have a longer continuous battery life. However, the Jabra have a sturdier build quality and are rated IP57 for dust and water resistance, while the Sony are just rated IPX4 for water resistance.

Technics EAH-AZ80 True Wireless

The Technics EAH-AZ80 True Wireless and the Sony WF-1000XM5 Truly Wireless are both premium in-ears with noise cancelling technology (ANC). They're both excellent all-round performers with similar feature sets and slight differences, so you could opt for one over the other depending on your preferences. They both have a similar, warm sound profile that you can tweak via the in-app EQ and presets, but the Sony deliver audio more consistently. They also have comparable battery life performance and feature LDAC support. While the Technics are better built, the Sony have a slight edge in the noise isolation department, thanks to their excellent passively isolating foam tips. The Technics have three-way Bluetooth multi-point connectivity, which can be useful if you like to switch between multiple devices on the go.

Beats Fit Pro True Wireless

The Sony WF-1000XM5 Truly Wireless are better earbuds than the Beats Fit Pro True Wireless. The Sony have a more comfortable fit, and their sound can be finetuned, thanks to their companion app's graphic EQ and presets. They also have a better overall battery performance, and they support multi-device pairing. If you want to listen to audio in higher resolution, they even support LDAC, which is Sony's proprietary codec for high-res audio. Their ANC is able to block out more ambient sound too, which is handy for commutes or noisy offices. However, you may still prefer the Beats if you're looking for colorful buds to match your aesthetic. 

Sennheiser MOMENTUM True Wireless 3

The Sony WF-1000XM5 Truly Wireless are better in-ears than the Sennheiser MOMENTUM True Wireless 3. The Sony are more comfortable, have a more neutral sound profile, which some users may prefer, and have a better noise isolation performance, largely due to their memory foam ear tips, which help form an airtight seal. They also support LDAC, which is a hi-res codec. However, the Sennheiser are better-built and support multi-device pairing with up to three devices simultaneously, one more than the Sony.

Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II Truly Wireless

The Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II Truly Wireless and the Sony WF-1000XM5 Truly Wireless are both great pairs of in-ears. The Bose are more comfortable, and their ANC can block out more background noise in the bass range, where you'll find the rumble of bus engines. In comparison, the Sony headphones have a more neutral sound profile, which some users may prefer, and have more robust sound customization features. They have longer battery life and support multi-device pairing and LDAC, which is Sony's proprietary codec for hi-res audio streaming via Bluetooth. They're also able to block out significantly more ambient sound in the mid to treble ranges, where you'll find noise like ambient chatter and the hum of an AC units, respectively.

Denon PerL Pro True Wireless

You may prefer either the Sony WF-1000XM5 Truly Wireless or the Denon PerL Pro True Wireless, depending on what you're planning to use your earbuds for. The Sony are better for commuting and casual use when you're out and about, thanks to their longer battery life and better ANC performance. You can also set their ANC to different modes to suit the situation. They support head gesture controls, which allow you to answer and end calls without using your hands. However, the Denon headphones are a better choice if you're mainly concerned about audio quality. Unlike the Sony, they can stream lossless audio. You can also use their app to create a personalized EQ based on a hearing test.

Apple AirPods Pro (2nd generation) Truly Wireless

If you care about customizability, you'll want to check out the Sony WF-1000XM5 Truly Wireless over the Apple AirPods Pro (2nd generation) Truly Wireless. While both earbuds have a similarly balanced sound and great noise isolation performances, the Sony headphones' companion app offers a graphic EQ and presets. The buds support multi-device pairing so you can stay connected to your PC and smartphone simultaneously. However, the Apple headphones are better built and have an H2 chip for seamless pairing with other iOS devices.

Sony LinkBuds S Truly Wireless

The Sony WF-1000XM5 Truly Wireless are somewhat better in-ears than the Sony LinkBuds S Truly Wireless. While both buds are comfortable and well-built, the WF-1000XM5 have a slightly more neutral sound profile, which some users may prefer, and can block out more ambient noise, although this is largely due to their memory foam ear tips creating a tight seal within your ear. Their battery performance is better, too. That said, the LinkBuds S' mic has a better recording quality. 

Sony WF-C700N Truly Wireless

The Sony WF-1000XM5 Truly Wireless are better by most measures than the Sony WF-C700N Truly Wireless. The WF-1000XM5's noise cancelling and isolation performance is in a different class and handily reduces plane and bus engines well, alongside chatter and clinking glasses. They use touch controls instead and are a bit chunkier in size, although not large. Of the two models, only the WF-1000XM5 supports the LDAC codec for higher quality audio. Both have the same IPX4 rating and use the same app, although the WF-1000XM5 Truly Wireless have an expanded feature set for customizing controls. The WF-C700N have a less bassy default sound, although you can tune both earbuds for similar sounds in the app. They use button controls instead. They have similar continuous battery lives, although the WF-1000XM5 case stores an extra full charge. Both are comfortable to wear and stable.

Sony WH-1000XM5 Wireless

Despite having very different designs, both the Sony WH-1000XM5 Wireless and the Sony WF-1000XM5 Truly Wireless feature class-leading noise cancellation technology that excels in blocking out ambient noise. However, the WH-1000XM5 are able to block out more sound across the frequency spectrum. They also have a longer battery life, better mic performance, and a slightly more neutral sound. They can be used with a wired connection for a low-latency performance that's better suited to gaming. That said, the WF-1000XM5 are a better choice if you value portability and stability and don't mind an in-ear fit. For this reason, they're better for commuting and fitness use.

Status Between 3ANC True Wireless

The Sony WF-1000XM5 Truly Wireless are better for most people than the Status Between 3ANC True Wireless. The Sony's ANC system blocks out more noise, they have a longer battery life, and they support LDAC, Sony's codec for streaming high-res audio. They're also more comfortable for most people. On the other hand, the Status earbuds' default sound profile packs in more bass, which you might prefer for genres like EDM and hip-hop, although both models offer in-app sound customization features. 

Creative Aurvana Ace 2 True Wireless

Between the Sony WF-1000XM5 and Creative Aurvana Ace 2 True Wireless, the Sony are the superior choice. The Sony have a much better noise cancelling system, sound better with less distortion, and last longer. The Creative Aurvana Ace 2 True Wireless promise much on paper, but their battery life is short, and the sound quality, despite the impressive high-quality codec selection, doesn't outdo the Sony in the real world.

+ Show more

Video

Test Results

perceptual testing image
Design
Design
Style
Type In-ear
Enclosure Closed-Back
Wireless Truly Wireless
Transducer Dynamic

The Sony WF-1000XM5 have a rounded teardrop shape that looks much smoother in design than the Sony WF-1000XM4 Truly Wireless. The previous generation have copper accents that protrude outward for their mics, but this model uses flat copper grilles that are flush with the touch-sensitive surface instead. They come in two color variants: 'Black' and 'Silver'.

7.5
Design
Comfort
Weight 0.03 lbs
Clamping Force
0 lbs

The Sony WF-1000XM5 Earbuds have a comfortable fit. They have a more ergonomic fit than their predecessor since the bud's shape puts less overall pressure on the lower part of your inner ear. They're also quite lightweight. Even though the buds aren't as bulky, the charging elements and surrounding plastic can still feel sharp and irritating against your inner ear, depending on your ear shape.

They come with four pairs of memory foam ear tips, ranging from extra small to large. This material is comfortable since they're more malleable and form-fitting and less stiff than those included with the Sony WF-1000XM4 Truly Wireless. This material choice also helps improve the seal of the buds in your ears as it can mold to the shape of your ear canal for a more flush fit. That said, the memory foam will degrade over time and eventually needs to be replaced to maintain similar noise isolation levels. Some users have also reported that the ear tips aren't very comfortable and put pressure on the ear canal. A few users have also suggested using completely different ear tips to get a better fit. If you have small ear canals, you may also have difficulty achieving a snug and stable fit, even with the smallest included tip size. However, even with these negatives, the XM5's updated design is more comfortable than their predecessor's.

7.7
Design
Controls
OS Compatibility
Not OS specific
Ease Of Use Good
Feedback Good
Call/Music Control Yes
Volume Control Yes
Microphone Control No
Channel Mixing
No
Noise Cancelling Control On/Off
Talk-Through
On/Off
Additional Controls Voice Assistant

These buds have good controls. Each bud has a touch-sensitive surface that provides beeps to let you know when you've registered a command. You can turn on voice prompts if you prefer, though, and you can also remap controls via the companion app to add features like 'Spotify Tap', which allows you to access Spotify, as well as head gesture recognition, so that moving your head allows you to answer and reject calls. When receiving a call, the buds will enter 'Capture Voice' mode, which allows you to monitor your voice while you talk. Unfortunately, it's easy to accidentally tap the controls if you need to adjust the buds' fit in your ear.

On the left earbud:

  • Single tap: Cycles between ANC mode and Ambient Sound mode, which allows you to hear your surroundings without taking off the buds.
  • Double tap: This is a quick access control, so you can remap particular commands to this control via the companion app.
  • Triple tap: This is also a quick access control, which you can remap controls to this command via the companion app.
  • Continuous tap: Lowers the volume.
  • Tap and hold: Activates 'Quick Attention' as long as you have your finger on the earbud. Turns down your audio and allows you to hear ambient sound.

On the right earbud:

  • Single tap: Plays and pauses audio.
  • Double tap: Skips the track forward.
  • Triple tap: Skips the track backward.
  • Continuous tap: Raises the volume.
  • Tap and hold: Uses or cancels voice assistant.

9.4
Design
Portability
L 1.4" (3.7 cm)
W 1.2" (3.0 cm)
H 1.0" (2.5 cm)
Volume 1.69 inยณ (27.75 cmยณ)
Transmitter Required No

These buds are pretty small, lightweight, and portable, so you won't have trouble putting them into most pockets or bags. Their carrying case also helps protect the buds when not in use.

8.0
Design
Case
Type Hard case
L 2.5" (6.4 cm)
W 1.0" (2.6 cm)
H 1.6" (4.0 cm)
Volume 4.06 inยณ (66.56 cmยณ)

The carrying case is great. It feels less flimsy than the one with the Sony WF-1000XM4 Truly Wireless, as the material feels sturdier and more premium. There are magnets to hold the buds in place, too, and there's a pairing button on the back of the case. However, the plastic hinge feels like a weak point as it can degrade over time. We'll continue monitoring the case's durability as time passes, though.

7.5
Design
Build Quality

These buds have a good build quality. They're mostly made of recycled plastic and come with memory foam ear tips. Overall, the buds feel dense and sturdy. That said, the ear tips will likely need replacing over time due to wear and tear as well as foam degradation, which can affect the sound quality and effectiveness of the ANC. There's no guarantee that they'll be available for purchase down the line, either. The buds are certified IPX4 for resistance, which protects against splashes of water. If you're looking for high-end earbuds with more protection from the elements, the Jabra Elite 10 True Wireless are rated IP57 for dust and water resistance.

8.0
Design
Stability

The Sony WF-1000XM5 have a stable fit, provided you get a good fit with the provided ear tips. Although they lack the stability fins that come with earbuds like the Bose QuietComfort Ultra Earbuds Truly Wireless, they won't move around or fall out with moderate or intense head movements, so you can wear them during workouts without sweating.

Design
Headshots 1
Design
Headshots 2
Design
Top
Design
In The Box

  • Sony WF-1000XM5 earbuds
  • 4x foam tip sizes
  • Charging case
  • USB-C to USB-A charging cable
  • Manuals

Sound
Sound
Sound Profile
Bass Amount
0.32 dB
Treble Amount
-2.32 dB

Sony has re-tuned this generation of the WF-1000XM lineup, flattening the upper range of their predecessor's sound a bit. With the ANC on, the Sony WF-1000XM5's sound is still warm, resulting in cozy vocals and instruments. However, these headphones now have more detail and articulation in the treble range. As a result, they're well-suited for various genres out of the box, but if you prefer a different sound, their companion app offers a graphic EQ and presets so that you can finetune their sound to your liking. You can also see a comparison of all the EQ presets here. There's also a 'Find Your Equalizer' feature, which generates an EQ based on your unique hearing preferences. When using this feature, your personal EQ will replace the 'Custom 2' preset.

Although we expect most people to use these headphones with the ANC on, it's worth noting that there's a minor difference in sound profile when the ANC is off compared to on. With ANC off, you get more thumpy low-bass, but slightly weaker vocals and instruments, which are nudged to the back of the mix. Keep in mind that you won't experience a difference in frequency response if you're using LDAC or SBC codec either.

8.7
Sound
Frequency Response Consistency
Avg. Std. Deviation
0.26 dB

The Sony WF-1000XM5's frequency response consistency is excellent. Once you get a good fit using the provided memory foam ear tips, you'll achieve consistent bass and treble delivery each time you use them.

Sound
Raw Frequency Response
8.4
Sound
Bass Accuracy
Std. Err.
2.22 dB
Low-Frequency Extension
10 Hz
Low-Bass
-0.73 dB
Mid-Bass
2.05 dB
High-Bass
3.42 dB

These buds have great bass accuracy. The response is a little tilted, so mixes have more warmth and boom than thump and rumble. However, it's still fairly balanced overall. In songs like Feeling Good by Nina Simone, the brass instruments following the refrain are punchy and weighty but slightly clutter the higher-pitched piano. If you want a more neutral bass response with the option of making those frequencies boomier, the Sennheiser MOMENTUM True Wireless 4 offer a flatter bass response that you can easily tweak for the times you want a more bass-heavy sound.

8.7
Sound
Mid Accuracy
Std. Err.
1.67 dB
Low-Mid
1.55 dB
Mid-Mid
-1.7 dB
High-Mid
-0.03 dB

These buds have excellent mid accuracy too. Some overemphasis comes from the bass range into the low-mid, resulting in a slightly cluttered sound. A dip in the mid-mid also nudges vocals and instruments to the back of the mix, but the high-mid is still fairly neutral and flat, resulting in adequate detail.

8.5
Sound
Treble Accuracy
Std. Err.
2.28 dB
Low-Treble
-0.23 dB
Mid-Treble
-1.26 dB
High-Treble
-8.92 dB

The treble accuracy of these buds is amazing. Compared to their predecessor, the Sony WF-1000XM4 Truly Wireless, their response in this range is much more flat and neutral. While still slightly underemphasized, vocals and instruments are detailed, while the sibilants, like cymbals, sound rounded without becoming dulled and lispy.

7.8
Sound
Peaks/Dips
Peaks
1.51 dB
Dips
0.78 dB

The Sony WF-1000XM5's peaks and dips performance is very good. For the most part, these buds make few deviations across the range, so they can control their sound profile well. However, the most significant peaks and dips are in the treble range. The peaks here cause vocals and instruments to sound harsh while sibilants like hi-hats are piercing. A severe dip in the high-treble also causes mixes to sound closed off and lifeless. However, this can be hard to hear, especially as we lose sensitivity to this range over time.

6.3
Sound
Imaging
Weighted Group Delay
0.13
Weighted Phase Mismatch
94.89
Weighted Amplitude Mismatch
0.89
Weighted Frequency Mismatch
1.45

Sony's high-end products tend to have good ergonomics and quality control, ensuring a solid imaging performance. Imaging varies from unit to unit, though. Our unit's L/R drivers are well-matched regarding group delay, ensuring tight bass and transparent treble reproduction. Our unit is also well-matched in amplitude and frequency response, which helps ensure stable and even stereo image. However, there's a significant phase mismatch. The right driver struggles to center mid-range sounds like voices, so mixes sound a little unbalanced.

0.3
Sound
Passive Soundstage
PRTF Accuracy (Std. Dev.)
N/A
PRTF Size (Avg.)
N/A
PRTF Distance
N/A
Openness
0.3
Acoustic Space Excitation
0.7

The Sony WF-1000XM5 earbuds have a bad passive soundstage, but that's normal from their in-ear fit. They bypass your outer ear by design, and sound needs to interact with it to create a wide and natural soundstage. As a result, audio feels like it's coming from inside your head and doesn't seem spacious or immersive.

5.0
Sound
Virtual Soundstage
Head Modeling
On/Off
Speaker Modeling
On/Off
Room Ambience
No
Head Tracking
On/Off
Virtual Surround
Spatial Audio/ 360 Reality Audio

These headphones are compatible with Sony's 360 Reality Audio feature. You can only access this feature via the companion app, and it can analyze your ear shape to create a custom sound profile. It also optimizes compatible audio through supported apps like 360 Reality Audio Live and TIDAL to give you a more immersive and 3D audio experience. However, you may also need a subscription to these services to take advantage of this feature.

7.4
Sound
Weighted Harmonic Distortion
WHD @ 90
0.276
WHD @ 100
0.194

If you're listening to audio at moderate volumes, it'll sound clean and pure. However, if you tend to crank your buds up to the max setting, you'll notice subtle distortion in the mid-range, mainly affecting vocals and instruments. Distortion can be hard to hear with real-life content, though, and it's unlikely that most people will be listening to audio at very high volumes to encounter this issue to begin with.

If you're using LDAC, you'll encounter a slight difference in distortion compared to our SBC results. However, the distortion itself is quite minor, and overall, you'll experience similar results as described above.

Sound
Test Settings
Firmware
2.0.1
Power
On
Connection
Bluetooth 5.2
Codec
SBC, 16-bit, 44.1kHz
EQ
Off
ANC
On
Tip/Pad
Foam (small)
Microphone
Integrated

These are the settings used to test the Sony WF-1000XM5 Earbuds; our results are only valid when used in this configuration.

Isolation
8.8
Isolation
Noise Isolation - Full Range
Noise Cancelling Yes
Overall Attenuation
-23.37 dB
Bass
-14.43 dB
Mid
-24.82 dB
Treble
-32.63 dB

The Sony WF-1000XM5 have memory foam ear tips, which form a tight seal within your ear canal and help them passively block out a lot of background noise. They also have noise cancelling (ANC). We enabled Sony's 'Adaptive Sound Control' (ASC) feature, which allows the buds to automatically shift between ANC on and ambient sound mode depending on your environment and use. All four of its modes have the same ANC strength.

Using the ASC mode, 'Staying,' these buds block out bass range noise like the rumbly plane engines well, so you can enjoy your commute in peace. These buds stand out from other ANC headphones, including the Bose QuietComfort 45/QC45 Wireless, due to how well they isolate in the mid to treble range. However, a lot of the noise reduction is due to their form-fitting seal, and even when the ANC is on, the passive performance still does a slightly better job of reducing noise, particularly in the treble range. You may also prefer this if you work in a noisy office.

There's an adjustable transparency mode called 'Ambient Mode' in their companion app. With the Ambient Sound mode set to its strongest setting, it sounds less clear and natural-sounding than the Apple AirPods Pro (2nd generation) Truly Wireless. The Apple headphones' transparency mode makes background sounds crisp and clear. In contrast, the XM5 can muffle more background noise than the Apple. You'll hear sounds around you quite well, though.

After user feedback, we've looked into possible ANC changes after firmware 3.0.1. You can see the results comparing ANC on and off between 2.0.1 and 3.0.1, and that the overall isolation performance is very similar. The slight deviations in passes are largely due to the fit of the foam ear tips as they expand and contract in our test rig's ears and aren't because of a change in ANC performance.

8.2
Isolation
Noise Isolation - Common Scenarios
Airplane Noise Attenuation
-18.81 dB
Airplane Noise Isolation Audio
Office Noise Attenuation
-18.64 dB
Office Noise Isolation Audio
Street Noise Attenuation
-21.56 dB
Street Noise Isolation Audio

When it comes to common scenarios, these buds can block out a great amount of sound. They can tackle rumbly plane cabins and busy streets so that you can travel in peace. They're also well-suited for reducing office noise like coworkers chatting. If you find the isolating memory foam ear tips uncomfortable, the Sennheiser MOMENTUM True Wireless 4 can accomplish similar amounts of noise reduction with silicone ear tips instead.

Isolation
Noise Isolation - Voice Handling
Female Voice 1
Male Voice 1
Female Voice 2
Male Voice 2
Isolation
ANC Wind Handling
ANC Wind Noise

Wind noise is a bit different than other sounds as it directly interacts with the ANC microphones. This leads to loud and annoying noise as the ANC system is countering a sound that isn't reaching your ear. Unfortunately, the Sony WF-1000XM5 Truly Wireless struggle with wind noise. They also lack a wind reduction feature to help make this noise more manageable, so you'll want to avoid windy environments if it's too bothersome for you.

9.4
Isolation
Leakage
Leakage Audio
Overall Leakage @ 1ft
24.97 dB

These buds have an outstanding leakage performance. Audio bleed is concentrated mostly in the bass and treble ranges but very low overall. As a result, you can crank up your favorite tunes to max volume without disturbing others around you.

Microphone
Microphone
Microphone Style
Integrated
Yes
In-Line
No
Boom
No
Detachable Boom
No
Mic Yes
4.9
Microphone
Recording Quality
Recorded Speech
LFE
190.27 Hz
FR Std. Dev.
6.14 dB
HFE
5,830.6 Hz
Weighted THD
265.475
Gain
-4.07 dB

The integrated mic's recording quality is poor. Your voice is understandable and crisp but lacks a lot of depth. It doesn't sound as dull as the Sony WF-1000XM4 Truly Wireless.

7.0
Microphone
Noise Handling
SpNR
9.51 dB
Noise Gate
Always On
Speech + Pink Noise Handling
7.0
Speech + Pink Noise Audio Sample
Speech + Subway Noise Handling
7.0
Speech + Subway Noise Audio Sample

The mic's noise handling performance is decent. Background noise is still present if you're talking, but it's hard to hear it clearly. Your voice will still be understandable if you're taking a call from a moderately noisy environment like a busy office or street.

The Sony WF-1000XM5 also have a windshield feature. However, wind noise can still be heard when using this feature during calls and even when you've turned the ANC on. Compared to the Sony WF-1000XM4 Truly Wireless and the Apple AirPods Pro (2nd generation) Truly Wireless, the XM5 have a slight edge in reducing wind noise, but it's negligible. The XM5 can block wind noise when the mic isn't picking up your voice, but if you're talking, the wind noise is audible and can distract from speech.

Active Features
7.7
Active Features
Battery
Battery Type
Rechargable
Continuous Battery Life
8.75 hrs
Additional Charges
2.0
Total Battery Life
26.25 hrs
Charge Time
1.4 hrs
Power-Saving Feature
Auto-Off Timer and Standby Mode
Audio While Charging
Yes
Passive Playback
No
Charging Port USB-C

The Sony WF-1000XM5's battery performance is good. Sony advertises eight hours of continuous playback time with the ANC on, and we measured just over that. This is great if you want to use the buds throughout your day without having to recharge them, and it even beats out the battery life of premium buds like the Devialet Gemini II True Wireless, which last under five hours continuously. If you're worried about battery life, turning ANC off will give you up to 12 hours of playback time. Keep in mind that battery life varies depending on use, though. Additionally, some Sony WF-1000XM4 Truly Wireless owners have reported that the batteries in their buds drained rapidly and unevenly, resulting in one bud dying significantly faster. Unfortunately, we can't confirm whether this problem extends to the XM5 model. However, we'll monitor the issue, and if you've encountered it with your XM5 model, please let us know in the forums.

The carrying case supplies a couple of extra charges if needed, and the buds have an auto-off mode that you can turn on and off in their companion app. This feature helps conserve battery life if you forget to put them back in their case. If you take the buds out of your ear, they'll also automatically pause your audio and turn off the ANC.

8.0
Active Features
App Support
App Name Sony| Headphones Connect
iOS Yes
Android Yes
macOS No
Windows No
Equalizer
Graphic + Presets
ANC Control
On/Off
Mic Control No
Room Effects
No
Playback Control
Yes
Button Mapping Yes
Surround Support
Yes

These buds are compatible with the Sony | Headphones Connect app, and you can see a video of how it works here. There are a couple of features that aren't available on the Sony WF-1000XM4 Truly Wireless, like Ambient Sound Control, which allows the buds to automatically shift between ANC on and ambient sound mode depending on your environment and use. There are four actions: 'Walking', 'Staying', 'Running', and 'Riding a Vehicle'. You can also adjust Ambient Sound between levels 1-20, with 1 being full transparency and 20 being full noise cancelling. Head gesture commands allow you to answer and reject calls by moving your head.

In addition to the features above, there are a few tried and true features like a graphic EQ and presets for tweaking the buds' sound to your liking and 360 Reality Audio, their virtual soundstage feature. You can also remap controls, adjust audio playback, update the firmware, adjust the mic's sidetone, and adjust the automatic power-off feature. If you're looking to adjust your Bluetooth performance, you can adjust the Bluetooth's connection quality and toggle DSEE Extreme on and off, which is an AI low-bitrate upscaling feature for audio.

Connectivity
0
Connectivity
Wired Connection
Analog Audio
No
USB Audio
No
Detachable
No
Length
N/A
Connector
No Wired Option
Latency - Analog
N/A
Latency - USB
N/A
Recorded Latency
N/A
Recorded Latency Connection No Wired Audio

You can't use these headphones wired. However, they come with a USB-A to USB-C cable to recharge the case.

8.4
Connectivity
Bluetooth Connection
Bluetooth Version
5.3
Multi-Device Pairing
2 Devices
Quick Pair (Android)
Yes
Quick Pair (iOS)
No
Line Of Sight Range
269.03 ft (82.00 m)
Latency - SBC
226 ms
Latency - aptX
N/A
Latency - aptX Adaptive (High Quality)
N/A
Latency - aptX Adaptive (Low Latency)
N/A
Latency - LDAC
252 ms
Recorded Latency
Recorded Latency Codec SBC
AAC Support
Yes

The Sony WF-1000XM5 have great Bluetooth connectivity. Unlike the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II Truly Wireless, they support multi-device pairing, so you can stay connected to your smartphone and PC simultaneously. If you need to connect to more devices than this at the same time, it's worth considering the Technics EAH-AZ80 True Wireless for their 3-way multipoint instead. They also support Google Fast Pair, which opens up a popup on your Android device to quickly pair your headphones.

In terms of codecs, they support LDAC, a hi-res audio codec that allows you to stream your favorite tunes over Bluetooth with better sound quality, AAC, the default codec used by Apple, which has better sound quality than SBC, and LE Audio, for low-power audio transmission. However, they don't support the aptX Lossless codec, unlike the Denon PerL Pro True Wireless. That said, these buds have high latency on PC, whether you're prioritizing latency or audio quality via their companion app, causing lip sync issues. That said, latency won't be an issue if you're only using the buds for streaming audio. Some apps and devices also compensate for latency.

0
Connectivity
Wireless Connection (Dongle)
Line Of Sight Range
N/A
Latency - Dongle
N/A
Recorded Latency
N/A
Connectivity
PC Compatibility
Analog
No
Wired USB
No
Non-BT Wireless
No

The Sony WF-1000XM5 earbuds have full audio and mic compatibility when connected via Bluetooth to supported PCs. However, this is the only connection you can use.

Connectivity
PlayStation Compatibility
PS4 Analog
No
PS4 Wired USB
No
PS4 Non-BT Wireless
No
PS5 Analog
No
PS5 Wired USB
No
PS5 Non-BT Wireless
No
Connectivity
Xbox Compatibility
Xbox One Analog
No
Xbox One Wired USB
No
Xbox One Non-BT Wireless
No
Xbox Series X|S Analog
No
Xbox Series X|S Wired USB
No
Xbox Series X|S Non-BT Wireless
No
2.2
Connectivity
Base/Dock
Type
Charging Case
USB Input
No
Line In
No
Line Out
No
Optical Input
No
RCA Input
No
Dock Charging
Yes
Power Supply
USB-C

These buds come with a hard carrying case that supplies three additional charges. It has a USB-C port for charging the case and supports Qi wireless charging.