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.
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.
The Sony WF-1000XM5 are excellent 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.
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.
The Sony WF-1000XM5 are good for office use. They're equipped with an ANC system and 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.
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. Their latency on iOS and Android devices is lower, ensuring less audio lag if you're mobile gaming.
The Sony WF1000XM5 are truly wireless buds; you can't use them wired.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 to mid ranges, where you'll find the rumble of bus engines and ambient chatter, respectively. 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. Their ANC also blocks out significantly more ambient sound in the treble range, where you'll find noise like the hum of an AC unit.
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.
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.
If you care about customizability, you'll want to check out the Sony WF-1000XM5 Truly over the Apple AirPods Pro (2nd generation) Truly Wireless. While both earbuds have a similarly balanced sound, 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. Their noise isolation performance is also better, but it's largely due to their memory foam ear tips, which help form an airtight seal to block background sound. However, the Apple headphones are better built and have an H1 chip for seamless pairing with other iOS devices.
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.
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'.
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.
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:
On the right earbud:
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.
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.
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. They're also certified IPX4 for resistance against splashes of water. 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 Sony WF-1000XM5 have a stable fit, provided you get a good fit with the provided ear tips. Even though they don't have stability fins, they won't move around or fall out with moderate or intense head movements, so you can wear them during workouts without a sweat.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
These are the settings used to test the Sony WF-1000XM5 Earbuds; our results are only valid when used in this configuration.
The Sony WF-1000XM5 have memory foam ear tips, which form a good seal within your ear canal and help them passively block out a lot of background noise. They also have noise cancelling (ANC). That said, some users have reported that there isn't a significant difference between ANC on and off. At first, we also noticed that there wasn't much of an improvement in noise isolation when using them around the office. However, we could measure a difference in ANC performance once we made an account and logged into the Sony | Connect app. We also 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. This feature has four modes but doesn't change the strength of noise cancelling: 'Staying', 'Walking', 'Running', and 'Riding a Vehicle'. To use this feature, you need to log into the app using a Sony or Google account and give them access to your data, including your locational data.
Once you've made an account and linked it to the buds, there's a noticeable improvement in noise isolation, specifically in the bass range. We also noticed the improvement was replicable across several devices, from Android to iOS to PC. You can see a comparison of our noise isolation passes, using the app with and without an account here. The app set the ASC mode to 'Staying'. It's also worth noting that this is what worked for us; Sony hasn't mentioned that you need an account to get the most out of the ANC.
While they won't block out quite as much bass range noise like the low rumble of bus and plane engines as the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II Truly Wireless, it's still enough to enjoy your commute in peace. That said, 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, although it's largely due to the ear tips rather than the ANC. 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.
The Sony WF-1000XM5 also has 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 sound around you quite well, though.
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.
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.
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.
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. 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.
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.
The Sony WF-1000XM5 have excellent 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. 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, they have lower latency on iOS and Android devices. Some apps and devices compensate for latency, though.
You can't use these headphones wired. However, they come with a USB-A to USB-C cable to recharge the case.
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.
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.