The Sony WH-1000XM5 Wireless are the next generation of the Sony WH-1000XM4 Wireless. Released mid-2022, these over-ears have a new look that stands apart from their predecessor, thanks to their mostly recycled (and recyclable) design. Beyond appearance, Sony has also tweaked elements of their performance, like fine-tuning their XM4's boomy sound profile, improving their integrated mic's performance, and optimizing and automatizing the active noise cancelling (ANC) system. That isn't to say that there haven't been a couple of hitches—while some issues may be fixed with firmware updates down the line, you may want to keep your XM4s nearby for now.
The Sony WH-1000XM5 are satisfactory for neutral sound. They don't create a very immersive experience due to their closed-back design, and their out-of-the-box sound profile is quite bass-heavy. They also deliver extra thump, rumble, and boom to mixes, which can muddy and clutter vocals and lead instruments. Luckily, their companion app offers a graphic EQ and presets to help you adjust their sound to your liking. They also support LDAC, which is nice if you want to stream hi-res content via Bluetooth.
The Sony WH-1000XM5 are very good for commute and travel. They have roughly 27 hours of continuous playback time, which will last through long days on the road. Also, they're well-built and come with a sturdy carrying case to protect them when you're on the go. Their fit puts pressure on the top of the head, which becomes uncomfortable during long trips. While they have a great overall noise isolation performance, their ANC does a sub-par job of cutting down the low rumble of bus engines. Luckily, they do a significantly better job reducing sounds like passenger chit-chat.
The Sony WH-1000XM5 are decent for sports and fitness. These over-ears are well-built and have a decently comfortable fit, though if you have a small head, you may experience some pressure on the top of your head. Thanks to their wireless design, you don't have to worry about something snagging the headphones and pulling them off you. They also have roughly 27 hours of continuous battery life, and their combination of touch and physical controls is easy to use. They don't have an IP rating for water resistance, and they can move around on your head if you're wearing them during intense physical exercise.
The Sony WH-1000XM5 are good for office use. They have an ANC system that can block out ambient chatter, but as soon as you start talking, the headphones enter 'Speak-to-Chat' mode, which allows you to hear conversations without taking off your headphones. You can turn this feature off in the companion app if you don't want to use it. They also last 27 hours continuously, which will get you through long days on the go. However, if you have a small head, you may not find their fit comfortable enough for long days at your desk.
The Sony WH-1000XM5 aren't ideal for wireless gaming. While you can use them with Bluetooth-enabled PCs, their latency is likely too high to be suitable for gaming.
The Sony WH-1000XM5 are good for wired gaming. They come with a 1/8" TRS cable that you can plug into your PlayStation or Xbox controller's AUX port, but this cable only supports audio, so you can't use their mic. If this isn't a deal-breaker for you, they have a bass-heavy sound profile that helps emphasize sound effects like footsteps in gameplay. However, their fit can become uncomfortable over time, especially if you have a small head, as the headband creates pressure on the top of your head.
The Sony WH-1000XM5 are decent for phone calls. These over-ears have an integrated microphone that can capture your voice clearly, but speech sounds a little thin and distorted. That said, the mic can separate your voice from moderate ambient noise well, ensuring that you're heard clearly, even if you're calling from a busy street. The headphones also have an ANC system that can block out a great amount of ambient noise. Keep in mind that if you're using the ANC and the headphones pick up your voice, they'll go into talk-through mode, so you can better hear your environment. You can turn off this feature in the companion app.
The Sony WH-1000XM5 have a similar design language as the Sony WH-1000XM4 Wireless, but there are a couple of slight differences that make them look more refined and sleek than their predecessor. The largest change in design is that there aren't any hinges. The headband is integrated into the ear cups, so the build is just one piece. They're also made of recycled plastic and have a satin finish that looks high-end. They come in two color variants: 'Black' and 'Platinum Silver'.
The Sony WH-1000XM5 have a decently comfortable fit. They're lighter than the Sony WH-1000XM4 Wireless, and it's easy to adjust the headband to fit your head. However, they don't feel as well-padded as the previous generation as the padding on the ear cups is mushy rather than springy. You may also have a gap between your head and the ear cups if you have long hair or wear glasses. Some users have reported experiencing discomfort with their fit, and depending on your head shape, the headband can feel heavy on the top of your head. It can cause pain during long listening sessions, especially if you have a small head. Not everyone will experience this issue.
The Sony WH-1000XM5 have good controls that are responsive and easy to use. Overall, the layout and range of commands are similar to the Sony WH-1000XM4 Wireless. They have a touch-sensitive surface on the right ear cup, and there are two physical buttons on the left ear cup. It can take a couple of swipes to reach the desired volume if you don't want to use the swipe and hold function. There are also beeps and voice prompts for a couple of commands, but there are fewer overall voice prompts compared to older Sony products.
On the left ear cup:Power button:
The touch-sensitive surface on the right earcup:
These headphones have mediocre portability. Unlike the Sony WH-1000XM4 Wireless, they can't fold to reduce their footprint, making them somewhat bulky in design. The ear cups can swivel to lay flat, making it easy to fit them into their carrying case, as it's molded to the shape of the flattened ear cups.
The Sony WH-1000XM5 have a different carrying case than their predecessor, but it feels great overall. It has a fabric finish, which can help protect the headphones from scratches, dust, impact, and slight water damage. While it's also larger, the inside of the case is molded to fit the headphones in only one possible way. There's also a dedicated space to safely store the cables and other accessories.
The Sony WH-1000XM5 have good overall build quality, but they seem like a small step down from the Sony WH-1000XM4 Wireless. They're mostly made of acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS), a material created from recycled plastic, meaning they have a different texture and feel than their predecessor. This material doesn't feel bad, and it likely lightens their frame. However, the new hinge design feels a little cheap. The padding on the ear cups is also a lot mushier than the previous generation, and it's noticeable when you wear them. The padding on the headband feels less plush too. That said, the headphones still feel sturdy overall and will survive a couple of accidental drops without taking too much damage.
The Sony WH-1000XM5 are decently stable. They'll stay on your head if you're listening to music at your desk and won't fall off if you want to wear them during a light jog in the park. However, during more intense physical activity, the headphones can move around on your head, which can be annoying as you have to constantly adjust their fit.
The Sony WH-1000XM5 have a bass-heavy sound profile. It's similar to the Sony WH-1000XM4 Wireless as it has extra thump, rumble, and boom, making these headphones well-suited for genres like EDM and hip-hop. However, there seems to be a slight adjustment to their mid and treble ranges, which helps brighten vocals and lead instruments. They don't sound as balanced or neutral as the Apple AirPods Max Wireless, and the extra bass still muddies and clutters vocals and lead instruments. If you prefer a different sound, you can customize their sound to your liking using their companion app's graphic EQ and presets.
The Sony WH-1000XM5 have great frequency response consistency. They're mostly consistent, though you may notice a drop in bass if you have thick hair or wear glasses as this ruptures the ear cup's seal on your head. There are also slight inconsistencies in treble delivery due to fit and positioning. However, once you get a good fit, you'll achieve more consistent audio delivery.
The Sony WH-1000XM5 have okay bass accuracy. The response is overemphasized across the range, and they deliver a lot more thump, punch, and boom than the Bose QuietComfort 45/QC45 Wireless. In the song, 2020 by SUUNS, the low drone is visceral and rumbly, which can be enjoyable if you like extra bass. Unfortunately, the extra high-bass can muddy and clutter the rest of your mix.
The Sony WH-1000XM5 have excellent mid accuracy. There's some overemphasis coming from the bass range into the low-mid, which muddies and clutters your mixes. However, the mid and high-mids are better balanced than the Sony WH-1000XM4 Wireless, so vocals and lead instruments, like Kendrick Lamar in his song, Mother I Sober, still sound clear and present.
The Sony WH-1000XM5's treble accuracy is great. The range is slightly overemphasized, making vocals and lead instruments sound clear and detailed. Sibilants like cymbals are also bright but not piercing.
The Sony WH-1000XM5's peaks and dips performance is good. There's a slight peak in the low-bass that affects the left driver and adds extra thump to mixes. A peak in both drivers' high-bass adds boom to mixes while a dip throughout the mids weakens and nudges vocals and lead instruments to the back of your mix. A peak in the low-treble makes the upper harmonics of vocals and lead instruments harsh, while another peak in the mid-treble turns sibilants like S and T sounds piercing.
The Sony WH-1000XM5's imaging performance is excellent. The group delay falls below the audibility threshold, resulting in tight bass and transparent treble reproduction. The L/R drivers are also well-matched in phase, amplitude, and frequency response, so objects like footsteps and instruments are accurately placed in the stereo image. Although there's a small peak in the mid-range, which makes audio sound a bit louder from the left driver, it's hard to hear with real-life content. That said, imaging can vary between units and indicate a manufacturer's quality control and ergonomics.
The Sony WH-1000XM5's passive soundstage performance is poor. These headphones have a closed-back design, so they can't create a very open or spacious-feeling soundstage. Since they have an over-ear design, sound can still interact with your outer ear, which helps create a wide—though somewhat unnatural—soundstage.
These headphones are compatible with 360 Reality Audio, which can offer better sound quality. However, keep in mind that you need to subscribe to paid services like TIDAL and Nugs.net to use this feature. You can also access the Analyze Ear Shape feature in their companion app to help optimize audio for your unique ear shape.
The Sony WH-1000XM5's weighted harmonic distortion performance is very good. Although there's a peak in the high-treble at normal listening volumes, it's very hard to hear with real-life content. That said, most frequencies fall within good limits, resulting in clear and pure audio reproduction.
These are the settings used to test the Sony WH-1000XM5. Our results are only valid when using them in this configuration.
The Sony WH-1000XM5 have a great noise isolation performance. These headphones have an automatic adaptive ANC system that optimizes their performance based on the environment around you. Unfortunately, unlike the Sony WH-1000XM4 Wireless, you can't turn the optimization off. As a result, some users have reported issues with the ANC changing with slight head movements, which is annoying since the system isn't providing consistent noise isolation.
While these headphones don't perform as well in the bass range compared to their predecessor, we measured a better performance when it comes to mid and treble range noise. However, in addition to our measurements, we made recordings of our office to subjectively test their noise isolation performance in the mid to treble ranges, which brought about slightly different results. Without headphones, the ambience of our office sounds like this. Compared to the XM4, the XM5's ANC can block out a slightly less ambient chatter. You can also see the recordings in a graph here. However, the difference is somewhat minor, and these headphones are still well-suited for office use. When it comes to treble range sounds like some noise from an AC unit, the XM4 seem to cut down a bit more sound than the XM5 too. Both still do an outstanding job in this range, and you can see a graph of our recordings here. However, keep in mind that treble range noise can be hard to hear, and we lose sensitivity to these kinds of sounds over time. The average noise of the office also falls around 60 dB, which is less than the 90 dB we use for our measurements.
Unfortunately, the Sony WH-1000XM5 have more trouble cutting down the low rumble of bus and plane engines than their predecessor, and they perform more closely to the Anker Soundcore Life Q35 Wireless in this regard. It may be a deal-breaker if you want to use them during your commute. We also subjectively compared their performance in the bass range by going out onto a noisy street with our equipment. Without headphones on, the street sounds like this. The XM5 do a sub-par job of isolating you from rumbly car engine noise than the XM4, which block out more of this noise. You can check out a graph of the recordings here.
The Sony WH-1000XM5 have a good leakage performance. Leakage is spread fairly evenly across the range and falls below the noise floor of an average office. If you like to crank up the volume to your favorite tunes in a moderately noisy environment, people around you won't hear it.
The Sony WH-1000XM5's integrated mic has a passable recording quality. Our recorded speech file made using a PC sounds better than what the graph and score show, and it's not that bad. Your voice sounds somewhat clear but a little distorted and lacking fullness. When we used the headphones to make a call, we also noticed there was a lot of white noise and static. On a Samsung phone, the voice sounds a bit worse than on PCs. You can hear our phone recording here.
The microphone has excellent noise handling when using a PC. Unlike the Sony WH-1000XM4 Wireless, the mic can separate your voice from moderate ambient noise. If you're calling from a busy street, speech sits above the noise, so your voice is easy to understand. You can also hear the mic's noise handling performance on a Samsung phone when it comes to pink noise and subway noise. Keep in mind that there's more static and white noise present in the phone audio recordings compared to our PC recordings.
The Sony WH-1000XM5 have excellent battery performance. Like the Sony WH-1000XM4 Wireless, they're advertised to last 30 hours continuously. We measured 27 hours, which is fewer than the 38 hours measured on the XM4s. However, battery life can vary depending on usage. Luckily, they have an auto-off timer that can help conserve battery life when not in use, and you can also change the setting via the companion app. If you want to use them wired, they come with a 1/8" TRS cable so you can use them passively.
The Sony | Headphones Connect app is great. This app offers a lot of customization features to help you adjust the headphones' performance to your liking. You can tweak their sound using their graphic EQ and presets, adjust their auto-off timer, and turn on and off the 'Smart-Pause' feature, which pauses your audio when you take the headphones off your head. You can also remap their custom button, access multi-device pairing, turn on and off the speak-to-chat feature, and see which device is connected to the headphones. You can even access 360 Reality Audio for better sound quality, but you need to be subscribed to services that support this feature.
The Sony WH-1000XM5 have excellent Bluetooth connectivity. They support multi-device pairing, meaning you can stay connected to your smartphone and PC at the same time. They also support Google Fast Pair and Swift Pair for Windows 10, which is great if you have compatible devices you want to pair with these headphones. That said, they have high latency on PCs using SBC codec, which is the default codec. They also have 190 ms of latency when using LDAC via PC, which is Sony's proprietary codec for hi-res audio. While high latency can disrupt the syncing of audio and visuals, it's very hard to notice with strictly audio content. On the downside, you can't use LDAC if you're connected to two devices at once, and you'll need to disconnect from one device.
They have fairly low latency on iOS and Android devices, which is good if you like to stream video. Keep in mind that apps and devices compensate for latency differently.
These headphones come with a 1/8" TRS cable that you can use to receive audio; however, you can't use their mic. Unlike the Sony WH-1000XM4 Wireless, they also don't come with an airline adapter.
The Sony WH-1000XM5 have full audio and mic compatibility when connected wirelessly to Bluetooth-enabled PCs. You can also use their 1/8" TRS cable, but you'll only receive audio and won't be able to use their mic.
The Sony WH-1000XM5 can only receive audio when you plug their audio cable into your PlayStation controller's AUX port.
The Sony WH-1000XM5 only support audio via their 1/8" TRS cable plugged into your Xbox controller's AUX port.
The Sony WH-1000XM5 come in two color variants: 'Platinum Silver' and 'Black'. You can see our model's label here. If you come across another variant of these headphones that doesn't match what we have here, please let us know in the discussions, and we'll update our review.
The Sony WH-1000XM5 are the next generation of the Sony WH-1000XM4 Wireless with an updated design that's sleek and made of recyclable plastic. Like most of Sony's high-end models, they also have an automatic adaptive ANC system. It excels at tackling mid and treble sounds like ambient chatter, which is beneficial if you work in a noisy office. However, they don't block out as much bass-range noise as the XM4 or other premium ANC headphones like the Bose QuietComfort 45/QC45 Wireless or the Apple AirPods Max Wireless.
Some users may find the automatic ANC annoying, as the system can re-optimize itself with slight head motions (which can lead to worse noise isolation), and it can't be manually adjusted. If this is a deal-breaker for you, you may want to check out our recommendations for the best noise cancelling headphones for more options. You can also check out our recommendations for the best headphones for most people and the best wireless Bluetooth headphones.
The Sony WH-1000XM5 Wireless are the next generation of the Sony WH-1000XM4 Wireless. There have been a couple of changes in design and performance. As a result, the XM5 have a better microphone performance and their ANC is blocks out more mid and treble range noise. However, there are a couple of drawbacks. The XM5's build isn't as flexible as the previous generation, and the ANC has a harder time blocking out the low rumble of bus engines. Unfortunately, their automatic adaptive ANC system can't be turned off, and some users have reported issues with the ANC adjusting each time they move their heads.
The Sony WH-1000XM5 Wireless are a later generation of the Sony WH-1000XM3 Wireless. While some things have stayed the same, such as their battery life, and companion app support, the XM3 and XM5 have different strengths. The XM3 have a significantly better noise isolation performance, especially when it comes to the low rumble of bus engines, are more comfortable, and are better-built. They also support aptX and aptX HD for high audio quality via Bluetooth. In comparison, the XM5 support multi-device pairing, and they have an auto-off timer to help conserve battery life when you aren't using them.
The Apple AirPods Max Wireless and the Sony WH-1000XM5 Wireless are both great headphones. If you care about noise isolation or if you're an iOS user, you'll want to check out the Apple, which have a superb noise cancelling system that can block out background noise. These premium over-ears also have an H1 chip for seamless pairing with Apple devices and they have a versatile sound profile. That said, the Sony are more customizable, thanks to their companion app, and their battery lasts longer too.
The Bose QuietComfort 45/QC45 Wireless are better headphones for most uses than the Sony WH-1000XM5 Wireless. The Bose's ANC blocks out more of the low rumble of bus and plane engines, but the Sony do a better job of cutting down ambient chatter. Their neutral sound is also a lot more versatile than the Sony too and their fit is more comfortable. That said, the Sony have a few extra features over the Bose. The Sony support LDAC for hi-res audio and they have a virtual soundstage feature to help give you a more immersive sound, though you need to subscribe to services that support it.
The Bose 700 Headphones Wireless and the Sony WH-1000XM5 Wireless are both great noise cancelling headphones. The Bose are better-built, more comfortable, sound more neutral, which some users may prefer, and their ANC blocks out more ambient noise, especially when it comes to cutting down the low rumble of bus engines. However, the Sony have a longer continuous battery life, and support LDAC, which is great if you like to listen to hi-res audio, as well as 360 Reality Audio, a feature that create a more immersive sound. You need to subscribe to services that support this feature though.
The Bose QuietComfort 35 II/QC35 II Wireless 2018 and the Sony WH-1000XM5 Wireless are ANC headphones with different strengths. While both over-ears are well-built, the Bose are more comfortable, and they have a significantly better noise isolation performance (especially when it comes to the low rumble of bus and plane engines). Also, they have a more neutral sound profile that's versatile enough for a variety of audio content. However, the Sony are more customizable, thanks to their companion app's graphic EQ and presets, and their battery life is longer, too. They also have a virtual soundstage to help create a more immersive audio experience, though you need to subscribe to services that support this feature.
The Sony WF-1000XM4 Truly Wireless and the Sony WH-1000XM5 Wireless are this manufacturer's top-of-the-line ANC headphones. If you're looking for the best noise isolation performance available or if you prefer an over-ear fit, the WH-1000XM5 have an ANC system that can block out more background noise. They support multi-device pairing, so you can connect them with up to two devices at a time, and they have a longer continuous playback time. Their mic also offers a better overall performance. That said, the WF-1000XM4 are still worth checking out if you like an in-ear fit. They're better-built, have a more stable in-ear fit, and are a lot more portable, which makes them a solid choice for sports.
Depending on your usage, you may prefer either the Apple AirPods Pro Truly Wireless or the Sony WH-1000XM5 Wireless. The Apple are in-ears that are more portable, better-built, and more stable, which makes them a solid choice for sports and fitness. They also have a more neutral sound profile and their ANC offers a slightly better overall noise isolation performance, particularly when it comes to the low rumble of bus and plane engines. They also have an H1 chip that allows you to seamlessly pair them with your Apple devices. However, the Sony are over-ears with a customizable sound profile, thanks to their companion app's graphic EQ and presets. Their ANC also does a better job of blocking out mid to treble range noise such as ambient chatter, and they support multi-device pairing, so you can connect them with up to two devices at a time.