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We've recently released our Test Bench 1.7 update for Headphones! Read the Noise isolation R&D Article to learn more.

Sony WH-1000XM5 Wireless Headphones Review

Tested using Methodology v1.7
Review updated Dec 11, 2023 at 09:49 am
Latest change: Retest Apr 04, 2024 at 09:12 am
Sony WH-1000XM5 Wireless Picture
7.3
Neutral Sound
8.0
Commute/Travel
7.2
Sports/Fitness
7.6
Office
5.9
Wireless Gaming
7.5
Wired Gaming
7.7
Phone Calls

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.

Our Verdict

7.3 Neutral Sound

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.

Pros
  • Graphic EQ and presets available.
  • 27-hour continuous battery life.
Cons
  • If you have a small head, you may not find their fit comfortable.
  • Poor passive soundstage.
8.0 Commute/Travel

The Sony WH-1000XM5 are great for commuting 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. They have a fantastic ANC performance, so they can cut down sounds like the rumble of bus engines and passenger chatter.

Pros
  • 27-hour continuous battery life.
  • Fantastic ANC performance.
  • Well-built design.
Cons
  • If you have a small head, you may not find their fit comfortable.
7.2 Sports/Fitness

The Sony WH-1000XM5 are decent for sports and fitness, though not everyone will like using over-ears for this purpose. They're well-built, have 27 hours of continuous playtime, and their combination of physical and touch control schemes is easy to use. However, they lack an IP rating, which is the norm for these headphones, and they can shift in positioning during intense movements. If you have a small head, you may also experience a bit of pressure at the top of your head, which can become uncomfortable.

Pros
  • 27-hour continuous battery life.
  • Well-built design.
Cons
  • If you have a small head, you may not find their fit comfortable.
  • Poor passive soundstage.
7.6 Office

The Sony WH-1000XM5 are good for office use. They have an outstanding 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.

Pros
  • 27-hour continuous battery life.
  • Mic has great noise handling.
  • Can be paired with up to two devices at a time.
  • Fantastic ANC performance.
Cons
  • If you have a small head, you may not find their fit comfortable.
5.9 Wireless Gaming

The Sony WH1000XM5 aren't ideal for wireless gaming. While you can use them with Bluetooth-enabled PCs, their latency is too high to be suitable for gaming, as your audio and visuals won't be in sync.

7.5 Wired 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, 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.

Pros
  • 27-hour continuous battery life.
  • Well-built design.
Cons
  • If you have a small head, you may not find their fit comfortable.
7.7 Phone Calls

The Sony WH-1000XM5 are good 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 you're heard fairly clearly, even if you're calling from a busy street. The headphones also have an ANC system that blocks out a fantastic amount of ambient noise. Remember 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.

Pros
  • 27-hour continuous battery life.
  • Mic has great noise handling.
  • Fantastic ANC performance.
Cons
  • If you have a small head, you may not find their fit comfortable.
  • 7.3 Neutral Sound
  • 8.0 Commute/Travel
  • 7.2 Sports/Fitness
  • 7.6 Office
  • 5.9 Wireless Gaming
  • 7.5 Wired Gaming
  • 7.7 Phone Calls
  1. Updated Apr 04, 2024: We've retested ANC Wind Handling with updated methodology.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Updated Jan 29, 2024: We've retested Noise Isolation using firmware 2.1.0. However, our results have remained the same.
  5. Updated Dec 11, 2023: We've updated the text to ensure consistency with the latest firmware updates and added relevant comparisons.
  6. Updated Nov 16, 2023: We've added a comparison between these headphones and the Dyson Zone Wireless in Wired Connection.
  7. Updated Nov 07, 2023: We've added a comparison between these headphones and the Bose QuietComfort Ultra Headphones Wireless in Virtual Soundstage.
  8. Updated Nov 02, 2023: The following test group has been updated following TB 1.6: Wired Connection, and Bluetooth Connection. There have also been text changes made throughout the review, including to the usages and product comparisons to match these results.
  9. Updated Nov 02, 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.
  10. Updated Aug 23, 2023: We've tested these headphones for ALAC audio codec support and updated the Sound Profile test.
  11. Updated Jun 27, 2023: We've updated this review's text to ensure accuracy and clarity.
  12. Updated May 02, 2023: We've added a comparison between these headphones and the Bowers & Wilkins Px7 S2 Wireless in Build Quality.
  13. Updated Apr 05, 2023: We've retested Noise Isolation using firmware 1.1.3. However, there hasn't been a change in our results. Some users have also reported echoing during calls and we've investigated this in Recording Quality.
  14. Updated Feb 09, 2023: We've added a comparison between these headphones and the Focal Bathys Wireless in Bluetooth.
  15. Updated Oct 07, 2022: We've added a comparison between these headphones and the Sennheiser MOMENTUM 4 Wireless in Build Quality.
  16. Updated Sep 06, 2022: We have re-evaluated the scoring of the Recording Quality test. The original score poorly reflected real-life performance and the Weighted THD test negatively affected the score. As a result, we decided to 'N/A' this test to improve the score close to real-life expectations. After comparing the Noise Handling performance of this mic to that of the Bose 700 Headphones Wireless, we have decided to lower the Subway Noise subjective scoring as the mic cuts out the voice as well as the loud noise at the peak of the subway.
  17. Updated Jun 17, 2022: Review published.
  18. Updated Jun 09, 2022: Early access published.
  19. Updated May 31, 2022: Our testers have started testing this product.
  20. Updated May 31, 2022: The product has arrived in our lab, and our testers will start evaluating it soon.
  21. Updated May 22, 2022: We've purchased the product and are waiting for it to arrive in our lab.

Differences Between Sizes And Variants

The Sony WH-1000XM5 come in three color variants: 'Platinum Silver', 'Midnight Blue', and 'Black'. We tested the 'Black' model; you can see our model's label here. If you come across another variant of these headphones that doesn't match what we have, please let us know in the forums, and we'll update our review.

Compared To Other Headphones

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. While it doesn't block out quite 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, it'll still be enough to get you from point A to B without an issue.

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, 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.

Bose QuietComfort Ultra Headphones Wireless

The Bose QuietComfort Ultra Headphone Wireless have the edge over the Sony WH-1000XM5 Wireless. The Bose are significantly more comfortable, are better built, and have a more neutral sound, which some users may prefer. They have a slight edge in noise isolation too, but the difference is fairly minor; both choices are still well-suited for noisy environments. However, the Sony support LDAC codec, which is nice if you want to stream high-quality audio, and you can use them passively via analog. If you want to use the Bose wired, you'll have to turn them on.

Sennheiser MOMENTUM 4 Wireless

The Sony WH-1000XM5 Wireless and the Sennheiser MOMENTUM 4 Wireless are similarly performing over-ears with different strengths. The Sony have a virtual soundstage feature, which helps to create a more immersive audio experience, their ANC system does a better job of blocking out background noise, and they support LDAC codec for hi-res audio. However, the Sennheiser are more comfortable, are better built, and have a significantly longer continuous playback time, and they support aptX Adaptive codec. Their sound is also a bit more neutral, which some users may prefer. 

Apple AirPods Max Wireless

The Apple AirPods Max Wireless and the Sony WH-1000XM5 Wireless are both great headphones with fantastic noise isolation performances. If you're an iOS user, you'll want to check out the Apple. 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.

Sony WH-1000XM4 Wireless

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 the ANC system attenuates noise slightly differently. You can still expect significant ambient sound isolation from either pair of headphones though. 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 originally reported issues with the ANC adjusting each time they move their heads, though this issue may have been corrected in FW 1.1.3.

Bose QuietComfort 45/QC45 Wireless

The Bose QuietComfort 45/QC45 Wireless and the Sony WH-1000XM5 Wireless are both high-end headphones. 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 mid range noise like ambient chatter and treble range sounds like the high-pitched whirl of computer fans. Their neutral sound is also much more versatile than the Sony, 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.

Bowers & Wilkins Px7 S2 Wireless

Depending on your preferences, you may enjoy either the Sony WH-1000XM5 Wireless or the Bowers & Wilkins Px7 S2 Wireless. The Sony have a more neutral sound profile, although they're still pretty bass-heavy, a virtual soundstage feature, and a significantly better performing ANC system. They're also more customizable. In contrast, the Bowers & Wilkins are more comfortable, are better built, and support aptX, aptX HD, and aptX Adaptive codecs to help you get good sound quality via Bluetooth. They can also receive audio via USB-C, which some users may prefer.

Anker Soundcore Space Q45 Wireless

If you're looking for top-of-the-line over-ears with a powerful ANC system, go for the Sony WH-1000XM5 Wireless. However, if you're looking for cheaper over-ears without sacrificing too much in the way of customization or performance, try the Anker Soundcore Space Q45 Wireless. While both headphones are well-built and have customizable sound profiles via their companion apps, the Sony have a more neutral sound profile, though it's still pretty bass-heavy, which some users may prefer. Their ANC can block out more ambient noise too, although the Anker are still quite excellent in this regard. Conversely, the Anker are more comfortable. They're also advertised to have a longer continuous battery life.

Bowers & Wilkins Px8 Wireless

The Sony WH-1000XM5 Wireless and the Bowers & Wilkins Px8 Wireless have different strengths, so depending on your preferences, you may enjoy either one. The Sony have significantly better noise cancelling, a more robust EQ in their companion app, and have a virtual soundstage feature. However, the Bowers & Wilkins are more comfortable and better built.

Sony WF-1000XM5 Truly 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.

Sony WH-CH720N Wireless

The Sony WH-1000XM5 Wireless are the brand's flagship wireless headphones, while the Sony WH-CH720N Wireless are mid-tier. Overall, the WH-1000XM5 Wireless are better built, use a mix of touch controls and buttons, include the higher quality LDAC codec, and offer superior noise cancelling. The WH-CH720N Wireless weigh less, and they share a lot of the same app features like surround sound and graphic EQ. However, their build quality is more plasticky, their ANC isn't nearly as effective, and their sound delivery is less consistent between wears.

Sony WH-1000XM3 Wireless

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. While both headphones offer a fantastic overall performance, the XM3 have the edge, particularly regarding the low rumble of bus engines. They're also 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.

Bose 700 Headphones Wireless

The Bose 700 Headphones Wireless and the Sony WH-1000XM5 Wireless are both great noise cancelling headphones. The Bose are better built, are more comfortable, and sound more neutral, which some users may prefer. However, the Sony are able to block out more background noise. They also have a longer continuous battery life, support LDAC, which is great if you like to listen to hi-res audio, and have 360 Reality Audio, a feature that creates a more immersive sound. You need to subscribe to services that support this feature though. 

Bose QuietComfort 35 II/QC35 II Wireless 2018

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 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. Both headphones have a fantastic ANC performance, but the Sony have the edge in this regard, particularly when it comes to mid and treble range noises. 

Apple AirPods Pro Truly Wireless

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 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 background noise, and they support multi-device pairing so that you can connect them with up to two devices at a time. 

Focal Bathys Wireless

The Sony WH-1000XM5 Wireless are better casual-use headphones than the Focal Bathys Wireless. The Sony have a better noise isolation performance and support LDAC, which is this manufacturer's proprietary codec for hi-res audio, and their mic performance is better. They also have a better overall battery performance, and their app offers more features. However, if sound is your top priority, you'll want to consider the Focal the have an integrated USB-DAC design for higher quality audio when wired. They're also more comfortable and better built. 

Sennheiser Momentum 3 Wireless

The Sony WH-1000XM5 Wireless and the Sennheiser Momentum 3 Wireless are similarly performing headphones with different strengths. The Sony offer features such as 360 Reality Audio, which can help create a more immersive audio experience, and support LDAC for hi-res audio. They also have a slightly better overall noise isolation performance, more consistent audio reproduction, and a longer continuous battery life. On the other hand, the Sennheiser are more comfortable, are better built, and have a more neutral overall sound profile, which some users may prefer.

Sony WF-1000XM4 Truly Wireless

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 prefer an over-ear fit, the WH-1000XM5 have an ANC system that can block out more background noise. 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, making them a solid choice for sports. 

Sennheiser ACCENTUM Plus Wireless

Between the Sony WH-1000XM5 Wireless and Sennheiser ACCENTUM Plus Wireless, the Sony have much better noise cancelling and isolation performance. Out of the two, only the Sony support virtual surround sound. Their cushioning is softer and more isolating, and their fit delivers a more consistent sound. The headphones' default sound is boomier in the bass and slightly muddier in the midrange, with a more accurate treble response. You can EQ their sound in the app. They use touch controls on both ear cups, plus they have a speak-to-chat function. Unlike the Sennheiser, they don't support USB audio, and they lack an ANC mode for windy conditions. The Sennheiser's battery lasts roughly twice as long as the Sony's. The Sennheiser cans sound bass-heavy with a more accurate midrange and a less detailed treble response. Similarly, you can EQ them in the app. Their noise cancelling is not as effective (except with wind), and they deliver less consistent sound between wears. Only the right side has touch controls.

Shure AONIC 50 Gen 2 Wireless

The Sony WH-1000XM5 Wireless have the edge over the Shure AONIC 50 Gen 2 Wireless. The Sony have a more neutral sound, though they're still bass-heavy, and their ANC does a better job of blocking out background noise. However, the Shure are more comfortable, are better built, and have a longer continuous battery life. They also have a USB DAC mode, which is handy if you're looking for a more audiophile experience from your headphones since it can give you better sound quality.

Beats Studio Pro Wireless

The Sony WH-1000XM5 Wireless are better than the Beats Studio Pro Wireless. The Sony have a better ANC and mic performance, and they offer in-app sound customization. They also support multi-device pairing. However, the Beats are fully compatible with PlayStation consoles with their USB-C cable. They have quick-pairing features with iOS and Android devices, while the Sony only have quick pairing with Android.

Dyson Zone Wireless

The Sony WH-1000XM5 Wireless are a better deal than the Dyson Zone Wireless. They have a better noise isolation performance, have more customization features via their companion app, and support multi-device pairing so you can stay connected to your smartphone and PC simultaneously. You can even use them wired. However, the Dyson have an air purifying visor, are more comfortable, and have a more neutral sound, which some users may prefer. 

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Video

Test Results

perceptual testing image
Design
Design
Style
Type Over-ear
Enclosure Closed-Back
Wireless Yes
Transducer Dynamic

The Sony WH-1000XM5 have a similar design language to the Sony WH-1000XM4 Wireless, but a couple of slight differences 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 high-end satin finish. They come in three color variants: 'Black', 'Midnight Blue', and 'Platinum Silver'.

7.0
Design
Comfort
Weight 0.55 lbs
Clamping Force
0.8 lbs

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, though.

7.6
Design
Controls
OS Compatibility
Not OS specific
Ease Of Use Good
Feedback Decent
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 headphones 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 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:

  • Press and hold: Turns headphones on or off. If you continue to hold this button past turning the headphones on, you'll enter Bluetooth pairing mode.
Custom button:
  • One press: Cycles between ANC on, talk-through mode, letting you better hear your surroundings without taking off the headphones, and ANC off. You can remap this control via the companion app to activate Alexa or Google Assistant.

The touch-sensitive surface on the right ear cup:

  • Double tap: Plays and pauses audio. Also answers and ends a call.
  • Swipe forward: Skips to the next track.
  • Swipe forward and hold: Fast forwards through your track.
  • Swipe backward: Skips to the previous track.
  • Swipe backward and hold: Backtracks through your track.
  • Swipe up: Turns the volume up incrementally.
  • Swipe up and hold: Turns the volume up continuously until you release.
  • Swipe down: Turns the volume down incrementally.
  • Swipe down and hold: Turns the volume down continuously until you release.
  • Cover the ear cup with your palm: Enters talk-through mode.

6.0
Design
Portability
L 8.1" (20.5 cm)
W 6.9" (17.6 cm)
H 1.8" (4.5 cm)
Volume 99.08 in³ (1,623.60 cm³)
Transmitter Required No

These headphones aren't the most portable, but that's to be expected from over-ear headphones. Unlike their predecessor, they can't fold up to reduce their footprint, which makes them bulky to transport. On the upside, you can swivel the ear cups so they lay flat, and they come with a molded carrying case to protect them when you're on the go.

8.0
Design
Case
Type Hard case
L 9.3" (23.6 cm)
W 8.0" (20.2 cm)
H 2.3" (5.9 cm)
Volume 171.64 in³ (2,812.60 cm³)

The Sony WH1000XM5 have a different carrying case than their predecessor, but it feels great overall. It has a fabric finish in the same color as the headphones, 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 a dedicated space to safely store the cables and other accessories.

7.5
Design
Build Quality

The Sony WH-1000XM5 have good overall build quality, but it's a small step down from the Sony WH-1000XM4 Wireless. They also don't feel as premium as the Sennheiser MOMENTUM 4 Wireless or the Bowers & Wilkins Px7 S2 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 and could be prone to breaking over time. The padding on the ear cups is also much 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.

7.0
Design
Stability

The Sony WH1000XM5 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 shift in positioning, and you'll have to constantly adjust their fit.

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

  • Sony WH-1000XM5 headphones
  • 1/8" TRS cable
  • USB-C to USB-A charging cable
  • Manuals
  • Carrying case

Sound
Sound
Sound Profile
Bass Amount
2.81 dB
Treble Amount
-2.61 dB

The Sony WH-1000XM5 have a bass-heavy sound profile. The bass range is 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. The mid and treble ranges have also been slightly retuned, 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.

Sony hasn't mentioned anything regarding ALAC support, which is Apple's lossless hi-res audio codec available via music services like Apple Music. However, to benefit from this audio codec, you'll need to use these headphones wired as Bluetooth can't transmit the amount of data necessary to play lossless content. While our iPhone showed that we were able to use ALAC over Bluetooth by going into the phone settings and switching to 'ALAC (ALAC in resolutions ranging from 16-bit/44.1 kHz (CD Quality) up to 24-bit/192 kHz)', it's highly likely that this audio is still compressed due to how Bluetooth works.

8.0
Sound
Frequency Response Consistency
Avg. Std. Deviation
0.39 dB

The Sony WH-1000XM5 have great frequency response consistency. They deliver audio consistently, but you may experience a drop in bass if you have thick hair or wear glasses, as these features can disrupt the ear cups' seal on your head. On the upside, once you take the time to ensure a good fit, you'll experience more consistent bass and treble delivery each time you use them.

Sound
Raw Frequency Response
6.5
Sound
Bass Accuracy
Std. Err.
5.69 dB
Low-Frequency Extension
10 Hz
Low-Bass
5.43 dB
Mid-Bass
6.19 dB
High-Bass
6.91 dB

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 at the beginning of the track is visceral and rumbly, which is enjoyable if you like extra bass. Unfortunately, the added high-bass muddies and clutters the rest of your mix.

8.5
Sound
Mid Accuracy
Std. Err.
1.96 dB
Low-Mid
2.9 dB
Mid-Mid
0.22 dB
High-Mid
0.28 dB

The Sony WH-1000XM5 have excellent mid accuracy. Some overemphasis comes from the bass range into the low-mid, which muddies and clutters your mixes. However, the mid and high-mid are better balanced than the Sony WH-1000XM4 Wireless, so vocals and lead instruments, like Kendrick Lamar's voice in his song, Mother I Sober, still sound clear and present throughout the mix.

8.2
Sound
Treble Accuracy
Std. Err.
2.68 dB
Low-Treble
2.15 dB
Mid-Treble
1.41 dB
High-Treble
-10.25 dB

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.

7.6
Sound
Peaks/Dips
Peaks
1.68 dB
Dips
0.84 dB

The Sony WH-1000XM5's peaks and dips performance is good, and they follow their own profile well, with some slight inconsistencies in certain ranges. A slight peak in the low-bass 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.

8.8
Sound
Imaging
Weighted Group Delay
0.23
Weighted Phase Mismatch
3.61
Weighted Amplitude Mismatch
0.5
Weighted Frequency Mismatch
1.56

In high-end products like these headphones, Sony has shown high-quality control and ergonomics, which helps ensure excellent imaging performance. Although imaging varies between units, our unit's L/R drivers are well-matched in group delay, which ensures tight bass and transparent treble reproduction. In addition, the drivers are also matched when it comes to amplitude, frequency, and phase response. This helps ensure the accurate placement of objects like voices and instruments in the stereo image. Although there are some small peaks in the phase response's mid-range, which makes the left driver sound a little louder than the right, it's very difficult to hear with real-life content.

4.1
Sound
Passive Soundstage
PRTF Accuracy (Std. Dev.)
3.68 dB
PRTF Size (Avg.)
7.72 dB
PRTF Distance
6.74 dB
Openness
1.8
Acoustic Space Excitation
2.6

The 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 still interacts with your outer ear, which helps create a wide—though somewhat unnatural—soundstage.

4.1
Sound
Virtual Soundstage
Head Modeling
On/Off
Speaker Modeling
On/Off
Room Ambience
No
Head Tracking
No
Virtual Surround
360 Reality Audio

The 360 Reality Audio feature can offer better sound quality by creating an immersive, 360-degree audio experience. It uses the Analyze Ear Shape feature in their companion app to help optimize audio for your unique ear shape. However, you must subscribe to paid services like TIDAL and Nugs.net to benefit from the virtual soundstage feature. Sony added some head-tracking capabilities to these headphones with firmware update 2.0.2. However, you'll need a device running Android 13 or above to take advantage of this feature, and it's only compatible with certain apps. The Bose QuietComfort Ultra Headphones Wireless are worth considering if you're after headphones with more comprehensive head tracking implementation.

7.9
Sound
Weighted Harmonic Distortion
WHD @ 90
0.285
WHD @ 100
0.099

Their weighted harmonic distortion performance is very good. Although there's a peak in the high-treble at normal listening volumes, it's hard to hear with real-life content. Most frequencies fall within good limits, resulting in clear and pure audio reproduction.

Sound
Test Settings
Firmware
1.1.1
Power
On
Connection
Bluetooth 5.0
Codec
LDAC, 32-bit, 48kHz
EQ
Off
ANC
On
Tip/Pad
Default
Microphone
Integrated

These are the settings used to test these headphones. Our results are only valid when using them in this configuration.

Isolation
9.4
Isolation
Noise Isolation - Full Range
Noise Cancelling Yes
Overall Attenuation
-25.81 dB
Bass
-17.63 dB
Mid
-28.25 dB
Treble
-33.04 dB

The Sony 1000XM5 have a remarkable noise isolation performance. They have an automatic adaptive ANC system that optimizes their performance based on the environment around them. Unfortunately, unlike the Sony WH-1000XM4 Wireless, you can't turn the optimization off. They also block out slightly less bass range noise than their predecessor, which is where the rumbles of bus and plane engines reproduce. However, this performance is still enough to commute peacefully and quietly. They can isolate you from mid and treble range noises like voices and the high-pitched noise of AC units very well, though.

Over time, we've retested noise isolation using firmware 1.1.3. However, we didn't measure any differences or improvements in ANC. That said, some users have reported that the sensitivity of the adaptive ANC has changed, so quick head movements won't trigger the ANC to re-adapt anymore. It's hard to test this, and we can't say for sure whether the sensitivity has changed. In addition, we checked to see the impact of firmware 2.1.0 on ANC performance, and you can see our results here. Overall, the responses between frequency responses are quite similar, and deviations can be due to seating and placement.

9.1
Isolation
Noise Isolation - Common Scenarios
Airplane Noise Attenuation
-21.43 dB
Airplane Noise Isolation Audio
Office Noise Attenuation
-19.38 dB
Office Noise Isolation Audio
Street Noise Attenuation
-24.28 dB
Street Noise Isolation Audio

Similar to Full Range isolation, these over-ears do an outstanding job of tackling more dynamic common scenarios. Sounds like the rumbles of plane engines and commotion on a busy street are significantly reduced. The typical sounds of an office, like an AC unit, keyboard clattering, and coworkers chatting, are also blocked out.

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 difficult for headphones to tackle as it directly interacts with the ANC's microphones. This causes the ANC to produce anti-noise to cancel it out, even though the sound doesn't really reach your ear. However, it results in a loud, annoying sound. Unfortunately, these headphones also lack a wind reduction feature to help cut down this sound.

7.7
Isolation
Leakage
Leakage Audio
Overall Leakage @ 1ft
35.69 dB

These headphones 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.

Microphone
Microphone
Microphone Style
Integrated
Yes
In-Line
No
Boom
No
Detachable Boom
No
Mic Yes
6.7
Microphone
Recording Quality
Recorded Speech
LFE
236.29 Hz
FR Std. Dev.
3.43 dB
HFE
7,240.77 Hz
Weighted THD
N/A
Gain
-13.92 dB

The Sony WH-1000XM5's integrated mic has an okay recording quality. Your voice sounds somewhat clear but lacks fullness. When we used the headphones to make a call, we noticed a lot of white noise and static. Unfortunately, some users have also reported an echo present when making calls. The person on the other line hears an echo of themselves, and it can happen at all volumes and even whether the ANC is on or off. We also experienced this with our unit, but it was random and not a constant experience. Please let us know in the forums if you've encountered this issue.

Note: Our original THD measurement skewed the scoring of this test and made it seem like the mic was performing worse than it was. As a result, we've put 'N/A' to bring the score closer to what we believe is its performance. Although the 'Recorded Speech' file sounds close to that of the Bose 700 Headphones Wireless, white noise and static are still present, affecting its overall quality. On a Samsung phone, the voice also sounds worse than on PCs. You can hear our phone recording here.

8.3
Microphone
Noise Handling
SpNR
7.61 dB
Noise Gate
Always On
Speech + Pink Noise Handling
8.5
Speech + Pink Noise Audio Sample
Speech + Subway Noise Handling
8.0
Speech + Subway Noise Audio Sample

If you're using a PC, the integrated mic has a great noise handling performance that beats their predecessor. The mic can easily separate speech from moderate background noise, so if you're taking a call from a noisy office, your voice sits above the sound, ensuring that speech stands out. However, unlike the Bose 700 headphones Wireless, if there's a very loud sound, like a train pulling up to the station, your voice can be cut out along with the noise, making speech choppy and hard to follow. You can also hear the mic's noise handling performance on a Samsung phone when it comes to pink noise and subway noise. There's more static and white noise present in the phone audio recordings compared to our PC recordings.

Active Features
8.5
Active Features
Battery
Battery Type
Rechargable
Continuous Battery Life
27 hrs
Additional Charges
0.0
Total Battery Life
27 hrs
Charge Time
3 hrs
Power-Saving Feature
Auto-Off Timer
Audio While Charging
No
Passive Playback
Yes
Charging Port USB-C

These headphones have excellent battery performance. Like their predecessor, the manufacturer advertises them to last 30 hours continuously with their ANC on. That said, we measured closer to the advertised results than to the XM4's 38 hours. It's important to note that battery life varies on use, though. On the upside, you can set their auto-off timer in the app, as well as use 'Smart-Pause', which automatically pauses your audio when you take the headphones off your head. You can even use them passively, thanks to their 1/8" TRS cable.

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

The Sony | Headphones Connect app is great. This app offers many 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 you've connected to the headphones. You can even access 360 Reality Audio for better sound quality, but you must subscribe to services supporting this feature.

Connectivity
9.8
Connectivity
Wired Connection
Analog Audio
Yes
USB Audio
No
Detachable
Yes
Length
4.04 ft (1.23 m)
Connector
1/8" TRS
Latency - Analog
0.4 ms
Latency - USB
N/A
Recorded Latency
Recorded Latency Connection Analog

Unlike the Dyson Zone Wireless, these headphones support an analog connection and come with a 1/8" TRS cable that you can use to receive audio; however, you can't use their mic. They don't come with an airline adapter, which is a little disappointing since one was included with their predecessor, the Sony WH-1000XM4 Wireless.

8.7
Connectivity
Bluetooth Connection
Bluetooth Version
5.2
Multi-Device Pairing
2 Devices
Quick Pair (Android)
Yes
Quick Pair (iOS)
No
Line Of Sight Range
330.71 ft (100.80 m)
Latency - SBC
241 ms
Latency - aptX
N/A
Latency - aptX Adaptive (High Quality)
N/A
Latency - aptX Adaptive (Low Latency)
N/A
Latency - LDAC
233 ms
Recorded Latency
Recorded Latency Codec SBC
AAC Support
Yes

The Sony 1000XM5 have excellent Bluetooth connectivity. They support multi-device pairing, meaning you can stay connected to your smartphone and PC simultaneously. 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, unlike the Focal Bathys Wireless, they don't support aptX Adaptive. Instead, they support LDAC, Sony's proprietary codec for Hi-Res Audio. Since firmware update version 2.0.2, it's possible to stream LDAC audio while using multi-device pairing, but be aware that using both features will likely drain your battery life more quickly. They also have high latency via LDAC, but it isn't an issue if you only stream audio. Furthermore, these headphones also have high latency on PCs using SBC codec, the default codec. Apps and devices compensate for latency differently.

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

The Sony WH1000XM5 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 can't use their mic.

Connectivity
PlayStation Compatibility
PS4 Analog
Audio Only
PS4 Wired USB
No
PS4 Non-BT Wireless
No
PS5 Analog
Audio Only
PS5 Wired USB
No
PS5 Non-BT Wireless
No

These headphones can only receive audio when you plug their audio cable into your PlayStation controller's AUX port.

Connectivity
Xbox Compatibility
Xbox One Analog
Audio Only
Xbox One Wired USB
No
Xbox One Non-BT Wireless
No
Xbox Series X|S Analog
Audio Only
Xbox Series X|S Wired USB
No
Xbox Series X|S Non-BT Wireless
No

The Sony WH-1000XM5 only support audio via their 1/8" TRS cable plugged into your Xbox controller's AUX port. Unfortunately, you can't use the mic using this connection.

0
Connectivity
Base/Dock
Type
No Base/Dock
USB Input
No
Line In
No
Line Out
No
Optical Input
No
RCA Input
No
Dock Charging
No
Power Supply
No Base/Dock