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.
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, though not everyone will like using over-ears for this purpose. They're well-built, have 27 hours of continuous playtime, and their combination physical and touch control scheme 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.
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 WH1000XM5 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. Their latency on iOS and Android devices is lower, so if you're into mobile gaming, your audio and visuals will stay in sync.
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.
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 great 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.
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.
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, 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 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 great 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 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 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.
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, have a virtual soundstage feature, and a significantly better performing ANC system. They're also more customizable. In contrast, the Bowers & Wilkins are more comfortable, 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.
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 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.
The Anker Soundcore Space Q45 Wireless have a slight edge over the Sony WH-1000XM5 Wireless. While both headphones are well-built, the Anker are more comfortable, and their ANC can block out significantly more ambient noise. They're also advertised to have a longer continuous battery life than the Sony headphones. However, the Sony have a more neutral sound profile, though it's still pretty bass-heavy, which some users may prefer.
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, better-built, 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.
The Sony WH-1000XM5 Wireless are better casual-use headphones than the Focal Bathys Wireless. The Sony have a better noise isolation performance, 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, the Focal are more comfortable and better built. Some users may prefer their integrated USB-DAC design.
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 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. 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 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.
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 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.
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 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 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 longer continuous battery life. On the other hand, the Sennheiser are more comfortable, better-built, and have a more neutral overall sound profile, which some users may prefer.
The Sony WH-1000XM5 Wireless are a better deal than the Dyson Zone Wireless. They have a better noise isolation performance, 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 come with an air purifying visor, are more comfortable, and have a more neutral sound, which some users may prefer.
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'.
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.
These cans 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:
The touch-sensitive surface on the right earcup:
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.
The Sony WH1000XM5 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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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. 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.
In high-end products like these cans, 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.
The passive soundstage performance of these headphones 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.
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.
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.
These are the settings used to test these headphones. Our results are only valid when using them in this configuration.
The Sony 1000XM5 have a great noise isolation performance. These headphones 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. Although Sony released firmware 1.1.3, which the manufacturer advertises to improve the 'operation of the Noise Cancelling optimization function' and the 'operation of the wearing detection function', we also didn't measure any changes or improvements to the 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.
While these headphones don't perform as well in the bass range as their predecessor, we measured better performance in the mid and treble-range noise. 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 ambiance 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 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, 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.
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.
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.
If you're using a PC, the integrated mic has a great noise handling performance that beats their predecessor. The mic can easily separate your voice 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.
These cans 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 'Smart-Pause', which automatically pauses your audio when you take the cans off your head. You can even use these cans passively, thanks to their 1/8" TRS cable.
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 is connected to the headphones. You can even access 360 Reality Audio for better sound quality, but you must be subscribed to services supporting this feature.
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. They have high latency via this codec, but it won't be too noticeable if you only stream audio. Unfortunately, you can't use LDAC if you're connected to two devices simultaneously, and you'll need to disconnect from one.
These headphones also have high latency on PCs using SBC codec, the default codec. Their latency on iOS and Android devices is much lower and falls within good limits, 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 have an airline adapter.
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.
These headphones 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. Unfortunately, you can't use the mic using this connection.