Sony WH-1000XM5 evaluation: Nonetheless an ANC masterclass

With the launch of the WH-1000XM5 in 2022, Sony utterly revamped the design of its ever-popular flagship headphone line. Shifting on from a mode that hardly modified over the 4 earlier iterations is a daring transfer, and it is also not the one important change Sony has up its sleeve for the XM5s.

Nonetheless, change alone does not imply that this newest mannequin is mechanically an enchancment on the WH-1000XM4 – a mannequin I rated as best-in-class in 2022. So, is the WH-1000XM5 a worthy improve that stands as much as the more and more robust competitors, or is that this one replace you may afford to skip?

Picture credit score: Sony / Pocket-Lint

Sony WH-1000XM5

Editor’s Selection

Sony’s flagship headphones stay an incredible alternative for individuals who prioritise noise cancellation. These headphones are higher performing than ever, with a cushty new design – the one actual draw back being that they do not fold as small as they as soon as did.


  • Excellent noise cancellation
  • Glorious sound high quality
  • Comfy to put on
  • Full of features

  • No help for aptX
  • Do not fold as small as they used to

Design and construct

The very first thing you may discover concerning the WH-1000XM5 is that they now look very completely different. The construction of the scarf and the way it connects to the cups is solely new, eradicating the sharp edges of earlier fashions for a smoother profile.

Just like the sculpting of a sports activities automobile, this is not simply to look good, it is designed to scale back the variety of edges that the wind catches. Why? So that there is much less noise interference whenever you’re strolling outdoors sporting these headphones.

Sony's flagship WH-1000XM5 headphones get early Black Friday deal photo 1

It really works, too. Put on these headphones out on a breezy day, noise continues to be current, however it’s removed from intrusive – and that is the vital level. It is all about making the skin of those headphones quieter to make sure there’s much less influence on what you are listening to inside.

The scarf is now barely extra rounded relatively than flat, as effectively, with a easy motion to increase it to suit your head, exposing rounded stalks. These additionally rotate, permitting the cups to sit down flat. There isn’t any longer the choice to fold the headphones right into a extra compact form, as supplied in earlier fashions. As a substitute, you may simply fold the cups flat and slip them into the case.

All this transformation does create a draw back, although. As these headphones aren’t as compact as they had been, the case is significantly bigger than it was earlier than. This may little doubt be a little bit of a burden to those that wish to toss the XM5s right into a journey bag.

The silver lining right here is that the protecting case does additionally include folding zones designed into it, so it isn’t at all times the identical cumbersome field, however it’s nonetheless a little bit of a disgrace.

The scarf and pads, in the meantime, are lined in tender artificial leather-based, and I discovered the padding appropriate for lengthy intervals of listening.

The surface of the cups is matte plastic, with exterior microphone openings on every cup, a 3.5mm cable connection and buttons on the left for management, whereas the appropriate homes the USB Kind-C charging socket. Inside the case, there is a compartment that homes the USB and three.5mm cables so that they are good and tucked away, though I discovered it odd that our “silver” headphones got here with black cables and did not match.

It is a refreshing design – welcomed – and that may maybe be a motivator to house owners of the original 1000X, or maybe the second-gen model, who need to improve and can now have the sensation of one thing new. The one actual draw back is they do not fold as compactly as they did earlier than.

Sony WH-1000XM5 Wi-fi Headphones

Battery Life
30 hours (NC on) / 40 hours (NC off)

Artificial leather-based / Plastic / Metallic


Noise Cancellation
Auto NC optimiser, Atmospheric stress optimising, Ambient mode

4x beam forming

Black / Midnight Blue / Platinum Silver

Battery cost time
3.5 hours

‎27.62 x 21.67 x 7.59cm, 250g

Carrying case

Associated: Sony WH-1000XM5 vs 1000XM4: What’s the difference?

Setup, connection and app

As quickly as you activate the WH-1000XM5, a pop-up will seem in your Android gadget, because of Google Fast Pair. This makes pairing an extremely easy and quick course of for these utilizing Android. It is principally replicating the expertise that Apple customers get with AirPods Max – a pure rival to those headphones.

As these are Sony headphones, it is no shock that they help Sony’s LDAC codec for hi-res music. LDAC permits for thrice the info transmission (990kbps) in comparison with customary Bluetooth connections, which means you may get extra out of your music, particularly should you’re listening to a hi-res supply, like Tidal.

Sony WH-1000XM5 photo 9


Many telephones help LDAC – it isn’t restricted to Sony Xperia units – however it’s one thing to contemplate: if you wish to finest, you may wish to guarantee which you can entry that LDAC codec. I examined this with an Honor telephone and the Google Pixel 6 Pro and each supplied LDAC. (On most telephones you may head into the Bluetooth settings and verify the gadget to see what connection protocol you are utilizing – SBC and AAC are additionally supported, however there isn’t any aptX or aptX HD.)

There’s additionally an vital setting right here, as LDAC is obtainable with two choices – for audio high quality or stability. To get the most effective sound high quality, you clearly have to pick the ‘Precedence on Sound High quality’ possibility, however, if there’s any breakup within the sign, you may have to maneuver to the soundness setting. The connection high quality will differ from gadget to gadget, however I had no issues utilizing the high-quality LDAC connection throughout my testing.

As soon as linked, you are able to go, however there’s much more that these headphones can do, and you may need the Sony Headphones app to manage them – one thing with Google Quick Pair will even immediate you to obtain.

The Sony Headphones app will probably be acquainted to anybody who has used extra superior Sony headphones over the previous few years, having been launched with the WH-1000XM2. It does not look as if an enormous quantity has modified, although, and the app is not probably the most attractive to make use of.

screens photo 1


With that mentioned, it does nonetheless offer you granular management of all of the options, permitting you to customize varied features (which we’ll get into under). In all probability, you may set these options to your choice after which not often ever use the app once more.

There’s additionally help for multipoint connections – which you may must allow within the app – however this removes the LDAC possibility, because it reverts to a decrease high quality connection. That may assist you to join to 2 units, for instance, to play music by one and take calls on one other.

In terms of taking calls, these headphones additionally do a very good job of selecting up your voice so these on the opposite finish of the road can hear you, even in noisy situations.


There are a number of methods to manage the Sony WH-1000XM5. As these headphones have at all times supplied, you may nonetheless faucet the right-hand cup to work together. This may allow you to play/pause, whereas a swipe ahead or backwards means that you can skip.

Then there’s the choice of placing your palm over the entire cup, which switches to ambient sound, letting exterior sound in. That is preferrred when ordering a espresso, for instance.

There are two buttons on the left-hand cup. The facility button doubles up as a battery verify with a press; the second button allows you to change between ANC or ambient sound. You even have the choice to assign Spotify Faucet to this button, which means a double or triple press of the button will launch you immediately into Spotify.

Sony WH-1000XM5 photo 7


Past bodily controls, there’s additionally the choice for voice management utilizing sensible assistants – Google Assistant, Alexa or Siri. This may assist you to set off the assistant along with your voice utilizing the traditional wake phrase and get the outcomes again by your headphones.

We examined this with Google Assistant and skilled seamless efficiency. Precisely what you can get your assistant to do will depend upon the service you employ, however it’s additionally value remembering that you just may need to vary settings in your supply gadget to get the most effective outcomes, relatively than the headphones.

There’s an alternative choice included with these headphones, Communicate-to-Chat. This lets the headphones detect your voice whenever you begin speaking, at which level it’s going to cease the audio. It is designed so you may simply stroll as much as somebody and begin talking – the music stops, switching to ambient mode so as to hear the reply.

Sony WH-1000XM5 photo 10


This was additionally within the earlier technology headphones, however I am not an enormous fan. You possibly can change the sensitivity of activation, however I discover it both triggers after I don’t need it to (on automated) or triggers solely after I’ve mentioned a few traces (on low). Given which you can palm mute the headphones anyway, it most likely does not matter, however I simply ended up switching this perform off.

Elsewhere, there are 30 hours of battery life with ANC on, with a full cost taking a reasonably prolonged 3.5 hours. Fortunately, they do help quick charging, so you can shortly get some life into these headphones. With the port being USB-C, as effectively, this implies you may most likely use the identical charger as your telephone.

Lively noise cancellation and audio efficiency

The Sony WH-1000XM5 are all about lively noise cancellation (ANC). When this headphones collection launched, that was the first focus – and with ANC extra widespread than ever, that is the explanation why they continue to be widespread, rivalling the Bose QuietComfort 45 or the newer Bose QuietComfort Ultra.

Associated: Bose QuietComfort Ultra vs Sony WH-1000XM5: Which is best?

Whether or not you need silence at dwelling, within the workplace or when travelling, the WH-1000XM5s supply excellent efficiency. Stepping out onto a avenue and fascinating ANC is sort of a blanket of silence descending round you. There’s one thing ethereal about it.

Sony says that the true positive factors right here over the earlier technology of headphones are in larger tone cancellation. These headphones have at all times been glorious at eradicating low rumbles, like plane noise – a lot in order that we have usually slept on lengthy flights sporting a pair of WH-1000Xs – however they’re now extra succesful when coping with larger, sharper noises.

Sony WH-1000XM5 photo 5


Busy site visitors noise is minimised, with that noisy Vespa slipping previous in full silence. Every little thing round you in a busy café will primarily be blocked out by the WH-1000XM5s, too, however, after all, the efficiency will depend upon how loud issues are round you and what you are doing.

This will also be automated utilizing Sony’s adaptive sound management, which is pushed by the Headphones app. This may detect what you are doing and modify the extent of ambient sound allowed in, in order that, for instance, you may have full silence when working, then slightly extra ambient noise when strolling round. It is optionally available, fortunately, so you may flip it off should you discover it does not actually find yourself doing what you need.

The benefit that robust noise cancellation affords is that you do not have to play music at excessive quantity to dam it out. That provides you extra management, so you may take heed to music at ranges that swimsuit you, you do not have to disturb these round you and the music is not combating with different sounds.

There are new drivers within the 1000XM5, we must always notice. It is now 10mm smaller than the motive force in older fashions, however do not be lured into considering that there will probably be a drop in high quality. The Sony WH-1000XM5s supply glorious audio efficiency, with experience in delivering bass and subtlety when dealing with extra detailed highs.

Sony WH-1000XM5 photo 8


There’s the choice to adapt the steadiness of the sound output inside the app, must you select to take action, whereas there’s additionally help for spatial audio because of 360 Reality Audio help – together with a tuning perform to arrange the headphones to your ears.

The result’s that the WH-1000XM5s supply nice efficiency on the audio entrance, backed up with that strong lively noise cancellation and in a cushty bundle, making them a pleasure to take heed to for lengthy intervals.

Sony WH-1000XM5 photo 3


Returning to that 3.5mm cable offers you the choice to bypass the Bluetooth connection, so you may plug into an in-flight leisure system, for instance. Ideally, you may energy on the headphones to make the most of the noise cancellation, however they will even work passively (i.e. when powered off), though the sound high quality drops on this mode.


The WH-1000XM5 is one other masterclass from this line of Sony headphones, pairing consolation, a contemporary new design and stellar efficiency – each sonically and by way of lively noise cancellation.

That makes for an incredible mixture. Whether or not you are a daily traveller and wish to lower out all that background noise, or should you simply wish to lose your self in your music whereas strolling to work or faculty, the Sony WH-1000XM5 has one thing to supply.

The negatives are minimal: the dearth of aptX help may irk some potential customers, and the truth that they now do not fold as flat as they used to is all we now have to complain about. The Sony WH-1000XM5 come extremely beneficial.

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