The price rise means the
Bose QC45 are now a much cheaper option at £319/US$329, although the
Apple AirPods Max remain a more premium rival at £549/US$550.
What are the Sony WH-1000XM5 specs and new features?
The most obvious change about the WH-1000XM5 headphones compared to the
WH-1000XM4s is the new design. Sony calls it a ‘noiseless design’ and features a stepless slider on the headband for smoother adjustment.
Sony also offers a synthetic soft fit leather material which “fits snugly around the head taking the pressure off your ears and blocking out external noise”.
The XM5 are initially available in black and platinum silver colours and a new carry case is collapsable making it thinner for easier storage. It’s worth noting that the headphones don’t fold like previously.
As per the Sony LinkBuds and
LinkBuds S, the packaging contains no plastic and the headphones themselves use recycled plastic materials from automobile parts, though Sony doesn’t mention what percentage.
When it comes to audio improvements, the active noise cancelling is the main area of focus with two processors handling information from no less than eight microphones to give you an ever better experience than before.
There’s a new Integrated Processor V1 as well as Sony’s existing HD Noise Cancelling Processor QN1 and the firm says the specially designed 30mm drivers also contribute to better ANC.
They are 10mm smaller than the XM4 and
XM3 but bring improved sound clarity and bass reproduction according to Sony. The drivers are made from a light and rigid carbon fibre composite material for better high frequency sensitivity resulting in a more natural sound.
Sony says the XM5 “dramatically reduce noise especially in the mid-high frequency range and an Auto NC Optimiser that automatically optimises noise cancellation, depending on the environment.”
They also use lead-free solder which contains gold for a better connection. A new feature is Quick Acces which Sony says means you can resume playback on Spotify with just two or three taps without needing to pick up your smartphone.
The headphones also support Fast Pair for Android and Swift Pair for Windows.
Sony touts industry-leading call quality using four beamforming microphones, Voice Pickup technology and AI noise reduction to isolate your voice. This pairs with a newly developed wind noise reduction structure for less distraction.
Despite rumours of a 33% improvement in battery life to 40 hours, the WH-1000XM5 still offer the same 30-hour range as before. Sony says you can get three hours of playback time with a three-minute charge via USB Power Delivery (PD).
Many other features remain the same as the older XM4 model with things like Speak-to-Chat, Adaptive Sound Control, wireless Hi-Res Audio, 360 Reality Audio, multipoint connection, plus support for both Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant.
Tech Advisor's Reviews Editor, Chris has been reviewing all kinds of tech for over 10 years and specialises in audio. He also covers a range of topics including home entertainment, phones, laptops, tablets and more.