Sony makes some of the best-selling headphones on the market, so when are the next pair arriving? Specifically, the flagship WH-1000XM5 over-ear noise cancelling headphones.

The new headphones might not be about to launch soon, but here we’ll investigate when they are likely to arrive, whether you should wait for them and our wish list for the cans.

When will the Sony WH-1000XM5 come out?

To predict when a new tech product will launch – when there are no leaks – the best thing to do is look back at the previous release schedule.

Sony didn’t even have a flagship pair of noise cancelling headphones until the second half of 2016 when the WH-1000XM arrived. Sony then followed up with the WH-1000XM2 a year later as the XM2 were already in development before the originals arrived.

The WH-1000XM3 then launched in August 2018, followed by a longer gap to the WH-1000XM4 in August 2020.


With that pattern, it seems reasonable to assume that the WH-1000XM5 will launch in 2022 rather than this year. That might feel like a long way off but Sony seems even more likely now that Sony has officially announced the WF-1000XM4.

And yes, Sony needs to change its naming system. 'WF' is used for the wireless earbuds, while 'WH' is for the traditional over-ear headphones.

Should I wait for the WH-1000XM5?

Buy now or wait for the next model is always a tricky tech buying question, time frames aside, it largely depends on how much budget you have and what headphones you currently have.

The XM3 vs XM4 differences are fairly minimal so although we gave the current model another 5-star review, we also didn’t think XM3 owners would rush to upgrade.

If you don’t have either then it depends whether the smart AI features of the XM4 are tempting enough to spend more money. They have features like Speak-to-chat, advanced Adaptive Sound Control and DSEE Extreme.

With the XM4 at £330 and the XM3 at around £220, the older model is certainly better value considering they are sonically the same.

Sony WH-1000XM4

Sony WH-1000XM5 wish list and predictions

Part of the ‘should I wait’ discussion hinges on what the XM5 will bring to the table. It’s too early for any leaks or rumours but we know what we’d like them to have.

While plastic is lightweight, it would be nice if Sony used some more premium materials. Perhaps not for the entire construction but some more metal and leather would make them feel more luxurious, for sure.

More colour options would also be nice and while we’re at it, magnetic earpads wouldn’t go amiss.

It would seem reasonable for the XM5 to get a new QN2 chip and looking at some discussion online about the XM5, we can agree with sought after upgrades such as faster charging, expanded LDAC and EQ support along with the addition of aptX low latency.