In a Sleeker build, Sony's WH-1000XM5 headphones provide excellent noise cancellation and sound

In a Sleeker build, Sony's WH-1000XM5 headphones provide excellent noise cancellation and sound ...

Sony''s long-standing proponent of over-ear and noise canceling headphones is. The WH-1000XM4 in 2020 delivered 30 hours of battery life, a slim design, and excellent sound. AndSony''s WH-1000XM5 adds in new technologies and changes the appearance.

The WH-1000XM5 is being priced $50 more at $399, which is undermining Apple''s $549 AirPod Max. And given how well the WH-1000XM4 perform, Sony is keeping them on the line at $349. So, what does the WH-1000XM5 do?

Well, I''ve spent around a week interviewing Olivia Rodrigo, Lorde, and Bruce Springsteen while also taking calls and blocking out noisy conversations and neighbors to put them to the test. So let''s dive into Sony''s latest over-ear headphones.

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A Sleeker Build With Larger Ear Cups

Sony is adopting a more straightforward approach with less expensive materials like Apple''s AirPods Max or exciting pops of colors like Beats By Dre. However, the WH-1000XM5 continues to mostly use plastic and only comes in black or white.

The largest difference is that of smaller ears, which allows these to fit even larger than average ears. Here''s why Sony has done this here. Yes, it isn''t just more comfortable, but it also offers a stronger seal around the ear. It also protects the music from the outside noise, but also enables the sound to fade. Year over year, the memory foam in the ear cup is more conforming and softer to the touch.

That softer foam extends to the top headband, which is noticeablely slimmer than the previous generation. These are still noticeable on your head. They don''t instantly fade away like the AirPods Max with that canopy headband.

It''s also not a solid single piece of plastic that connects the headband to the ear cups. Sony''s adopting a more contemporary approach, similar to AirPods Max and the Bose Noise Canceling Headphones 700, in that it''s a circular piece that extends out and is bare-bones, aka not wrapped in the foam. The ear cups can also be rotated to lie flat, which allows them to sit comfortably in the included carrying case.

All of these changes create a comfortable pair of headphones. These are a bit more comfortable than the previous one for those who have larger ears, but it''s a similar experience.

The left ear cup also has a dedicated button for engaging the ANC and one for power with a headphone jack. The XM5s will be recharged via a USB-C connection on the right ear cup.

Really Good Sound That You Can Customize

The most important thing about headphones is how good they sound, and the Sonys WH-1000XM5 sound fantastic. Its better than the previous-generation XM4s, but not to a wild degree. So if you have those, you dont need to rush out, but if you have one, you''re in for a treat.

The WH-1000XM5 was both fantastic, providing strong bass, and engaging instrumentality. For a pair of headphones, they highlight all aspects of a track in a great mix. Take Brutal by Olivia Rodrigo -- the XM5s smoothly demonstrates the high opening tones and then flanes with a thundering crisp of low bass tones. It''s a song that gets crowded with many inputs -- main vocals, strong bass, a guitar riff, and plenty of

Dog Days Are Over by Florence And The Machine, you won''t find that the mid-to-low tones beneath the lead vocals rise into each other, but each is crisp. Achievement with all instruments is energizing and rich with the needed tones.

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On the XM5, you can connect between vocals and sounds that are stereo separated around your head. Sony also supports higher levels of audio such as LDAC and DSEE Extreme. There''s even a wired device to use.

The ability to customize the mix on the fly via the companion Sony Headphones app for Android and iOS. These settings can be used to scroll through presets like Bright or to create a custom EQ audio mix that you may save. I wish there might be additional headphones on this list.

Best-In-Class Noise Cancellation

The $349.99 WH-1000XM4 were already some of the best noise canceling headphones on the market, both genuinely connected to AirPods Max. So there''s a good chance you might be wondering how Sony could improve the experience like I was. And the solution was more hardware inside the XM5s, and a more intelligent approach to noise cancellation.

The WH-1000XM5 is enhanced by two processors dedicated to noise cancellation and eight microphones, which is a step up from the previous models. All of this works in harmony to swiftly block out noise, and these are both capable of making noise cancellation without a bit of a vacuum seal. Youll be immediately aware of certain levels of impact as you walk in front of those who are inside. It also works in the long run against higher frequencies, such as human voice, HVAC systems, and general fodder when you

The XM5 are better in line with the AirPods Max in terms of canceling out a wide range of frequencies. Its helpful if youre concentrate in that it does a better job of blocking out all sound. It''s still best in class here, and I''m not sure what additional I need to ask for about noise cancellation here.

Sony wants to take it further with a clever approach to ANC mostly with the time it is appropriate to do it. It may trigger noise cancellation if it detects you are still for a while, like working on a train or an airplane. And if youre walking or running, it will let ambient sound in.

I could start it at my desk with the ANC on, and as I leave my apartment to grab a cup, it switches between modes. It''s quite simple, and you can customize these modes by picking which sound experience you have and its levels.

Ambient Sound, also known as Sonys Transparency mode, isnt as natural as AirPods Max or even AirPods Pro. It adds some character in the form of fuzz being trapped.

Fast Recharging And Clear Voice Pickup

While many were anticipating a further spike in battery life, the WH-1000XM5s still offer the same 30 hours of battery life as the WH-1000XM4. It is still long-lasting and allows you to go days without charging. Sony met the same promise with a new design and additional power-hungry components.

Surprisingly, with my battery test, we were listening at 60% volume with ANC and Ambient voices disengaged, and the WH-1000XM5s lasted for 31 and a half hours.

What is new is a quick charge -- essentially, pluging the WH-1000XM5s in for about three minutes gives you about three and a half hours of listening time. This is impressive, and if youre ever in a tight loop -- lets say before a flight -- you may quick recharge these. Heck, you might even do it on the plane.

Last but not least, because many of us will utilize these for work remotely or in an office, lets talk about call quality. And the good news is that it improved a lot here generation over generation. Four of the eight microphones in total are used for voice pickup and ensuring a clean delivery.

On Google Meet and FaceTime, I could be heard clearly and without much background noise. These aren''t quite at the AirPods Max level, which reduces environmental noise to zero, but these perform at a high level.

Bottom line

The WH-1000XM5 from Sony features a fantastic pair of headphones that excel with a comfortable design, high sound quality, and top-tier active noise cancellation. They''ll also last a lot longer than the competition.

But an immediate recommendation is that the WH-1000XM4 that is not identically-as-excellent is still in the line, and they are $50 cheaper. If you have them, there isn''t an immediate need to run out and purchase these.

The WH-1000XM5s are likely to be the correct choice if you want to exclude all sounds, listen to higher quality tracks, or get a more sophisticated look. If none of that sounds out as a must, you''ll be exactly satisfied with the XM4.

The WH-1000XM5 from Sony is now available for preorder now at $399.99 in black or white and will be shipped on May 20.

At the time of publication, prices are correct and items are in stock.

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