Sony XM5 (Sony WH-1000XM5) Wireless Headphone Review | The One To Beat

Sony XM5 headphones rewrite the rules for listening without distraction. Controls 2 processors and 8 microphones for unprecedented voice cancellations and exceptional call quality. With the newly developed driver, DSEE – Extreme and Hi-Res audio support WH-1000XM5 headphones provide amazing audio quality.

1. Design

sony xm5

The design of the new sony can represent the biggest departure in that family tree. But the design differences are enough to raise the already high bar that sony has set for itself. The best way to quickly describe the WH-1000XM5 headphones is that they are a bit curvier than their predecessor. It’s all a bit tidier, a bit sleeker. There are fewer visible points of articulation and more discreet noise-cancelling mic ports and a slimmer headband with an additional leather-look covering to hide away its joints and extension points. The cavity for your ears to sit in is a slightly different shape too. A more squat ovoid than the oval of the XM3s and XM4s though we’ve not to stress-tested them to their absolute limits. Their slide-out extension points feel sturdier than earlier designs too with fewer pressure points that could snap away.

But there are some changes that may not be so welcome.

  • frustratingly, There’s still no water resistance of any kind here.
  • The headphones can no longer fold in on themselves, They’re not quite as portable as they once were.
  • finally, while the headband is better it feels as though it has less padding than previous sony headphones in the line.
sony xm5

That may all be a little of a moot point though in our experience. They’re no less comfortable as a result and they can happily sit on your head for long listening sessions.

There is ample padding around the ears and cups twist and pivot to suit all sizes with just the right amount of clamp of pressure exerted from the band to keep them in place without squeezing your brain out through your ears. That headband now smoothly extends too rather than using the stem extension system of earlier versions.

the curvier design is intended to reduce wind drag across the headphones which can cause annoying distortion in noise-cancelling performance when out and about on a windy day. A more aerodynamic design here should help to reduce the effect and while we’ve not run head first into a hurricane that claim did hold up pretty well.

2. Controls

Controls are largely the same as the Sony wh-1000xm4 headphones. There are two physical buttons on the left earcup edge. The first cycles between noise-cancelling and ambient awareness setting and you can now use a couple or trio of taps of the ANC button to activate either Spotify tap or NDL quick access. letting you fire up and play the music from your streamer or meditation apps respectively without getting the phone out of your pocket.

sony xm5

The second is a power button which you can keep held down to activate Bluetooth pairing mode. You’ll also find the exterior to the right ear cup is touch-sensitive. Swipe up and down on it to change the volume, double-tap to pause the audio and answer calls and cover it with your palm to instantly jump into ambient awareness mode. There is also still a USB C charging port on the right cup and a 3.5mm headphone jack on the left.

3. Active Noise Cancellation

The active noise cancellation features have long been the hallmark of the Sony WH range and the Sony WH-1000XM5 headphones continue that fine tradition. It must have been difficult to top the super performance of the previous generations and admittedly, It’s not a world apart from the XM4 model but there is a definite if slight improvement.

The XM4 has already effectively wiped out low-frequency sounds but the XM5s work header at higher frequency zones. That’s in part thanks to the new 30mm driver design that takes some of the bites of higher pitch sounds.

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4. Smart Features

sony xm5
  • Active noise cancellation is the headline act among a whole bunch of smart features that Sony has included in the XM5 headphones. many of which automatically kicks in without you needing to do anything. First up location awareness by pairing your smartphone. The Sony WH-1000XM5 headphones can learn your daily routine and adjust ambient sound control settings according to your location. If the headphones can spot that you’re sitting still at home they might just jump to a less intense level of noise cancellation compared to while you’re sitting in the office and it’s all based on your preferences.
  • Speak to chat is another handy feature. As its name suggests if you begin talking while listening to the headphones. They’ll hold playback and pump in ambient sound. So, you can continue to have that conversation without talking cans off. But much like the XM4s before them. They come with an unfortunate side effect. It’ll stop playing if you begin singing while the feature is switched ON. Thankfully, It is an optional feature. So, if you think of yourself as the next Pavarotti you will still be able to treat your surroundings to your lovely dulcet tones without interruption.
  • A more immediately useful and intuitive feature is the pausing audio when you remove the cans from your head and that’s all thanks to a hidden sensor inside the earcup.
  • Leave them for a little longer and they’ll automatically switch off completely saving your battery life.
  • You’ve also got the option of connecting two devices at once switching between the two depending on what’s happening on each device.
  • There’s better support for voice assistants and their wake words. just know that you can activate google and amazon smart assistants hands-free by their respective trigger commands and then they can be used in very similar ways to all of your other devices.
  • A nice touch is the safe listening section of the app. The headphones are constantly logging the decibel level and sound pressure of your listening sessions and it lets you know how close you are coming to the recommended weekly loud noise allowance as defined by the WHO.
  • The app also tracks the amount of time that you’ve spent listing to the headphones too and awards gamified badges for using different features of the headphones over time.
  • There’s very little sound leakage too. sit in an office next to a college, they didn’t register any sound even when the volume was ramped to its highest setting.

5. Microphones

This provides onboard noise-cancelling processors with more audio data analysis in an effort to improve the active noise cancelling performance. The extra mic points also double the number of beamforming mics near the user’s mouth for calls and so the core quality according to your critical buddies was crystal clear.

6. Battery

sony xm5

Sony is claiming that a slight improvement has been made here while the 30 hours with noise-cancelling activated matches. Its predecessor was 40 hours with noise-cancelling switched off. It is a two-hour improvement over the XM4s. That may be a little disappointing to some of you. As competitors are beginning to squeeze out more battery life per charge but the quality of the features offset any loss of the competition here, particularly abilities and we think that the 30 to 40 hours of playback is more than respectable enough. but the question is do Sony’s playback estimates hold true and from our experience, we’d say that they’re broadly right. We appeared to not quite reach the advertised 30 hours with ANS switched ON but also tended to crank the volume up louder than the average person would and so expect to see the battery drain a little faster in line with the higher volume. Sony definitely put effort into the charging experience generally through using the USB PD standard. You’ll get 3 hours of playback from just 3 minutes of charging headphones.

7. Case

sony xm5

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