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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.