* This blog post is a summary of this video.

Sony WH-1000XM5 Headphones Review: More Comfort and Noise Cancellation But Harder to Travel With

Author: Marques BrownleeTime: 2024-01-02 01:45:02

Table of Contents

Introduction to Sony's New WH-1000XM5 Noise-Canceling Headphones

Sony has long been the leader when it comes to noise-canceling headphones, especially for travel. Their previous flagship headphones, the WH-1000XM4, offered best-in-class comfort, battery life, and noise cancellation in a foldable design perfect for tossing in your bag. However, Sony has now released the WH-1000XM5 headphones, which feature an entirely new design and even better noise cancellation capabilities.

These new headphones represent a major departure from Sony's previous offerings. There are some clear upgrades, like enhanced comfort and improved noise cancellation. But there are also downsides - most notably, the headphones no longer fold down into a more compact size for travel.

Overview of Sony's New Flagship Noise-Canceling Headphones

The Sony WH-1000XM5 headphones feature an all-new design with slimmer, more angular ear cups and a sliding headband instead of folding hinges. This creates a very sleek, modern aesthetic reminiscent of the Bose 700 headphones. The new synthetic leather covering the memory foam ear pads is extremely soft and comfortable. These headphones pack in eight total microphones (up from four) for even better noise cancellation capabilities. They also have a new 30mm driver and support for high-resolution LDAC audio codec when used with compatible devices.

Main Changes and Improvements in the Sony WH-1000XM5

The two most notable improvements in the XM5 headphones are enhanced comfort and upgraded noise cancellation. The new ear pads and headband design result in a very lightweight yet comfortable fit that works great even during longer listening sessions. The additional microphones give a significant boost to Sony's already excellent noise canceling algorithms, allowing these headphones to block out even more ambient sound. Another improvement is faster charging - you can get 3 hours of battery life from just a 3 minute charge. However, the overall battery life remains unchanged at 30 hours.

Design and Build Quality of the Sony WH-1000XM5 Headphones

There's no question that the WH-1000XM5 headphones feature a bold new design. The minimalist look with smooth rounded edges gives them a very modern high-tech appearance. The new synthetic leather and foam materials also feel more luxurious.

However, by doing away with folding hinges in favor of a sliding mechanism like the Bose 700, Sony has significantly increased the size of the included carry case. This means the headphones take up much more space when traveling compared to the previous generation WH-1000XM4.

While aesthetically appealing, this new design represents a trade-off rather than a clear-cut upgrade for travelers. The headphones themselves may be comfortable, but their larger footprint when packed up is rather inconvenient.

Audio Performance and Features of Sony's Flagship Noise-Canceling Headphones

The WH-1000XM5 headphones deliver audio performance on par with their predecessors. The sound profile offers impactful bass along with excellent clarity and detail in the mids and highs.

These new headphones continue to support high-resolution LDAC audio when used with compatible Android devices. iPhone users can still enjoy excellent sound quality, just without access to LDAC.

You get the same intuitive touch controls for playback, volume, calls, and voice assistants. The Sony Headphones Connect app also lets you customize settings like noise cancellation levels and ambient sound pass-through.

Noise Cancellation and Call Quality

Noise canceling performance sees a noticeable bump up from the already great WH-1000XM4 headphones. The additional microphones give Sony's noise cancellation algorithms more data to work with, allowing them to block out even more ambient noise across the entire frequency range.

This allows the XM5 headphones to provide an even more serene listening experience in noisy environments like planes, trains, or even just a crowded café.

Call quality has also improved thanks to the extra microphones. Voices sound fuller and more isolated from background noise during calls.

Battery Life and Charging

Battery Runtime Remains the Same

The WH-1000XM5 headphones retain the same excellent 30 hours of battery life per charge as their predecessors. For most travelers, this amount should easily last through even longer trips. In practice, you can expect around 28-29 hours of actual usage depending on volume levels before needing to recharge. Either way, battery life remains among the best you can find in premium noise-canceling headphones.

Faster Charging Capability

One battery-related upgrade Sony did include is faster charging via USB-C. You can now get around 3 hours of playback time from just a 3 minute charge. This comes in handy when you've forgotten to charge your headphones before a trip. Just plugging them in for a few minutes before boarding can make a big difference.

Recommendations and Availability

WH-1000XM5 vs Previous Models: Key Differences

Compared to previous Sony 1000X models, the WH-1000XM5 headphones feature notable upgrades in comfort, noise cancellation, charging speed, and call quality. However, they lose the ability to fold down into a more compact size for traveling. And apart from minor tuning tweaks, audio performance remains largely similar. So frequent travelers who want the best balance of sound, comfort, and portability would likely be better served by picking up the previous generation WH-1000XM4 headphones while they are being discounted.

Pricing and Where to Buy the Sony WH-1000XM5

The Sony WH-1000XM5 noise canceling headphones carry an MSRP of $399.99 in the United States. They are available for purchase directly from Sony as well as from most major electronics retailers like Amazon, Best Buy, B&H, Adorama, Crutchfield, and more. Given their high-end positioning and new technology inside, deals and discounts may be limited in these early months following launch. But historically Sony headphones tend to see periodic sales, especially around major holidays.


The Sony WH-1000XM5 headphones usher in a new design while building on the strengths of their predecessors. The upgrades in comfort, noise-canceling capabilities, and call quality are tangible and appreciated.

However, the lack of a folding design results in a much larger carrying case that is rather impractical for frequent travelers. And outside of minor tuning differences, audio performance remains quite similar to the previous generation WH-1000XM4.

So while the XM5 model will appeal most to those who prioritize noise cancellation above all else, the XM4 still likely represents the best all-around package - especially for travel-minded audiophiles.


Q: Do the Sony WH-1000XM5 headphones fold down for storage?
A: No, unlike previous Sony 1000X models, the WH-1000XM5 do not fold down. This makes them larger when stored in the included carrying case.

Q: How does the sound quality compare to the WH-1000XM4?
A: The sound quality is very similar to the previous model, with some minor improvements from the new 30mm carbon fiber drivers.

Q: What colors are the WH-1000XM5 available in?
A: Sony is offering the headphones in two color options - black and silver.

Q: Can the WH-1000XM5 connect to multiple devices at once?
A: Yes, the headphones support multi-device pairing to enable seamless switching between devices.

Q: Do the WH-1000XM5 support high-quality LDAC audio?
A: Yes, when used with compatible devices the headphones can stream music over LDAC for improved audio quality.

Q: How long do the WH-1000XM5 last on a charge?
A: Sony rates the battery life at 30 hours, the same as the previous model.

Q: Can the headphones fast charge?
A: Yes, plugging them in for just 3 minutes provides around 3 hours of battery life.

Q: Do the WH-1000XM5 have a transparency mode?
A: Yes, there is an adjustable transparency mode to let in ambient sound when needed.

Q: Are the WH-1000XM5 good for phone calls?
A: Call quality has been improved thanks to more microphones and better noise isolation. Voices sound clearer on calls.

Q: Where can I buy the Sony WH-1000XM5 headphones?
A: The headphones are available now from popular retailers like Amazon and Best Buy for $399.99.