While there is no doubt that Sony delivers some of the best audio products in the market, the company had recently launched the fifth iteration of its popular and premium 1000X series noise-cancelling headphone line-up. We take a look at the all-new Sony WH-1000XM5 wireless noise-cancelling headphones.
Sony has come a long way in perfecting the over-the-ear design of its flagship NC headphone line-up and the new WH-1000XM5 is easily the most comfortable one of all. When I say comfort, the headphone features a soft and premium material all over, thanks to a newly developed finish called the “Soft fit leather”. The headphone weighs only 250g, which is hardly 4g lighter than the previous version.
If you haven’t noticed, Sony also introduced a new seamless swivel and hanger design that attaches to the earcups. The new swivel also has a step-less slider to adjust the height of the earcup position and this is quite a change as compared to the previous generations.
The main control buttons are located on the outer area of the left earcup, and that includes the power button/Bluetooth, the NC/AMB button, an LED indicator, and a 3.5mm audio jack. Even when the headphone is designed as a wireless device, Sony still retains the 3.5mm audio jack and I hope that doesn’t change for the next version too. Additionally, you still get touch-based controls for volume, playback controls, and other functions as in the previous generations.
The earcups also are made of a smooth material that is comfortable to use while wearing the headphone. Even for prolonged use, the headphones do not cause any stress around the ears.
The USB-C port for charging is located on the right earcup, along with an LED indicator for charging status. As for the packaging, there is the WH-1000XM5, a soft carry case, a 3.5mm headphone cable with 1.2m of length, and a USB-A to USB-C charging cable. However, the USB cable is a bit short and I wish Sony had provided a longer charging cable.
That said, Sony does not use any plastic for its packaging and the product box is produced with recycled and sustainable materials developed specifically for Sony. The company also claims that the WH-1000XM5 headphone also uses recycled plastic materials from automobile parts.
The Sony WH-1000XM5 is designed to offer stellar audio quality with industry-leading noise-cancelling performance. The headphones use multiple microphones dedicated to remove high and mid-range frequency sounds and there are four of these mics located on each of the earcups. There is a feature called the Auto NC Optimizer, that as the name suggests, adjusts the noise-cancelling performance based on the wearing conditions and the environment (such as atmospheric pressure) in which you are located.
During our time with the headphone, the WH-1000XM5 was able to cut out most of the outside noise in NC mode. In indoor situations like in an office, the headphone was able to cut out most of the chatter and the music playback in the background. Even when I was sitting on the balcony and relaxing with the morning coffee, the headphone was able to cut out most of the outside noise of cars and other vehicles. The same goes for the situation where when commuting on the Dubai Metro, the headphone was able to keep the outside noise clear while I enjoyed a peaceful journey.
The headphones feature 30mm Neodymium audio drivers that are within a closed and dynamic headphone design. The impedance of the device is rated to be 48 ohms (1kHz) when the headphone is connected to the cable and with the unit is turned on, and 16 ohms (1kHz) went the unit is turned off. The frequency response that the headphone can handle ranges between 4 Hz and 40,000 Hz.
However, when connected via Bluetooth, the frequency response is between 20Hz and 20,000Hz for 44.1kHz sampling and 20Hz-40,000Hz with LDAC 96kHz sampling at 990kbps. Speaking of Bluetooth, the WH-1000XM5 comes with Bluetooth 5.2 connectivity, offering an effective range of 10 meters.
The device also offers 102dB(1kHz) / mW sensitivities when the unit is turned on and 100dB / mW(1kHz) when turned off. To enhance the audio quality and NC performance, the headphone makes use of its Integrated Processor V1 and the HD Noise Cancelling Processor QN1 chipsets. The quality is further enhanced with the help of the DSEE Extreme to upscale digitally compressed audio files. You also get support for High-Resolution Audio and High-Resolution Audio Wireless with LDAC playback.
The headphone also is equipped with four beamforming microphones that are calibrated to only pick up your voice in noisy environments, thanks to the improved signal-to-noise ratio. There is also the Adaptive Sound Control that auto-adjusts the ambient sound settings. And the Speak-to-Chat function is a helpful tool that stops the music playback when you begin to talk to someone.
Other features include support for Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa. You can also control headphone functions such as NC for your voice, listen to and interact with your emails via Microsoft Outlook, and also join Microsoft Teams meetings using Google Assistant or Siri. The headphone can also connect to two different Bluetooth devices at the same time and also connects to the smartphone if there is an incoming phone call.
As for the battery, Sony states that the WH-1000XM5 can last for a maximum of 30 hours with NC turned on, or up to 40 hours with NC mode off for continuous music playback. And for continuous communication time, the headphone can last for 24 hours with NC turned on, or up to 32 hours with NC mode deactivated. During my time with the WH-1000XM5, the headphone was able to last for over a day of use with mixed usage. And if you are in a hurry, the device offers 3 hours of playback time with just 3 minutes of charge. For a full charge, it takes only about 3.5 hours of time.
If you’re looking for the best premium headphones that offer great wearing comfort and noise-cancelling performance, then check out the new Sony WH-1000XM5 wireless headphones. Sony has revamped the design of its latest NC headphone and the WH-1000XM5 feels very comfortable to wear for a prolonged time. The soft material adds up to the premium construction of the device. You still get the touch-based volume controls and the device offers support for Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa, and Apple Siri.
The noise-cancelling performance is outstanding and is capable of removing most of the outside noise for an uninterrupted music experience. The audio quality is stellar, thanks to the dedicated audio chipsets, DSEE Extreme, HiFi Audio, and 30mm audio drivers. The battery life is impressive and can last over a day of use and the 3-minute quick charge capability to offer 3-hours of playback is an added bonus.