Sony WH1000XM5 Review: Stellar performance, outstanding ANC
Sony WH-1000XM5 Headphones Review Summary:
Editor’s Rating- 4.5/5
Design & fit
Connectivity & Controls
- Comfortable design & fit
- Long battery life
- Good ANC & audio quality
- No IP Rating
- Not portable
Sony needs no introduction when it comes to audio. Its WH and WF series personal audio devices have been leaders in their class over the last couple of years now. With each iteration in these series, Sony further perfected its sound and noise-cancelling capabilities to further establish its superiority over the competition. Following that tradition, Sony has introduced the WH-1000XM5 in India offering its latest innovation in personal audio.
The WH-1000XM5 headphones are touted to offer the best in the business ANC, improved latency, better design, powerful drivers, and more. Are these new Sony headphones still holding the crown for best everyday ANC CANs? It is really a worthy upgrade? Let’s find out.
Sony WH-1000XM5 Specs
- Type-Over the ears
- ANC- Available
- Frequency Response- 4Hz to 40KHz
- Weight- 250 grams
- Battery life- 30 hours with ANC on, 40 hours with ANC Off
- Codecs-LDAC, DSEEE
- Price – Rs. 26,990
What’s in the box:
Sony has packed the WH-1000XM5 in a plastic-free box made from recycled material. The tech giant has used recycled plastic from automobile parts in the construction of these headphones. The box WH-1000XM5 contains:
- Sony WH-1000XM5 headphones
- USB Cable
- Carrying case
- 3.5mm aux cable
- User manual
Sony WH-1000XM5 Review: Design & Fit
Sony’s new flagship headphone design has undergone several design changes when you compare it with WH1000XM4 or WH1000XM3 from the past. It has really stepped up their aesthetics game and WH1000XM5 Wireless which looks more streamlined thanks to this new noiseless design by Sony. There is no change in overall shape but if you look closely the headband has been redesigned, and earcups are plusher giving a more modern look and premium feel.
The headphones not only look different but feel lighter too as they weigh 250 grams. Sony has redone the headband which is much sleeker than the predecessor and doesn’t have any hinges like past. The new ones smoothly slide out ensuring you get a perfect fit. The band has the right amount of stiffness, ensuring it stays in place without trying to crack your skull. Memory form padding on the headband ensures they feel good when touching your skin.
The plastic that has been used is good to the touch and feels premium. The memory foam section in the middle of the band enhances comfort and support. There are component changes as well along with design changes as the headband has a 30mm carbon fiber driver.
I have used these headphones for long hours without any discomfort as they have enough padding around the ears to not make them uncomfortable. During my recent vacation, I had them on all through my journey but not once I felt the fagged out.
Talking in short about the carrying case, it is made of grey fabric and is collapsible. It offers a little more bag space when you are using your headphones but it won’t flatten as it has an inner pocket for cable storage. The surface area of the case is higher than that of its predecessor.
The only small issue is the lack of water resistance. Also, the headphones are big enough in size to not be portable. Carrying them along will need some space, as compared to TWS buds that one can carry in one’s pocket.
Sony WH-1000XM5 Review: Connectivity, Controls & Features
As for the controls, there are 2 physical buttons on the left ear cup edge. The first button is meant for switching between ANC and awareness settings while the 2nd button is a power button that has to be held for 5 seconds to activate Bluetooth pairing mode. The exterior of the right cup is touch-sensitive, one can swipe up and down on it to control the volume, double tap to pause audio and answer calls, and cover it with your palm to jump to an ambient awareness mode that funnels in exterior sound. The headphones have a USB Type-C charging port on the right cup and a 3.5mm headphone jack on the left cup.
In terms of Bluetooth connectivity and codec support, it really stands tall. In fact, it is one of the best in the segment (if not the best). Once connected, I was able to walk around my home while my phone or laptop rest on the desk. These CANs also support Bluetooth Multipoint so I was able to manage to connect both aforementioned devices at the same time and switch between at will.
Sony has provided LDAC codec and DSEE Extreme support to give good audio quality and it works well like always. The headphones come with a support app that can be used to tweak certain features. There is a responsive EQ Bass boosting function, customize noise canceling levels, and location awareness settings.
The Sony WH-1000XM5 comes with a Speak-to-Chat feature that comes in handy. As the name suggests, once you begin talking while listening to the headphones, they will pause the playback and start in ambient sound so you can have a conversation without taking the headband off. The feature worked well for most of the part, apart from the fact that it stopped playback if you begin singing when the feature is switched on. So keep it off, if you are in a habit of singing along.
The headphones pause the audio when you remove them from your head, thanks to the good sensors in the ear cup. If the music stays paused for a while, it is switched off completely saving your battery life. There is a safe listening section of the app that makes one aware of how much damage his/her ears might suffer if he or she listens to the music at higher decibel levels.
The Sony WH 1000XM5 comes with support for voice assistants and their wake words. Alexa and Google Assistant, both can be activated hands-free by their trigger words. This is easy to use and very helpful too as I used the feature to answer calls, read messages, and control music and it worked seamlessly.
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Sony WH-1000XM5 Review: Sound Quality
ANC and Sound Quality are two of the most important aspects of any audio device and Sony has been a champion in both these areas. Let’s talk about Sound quality first.
To make improvements over the XM4, Sony came up with a specially designed 30mm (precision-engineered) driver unit which was developed to offer better high-frequency sensitivity and more natural sound quality. New drivers literally use gold and higher-grade resistors compared to WH-1000XM4. That’s not all, it gets improved processing with a combination of QN1 and V1 chipsets. This results in great consistency in frequency response with an even more specious sound stage than before.
The XM5 delivers rich sound with little extra kick and precession in low frequencies. Don’t get me wrong, the highs and mids are impactful but the bass has ever-so-slightly extra character to it. Whether you listen to rock music or R&B number, soulful music, or foot-tapping beats, every music piece sounds effective when heard via Sony WH-1000XM5.
During my recent vacation, I had my Sony WH-1000XM5 with me and I thoroughly enjoyed listening to music or consuming other forms of entertainment. From Bollywood to K-pop I tried everything. I started my journey with Lyle Lovett’s North Dakota and instantly it blew me away with this excellent separation between instruments. I was able to make out sounds that I have not heard before.
In Green Miles’s Boulevard of Broken Dreams you will notice that extra character in the lows that I mentioned before. Despite that slight extra kick, the Mid and Highs are also crisp and clear making it delightful to hear music on. Songs like Believer and Sae Gill’s Pasoori, both sounded equally good. India Ocean’s Kandisa made me fall in love with Sony WH-1000XM5. Overall, I don’t mind spending Rs 26,000 for the sound of this piece of tech.
Sony WH-1000XM5 Review: Noise Cancellation
The Sony WH range is considered as the best ANC headphone in the market features and the XM5 is no different. Although there is not a major upgrade from the predecessor, some improvements can definitely be seen.
Specially developed by Sony, the Integrated Processor V1 unlocks the full potential of our HD Noise Cancelling Processor QN1. This unique combination of technology controls eight microphones to deliver unprecedented noise-canceling quality.
The headphones not only work well in blocking out low-frequency sounds but also higher-frequency ones like the sounds of train brakes. The smart microphones analyze one’s surroundings and send a message to the powerful drivers to pull the curtain around you for total focus on what you are listening to.
The location awareness feature of the ANC is a helpful one. When you paid the headphones with your smartphone, the WH 1000XM5 learns your daily routine on its own and adjusts the Ambient Sound Control settings as per your location. If they detect you to be at home, they will activate a less intense version of the ANC as compared to if you are in external settings. While you are out for a walk, ANC levels will turn up higher. All in all, Sony WH 1000XM5 comes with a smart ANC to make your life easier.
Sony WH-1000XM5 Review: Call Quality
Sony WH-1000XM5 is an excellent choice for those who attend lots of virtual calls for regular calls in their day-to-day life. It is fabulous in terms of call quality as the voice of the person at the other end is clearly audible and vice versa.
The new XM5 might be regarded as one of the top headsets that give greater quality because of the excellent call quality. Thanks to Sony’s Precise Voice Pickup technology, which uses four headset-mounted beamforming microphones, AI-powered noise-reduction, as well as wind-noise reduction. When you are chatting on a call, the headset is fantastic at blocking out background noise and wind.
Sony WH-1000XM5 Review: Battery
Sony has also worked on making battery life better. The headphones claim to work for 30 hours with ANC switched on and for 40 hours with ANC switched off. During my usage, I found the claims to be almost true. This is because, on a single charge, it worked for around 26-28 hours when I kept the ANC on and almost 39 hours when ANC was off. The battery life is adequate for those who have all-day usage and don’t have time to charge the audio device frequently.
Charging has also been worked upon. Using the standard USB-PD charger, we get 3 hours of playback time from just 3-5 minutes of charging. This will help if you have to leave for somewhere with your headphones and don’t have much time left. I had to take a 2-hour metro trip once and 3-5 minutes of charging gave me the playback time that was more than enough for my journey.
Review Verdict: Should you buy Sony WH-1000XM5?
The Sony WH-1000XM5 headphones are a premium audio product that has superior design, good audio quality, and an effective ANC. They fit well on your head and come with smart features and connectivity controls. The headphones have decent battery life and a quick charging feature too. Slight niggles like the absence of IP Rating, lack of portability, and music stopping if one sings along in speak-to-chat mode, can be ignored without a thought. The only reasons why one would not want to buy these headphones could be if one already has a Sony 1000XM4 device or if you want to wait for XM5 to be available at lower prices as they are expensive by being priced at above 25k.
Reasons to buy Sony WH-1000XM5
- Comfortable design & fit
- Long battery life
- Good ANC
- Excellent audio quality
Reasons to not buy Sony WH-1000XM5
- No IP Rating
- Not portable
Sony WH-1000XM5 Price & Availability
Sony WH-1000XM5 Headphones are priced at Rs. 34,990 in India but as a part of a special pre-booking offer, they will be available for Rs. 26,990 if you book them between 21st September and 7th October. They will be available from 8th October via Sony Centers, major electronic stores, and e-commerce platforms. The headphones will come in Black and Silver colorways.
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