Sony WH-1000XM5 Review: Premium Looks and Sound, But Are They Right for You?

Introduction: When it comes to wireless headphones, Sony and Bose have been battling it out for the top spot in recent years. In 2020, Sony claimed the crown with the universally acclaimed WH-1000XM4, snatching it from Bose’s QuietComfort series. Not resting on their laurels, Sony followed up with the WH-1000XM5, featuring a complete redesign that exudes a premium, Apple-like aesthetic. In this review, we’ll dive deep into the Sony WH-1000XM5, exploring its design, performance, and whether it’s worth an upgrade from its predecessor.

Design and Hardware: The WH-1000XM5 boasts a new design that sets it apart with a sleek and stylish appearance. However, there’s a trade-off here; the new design sacrifices practicality. Unlike its predecessor, the XM5 is not foldable, making it bulkier and less travel-friendly. For frequent travelers who value space in their carry-on bags, this may be a dealbreaker. On the other hand, if you prioritize premium looks and have no issue with a larger form factor, the XM5’s design is sure to please.

The headphones are made of plastic with vegan leather padding, providing a comfortable fit. The touch-sensitive panel on the right earcup allows for easy control of audio playback and volume. Inside, the XM5 houses new 30mm drivers in each cup, delivering excellent audio performance with some of the best active noise cancellation (ANC) in the market. While the bass output has been toned down compared to the previous generation and Bose counterparts, the overall sound quality remains impressive.

Software and Features: Setting up the XM5 is a breeze, and it works effortlessly out of the box. Sony provides a companion app that allows users to customize the EQ, adjust touch panel controls, and explore 360 Reality Audio. While the audio customization options are impressive, the app can feel a bit spammy, offering subscriptions and services you may not need. However, once you’ve set up the headphones to your liking, you can enjoy a seamless user experience with natural voice prompts and intuitive touch controls.

Performance: Sony’s WH-1000XM5 excels in both audio quality and ANC performance. With Bluetooth 5.2 support and codec options such as SBC, AAC, and LDAC, the headphones offer excellent connectivity and clear audio. While the bass might not be as pronounced as the previous model or some competitors, the mids and highs provide a well-balanced audio experience, making them suitable for various music genres.

The ANC capabilities of the XM5 are top-notch, providing a near-silent environment even in bustling coffee shops. Additionally, the transparency mode offers a natural and immersive experience. The XM5 boasts an impressive battery life, delivering around 30 hours of playtime on a single charge.

Should You Buy the Sony WH-1000XM5? The answer to this question depends on your preferences and lifestyle. If you value premium aesthetics, excellent audio, and ANC performance, the Sony WH-1000XM5 is an excellent choice, especially if you use Android devices. However, if compactness and portability are critical factors for you, the XM5’s bulkier design might not be suitable.

For those already content with the XM4 or looking for a more affordable option, the previous generation XM4 or Bose QuietComfort 45 are viable alternatives. Ultimately, the WH-1000XM5 is a top-tier choice for premium wireless headphones, but it’s essential to consider your specific needs before making a purchase.

Conclusion: In conclusion, the Sony WH-1000XM5 impresses with its premium looks and superb audio performance