Sony WH-1000XM5 review


The Sony WH-1000XM5 with its features and smart engineering does not lag behind the competition

The Sony WH-1000XM5 with its features and smart engineering does not lag behind the competition

The race in the flagship ANC headphones has gone up to a new level with the latest Sony WH-1000XM5. The competition is heating up as Sennheiser recently launched its Momentum 4 headphone in the flagship category. So, what Sony WH-1000XM5 has to offer that makes it stand apart? 

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In the box 

In the box lies a comparatively bigger case than the previously launched XM4. The case contains an elegant-looking headset, a charging cable, and a 3.5mm audio cable. 

Design 

The new Sony WH-1000XM5, unlike other companies, departs from following the looks and design of its predecessors. The new Sony WH-1000XM5 comes with a refined and clean design which we liked because it seems very neat and holds an aesthetic appeal and while we wore it outside it caught a lot of attention from the people passing by. 

Unlike its predecessor XM4, the earcups of the new Sony WH-1000XM5 do not fold inside. The company has used synthetic leather cushions on the earcups and the hairband. The earcups are designed very smartly as they fit any size of ears quite comfortably. The headphone weight is comparatively lighter than the Sennheiser Momentum 4 which we reviewed a few days back. 

The company has opted for only two buttons in the new SONY headset: a power button and a toggle button for ambient mode and noise cancellation which are placed on the left earcup. The right earcup consists of all the touch control features where you swipe up to increase the volume, and swipe down to decrease it. Holding in the center of the right earcup activates the voice assistant. You can also swipe forward and backward to change the track and double tapping in the center to pause/resume the track. Also covering up the right earcup activates ambient awareness modes that let in sound from outside. On the bottom of the right earcup lies a Type-C port to charge the headset. 

Connectivity and controls 

The new Sony WH-1000XM5 easily pairs with Android and iOS devices and in starting we paired it with our Android phone just over Bluetooth, but for better controls and sound experience, we suggest that you download Sony Headphones connect app. The headset can connect to Bluetooth-enabled devices through AAC, LDAC, and Bluetooth codecs, and surprisingly the company has left out aptX support. 

There is also a 3.5mm audio jack on the left earcup which can be used to connect the headset to your device. Using the app allows ANC optimization, 360 Reality Audio, and a custom equalizer feature. 

The app allows you to choose between complete noise cancelling blocking all the external sounds, an ambient sound mode that allows you to hear your surroundings especially when you are walking on the road, and an OFF mode which completely shuts the ANC. The responsive EQ boosts the bass and can be adjusted according to your preference. The headset can also learn the daily routine by tracking the usage behavior and accordingly can adjust according to the environment in which you are present like switching to Ambient sound mode when you are walking. 

The new Sony WH-1000XM5 has an improved voice assistant. Both Alexa and Google Assistant can be activated hands-free by using their respective trigger commands. The voice assistant can answer calls or dial a number and can control music too. 

Audio quality 

The new Sony WH-1000XM5 comes with a new integrated processor V1 and a 30mm driver whereas the XM4 had a 40mm driver which initially made us think about the sound quality that the new Sony XM5 will be delivering but let us assure you that the sound quality does not take any toll rather it is better than before. Sony has used both LDAC codec and DSEE Extreme support in such synchrony that the sound produced on the new XM5 is of top quality. LDAC automatically compresses and decompresses music to give significantly more wireless bandwidth than a typical Bluetooth connection. 

The DSEE Extreme manages to squeeze out a little bit more detailed sound quality by applying AI upscaling algorithms to recover some of the audio data that would otherwise be lost. The sound frequencies were perfectly arranged and smooth ensuring that your ear does not get stressed from any deflection in the sound frequencies. Sounds produced maintained a clean texture and every high to low note were noticeable. We loved the sound output and the bass produced was of top-notch quality. 

ANC 

The new Sony WH-1000XM5 has one of the best ANC within the flagship segment as we experienced better ANC in the Sony WH-1000XM5 when compared to the previously reviewed Sennheiser Momentum 4. The headset cancels out all external noise/sound leaving with you mesmerizing sound experience thanks to the eight microphones present on the headset. 

Calls 

The new Sony WH-1000XM5 comes with improved call features when compared to its predecessor. The call quality is very good and the new XM5 could be termed as one of the best headsets which deliver better quality. The call experience is enhanced by Sony’s Precise Voice Pickup technology, which uses four beamforming mics present on the headset and AI-powered noise-reduction, plus wind-noise reduction which provides clear call quality. The headset also does a phenomenal job of keeping the unwanted noise and wind at bay when you are speaking over a call. 

Battery 

The new Sony WH-1000XM5 comes with a battery life of 30 hours whereas we saw that the latest Sennheiser Momentum 4 has 60 hours of battery life. During our time with the new Sony WH-1000XM5, we were able to use the headset for 30 hours with a single charge and sometimes the headphone went beyond the mentioned limit by lasting up to 31-32 hours. The headset can last 40-42 hours with its ANC disabled. The company has also increased the charging speed as the headset gets fully charged within 1:00-1:15 hours. 

Conclusion 

The latest Sony WH-1000XM5 is one of the best ANC headsets present in the flagship segment priced at ₹ 34,990. The smartly engineered XM5 does not miss out on any feature to make it lag behind the competition. The sound quality is top-notch and the bass level is extremely good. In terms of battery power, it does fall behind Sennheiser Momentum 4 but overpowers it in other sections.  



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