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Sony WF-1000XM5 Review

Experience premium audio with the Sony WF-1000XM5 earbuds. Discover exceptional sound quality, advanced features, and top-notch noise cancellation capabilities.

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Sony WF-1000XM5
Sony WF-1000XM5
Sony WF-1000XM5
Sony WF-1000XM5
Sony WF-1000XM5
Sony WF-1000XM5
Sony WF-1000XM5
Sony WF-1000XM5

Introduction

Today, we are taking a deep dive into the Sony WF-1000XM5, the latest iteration of Sony's acclaimed series of true wireless earbuds. Lauded for its exceptional sound quality and advanced features, the Sony WF-1000XM5 is considered one of the top contenders in the high-end earbuds market.

The fifth iteration of Sony's flagship true wireless earbuds, the WF-1000XM5, boasts several substantial enhancements over its predecessor. Sony has capitalized on their rich experience in the audio domain to deliver a product that is expected to provide top-notch audio performance while also incorporating some of the latest technology features in the market.

But does it live up to the hype? We know you're eager to find out. So, let's break it down and see whether the Sony WF-1000XM5 is worth your hard-earned money. We'll explore various aspects like design, comfort, sound quality, active noise cancellation, battery life, connectivity, controls, app features, and what's in the box.

Stay tuned for in-depth insight into each of these areas. Whether you're an audiophile in search of your next high-end purchase or you're simply looking for a reliable pair of wireless earbuds, this review is sure to have the information you need to help you make an informed decision.

Design and Comfort

Jumping right into the design and comfort aspect, the Sony WF-1000XM5 has an ergonomic build that marries aesthetics and functionality. Sporting a sleek, compact form factor, these earbuds are lightweight and discreet, adding a touch of sophistication to your everyday wear. The exterior boasts a smooth matte finish available in both black and platinum silver, exuding a premium look that Sony is well-known for.

The WF-1000XM5 has foam tips available in different sizes, which not only provide a snug fit but also significantly contribute to its noise isolation ability (more on that in the "Active Noise Cancellation" section). The earbuds are designed to nestle comfortably in your ear and stay secure, even during physical activities such as jogging or working out. They are also IPX4-rated, so they can resist sweat and splashes, another feather in their cap.

One small hiccup in the design may be the absence of volume controls on the earbuds themselves. Sony has chosen to allow volume adjustments through the connected device or the Sony | Headphones Connect app. Some users might find this a tad inconvenient, but it's not a deal-breaker as such.

Moving over to the charging case, it's compact and can easily slip into your pocket. The case, much like the earbuds, has a matte finish and feels robust. It has a USB-C port for charging and features an LED indicator to signify battery status.

Overall, Sony has hit the right notes with the design and comfort of the WF-1000XM5. It's clear that a lot of thought has gone into ensuring these earbuds look good, feel comfortable, and stay secure in your ears. The earbuds deliver superior comfort and a fit that's adaptable to a range of ear shapes and sizes, making them an excellent choice for prolonged use.

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Sound Quality

When discussing the Sony WF-1000XM5, the conversation naturally gravitates towards the sound quality. The experience is immersive, resulting in a dynamic musical journey that's hard to rival. Sony's signature sound profile is evident with a perfect blend of well-defined lows, responsive mids, and clear highs.

The bass response is robust without being overpowering, providing a solid foundation for various music genres without muddying the overall sound. Whether you are tapping your feet to upbeat pop music or losing yourself in the intricate symphonies of classical music, the headphones deliver a rich and layered audio performance.

Equally impressive are the mids and highs. They stay clean and well-articulated even at higher volumes, a testament to Sony's proficiency in sound engineering. Vocals are particularly well-served, with a smooth and natural presentation that makes the singer's voice come alive in your ears.

Another noteworthy point is the headphones' soundstage. Despite their compact form, they manage to create a sense of space and depth that enhances the listening experience. It's not quite on par with an over-ear set, but for true wireless earbuds, it's an achievement.

It's also worth noting that the sound quality remains consistent across both wired and wireless modes, a factor that’s often overlooked in wireless headphones. Coupled with impressive noise cancellation (more on this in the respective section), these earbuds create an intimate and immersive audio environment.

On the downside, some may find the sound a bit too bright or analytical for their taste. If you prefer a warmer, more relaxed sound signature, these might not be your first choice.

In conclusion, the sound quality of the Sony WF-1000XM5 is top-notch, delivering an engaging, balanced, and detailed performance that should satisfy most listeners. The ability to maintain this quality across different listening modes further increases their appeal.

Sony WF-1000XM5

Active Noise Cancellation

Sony's WF-1000XM5 truly shines in its Active Noise Cancellation capabilities. Leveraging Sony's advanced QN1e noise-canceling processor, these headphones provide an immersive listening experience even in noisy environments. The QN1e chip ensures a high level of noise cancellation, eliminating a wide range of ambient noises. Let's delve into its two modes, the full active noise cancellation and the ambient sound mode. The full active noise cancellation is superb, and it's not an overstatement to say that it rivals some of the best over-the-ear headphones in the market. Whether it's the constant drone of an airplane engine, chatter in a café, or traffic noise, the Sony WF-1000XM5 can significantly reduce these noises, letting you enjoy your music without interruption.

On the other hand, the ambient sound mode, or transparency mode, is a feature that lets in certain external sounds. This is particularly useful if you're out jogging and need to be aware of your surroundings, or in scenarios where you need to hear announcements. The ambient sound mode on the WF-1000XM5 is impressively clear and natural, avoiding the tinny or artificial feel that some other headphones can have. Furthermore, the noise cancellation is not just limited to music playback. Sony has thoughtfully extended this functionality to phone calls as well, ensuring crystal clear conversations even in noisy environments. The Sony WF-1000XM5 also employs a feature known as 'Quick Attention' mode. By simply placing a finger over the left earbud, you can quickly lower the volume and let in ambient sound, handy for brief conversations or announcements. It's worth noting that, as effective as it is, the active noise cancellation on the WF-1000XM5 does have a minor impact on battery life. You can find more details about this in the 'Battery Life' section of this review. In summation, the Sony WF-1000XM5's active noise cancellation capabilities are top-notch, offering an excellent balance of immersion and awareness. This, combined with the QN1e processor's efficiency and effectiveness, makes these earbuds a standout choice for anyone seeking high-quality sound without external disturbances.

Sony WF-1000XM5

Battery Life

The Sony WF-1000XM5 boasts an impressive battery life, a key factor for any wireless device. These earbuds provide up to 8 hours of playback time on a single charge with active noise cancellation (ANC) turned off. When the ANC feature is engaged, the battery life reduces slightly to about 6 hours - still a commendable figure compared to many other models on the market.

The charging case takes this even further, holding enough extra juice for an additional three full charges. This means that, in total, you're looking at approximately 24-32 hours of battery life, depending on your usage of the ANC feature.

The earbuds feature a quick charge capability which is hugely beneficial when you're short on time. A mere 10 minutes in the case grants you up to 90 minutes of playback. This is an incredible feature for those last-minute situations when you realise your battery is drained and you need your headphones ready ASAP.

It's also worth noting that the case charges via USB-C, which is now the standard for many devices. This makes it convenient to charge the earbuds along with your other gadgets, reducing the amount of different cables you need to carry.

Overall, Sony has done a stellar job in ensuring that the WF-1000XM5 won’t let you down in the battery department. They've managed to balance high performance, including ANC, with robust battery life and a quick charging feature. It's clear that Sony understands the needs of today's users, making these earbuds a smart choice for those on the go.

Connectivity and Controls

Connecting the Sony WF-1000XM5 headphones to your device is a breeze thanks to Bluetooth 5.0 technology. It provides a strong and stable connection within a range of 10 meters, ensuring minimal interruptions during use. The earbuds automatically connect to your device once they are removed from the charging case, saving you the hassle of manual connection each time.

As for the controls, these earbuds feature touch panels on both ears. The right earbud is used to control music and calls, with a double-tap to play or pause music and answer or end calls. A swipe up or down adjusts the volume, while a long tap activates your device's voice assistant. The left earbud, meanwhile, is used for noise control. A quick tap turns Ambient Sound Control on or off, while a long tap switches between noise-cancelling and ambient sound modes. This setup provides a good balance between ease of use and functionality, although it may take a little time to get used to it.

The earbuds also have a feature called 'Quick Attention', which allows you to instantly lower the volume and let in ambient sound by placing your hand over the right earbud. It's a handy feature when you need to quickly hear what's going on around you without removing the earbuds.

In case you're wondering, the Sony WF-1000XM5 does support multipoint connections, allowing you to connect to two devices simultaneously. However, it's worth noting that this feature is only available when using AAC or SBC codecs – it's not supported with LDAC. Switching between the devices is fairly straightforward, making it easy to manage multiple connections.

One minor issue with the controls is that there's no option to reverse the controls if you're left-handed – it's a small complaint, but might be an inconvenience for some users.

App Features

Sony's WF-1000XM5 headphones are equipped with a proprietary Headphones Connect app, available on both iOS and Android platforms. This app is a significant aspect of the Sony WF-1000XM5 experience. It offers added functionality and enables users to customize their listening experience to a considerable extent.

Upon launching the app, you're greeted by a clean, user-friendly interface. The main screen displays the status of your headphones and the remaining battery life. Notably, it allows you to toggle between various sound modes, including the Active Noise Cancellation feature.

Digging deeper into the settings, you'll find customizable controls for sound equalization. This feature presents an array of presets, including bass boost, treble boost, vocal enhancement, and more. What's more, the Equalizer also allows you to manually adjust the audio frequencies to your liking. For those seeking a more personalised sound signature, this feature is an exceptional tool.

A unique attribute of this app is the Adaptive Sound Control, which intelligently adjusts noise cancellation levels based on your environment and activity. Whether you're walking, commuting, or sitting, the app adjusts the noise cancellation accordingly. This feature proves to be quite practical, making sure you're aware of your surroundings when necessary.

In addition, the app also enables you to alter the level of sound that passes through the headphones when the Ambient Sound Control feature is activated. This is especially useful when you need to be aware of your surroundings without removing the headphones.

Finally, the app also includes a tutorial section, providing guided assistance for first-time users to understand and make the most of all the features. Overall, the Headphones Connect app significantly augments the Sony WF-1000XM5's functionality, making the headphones more versatile and user-centered.

What's in the Box

Upon unboxing the Sony WF-1000XM5, you'll find a compact package that neatly houses the key components. The first item that meets the eye is the headphones themselves, nestled carefully in a protective foam insert. The sleek, black earbuds are immediately noticeable, with Sony's signature logo finely etched into the casing. Next, you'll discover the charging case. This case, which mirrors the premium aesthetic of the earbuds, comes with a handy USB-C charging port - a modern touch that ensures fast, efficient charging. This is a point of interest as it directly relates to the 'Battery Life' section of this review. Further delving into the box, you'll find an array of silicone ear tips. Sony generously provides seven pairs in different sizes to ensure a comfortable fit for all ear shapes and sizes. A perfect fit is paramount to the audio experience, so spend some time experimenting with these options under the 'Design and Comfort' section.

Additionally, you'll also find a pair of foam ear tips. These offer a different feel from the silicone versions, and some users may find them to be a more snug fit. Also included are the user manual and warranty card. The user manual provides essential information on how to set up and use the headphones to their full potential. It's a good idea to skim through it, particularly if you're new to Sony's headphone range. Lastly, you'll find a USB-C cable. While not an unexpected addition, it is still an essential one. This fast-charging cable will keep your headphones powered up and ready to deliver outstanding audio quality. In summary, the unboxing experience of the Sony WF-1000XM5 is both exciting and reassuring. Sony has packed in everything you need to get started on your immersive audio journey, from a range of ear tips to the charging case and cable. With such a thorough and well thought-out package, it's clear that Sony has paid attention to the details in this latest offering.

Conclusion

In conclusion, the Sony WF-1000XM5 makes a strong case for itself as a top-tier contender in the true wireless earbuds market. Combining superior sound quality, impressive noise cancellation capabilities and a comfortable, user-friendly design, these earbuds are an investment that's worthy of consideration. Drawing from its wide range of features, it's clear that Sony has made a conscious effort to address the needs of its users. The adaptive sound control and customizable EQ settings, that we discussed in the "App Features" section, are good examples of this. They provide a personalized listening experience that is hard to beat. One aspect that sets these earbuds apart is their active noise cancellation. It is arguably one of the best in the earbuds market. While we touched on this in the "Active Noise Cancellation" section, it's worth mentioning again. This feature is capable of giving you an immersive experience, regardless of your surroundings. However, there's a flip side to every coin. The WF-1000XM5's battery life, while decent, could have been better. This is a trade-off that potential buyers will have to consider.

On the plus side, the quick charging feature can be a lifesaver when you're in a hurry. In terms of connectivity and controls, the earbuds are quite responsive and easy to use. Bluetooth 5.0 brings stable connections and minimal latency for an enjoyable wireless experience. The touch controls are intuitive, and the ability to customize them through the app is a welcome addition. Design-wise, Sony has done a commendable job. The earbuds are sleek, compact and provide a secure fit. They might not be the most stylish earbuds out there, but they offer a comfort level that lets you listen for hours on end.

All things considered, the Sony WF-1000XM5 offers a lot of value. While it has its minor flaws, they are overshadowed by the multitude of features and the overall audio experience that these earbuds offer. If you're looking for high-quality wireless earbuds that give you control over your audio experience, these are worth the investment.


Pros & cons

Pros

  • Superior sound quality
  • Excellent active noise cancellation
  • Comfortable and secure fit
  • Impressive battery life

Cons

  • Absence of volume controls on earbuds
  • Sound may be too bright for some
  • Active noise cancellation impacts battery life

Technical specifications

Product Name Sony WF-1000XM5
Brand Sony
Model WF-1000XM5
Color Black, Silver
Bluetooth Version 5.2
Driver Unit 6mm dynamic driver
Frequency Response 20Hz - 20,000Hz
Active Noise Cancellation Yes
Battery Life Up to 8 hours (ANC on), Up to 12 hours (ANC off)
Charging Case USB-C charging, Qi wireless charging compatible
Water Resistance IPX4
Weight Approx. 7.3g per earbud, Approx. 41g charging case