Sony WH-1000XM5 Review

Sony WH-1000XM5 Review

Written by Ramsay, In Headset, Published On
May 13, 2023

Many people look up to Sony’s WH-1000X series because it has a solid sound and the best Active Noise Cancellation in its class. With the Sony WH-1000XM5, the company’s newest and best noise-canceling headphones, it keeps doing what it does best. These new ANC over-ear headphones look new, but they’re still very much like the WH-1000X headphones we’ve grown to enjoy. But the price has increased since the last version because it has been redesigned and has more features.

With a price tag of 34,990, the Sony WH-1000XM5 is now priced closer to the Bose NC 700 and Sennheiser Momentum 3 Wireless, two of its most fierce rivals. Even though the Sony WH-1000X line stood out for more than its low price, the price increase can be a worry in the Indian market, where prices are significant. The question is still open as to whether the Sony WH-1000XM5 is worth the price. In this study, we’ll find out.

Sony WH-1000XM5 Specifications

Volume ControllerTouch Sensor
Wearing StyleOver Ear
Bluetooth VersionBluetooth Specification Version 5.2
Charging MethodUSB
Battery TypeApprox. 3.5 hrs
Frequency Response4 Hz–40,000 Hz
Cord TypeSingle-sided (detachable)
Headphone TypeClosed, dynamic
SizeApprox. 250 g
Price$399 in the US


  • Excellent noise-cancellation
  • The performance sounded great.
  • Smart environmental features
  • A real app you’ll want to use


  • The new form is harder to carry.
  • Still can’t stand up to water.
  • Expensive

Plan & Build

Sony WH-1000XM5

With the Sony WH-1000XM5, Sony didn’t take the “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” approach. Sony’s most expensive headphones get a whole new look this year. The shape of the new headphones is more minor, smoother, and rounded than the old ones. We’re glad Sony decided to redesign these headphones because the Sony WH-1000XM4 looked almost exactly like its predecessor. We’re glad Sony did this because design and hardware changes make tech exciting and new.

The headphones have fewer joints and hinges, making the mics less noticeable. The look is more “stealthy,” for lack of a better word. The shape is also said to make it easier for air to flow over the headphones’ frame, reducing wind noise. But this change in design has made it impossible to fold up the headset. Like the Bose NC 700, the Sony WH-1000XM5 headphones lay flat on your head. They don’t fold into a smaller unit, which can be a turnoff for some.


Sony WH-1000XM5 price

The Sony WH-1000XM5 headphones are on sale now and will start shipping on May 20, 2022. They cost £380, $399, or AU$649, a big jump from the price of the Sony WH-1000XM4, which was £350, $349, or AU$549. At launch, if you choose the older, but still very good, Sony WH-1000XM4, you can save about £30 or $50. It’s a significant amount of money, and more importantly, it could get more prominent as the year goes on and we get closer to big shopping days like Black Friday and Cyber Monday. The Sony WH-1000XM4 is expected to drop below $300 at some point in the future before dropping to half price


Sony WH-1000XM5

If you are listening with a wired link, you can turn on the headphones to use ANC or leave them off to not use it (though they will sound very different in passive mode). The headphones can be charged through a USB-C port on the bottom of the right ear. Still, it’s annoying that you can’t use this link to play digital music over a wire.


Sony WH-1000XM5

Even though the cap is a bit thinner and the ear cups don’t look as soft as they did in the past, we were surprised to find that comfort hadn’t changed. The WH-1000XM5 weighs 250 grams, a little less than its predecessor. We could easily sit for hours with these cans on our heads without showing any signs of pain. After listening to music for a few hours, we didn’t get a painful hot spot on top of our heads, which was a surprise problem with the WH-1000XM4.

The ear cups were smooth and soft enough to cover our ears easily. Before, the padding wasn’t quite big enough for people with more prominent ears, but with the WH-1000XM5, it’s wide and deep enough to fit most ear sizes. But the soft vegan leatherette material can get a little warm, especially in the stifling heat of Mumbai. But if you sit in a room with air conditioning or a fast-moving fan, you shouldn’t have too much trouble here. The memory foam in the headband and ear cups makes them easy to wear, and the clamping force is just right—they feel secure without making your ears feel like they’re being crushed.

Sound Quality

Sony WH-1000XM5

This time, Sony went with a more minor 30 mm driver instead of the 40 mm driver in the Sony WH-1000XM4. At first, this made us doubt that the new headphones could produce dynamic sound with a feeling of space. However, thanks to some technological magic, the XM5s sound just as good as their predecessor, the Mark 4, and they even sound a bit more spacious.

With Sony’s default EQ setting and LDAC codec, and DSEE Extreme turned on, the sound was lively, open, and full of details. FLAC files sound great with these headphones, but the DSEE Extreme can also help you hear more details when playing music over Bluetooth from Spotify or YouTube Music. Those who follow Sony know that the company tends to boost the bass more than other frequencies, and the Mark 5s has a similar warm, bass-heavy sound.

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