Sony WH-1000XM5: The World’s Best Active Noise-Cancelling Bluetooth Headphones

Sony WH-1000XM5 cover



Excellent noise cancellation, sound quality, smart features and great application.


The design is not as portable, more expensive than previous models.

Technical Features Sony WH-1000XM5:

  • Type: Over-Ear/Circumaural.
  • Noise cancellation: Yes.
  • Battery life: 30 hours (ANC activated).
  • Weight: 249 grams.

The Sony WH-1000XM5 is the latest upgrade to the most revered Bluetooth headphones on the market. In terms of features and performance, they are as excellent as the XM4 . The sound quality is truly remarkable. In addition, they feature a new modern and very attractive design.

This line has always stood out, and the new Sony WH-1000XM5 remain the best wireless headphones in the world. Active noise cancellation is top-notch, and they offer many smart features. However, they are more expensive than previous versions, and the differences in performance are not as noticeable.

Sony WH-1000XM5 body


The previous two generations look almost the same, but the new Sony WH-1000XM5 headphones feature a novel design. They have a sleeker, more curved body, fewer visible points of articulation, more discreet noise-cancelling microphone ports, and a slimmer headband with additional leather padding.

The cups also have a slightly different shape, are more resistant and cause less pressure. However, they also presents some changes that we did not like. They do not have a foldable structure, so they lose points in portability.

The headband blends in better with the design and is more attractive, but the padding is less plentiful. Like the previous models, these Sony headphones do not have water protection. That said, they are more attractive and just as comfortable.

You can use them for hours without them causing any discomfort. The padding of the cups is very soft and conforms to the ear, ensuring comfort for any user. They remain firm, and the pressure exerted on the head is minimal.

The new curved design aims to reduce the effect of wind, which can cause distortions in noise cancellation performance when used outdoors. The new Sony WH-1000XM5 headphones also integrate twice as many microphones. These provide the processors (there are two of them) with more information to analyze and improve active noise cancellation. They also improve clarity when making calls.

Despite the additions, the new Sony WH-10000XM5 headphones are lighter. They weigh 249 grams, 5 grams less than the XM4. In addition, they use ABS plastic, both in the body and in the package, made from recycled car parts. They come with a good quality carrying case, something we appreciate since they cannot be folded.

Controls, connectivity and functions

The controls are basically the same as those featured on the Sony WH-1000XM4. They integrate two physical buttons on the left cup. The first one switches between active noise cancellation and ambient mode. In addition, you can now press it two or three times to activate Spotify, for example. The second button is for power on, and holding it down also activates the Bluetooth pairing mode.

The outside of the right cup is a touch control that allows you to change the volume by swiping up or down, pause audio and answer calls. You can also activate the ambient mode that lets external noise pass through when you cover the cup with your hand. In this cup you have the USB-C charging port and a 3.5mm jack for wired use.

The Sony WH-1000XM5 Bluetooth headphones offer many smart features that enhance the experience considerably. The first striking function is the so-called location awareness. The headphones can learn your daily routine and adjust the ambient sound controls according to locations.

For example, if you are at home, the headphones will automatically use a lower level of noise cancellation. Similarly, the office will use a larger one, based on your preferences. When walking, it can let outside audio pass through to keep you safe as you cross the street.

Speak-to-Chat is another useful feature. It allows you to talk without removing your headphones by pausing playback while listening to your conversation. The Sony WH-1000XM5 headphones also pause music automatically when you take them off thanks to sensors hidden in the cups, a feature that will save you a lot of battery life. In addition, you can connect them to two devices simultaneously via Bluetooth 5.2.

Finally, they offer improved support for Alexa and Google assistants. You can activate them with the respective voice commands and use them to answer calls, read messages, notifications and play music. With the application, you can access and adjust many functions. It offers you a great equalizer and a mode that enhances bass in a remarkable way, in addition to the Sony 360 Reality Audio format.

XM5 sound

Best active noise cancellation

Superb noise cancellation has been the hallmark of the line, and the Sony WH-1000XM5 headphones carry on the tradition. It's difficult to improve on the ANC performance offered by the XM4s, but the new version achieves it.

The Sony WH-1000XM4 noise-cancelling headphones already successfully shut out low-frequency noise, such as aircraft engines or public transport. The new WH-1000XM5s maintain this feature, but better reduce high-frequency noise. The active noise cancellation is really excellent.

This is due in part to the new 30mm transducers. They are smaller than the 40mm ones of the previous model, but feature a new dome that improves performance. We tested them by walking in environments with noises of all kinds, and we were totally isolated. Even when playing music at minimum volume, you do not hear the outside.

Sony WH-1000XM5 sound quality

We found the change from 40mm to 30mm transducers troubling, but the truth is that the Sony WH-1000XM45s sound just as good as the XM4s. They don't sound much better, but this was difficult to achieve. They are one of the best Bluetooth headphones in terms of sound quality.

Like all Sony top headphones, they support the LDAC codec and work with DSEE Extreme technology. This combination ensures the best possible quality when playing music from your mobile device. LDAC is the best choice for high-resolution audio.

On the other hand, DSEE Extreme technology considerably improves the quality of compressed files, ideal if you find yourself playing compressed audio from any service via Bluetooth. Your AI uses techniques that restore audio information lost in compression. The results are great.

They have smaller transducers, but the sonic spatiality is maintained. All instruments shine in the mix and can breathe. Bass sounds deep and doesn't lose any detail. The treble sounds crisp, while the vocals and mid-tones stand out for their superb detail. In addition, you can use the 360 Reality Audio format for a more immersive experience.

Sony WH-1000XM5 accessories

Battery life

There were not many areas for improvement in the previous version. Fortunately, battery life has increased a bit. Autonomy reaches 30 hours with noise cancellation activated, and 40 hours when you turn off the ANC, about two hours more than in the WH-1000XM4.

The improvement is not that significant, but with all the other features offered by the Sony WH-1000XM5, the capability is great. In addition, they charge very quickly. You can use them for more than three hours with only three minutes of charging.

Why we like the Sony WH-1000XM5

They are the perfect model if you are looking for exceptional active noise cancellation. They are a bit more expensive than the previous version, but the new ANC remains the best on the market. Furthermore, they offer many smart features that set them apart from the competition, charge fast and offer really great sound.

Why don't we like them?

If you already have WH-1000XM4s, the changes are not that significant. The design is more attractive and the noise cancellation is incredible, but that was already the case with the previous model. They are more expensive than the previous ones, and do not have a foldable structure.

Conclusion on the Sony WH-1000XM5

They are the best Bluetooth headphones on the market. The new design is the most beautiful, they are very comfortable, lightweight and integrate a great battery. The best part: they offer remarkable sound and the world's best active noise cancellation. Interested? Find the best price on Amazon.

We also recommend you check out the revolutionary Sony LinkBuds, the only In-Ear headphones with open-ring design in the world. If you are looking for cheap headphones, the Sony WH-CH510 are among the best.

Technical SpecificationsSony WH-1000 XM5
TypeCircumaural Over Ear
ConnectivityBluetooth 5.2, 3.5mm
Noise cancellationYes
Weight249 g
ColorsBlack and white
Battery lifeMax. 30 hours (NC on), max. 40 hours (NC off)
Impedance48 ohms
Frequency response4 Hz - 40,000 Hz


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