The Japanese company launches the new version of its headphones improving (even more) noise cancellation and its appearance.
I can not deny it. The Sony MX WH-1000XM4 became my favorite headphones when the Japanese firm put them on sale in 2020. It's been two years of a lot of teleworking, video calls and many hours of listening to music and Sony headphones are still essential to isolate yourself from the madding crowd in any situation.
And it is that the sale of audio devices since 2020 has been increasing, either because of the pandemic, or because of the running 'boom'... And now, all forecasts point to it continuing to rise. According to a recent study by ABI Research, wireless headphone sales reached 502.7 million by the end of 2021 and are expected to exceed 700 million units in 2026, with a CAGR of 7.6%, leading the market of smart accessories.
With these good figures in the background, today Sony has presented the new generation, the WH-1000XM5, and it seems that they have all the ballots to become my go-to headphones again. Let's see how they improve.
If I had to define the new XM5 in one word, it would be simplicity. And if it were with two, it would add elegance. Headband headphones like these are usually too bulky for me, so, in my opinion, that a device with these characteristics is discreet and beautiful in its forms, is very important. In addition, the ease of pairing with the mobile and using them is wonderful.
Sony has slightly modified the design of its headphones, simplifying the shapes but maintaining the essence of its WH-1000X range. Specifically, they maintain the gray and black colors made with a very soft touch synthetic leather that fits perfectly to the head, without pressing the ears but leaving the auditory pavilion completely isolated from external noise.
There are also changes in the headband, as the hook with the headset itself is finer than in the previous model, but the result is a quite attractive and well-finished style.
Another important aspect is the case they come in, which also changes design and makes it much easier to transport the headphones anywhere (and it's very nice).
The noise cancellation of the MX4 was already very good, but now Sony improves it even more. It's as simple as pressing a button on the left ear cup to switch between Noise Canceling or Ambient Sound modes, and go from being in a bubble to being back in the real world in a matter of seconds.
In tests on the street, walking, it is wonderful to be able to avoid the sounds of cars, beeps and screams from the parks to focus on the call of duty or the music that is being listened to. And at home, I've tried them while I had a baby crying in the background and, although you can still hear them, they're perfect for isolating yourself for a few seconds (just to try...).
To achieve this, Sony uses two processors that control eight microphones that drastically reduce noise, especially in the mid and high frequency range, and an NC auto optimizer that automatically optimizes noise cancellation, depending on the environment.
With the help of the built-in V1 processor, the WH-1000XM5s unlock the full potential of Sony's QN1 HD noise cancellation processor, while the specially designed 30mm driver unit enhances noise cancellation. These features enhance sound clarity and bass reproduction.
Obviously, they are headphones, so audio quality is a key leg. And they also pass with a note.
In technical words, Sony explains that the 30mm driver unit uses carbon fiber composite material that improves high-frequency sensitivity for more natural sound quality. The Japanese firm also employs premium gold-containing lead-free solder for excellent connectivity and optimized circuitry to ensure you experience clear, consistent sound.
These new headphones have the 360 Reality Audio certification that allows you to enjoy a personalized immersive music experience.
In addition, they are compatible with Alexa and Google Assistant.
I can't vouch for that, as I've only been testing Sony's headphones for two days before writing this review and they haven't needed a charge yet, but according to the company, the WH-1000XM5 have a battery life of 30 hours, with 3-hour charge in just 3 minutes. These figures are good, but they would remain the same as in the previous model, despite the fact that the leaks indicated that there could be improvements.
The new Sony WH-1000XM5 will be available at the end of May at a price of 450 euros in black and silver gray.