Price: ₹ 34,990
While the whole world was locked up in their homes, Sony audio labs seem to have been quite busy. This is the fourth headphone from Sony in 2022, and the fifth of their audio devices we are testing this year. Looking at the lineage and the quality of the previous 1000-series headbands, the WH-1000XM5 certainly carries much expectation.
The Sony WH-1000XM5 has a clean, plain, and somewhat ‘suppressed’ design. Each earcup pivots on a single hinge, and Sony has done away with the fully foldable, lay-flat design of the XM4. For the same reason, the case is larger and less compact than the old case, though it now has a collapsible design. The headband is thinner, and the adjustable part of the stem seamlessly hides into the headband. The headphone shell is made of carbon composites.
The headphone uses Bluetooth 5.2 and offers support for SBC, AAC, and LDAC codecs. The device offers wired connectivity with a 3.5mm stereo mini jack. The earcups have a flat back design and the back surface of the right earcup offers touch control. The left earcups house the ANC/Transparency and Power/Bluetooth buttons. The earpads have ‘soft fit leather’ cushioning. The pads are extremely comfortable to wear over a long period.
The headphones use newly developed 30mm drivers in place of the 40mm drivers of the XM4. However, the device offers a deep and wide sound stage with lots of details. The XM5 may not be the best headphones for bass or volume, but it offers a wide range of audio that can cover most genres of music. What has differentiated the latest line-up of Sony headphones is the Headphones Connect app, which is quite feature-rich. The app allows you to customise the settings and play around with the equaliser. The equaliser allows you to fine-tune the audio to suit your tastes since the device offers enough bandwidth to bring out finer details. The device offers 360 Reality Audio and Dolby Atmos.
The main feature of the XM5 is the improvement in Active Noise Cancellation. It uses eight microphones and two high-performance processors, Integrated Processor V1 and HD Noise Cancelling Processor QN1, to achieve superior, real-time noise cancellation and two beamforming mics each on either side help in picking up your speech with precision and improve call quality. The device offers Speak to Chat feature that pauses playback when you start to talk. You can set the sensitivity and waiting time in the app. To effect temporary transparency, you only need to cup your hand over the right ear cup. The Auto NC Optimiser helps in optimising atmospheric pressure. The result is efficient noise cancellation without causing any discomfort due to pressure differences. The XM5 also offers advanced features like DSEE Extreme and Adaptive Sound Control. The headphones also offer Alexa and Google Assistant support. It can be paired with two devices at a time. The Quick Access feature lets you resume Spotify playback with two or three taps. The Sony WH-1000XM5 offers up to 30 hours of battery life with ANC, and we have no reason not to believe it. Though we never used the device continuously for 30 hours, it went on for a really long time without charging. It takes 3.5 hours to charge the battery fully, but a 3-minute charge will provide 30 minutes of listening.
WE’RE IMPRESSED Excellent sound quality, superior noise cancellation, Speak to Chat, equaliser
WE’D IMPROVE Expensive, No water resistance
THE LAST WORD The Sony WH-1000XM5 is so far the best headphones we have tested, offering superior ANC sans any discomfort. These are surely expensive, but we wouldn’t consider that a deal-breaker for such premium headphones.