Sony unveils the WH-1000XM5, the future benchmark for noise reduction headphones

After several weeks of rumors, Sony finally unveils the WH-1000XM5. Its new Bluetooth headphones with noise reduction may well cause a sensation among music lovers in the coming weeks, as it looks very promising.

If the world of noise reduction headphones is overcrowded today, few premium models ultimately make reference in this area. In the field, there are a handful of devices, such as the Bose Headphones 700, or the Apple Airpods Max, to a lesser extent, the FreeBuds Studio from Huawei. But there is also and above all Sony, which had made everyone agree with the WH-1000XM3 in 2018. Impeccable audio quality, almost absolute comfort, super effective noise reduction… In short, it’s hard to find any real faults.

Its successor, the WH-1000XM4, also combined all the advantages, but it disappointed us very slightly. If the helmet was equipped with as many qualities as the XM3, it is clear that it was sorely lacking in new features. When we already had an XM3, Sony had no real argument with the user to push him to opt for the new model. But here comes the WH-1000XM5, a helmet that brings different innovations, both aesthetically and technically. Finally a “real” evolution, some would say.

Sony WH1000XM4 vs. WH1000XM5
The WH1000XM4 on the left and the WH1000XM5 on the right.

WH-1000XM5: Sony changes the look and improves the performance of its flagship headphones

First observation, the helmet operates a small change of look. The headphones are more discreet and rounder, while the arch gains in finesse. In terms of weight, the XM5 weighs XXX grams on the scale. WH-1000XM5 has also attempted to reduce the bulk of the carrying case, which shrinks in thickness when the headphones are taken out of it. Convenient to slip it into a small bag.

On the technology side, the helmet now incorporates 8 microphones instead of 4 on the previous model. According to Sony and its own study of January 1, 2022, it is the “helmet with the best noise reduction on the market”. We will obviously wait between the hands to judge. But for this, the Japanese manufacturer operates on not one, but two processors. There is the HD QN1 (which the WH-1000XM4 already took advantage of), which is coupled to the V1 (present on the WF-1000XM4 headphones).

The helmet also has a new 30mm diaphragm, lighter and stiffer than the previous model. Its soft contour also allows it to improve bass depth and noise reduction.

Sony WH1000XM5

Improved call quality and now invisible wearing sensor

On the codec side, the device supports the classic AAC, SBC (up to 328 kb/s) and above all LDAC (up to 990 kbps). No aptX on the horizon. As on the previous model, the DSEE Extreme technology makes it possible to “upscale” a compressed source, in order to obtain a quality close to that of a CD or a hi-res file.

For capturing the voice of the user, the device now uses 4 microphones (which are part of the 8 microphones mentioned above). According to Sony, this allows in particular to enjoy better audio reproduction in windy conditions. Also new: the headset has an improved and now invisible wearing detection sensor.

Sony WH1000XM5

Supported voice assistants are the traditional Google Assistant and Assistant. As for autonomy, it is still the same as the XM3 and XM4: according to Sony, the headphones are able to last up to 30 hours without crying out for food, noise reduction activated. Finally, for recharging, the accessory supports USB PD technology, which provides 3 hours of playback for 3 minutes of charging.

WH-1000XM5 Pricing and Availability

The price of the helmet was finally revised upwards compared to the previous iteration: we therefore go from 379 € (the price of the XM4 when it was released in August 2020) to €420 for the WH-1000XM5. The helmet will be available in two colors: black or silver. As for its release date, it is scheduled for the end of May 2022.

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