Sony has cracked the formula of making great noise-cancelling headphones and giving longtime rival Bose, a run for its money. Sony’s WH-1000XM5 is the latest iteration in the WH-1000X lineup, which saw the original model debuting back in 2016. Sony’s formula to make the world sit up and take notice is simple: make great quality noise-cancelling headphones that improve ANC (active noise cancellation) with every iteration and cement its position in the premium ANC headphones segment.
Launched at Rs 34,990, the Sony WH-1000XM5 competes with the likes of the Sennheiser Momentum 4 Wireless and Bose QuietComfort 45 headphones. It also locks horns with the Jabra Evolve2 65 which was unveiled for Rs 35,990. The Sony WH-1000XM5 is available for Rs 26,990 on e-commerce site Amazon India, which definitely makes it a sweet deal and cheaper than rivals Sennheiser Momentum 4 Wireless and Jabra Evolve2 65. Before 2018, buying ANC headphones would mean choosing between Bose’s QC series or Sennheiser. Fast forward to 2022, Sony has turned the tables and its WH-1000 series is among the well-regarded ANC headphones in the market. Choosing top-tier noise-cancelling headphones means tough competition for Bose and Sennheiser, from the stable of Sony. Read our detailed review to know if the headphones are worth your money.
Sony WH-1000XM5 Design, Looks And Build
Sony has taken a departure from the design language of the WH-1000XM4 headphones and has updated the WH-1000XM5 which has been manufactured out of recyclable plastic and looks more sleek and handy. With the WH-1000XM5, Sony has taken a shift in terms of design from its predecessors in generations, and it’s a good change, I must say. Another departure from the WH-1000XM4 is the synthetic leather padding in the headphones which is super comfortable and smoother than the previous iteration’s leatherette. Sony has gone minimal on the branding with just small Sony logos on each hinge. The overall look and feel of the headphones are premium and it doesn’t scream for attention.
At 252 grams, the headphones are ergonomic and more comfortable than the predecessor and suitable for wearing for long hours at a stretch. Coming to the shape of the ear cups, they are more oval and longer than the previous-gen WH-1000XM4 headphones. The headband is thinner this time around, has comfortable foam padding and is integrated into the ear cups. The headphones come in two colour variants: black and silver. The latter, in my opinion, looks more posh and sophisticated. This year’s iteration has what Sony’s calling “noiseless design”, which is reflected in the design of the headphones — it is seamless and sleek, with the company working on an aero-dynamic design to reduce wind noise.
Among the not-so-welcome changes are no said water resistance and also, the headphones can not fold in on themselves, which reduces their portability. Thankfully, the carry case is slim and makes up for the less portable WH-1000XM5.
Pairing is easy — just hold down the power button under the left can to fire up the Bluetooth pairing mode and you’re good to go. There are first one lets you switch between noise cancelling and ambient awareness settings. The right ear cup is touch sensitive and houses the controls to increase and decrease volume, double tap to pause a song as well as answer calls. You can also cover it with your palm to activate ambient awareness mode. There’s a USB type-C charging port on the right cup, and the 3.5-mm standard headphone jack is housed on the left can.
Sony WH-1000XM5 And Sony Headphones Connect App
The Sony Headphones Connect app is available on both the Google Play Store as well as the App Store and it works well with the Sony WH-1000XM5 headphones. The Sony Headphones Connect app brings easy access to settings and controls, including displaying the battery level and operational codec, equaliser settings, Bluetooth connection quality, Adaptive Sound Control for customising ANC based on location and surroundings, Spotify Tap setup among others.
Sony WH-1000XM5 Sound Output
Not just in terms of design, but the Sony WH-1000XM5 brings a significant change from the predecessor, in terms of booming bass (as premium headphones should too). The headphones sound balanced and it doesn’t go overboard with the thumping base. Its USP, ANC also stands out better than the XM4 both outdoors and indoors. The XM5 features 30-mm drivers, unlike the XM4 which came with 40-mm drivers and result isn’t a downgrade. In fact, the WH-1000XM5 delivers sound that is top-notch with the treble and bass sounding harder than the mid-range.
Sony WH-1000XM5 Verdict
The Sony WH-1000XM5 is undoubtedly one of the best noise cancelling Bluetooth headphones available in the market right now. However, if you want this pair to be your workout partner then you’d have to also consider that it doesn’t come with sweat and water resistance. The battery life is a pretty good and I got more than 30 hours of backup on a single charge, with the ANC mode on. The Sony WH-1000XM5 is definitely recommended if you’re coming from models older than the XM4.