Sony WF-1000XM5 earbuds are smaller and better.

Sony WF-1000XM5 earbuds are smaller and better.

Sony WF-1000XM5: The Complete Package for Audiophiles

When Sony’s WF-1000XM4 earbuds hit the market in 2021, they quickly earned the prestigious ENBLE Editors’ Choice award. However, they did have a few drawbacks, such as their larger size and lack of compatibility for certain ear shapes. Sony took these criticisms to heart when designing their next-generation flagship earbuds, the WF-1000XM5. These earbuds not only address the previous concerns, but also offer improved performance in nearly every aspect, including noise cancellation, sound quality, and voice calling. While they come with a hefty price tag of $300, $20 more than their predecessor, the WF-1000XM5s are undeniably impressive and easily rank among the top earbuds on the market today.

Sony WF-1000XM5 Design: Smaller and Sleeker

The XM5s are 25% smaller and 20% lighter than their predecessors, making them a more comfortable fit for a wider range of ears. Additionally, the charging case has also been downsized by about 15% and now features wireless charging capabilities. The buds themselves are available in black or silver, boasting a glossy finish that doesn’t easily show fingerprints. Notably, the XM5s no longer protrude as much from the ears as the previous model, giving them a more streamlined and stylish appearance.

Improved Fit and Ear Tips

To ensure a better fit and improved grip, Sony has included a fourth set of eartips made from a high-tech polyurethane foam material. While these tips should work well for most users, they may not provide the tight seal needed for optimal sound quality and noise-cancelling performance. Users who require a better fit can easily swap in their preferred silicone tips. It would be helpful if Sony included a wider variety of tips, but for the majority of users, the supplied ones should suffice. Additionally, the XM5s are IPX4 splash-proof and sweat-resistant.

Sony WF-1000XM5 Features: Loaded with Smart Functions

Sony’s flagship earbuds have always boasted an impressive array of features, and the XM5s are no exception. Some standout features include multipoint Bluetooth pairing, allowing users to easily switch audio between two connected devices. The XM5s also offer a wide range of EQ settings, adaptive sound modes, and hands-free support for both Alexa and Google Assistant. Additionally, a new beta setting called “find your equalizer” lets users choose from various EQ tweaks to create a custom sound profile. Android users can enjoy spatial audio with head-tracking, enhancing the immersive audio experience. However, it remains uncertain if Apple users will have access to this feature.

One notable omission is a “Find My Buds” feature integrated into the Sony Headphones app. This is a practical feature found in the AirPods Pro 2, providing peace of mind in case the earbuds are misplaced.

Top-notch Noise-Canceling Performance

Sony has been in constant competition with Bose for the title of best noise cancellation, and the XM5s showcase Sony’s continued commitment to excellence. Sporting new 8.2mm speaker driver units and three microphones in each bud, powered by two proprietary chipsets (V2 Integrated processor and QN2e Noise-Canceling Processor), the XM5s offer enhanced noise cancellation. While the improvement may not be drastic compared to the XM4s, it is certainly noticeable and highly impressive. In terms of noise-cancelling supremacy, it remains a close contest between Sony, Bose, and Apple’s AirPods Pro 2.

Exceptional Sound Quality

Thanks to the new drivers and upgraded processors, the XM5s deliver superb sound quality. While not a significant leap from the already excellent XM4s, the XM5s offer a cleaner sound with refined treble, clearer vocals, and better bass definition. The earbuds provide a tight and accurate audio experience, ideal for audiophiles seeking high-fidelity sound. With a broad soundstage and the ability to separate instruments in complex tracks, the XM5s are undeniably one of the best-sounding earbuds available. Tonally, they lean slightly towards warmer tones compared to Apple’s AirPods Pro 2, further solidifying their position as a top choice for audiophiles.

Crystal Clear Voice Calls

Sony claims that the WF-1000XM5 offers its “best ever call quality.” These earbuds feature bone conduction sensors that isolate your voice from ambient sounds and background noise, ensuring clear calls even in loud environments. In testing, the call quality proved impressive, with noticeable improvements over the XM4s. While harsher conditions may cause slight vocal distortion, overall, the XM5s excel in delivering clear communication.

Long-lasting Battery Life

The WF-1000XM5s offer a commendable battery life, similar to their predecessor. Users can expect around 8 hours of playback with noise cancellation activated at moderate volume levels, extending up to 12 hours with noise cancellation off. The charging case provides two additional charges, ensuring extended listening without worrying about battery depletion. With superior battery life compared to the AirPods Pro 2, Sony users are well-equipped for long listening sessions.

Final Verdict: Impressive Package for Audiophiles

While not flawless, the Sony WF-1000XM5 earbuds offer a remarkable audio experience. Sony has successfully reduced their size while enhancing performance, making them a top choice for Android users. Apple users may still find advantages with the AirPods Pro 2, especially considering their lower price. Bose’s QuietComfort Earbuds 2 and the new Beats Studio Buds also present compelling alternatives. However, the WF-1000XM5s shine as a complete package, delivering exceptional noise cancellation, superior sound quality, and improved voice calling. Sony has once again demonstrated their dedication to pushing the boundaries of audio technology.