Sony WH-1000XM5 in the test: Premium Bluetooth headphones in a class!

Especially in the area of ​​active noise cancellation (ANC for short) or active noise cancellation, Sony is not fooling almost anyone with its premium Bluetooth headphones: Who should Sony WH-1000XM4 If you listened to some music in the airplane at the maximum noise reduction level, you really don’t hear the noise of the airplane turbines and the rest of the environment anymore. But not only the impressive noise reduction, but also the excellent sound quality and the good craftsmanship make the Sony WH-1000XM4 one of the most popular ANC Bluetooth headphones in the premium class. The excitement was all the greater when it was released in May 2022 Sony WH-1000XM5 would differ from its predecessor. And indeed, this is much more than most would have expected, especially in terms of design.

Sony WH-1000XM5: design, comfort and functions

Sony WH-1000XM4 (left) compared to XM5 (right) Photo: Xenia Bluhm Photography

Anyone upgrading from the Sony WH-1000XM3 to the Sony WH-1000XM4 back then should probably have rubbed their eyes in amazement, because the design of both headphone generations was almost identical. However, that can no longer happen this time, because Sony has actually changed the design of its premium Bluetooth headphones significantly: In particular, the headband and the connection to the earcups are optically designed differently: A significantly “slimmer” metal arm is now present. on the respective earcups In fact, this not only makes the XM5 look a little more stylish and understated, it also makes it feel a little lighter. However, this is more due to the form factor than an actual weight loss: Because there is only a few grams between the weight of the Sony WH-1000XM5 (249g) and its predecessor.

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Nevertheless, the new visible form factor is also reflected in the comfort: the Sony WH-1000XM5 feels really good on the head. Valuable, but also correspondingly light, so that the headband can only be felt very slightly on the top of the head. The new ear cups also leave a very good impression of comfort: the cushions are made of foam and are covered with very close-fitting synthetic leather. The contact pressure on the ears is pleasant: the ear cushions are close to the ears, but do not “press” uncomfortably, even after hours of use. Note: As contact with sweat should be avoided according to the manufacturer, the headphones are not suitable for sports such as jogging or on the treadmill in the gym. However, the design of the Sony WH-1000XM5 definitely has a clear disadvantage compared to its predecessor: The quick folding of the headphones, for example to put them quickly in the pocket or backpack, is absolutely not possible with the new headphones. The included bag is correspondingly larger and takes up significantly more than the folded version of the XM4.

In terms of operation, everything remains the same: there are only two buttons on the left earcup to turn on/off or pair the Bluetooth devices and to change ANC settings. In addition to the Bluetooth headphones and the stylish storage bag, a very short USB-C charging cable and a jack connection cable are included.

Sony WH-1000XM5: noise reduction, sound and runtime

Used Sony XM5
Sony WH-1000XM5 in action Photo: Xenia Bluhm Photography

The star of the show with the Sony WH-1000XM5 is of course the active noise cancellation, which actually impressed us a bit more than with its predecessors. This is also because the ANC technology fits even more harmoniously into the sound image and, if necessary, also adapts to the respective background noise: The noise reduction does an excellent job on the train, in the plane or outdoors. – planning office. In fact, the smart technology can also be adjusted to adapt to the respective situation: It makes sense to turn the active noise reduction to maximum on a plane, while of course it can make sense when walking briskly through the big city, also to hear a few surrounding noise: The Sony WH-1000XM5 does a very reliable and flawless job here. The built-in microphones may not be flawless, but they are significantly improved: in many team meetings with the predecessor, external colleagues did not testify to the very best quality. The XM5 performs significantly better, as the microphone sound is now much clearer, although it is far from keeping up with good headset microphones.

The sound, on the other hand, is dynamic, clear and powerful: the Sony WH-1000XM5 completely convinced us here. Whether in podcasts or audiobooks, where the voices are very clear and well placed in the overall picture, to powerful house sounds, where the bass comes into its own, to brutal guitar riffs in current metal songs – the Sony WH -1000XM5 delivers a truly coherent and homogeneous sound , that should leave a little to be desired. However, it is a pity that AptX is not supported on the new model either. All other major codecs and Bluetooth 5.2 are actually supported.

The XM5 shows no weaknesses when it comes to the battery either: with active noise cancellation turned on, the Bluetooth headphones achieve a strong runtime of almost 30 hours (in our test we had to recharge after 28 hours). Charging is also really fast: the headphones are fully charged again in an hour and a half. If you only have half an hour, you will usually be so full of the headphones that a driving time of several hours is not a problem at all.

Our test result for the Sony WH-1000XM5

Sony Xm5 in the box
Sony XM5 in the smart storage bag! Photo: Xenia Bluhm Photography

We got the whole package Sony WH-1000XM5 So completely convinced: In terms of sound quality, active noise reduction and comfort, the XM5 really delivers at the highest level. Of course, there’s still room for improvement here and there, but overall the Bluetooth headphones impress us across the board. Nevertheless, almost 400 euros is currently a high price for the premium headphones. If you don’t want to dig that deep in your pocket, you can always get the predecessor for under 250 euros, which is definitely the more attractive offer in terms of price-performance ratio with almost the same features.

The headphones were delivered to us for testing by the manufacturer.

Product photos: Xenia Bluhm Photography

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