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This week, Sony announced the latest flagship WF-1000XM5 active noise cancelling true wireless earbuds.

Sony claims these new earbuds have the biggest ever step forward in noise cancelling they have made, which is likely a response to the increasingly competitive market for ANC earbuds.

So, how does the Sony WF-1000XM5 improve things compared to the current WF-1000XM4?

Sony WF-1000XM5 vs WF-1000XM4 vs WF-1000XM3 Specification

SonyWF-1000XM5 WF-1000XM4WF-1000XM3
Headphone TypeClosed, dynamicClosed, dynamicClosed, dynamic
Driver8.4mm 6mm, dome type (CCAW Voice coil) 6mm, dome type (CCAW Voice coil)
Freaquency Response20Hz – 20,000Hz (44.1kHz Sampling)20Hz – 20,000Hz (44.1kHz Sampling)20Hz – 20,000Hz (44.1kHz Sampling)
DSEE Extreme Yes Yes Yes
360 Reality AudioYesYesYes
Battery Life Music8 hrs (NC ON) / Max. 12 hrs (NC OFF)8 hrs (NC ON) / Max. 12 hrs (NC OFF)6 hrs (NC ON) / Max. 8 hrs (NC OFF)
Battery Life Communication6 hrs (NC ON) / Max. 7 hrs (NC OFF)5.5 hrs (NC ON) / Max. 6 hrs (NC OFF)Max. 4 hrs (NC ON) / Max. 4.5 hrs (NC OFF)
Bluetooth5.35.25
Bluetooth Range10m10m10m
CodecSBC, AAC, LDAC, LC3SBC, AAC, LDACSBC, AAC
Bluetooth ProfileA2DP, AVRCP, HFP, HSP, TMAP, CSIP, MCP, VCP, CCPA2DP, AVRCP, HFP, HSPA2DP, AVRCP, HFP, HSP
Noice CancellingYes, BestYes, BetterYes
Ambient Sound ModeYesYesNot listed
Quick AttentionYesYesNot listed
IP RatingIPX4IPX4Not Rated
Earbud Weight5.9g x 2Not listed8.5 g x 2
Case Weight39g41g
Case Dimensions64.6 x 40 x 26.5 mmNot listedNot listed
Price£259£199
Launched for €279.90 (£240.50)
Amazon: £150
Launch RRP: £220

Key Features

  • Experience the Best Noise Cancelling with the WF-1000XM5 so you can block out external sounds and focus on your music.
  • With next-level immersive sound, the WF-1000XM5 earbuds deliver rich, detailed audio that brings your music to life.
  • Enjoy Sony’s best ever call quality with the WF-1000XM5 earbuds thanks to advanced microphone technology.
  • Sony is working with legendary artist Miguel to show you how the WF-1000XM5 are For The Music

What’s Changed?

Improved Active Noise Cancelling

The Sony WF-1000XM5 are the flagship true wireless earbuds from Sony and this range has been the gold standard for active noise cancelling earbuds for the past few years. It is, therefore, no surprise that Sony continues to improve the quality of the ANC with each iteration.

The WF-1000XM5 now feature three microphones on each earbud, including dual feedback mics, which improve low-frequency cancellation performance.

Sony claims that this is the biggest ever step forward in noise cancelling, resulting in ambient sound captured even more accurately.

Sony has developed a new Integrated Processor V2 unlocks the potential of the HD Noise Cancelling Processor QN2e. The unique combination of technology controls the six microphones, across both ears, to deliver unprecedented noise cancelling quality that can be adapted to provide the best performance for your environment.

Sound Quality

The ability to reproduce lower frequencies has also been improved on the WF-1000XM5 thanks to the new Dynamic Driver X. Plus, the Noise Isolation Earbud Tips feature a unique polyurethane foam material that reduces noise in the high frequency range.

The new driver is significantly larger than the previous models at 8.4mm, that’s a 40% increase in size.

This new Dynamic Driver X has a wide frequency reproduction which allows the earbuds to  let you experience richer vocals and more detailed vocals. The diaphragm structure combines several different materials for the dome and the edge, achieving clear highs and deep, rich bass sound with low distortion.

With Sony’s cutting-edge HD Noise Cancelling Processor QN2e and Integrated Processor V2, the WF-1000XM5 earbuds deliver meticulous 24-bit audio processing coupled with powerful analogue amplification. The result? Minimal distortion and crystalline audio rendition.

The WF-1000XM5 is crafted with premium audio quality as its core, supporting High-Resolution Audio Wireless through LDAC and DSEE Extreme for real-time enhancement of compressed digital music. It also incorporates 360 Reality Audio, generating an engulfing sonic experience that places you right at the heart of the music.

The WF-1000XM5 earbuds are also engineered with head tracking technology, providing an engaging and lifelike listening experience by dynamically adjusting audio fields in response to your head movement. They guarantee that sounds are impeccably synched with your smartphone display, maintaining a riveting engagement even as you move. This seamless integration with compatible smartphone services wholly immerses you in your viewing experience.

Call Quality

The WF-1000XM5 earbuds now showcase Sony’s superior call quality, ensuring that your voice is transmitted clearly in all situations – be it in the office, working remotely, in a bustling public area, or a noisy environment.

These earbuds employ an AI-driven noise reduction algorithm, leveraging Deep Neutral Network (DNN) processing and bone conduction sensors, to make your voice sound clear and authentic, even in loud surroundings. Moreover, if you’re outside, the incorporated wind noise reduction mechanism significantly reduces wind interference, ensuring your voice is always audibly clear.

Smaller and Lighter

It is impressive that Sony has managed to make the WF-1000XM5 25% smaller and approximately 20% lighter than their predecessor (WF-1000XM4), while retaining the same battery life for music playback and increasing the driver size (which presumably takes more power to drive).

The Noise Isolation Earbud Tips are crafted from a unique material that elevates not only the fit but also comfort levels, courtesy of a new design that lessens pressure on the ear. Furthermore, the earbuds are available in four varied sizes, including the ultra-compact SS, allowing you to select the perfect fit tailored for your ears.

Price / Availability / Alternative Options

The WF-1000XM5 will be available in black and silver from August 2023 priced at £259/€319.

Amazon states they will be released on the 2nd of August and delivered from the 8th of August.

At the time of writing, the Sony WF-1000XM4 are available on Amazon for £200, and this is the new RRP on the Sony website.

The older Sony WF-1000XM3 are available for £150, but they have been as low as £100.

Many people regard the ANC on the Google Pixel Buds Pro as being better than the WF-1000XM4 and these are available for around £160.

Bose have traditionally been one of the best brands for ANC and their Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II are listed at £230.

For iPhone users, the 2nd generation Apple AirPods Pro will set you back £220.

Last update on 2024-04-20 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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