Wednesday, June 29, 2022

Sony announces WH-1000XM5 headphones with new design and even better noise cancellation

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It comes as no surprise after recent leaks, but today Sony announced its latest flagship noise-cancelling headphones, the WH-1000XM5. They cost $399.99, up from the previous 1000XM4s, and will go on sale May 20.

Sony says it has taken its already fantastic noise cancellation to new heights by adding a second processor to the new headphones. The improvements are most noticeable in “mid- to high-frequency noise,” according to the company’s press release. That includes things like everyday street noise in the city and human voices.

The 1000XM5s have a design quite different from their recent predecessors. Sony has gone for a sleeker look, moved to a stem-style slider and moved the mics (there are now eight of them) around the circumference of the auricles. The 1000XM5s also use a new type of synthetic leather on the headband, which is slightly thinner than on previous models. The controls haven’t changed: you still control audio with taps and swipes, and there’s a physical button to toggle between ANC and ambient modes.

The WH-1000XM5s have an all-new design.
Image: Sony

The internal components have also changed. Sony has ditched the 1000XM4s’ 40-millimeter drivers in favor of new 30-millimeter drivers that supposedly sound more natural and “improve sound clarity and bass response.” One of the criticisms of the 1000XM4s has been their sometimes muddy bass, so it seems Sony has worked on this with the new model.

Sony WH-1000XM5 review: new design, new sound, new price

They come in black or off-white.
Image: Sony

Sony also emphasizes improved call quality made possible by four beamforming microphones and AI noise reduction algorithms. All of Sony’s signature features — LDAC, DSEE Extreme upscaling, 360 Reality Audio, Speak to Chat, and so on — have made their way to the 1000XM5s.

These headphones actually do nothing new ones compared to the WH-1000XM4s, which Sony plans to continue selling. But the company seems confident that they are outperforming the 1000X series headphones in key areas such as sound quality, noise cancellation and voice calling.

Is that true? Well, I’ve been testing the 1000XM5s for the past few weeks and you can read the full review now before deciding if it’s time to upgrade.


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