Saturday, September 23, 2023

Sony WH-1000XM5 leak reveals sleek new design for flagship headphones

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Sony’s WH-1000XM4 noise-cancelling headphones are one of the best options since they debuted in 2020, but it looks like the company is gearing up to release the next generation. German tech news site TechniqueNews published some images and specifications of the successor, seemingly dubbed the WH-1000XM5 (through Gizmodo

The first thing you notice is a sleek new design, specifically a thinner headband. The 1000XM3s and 1000XM4s were nearly identical, but Sony could change the look of the new 1000XM5s.

Instead of a shrouded arm that pivots, the arm is exposed, with a single point of contact replacing the XM4’s larger folding hinge over the ear cups. That also changes the earcup design, but suggests that just a little more of their space is available for the things that affect what you hear.

That arm looks slimmer than the previous design and could contribute to a lighter weight that hopefully won’t give up strength and durability. if Gizmodo points out (via Notebook Check and The Walkman Blog), filings for the FCC and other regulators outlining a new model were spotted in February. An important item that was revealed is that the FCC label has been moved, from the headband itself to under an ear cushion, which: The Walkman Blog speculation could mean that the band is now made of metal rather than plastic.

Image: TechniqueNews

Photos of the leaked models in their carrying cases show a design that ditches the foldable fold of the XM4 that tucked one cup into another. Still, in these photos, it seems questionable that they take up much more space on a desk, stand, or in your bag.

According to TechniqueNews source, the WH-1000XM5 has an estimated battery life of up to 40 hours with active noise cancellation (ANC) on, 10 hours longer than the XM4, with a total charge time of 3.5 hours via USB-C, approximately 30 minutes longer than the XM4. They also report that it will use two processors for ANC instead of one, and sound will be produced by a new driver, although there are no details on what has changed. They still have three microphones to pick up your voice and detect noise to cancel it, but the positioning has changed.

The button labeled “Custom” is in the same place as before, but is now marked NC/Ambient, which probably reflects what most people use it for, rather than integrated voice assistants or something else.

Last year’s model repeated its award-winning predecessor with “Speak to Chat”, which mutes music when it hears you talking to someone, and multipoint Bluetooth audio that stayed connected to more than one device at a time. The latter feature was much more useful, although there were some issues at launch. Software updates helped it run better, but any improvement to help the headphones decide which device to connect to and when would be welcome.

There’s no word on pricing or a release date, but the WH-1000XM4 was $349.99 at launch, and retailers are loving it Best Buy and Amazon maintain that price today. The price of the headphones has occasionally dropped during sales that: Verge Deals indicates when they appear, and it’s unclear if the changes in a new model will move the bar in a particular direction.

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