Sony continues its reign as the leading force in the world of earbuds and headphones with its latest flagship true wireless earbuds, the Sony WF-1000XM5.
These premium earbuds are a testament to Sony’s commitment to innovation and excellence in the audio industry. Packed with cutting-edge features and an improved design, the WF-1000XM5 aims to set a new standard for TWS earbuds.
However, all this excellence comes at a cost, making these the most expensive earbuds in Sony’s 1000X lineup. Let’s dive into the details and compare the WF-1000XM5 with other high-end TWS earbuds in the market in 2023.
While Sony continues to thrive in the niche market, this device definitely has some downside to it…at least in my humble opinion. I get it, Sony will probably never make something that will remotely look like those of its competitors.
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While that is a good business statement, especially in the branding department, I’d prefer a TWS earbud with stems for easy mobility.
While Apple excelled and perfected the stem design which is in a sense synonymous with its brand right now, that doesn’t change the fact that Sony can implement something quite unique regarding its own TWS earbuds.
The new device weighs about 5.90 grams despite having all the technology well-packed in to create an amazing sound despite a long-lasting battery life. It also has an IPX4 rating which makes it splash-resistant to some degree.
The compact design of the earbuds makes them ideal for exercise and even normal day-to-day activities. I personally didn’t have any issue pulling them out of my ears but oftentimes, there are cases f accidental touches while I’m trying to adjust the earbuds as they slowly slip away from a comfortable state within my ears.
Although they wouldn’t necessarily fly out of your ears even if you move your head or shake your head, if you are battling with earwax or sweat, you might periodically experience the slow slip which could lead to an accidental loss if you didn’t pay close attention. Remember, they’re small.
Design: Smaller, Sleeker, and Snug Fit
The WF-1000XM5 represents a significant design overhaul from its predecessors. Sony has impressively managed to slim down the earbuds by 25% and reduce the weight by 20% compared to the previous WF-1000XM4.
This transformation results in a more compact, sleeker design that fits snugly in the ears, eliminating any worries of them falling out during activities.
Additionally, Sony has improved the ear tips by using squishy foam, offering a more comfortable and secure fit than ever before. With the inclusion of an extra small size option, the WF-1000XM5 accommodates a broader range of ear shapes, ensuring an ideal fit for all users.
The charging case has also undergone some refinements, now featuring a rounder shape and a more user-friendly pairing button beside the USB-C port.
Sony’s attention to detail in design demonstrates its dedication to providing a seamless user experience.
Software and Features: Customization and Intuitive Controls
Sony’s Headphones Connect app remains the hub for customizing and activating various features on the WF-1000XM5. From basic functions like Bluetooth multipoint connections and media playback to more sophisticated tools like Adaptive Sound Control, the app offers an array of functionalities.
The Adaptive Sound Control is a standout feature, automatically adjusting noise control preferences based on the user’s activity or location.
This hands-free approach streamlines the user experience and eliminates the need to manually adjust settings continually.
The app also provides access to noise control settings, EQ adjustments, and the innovative Find Your Equalizer sound test, allowing users to personalize their audio preferences and achieve the best sound quality.
Sound Quality: Unparalleled Audio Experience
Sound quality has always been a strong suit of Sony’s 1000X earbuds, and the WF-1000XM5 takes it up a notch.
With dual processors, including the QN2e chip for noise canceling and the main V2 processor, the WF-1000XM5 delivers 24-bit audio and an enhanced digital-to-analog converter (DAC).
Thanks to the redesigned Dynamic Driver X, which features a separated dome-edge structure diaphragm, the WF-1000XM5 produces rich, detailed vocals, along with low distortion and clear sound quality. This improvement is especially noticeable when listening to vocals in various music genres.
The bass on the WF-1000XM5 is more robust and punchy, elevating the listening experience to a new level. Whether it’s the driving thump of a bassline or the clicky pop of a kick drum, the low-end performance on the WF-1000XM5 is truly impressive.
Sony’s commitment to high-quality audio extends to its Hi-Res Audio and 360 Reality Audio (360RA) support, with the addition of head tracking for a more immersive spatial audio experience. While this feature requires compatible apps, it’s a remarkable enhancement to the already outstanding sound quality.
Noise Cancelation and Call Quality: Effective ANC and Crystal-Clear Calls
The WF-1000XM5’s noise-canceling capabilities are top-notch, thanks to the precise control of the six-microphone array by the QN2e chip. The earbuds efficiently suppress low-frequency noise, such as airplane and vehicle clamor, making them perfect for travel and noisy environments.
Call quality on the WF-1000XM5 is a standout feature, thanks to the inclusion of bone-conduction sensors and Sony’s innovative noise-reduction algorithm.
The algorithm, trained on 500 million voice samples, accurately extracts the user’s voice from ambient noise, resulting in clear and focused calls. While not perfect, the WF-1000XM5 outperforms many of its competitors in this regard.
Battery Life: Steady Performance
One area where Sony maintained consistency is the battery life. With up to eight hours of use with ANC enabled and 24 hours in total with the charging case, the WF-1000XM5 delivers reliable performance for extended listening sessions.
The quick charge feature offers an hour of use in just three minutes, making sure you’re always ready to enjoy your music.
Personally, my experience with the Sony WF-1000XM5’s battery was good and I’d definitely give it a B due to the longevity of the battery life. I also like the fact that the charging case can charge the earbuds up to 3 times before needing to be charged itself.
While I’m not necessarily an audiophile, I’m the type that constantly wears my earbuds almost throughout the entire day whether Im listening to music or not. But while working, I do listen to songs in the background which in a sense act as my ambient soundtrack for maximum productivity.
Since the device has a really strong battery, this is very convenient even though I do prefer my bigger Edifier W800BT Plus headphone which has a crazy 40-hour battery life.
But in a sense, the Sony WF-1000XM5’s battery can be quickly recharged which is an added advantage even though a quick 15-minute charge can in fact get you around 1 hour of usage.
Final Verdict: Sony WF-1000XM5 – A Class Apart
The Sony WF-1000XM5 undoubtedly lives up to its reputation as a premium set of true wireless earbuds. The impressive sound quality, comfortable fit, and effective noise cancelation set it apart from the competition. While the price might be a consideration for some, the WF-1000XM5’s performance and features justify the investment for audiophiles and music lovers alike.
Sony’s dedication to continuous improvement and cutting-edge technology ensures that the WF-1000XM5 remains ahead of its rivals even though it’s not necessarily as mainstream compared to the likes of the Apple AirPods Pro (2).
Even at that, Sony continues to satisfy its niche audience who are definitely paying premium price tags for these premium-tier devices from the brand and it’s quite understandable.
Sony WF-1000XM5 Versus…
In the fiercely competitive TWS earbuds market of 2023, the Sony WF-1000XM5 stands tall against its rivals. Let’s briefly compare it with some high-end contenders:
Apple AirPods Pro 2
The WF-1000XM5 surpasses the AirPods Pro 2 in sound quality. Sony’s customization options and noise-canceling prowess outshine Apple’s offerings.
However, the Sony WF-1000XM5 touts a better battery life definitely because of its size which is a bit chunkier than the AirPods Pro 2.
But in the realms of comfort, I’d take an earbud with a stem because the lack thereof might make me feel claustrophobic. Controlling the Sony WF-1000XM5 using its touch sensors (which is very responsive by the way) is great but I prefer the squeeze on the stems of the AirPods Pro 2.
Bose QuietComfort Earbuds 2
While Bose offers impressive ANC, the Sony WF-1000XM5 outperforms in sound quality and customizable features, making it a more compelling choice for audiophiles.
Alternatively, both have similar design aesthetics and are both lightweight. Remember, these are premium-tier earbuds and they cost more than your average TWS earbuds on the market.
Beats Fit Pro
Although Beats excels in bass, the WF-1000XM5 delivers a more well-rounded and immersive sound, making it a better option for a wider range of genres.
Soundcore Liberty 4NC
Sony’s superior noise-canceling capabilities and overall sound quality outshine Soundcore’s offering.