Sony WF-1000XM5 Review : Smaller Size, Bigger Detail

Sony WF-1000XM5
Sony WF-1000XM5
The Sony WF-1000XM5 is the successor to the Sony WF-1000XM4. They take a smaller form factor, while making improvements to audio playback and ANC. With a RM 1399 price tag, can they command the value it brings to the table?
Design
8
Sound Quality
9
Battery Life
8
Value
7
Comfort
7
Good
Good Neutral Sound
Competent ANC
Top-shelf detail
Smaller form factor without negative effect to audio
Ungood
Eartips just won’t stay on the buds
Not as bassy as we’d like
7.8

Out of 10

Design (Case)

It’s clear to me that Sony’s been spending a lot of time giving the WF-1000XM5 a new design, which they did. The charging case is now a more traditional clamshell design, with a matte black finish and a gold Sony logo on the lid. The case has a USB-C charging port on the back and a status LED on the front. The charging case has a magnetic lid that closes securely. The case also has a rubberized bottom, which helps to keep it from sliding around on smooth surfaces.

Design (Earbuds)

The earbuds are now 25% smaller, and have a more rounded and streamlined design than the XM4s. The Sony logo is now prominently displayed on the outside of each earbud, with a gold accent ring surrounding it. The microphone mesh cover is also gold, and the ear tips have a new two-tone design.

The earbuds have a slightly glossy finish, which makes them look a bit more premium than some other earbuds on the market. However, it also makes them a bit more slippery, so you may need to be careful not to drop them.

It’s also worth noting that the earbuds are not waterproof but do have an IPX4 water resistance rating. This means that they can withstand light rain or sweat, but should not be submerged in water or worn in the shower.

The Sony WF-1000XM5 eartips are made of a soft, squishy foam material. They are designed to provide a good seal in the ear canal, which is essential for effective noise cancellation. The foam material is soft and pliable, and it conforms to the shape of the ear canal. The eartips are also relatively lightweight, so they don’t put any unnecessary pressure on the ears.

The eartips come in 4 different sizes: super small, small, medium, and large. It is important to find the right size eartips for your ears in order to get the best fit and seal.

Although comfy, they seem to not be very secure when it comes to staying ON the earbuds. They’re incredibly finnicky and even when I have used the correct tips for my ear size, I sometimes found that the eartips would stay inside my ear and seperates from the earbuds, which got quite annoying! Eventually, I had to stick to medium size, which was bigger, and I had to jam them extra deep into my ears which luckily wasn’t uncomfortable due to its conforming nature.

The eartips require frequent cleaning, so keep some alcohol swaps nearby as they have the tendency to stick to dried skin flakes and earwax.

Overall, earbuds are now 25% smaller and 20% lighter in a smaller case. It’s different and for the better, even though the eartips may be a pain that can easily be replaced or cleaned.

Apps

The Sony Headphones Connect app is a companion app for Sony headphones and earbuds, including the WF-1000XM5. The app provides a variety of features and controls for your headphones, including:

  • Noise cancellation settings: You can adjust the level of noise cancellation or switch to ambient sound mode, which lets you hear your surroundings.
  • EQ settings: You can customize the sound profile of your headphones to your liking using the six-band equalizer.
  • Adaptive Sound Control: This feature automatically adjusts the noise cancellation and ambient sound levels based on your environment.
  • DSEE Extreme: This feature upscales compressed audio files to improve their sound quality.
  • Speak-to-Chat: This feature automatically pauses your music and turns on ambient sound mode when you start speaking.
  • Touch sensor controls: You can customize the touch sensor controls on your headphones to perform different actions, such as playing/pausing music, skipping tracks, and adjusting the volume.
  • Firmware updates: The app will notify you when there are firmware updates available for your headphones.

In addition to these features, the Sony Headphones Connect app also includes a number of other features, such as:

  • Find my headphones: This feature helps you to find your headphones if you lose them.
  • Battery status: The app shows you the battery level of your headphones.
  • User guide: The app includes a user guide for your headphones.
  • Support: The app provides access to Sony support resources.

Overall, the Sony Headphones Connect app is a well-designed and feature-rich app that provides a variety of useful features and controls for your Sony headphones and earbuds.

Connectivity


The Sony WF-1000XM5 earbuds support Bluetooth 5.3 and connect via AAC, SBC, and LDAC codecs, as well as supporting LE Audio where compatible. They have a strong Bluetooth signal and they connect to devices quickly and easily. I have not experienced any dropouts or connection problems with the earbuds.

In terms of codec support, the Sony WF-1000XM5 earbuds offer a good selection of codecs. AAC is the best choice for most users, but LDAC is a good option for those who want the best possible sound quality. LE Audio is also a promising new codec, and I am looking forward to seeing it become more widely supported.

The Listening Experience


The Sony WF-1000XM5 earbuds offer excellent sound quality and music playback. They have a wide soundstage, with good bass response and clear highs. The earbuds also do a good job of reproducing vocals and instruments accurately.

The WF-1000XM5 earbuds also have a number of features that enhance the music playback experience, such as:

  • Adaptive Sound Control: This feature automatically adjusts the noise cancellation and ambient sound levels based on your environment.
  • DSEE Extreme: This feature upscales compressed audio files to improve their sound quality.
  • EQ Customizer: This feature allows you to customize the sound profile of the earbuds to your liking.

The earbuds have a balanced sound profile, with good bass response, clear highs, and accurate vocals and instruments.

The Sony WF-1000XM5 earbuds are ideal for a wide variety of music genres, thanks to their balanced sound profile with good bass response, clear highs, and accurate mids. However, some genres may benefit more from the WF-1000XM5’s strengths than others.

Here are some genres that the WF-1000XM5 particularly excels at:

  • Classical music: The WF-1000XM5’s wide soundstage and accurate reproduction of instruments make them ideal for classical music. You’ll be able to hear every detail of the orchestra, from the delicate notes of the violins to the powerful booms of the timpani.
  • Jazz music: The WF-1000XM5’s clear highs and accurate mids make them ideal for jazz music. You’ll be able to hear the subtle nuances of the saxophonist’s phrasing and the intricate rhythms of the drummer.
  • Electronic music: The WF-1000XM5’s good bass response and wide soundstage make them ideal for electronic music. You’ll be able to feel the deep rumble of the bass and hear the complex layers of synths and effects.
  • Pop music: The WF-1000XM5’s balanced sound profile makes them ideal for pop music. You’ll be able to hear the vocals clearly and enjoy the catchy melodies and beats.

Active Noise Cancelling

They use a combination of eight microphones and two processors to cancel out a wide range of noise, from low frequencies, such as the hum of an airplane engine, to high frequencies, such as the chatter of voices. , the WF-1000XM5 earbuds

In my experience, they were able to cancel out a significant amount of noise. When I wear them on my flight to Manilla recently, I can barely hear the engine noise. When I wear them in the busy streets of Gilmore Ave, I can barely hear the people talking around me. I mean, Sony’s always had a strong hand when it came to ANC, complete with a well-working Adaptive Sound Control, so you’ll always be in the know of your surroundings regardless of noise level.

Battery Life


The Sony WF-1000XM5 earbuds have a battery life of up to 8 hours on a single charge with noise cancellation turned on. This battery life can be extended to up to 12 hours with noise cancellation turned off. The charging case can provide up to 24 hours of additional battery life, for a total battery life of up to 36 hours with noise cancellation turned on. These would easily last you your full day of non-stop listening, and are in line with the competition, though it may not be the longest battery life we’ve seen, considering that they couldn’t last as long as the Sony WF-1000XM4 which ran over 9 hours.

As for charging, you can get up to 60 minutes of listening from a fast 3 minute charge. A fully charged case takes about 1.5 hours which is typical in the industry.

Final Thoughts

The Sony WF-1000XM5 are an improvement over the Sony WF-1000XM4 in terms of design, sound quality, ANC, and fast charging. However, the WF-1000XM5 have a slightly shorter battery life and are more expensive. As long as the XM5’s were able to sound better than its predecessor, it would be easier to forgive those shortcomings. It’s not a night and day leap in terms of sound quality, but better ANC does give it an extra mile.

What I can’t easily let go is the eartips, once again. They just can’t stay secure to the earbuds, even if you’ve changed the sizes. They provide an excellent seal and passive isolation, but require frequent (nearly daily) cleaning, and some people simply don’t have the time for that.

It commands a price of RM 1399, offering better sound in a smaller case, but if you’re on a budget, I’d still pick the XM4’s.

If money is no object and you want the best earbuds Sony has to offer, then this would be right up your alley.

More Stories
iQOO Officially Arrives In Malaysia ; iQOO 11 5G As Their First Flagship For RM 3299