Sony’s flagship fully wireless WF-1000XM5 headphones promise high sound quality, active noise cancellation, and extensive customization options. But is this really enough to justify their price?

Sony WF-1000XM5 specifications

Headphone type in-channel
Connection type True Wireless
Compatibility Android, iOS
Bluetooth version 5.3
Range of action 10 meters
Codecs support SBC, AAC, LC3, LDAC
Management sensory
Volume control
Microphones noise reduction support
Headphone weight 5.9 grams
Case weight 39 grams
Moisture protection IPX4
Battery life up to 8 hours on a single charge with noise reduction, 12 hours without it, +16 hours with a case
Battery USB Type-C, wireless
Recommended price in Ukraine 12 499 UAH

Package contents

The headphones come in a small box made of recycled cardboard, inside of which you can also find foam noise-canceling tips of various sizes, a short charging cable, and documentation.

Design, convenience, case

The model is available in two colors: silver and black. The headphones themselves are not very large, at least by the standards of models of this noise-canceling class. They have an ergonomic shape that allows them to fit comfortably in the auricle.

Sony WF-1000XM5
Sony WF-1000XM5 is relatively compact for a model of this class

However, Sony WF-1000XM5 stay in your ears only thanks to the foam tips, which adapt quite well to the shape of the ear canal. This makes the headphones really comfortable, they do not press anywhere and are practically not felt in the ears, which is not surprising given the weight of 5.9 grams. At the same time, the headphones are well fixed and do not fall out even during sports.

Sony WF-1000XM5

Speaking of sports, the WF-1000XM5 are waterproof, Sony says it’s equivalent to IPX4, so sweat or small drops of rain shouldn’t damage the headphones during use.

The included case matches the color of the headphones, is made of plastic and has a matte finish. Weighing 39 grams with dimensions of 64.6 x 40 x 26.5 mm, it is quite compact – slightly thicker than the AirPods Pro case, but smaller in height.

Sony WF-1000XM5

Everything about it is good, except for one thing that I simply did not expect from headphones in this price category and from Sony in general – the case lid squeaks very loudly. In its efforts to make the case lighter, the manufacturer went a little overboard with reducing the thickness of the plastic. When pressed, you can even feel it bend.

Sony WF-1000XM5

This, of course, is a minus, because it does not affect the functionality of the headphones, but it spoils the impression a little.

Connecting and setting up

To connect the headphones to the sound source, a Bluetooth 5.3 module with a range of up to 10 meters and the ability to simultaneously connect to two devices is used. Sony WF-1000XM5 do not switch between devices automatically; if you listen to music on a smartphone, you must first pause playback, and only then start it on a laptop or tablet. The headphones themselves will not realize that you need to switch. However, there are no delays when switching from one device to another, they really keep a simultaneous connection.

Sony WF-1000XM5

The WF-1000XM5 has support for SBC, AAC, LDAC and LC3 codecs, not a very large set, Sony traditionally focuses on LDAC for higher quality audio playback and is not “friendly” with Qualcomm’s aptX codecs, which may be a disadvantage for some users. However, LDAC is already supported by a large number of devices, and it has been a standard codec for Android since Android 8.0 Oreo, so its use will not be a problem for a fairly large audience.

Sony WF-1000XM5 TWS headphones review

iPhone, iPad, and Mac users can rely on the AAC codec alone when connecting Sony WF-1000XM5, but its quality is sufficient for streaming music services such as Spotify or YouTube Music, as well as for watching videos.

After the first connection, Sony WF-1000XM5 are ready to use immediately, and the headphones even have Spotify integration and allow you to switch to new music with a gesture. However, to fine-tune the headphones, you’ll need Sony’s Headphones app, which is available for Android and iOS.

It’s not a very modern application with a rather archaic interface that consists of a bunch of tabs, and it’s easy to get confused in them. However, there are a lot of options, and the app allows you to automatically change the sound settings depending on the environment, control the noise reduction level, create your own equalizer, turn on spatial sound, and change control gestures.

Sound, noise reduction, microphones

When it comes to the sound of the headphones, we can definitely say that Sony knows how to make good sound. The 8.4 mm drivers of the WF-1000XM5 deliver surprisingly high detail with tangible bass and a solid volume margin. It’s the bass reproduction that sets this model apart from its closest competitors, and this is one of its biggest advantages.

Sony WF-1000XM5

When listening to higher-quality audio files through LDAC, the headphones form a wide imaginary stage, drawing details well in the mid- and low-range. The reproduction of high frequencies depends quite strongly on the equalizer settings; by default, the headphones rely on bass and drown it out a little, but this is quite easy to fix. Many headphones have the ability to customize the sound, but often changes in the equalizer have little effect, but in Sony WF-1000XM5 they are noticeable. This is another aspect in which the model shows its class.

Sony WF-1000XM5 TWS headphones review

The Sony WF-1000XM5 achieves quite good noise reduction thanks to the foam tips, which, if you choose the right size, cover the ear canal well. However, activation of the active noise reduction system allows you to hear even less extraneous sounds. At the same time, I note that the anti-noise system works quite gently, without creating excessive pressure on the eardrums. The headphones have a transparency mode that can turn on automatically when the user starts talking. It works with a slight delay, but in general, it’s pretty good. After the conversation is over, the headphones automatically turn on noise canceling after 15 seconds.

Built-in microphones allow you to use Sony WF-1000XM5 as a headset during phone calls. And the headphones cope with this task surprisingly well, the voice is recorded in good quality for such a device. At the same time, they also filter the voice well from background noise, but it becomes rather artificial with “metallic” notes. However, the other person will be able to hear what you are saying.

Battery life

The headphones provide up to 8 hours of music playback with active noise cancellation and 12 hours without, which is very good for this class of headphones. The included case provides an additional 16 hours of playback.

Sony WF-1000XM5

It takes 1.5 hours to recharge the headphones, the case charges for 2 hours via USB-C, and there is support for slower wireless charging.