This is how Sony’s flagship headphones have evolved

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As we are used to, every two years Sony updates its reference wireless headphones in terms of noise cancellation. The Japanese company had presented the WH-1000XM4 in 2020, so its successor, as the leaks pointed out and the calendar demanded, was just around the corner. The long-awaited day finally arrived and the new WH-1000XM5 they became reality.

Now we are facing two models of a line of premium headphones with a headband that has managed to earn the respect of a good number of consumers. Will this version retain the qualities that allowed its predecessor to stand out? Will these new headphones be able to surprise us again? Let’s see what the differences are between one model and another, beyond its exterior design and price.

Sony WH-1000XM4 and WH-1000XM5 data sheet

WH-1000XM4

WH-1000XM5

COUPLING

closed circumaural

closed circumaural

Sound

40mm drivers, with Liquid Crystal Polymer (LCP) diaphragms

30mm drivers, with Liquid Crystal Polymer (LCP) diaphragms

MAGNET

neodymium

neodymium

CONNECTIVITY

Bluetooth 5.0, NFC, multi-connection (up to 2 devices)

Bluetooth 5.0, NFC, multi-connection (up to 2 devices)

NOISE CANCELLATION

Sony Noise Canceling Processor QN1

Sony Noise Canceling Processor QN1

Integrated Processor V1

FREQUENCY RESPONSE

4Hz to 40kHz
20Hz to 40kHz (BT)

4Hz to 40kHz

20Hz to 40kHz (BT)

INDICTED

Hi-Res Audio, DSEE Extreme, Edge AI

Hi-Res Audio, DSEE Extreme, Edge AI

SOUND PROFILE

SBC, AAC and LDAC

SBC, AAC and LDAC

BATTERY

Up to 38 hours without NC activated
Charge via USB-C

Up to 40 hours without NC activated Charge via USB-C

WEIGHT

254g

250g

launch price

€379

450 euros

The biggest change is in the design

Let’s start with the appearance. The Sony WH-1000XM5 debut the biggest design change since the line was launched. Unlike the previous model, the headband band is more subtle and thinner. The telescopic arms, for their part, are attached to each helmet, which now has new elegant lines, through a minimalist mechanism that reminds us of the one implemented in Apple’s AirPods Max.

SonyWh1000xm4 and SonyWh1000xm5

SONY-WH-1000XM4 (left), SONY-WH-1000XM5 (right)

Internally there are also changes. The new model wants to continue being the benchmark in noise cancellation, so it raises the analysis microphones from 4 to 8, maintains Noise Canceling Processor QN1, but adds new features such as the integrated processor V1 (which we had already seen in the in- wireless ear WF-1000XM4), an automatic software optimizer and improved noise reduction technology.

The promise is to offer greater noise cancellation for high frequencies. Sony claims that the WH-1000XM5 will have a 50% improvement in relation to the WH-1000XM4. To help in this section and offer an improved sound quality, the headphones incorporate a new 30mm carbon fiber driver designed from scratch (the previous version was 40mm) and internal solders with a percentage of gold.

The latest model also uses four multi-directional microphones powered by a noise reduction algorithm to isolate the voice and improve call quality. The WH-1000XM4s only use four microphones and lack this AI-based enhancement.

We also find other much more subtle differences. For example, in the weight and battery sections. The most recent model is lighter than the previous one (250 g vs. 254 g) and has a longer listening autonomy (40 hours without the NC activated vs. 38 hours under the same conditions).

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About the similarities, the WH-1000XM5 are charged through a USB-C included in the box. A notable difference in this section is its loading speed. 3 minutes connected to USB Power Delivery (must be purchased separately) provides 3 hours of use. In addition, it is compatible with Google Assistant and Alexa and their respective voice activation commands.

Finally, as a difference between one model and another, we must mention the price. When the WH-1000XM4 went on the market they were offered at 380 euros. The new model, the WH-1000XM5, arrives with an increase of 70 euros, that is, it can be purchased at the end of May at 450 euros. Of course, it maintains the colors of its predecessor: black and platinum silver.

WH-1000XM5

At this point the great dilemma arises: which model to choose? Certainly, the answer will depend on the needs of the user and the money they are willing to spend. As we have seen throughout the article, the WH-1000XM5 receive a good set of improvements, both in performance and design. Consequently, if you are looking for the most cutting-edge technology headphones, the most recent model is the best option.

Nonetheless, the WH-1000XM4s are still great. Even the WH-1000XM3, which are still on the market. The predecessor of the model that summons us today, winner of a Xataka award in 2020, stands out for its noise cancellation and comfort, although, now that we have a new model with elegant and refined lines, we perceive that its design could age a little faster .

Product Images | Sony

Featured Image Background | Freepik

In Xataka | Best cheap headphones: eight recommended models under 100 euros

As we are used to, every two years Sony updates its reference wireless headphones in terms of noise cancellation. The…

As we are used to, every two years Sony updates its reference wireless headphones in terms of noise cancellation. The…

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