Sony WF-1000XM5 Review: Are They Worth the Price?

Sony WF-1000XM5 true wireless earbuds, which are making waves with their claim of having the best Active Noise Cancellation (ANC) among all true wireless earbuds in 2023. After a month using it, I’ll share my thoughts on WF-1000XM5 Earbuds, including noise-canceling, audio performance.

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Design and Comfort

Design and Comfortability

Sony has introduced notable design enhancements in the WF-1000XM5s, resulting in a 25% reduction in size and a 20% decrease in weight compared to their predecessors. Despite a slight protrusion from the ears, these buds continue to offer comfort during extended wear without causing any discomfort or fatigue. This comfort is further elevated by the foam tips, which adapt to the ear’s contours. Users have the flexibility to choose from four different tip sizes, ensuring a secure and comfortable fit for an optimal experience.

Setup and Sony Headphones App

App Support

Pairing the WF-1000XM5s with your smartphone or audio streaming device is a breeze, courtesy of Bluetooth 5.3 technology. What sets these earbuds apart is their ability to maintain a steady connection with two devices simultaneously, guaranteeing uninterrupted audio quality even in bustling environments. Sony’s dedicated headphones app provides a wealth of functionalities, including battery level monitoring, sound quality prioritization, and customizable touch controls. Users can conveniently choose their preferred voice assistant, such as Google Assistant, for seamless voice commands.

Touch Controls and Voice Assistant

Toch Controls Customization

In the Sony Headphones app, you have the flexibility to tailor the touch controls for the Sony WF-1000XM5 earbuds. Personally, I stuck with the default settings because I found them to be highly effective. A quick tap on the left bud toggles the noise cancellation mode, while all the standard media controls are assigned to the right bud. Sony offers a unique feature, the repeat tap function, which I haven’t come across in any other earbuds I’ve tested.

Furthermore, these earbuds boast an auto-pause feature that proves quite handy when you remove one bud from your ears. This feature automatically pauses audio playback, which is particularly useful for impromptu conversations when the transparency mode isn’t suitable.

I found the touch controls to be responsive and user-friendly. There’s an audible feedback tone when you tap or interact with the buds, ensuring you know you’re using the controls correctly. It’s all quite intuitive, and I didn’t encounter any learning curve. Additionally, I didn’t accidentally trigger the controls, mainly because I didn’t need to constantly adjust the buds since they were incredibly comfortable to wear.

With the Google Assistant activated, I received the usual notifications directly in my ear whenever a new message popped up on my smartphone. The assistant even announced the sender and the messaging app used, adding a level of convenience. Moreover, if I preferred, I could instruct the assistant to read out my messages aloud, simplifying the process when I didn’t want to retrieve my smartphone from my pocket or bag. Impressively, I could also respond to messages right then and there, making the entire experience remarkably straightforward and seamless.

Audio Quality

Sony WF-1000XM5 Audio Quality

The Sony WF-1000XM5s produce exceptional sound quality with minimal distortion, thanks to the dynamic driver X Tech and the high-quality DAC (Digital-to-Analog Converter). Equipped with 24-bit audio signal processors and support for high-resolution audio wirelessly, including LDAC support, these earbuds deliver top-tier audio performance.

In case you have older, low-quality compressed tracks, Sony’s digital sound enhancement engine, Extreme, can give them a substantial boost, making them sound less chaotic. While I wouldn’t consider myself an audiophile, I greatly appreciated the ability to discern every intricate detail in each track I played, especially on more intricate compositions. These earbuds allow you to pick up on subtle nuances that might go unnoticed with other headphones.

Returning to the headphones app, I was equally impressed with Sony’s audio profiling tool. It tailors the audio experience to match your hearing abilities and preferences seamlessly. Using the audio profiler is straightforward: play any song from your device, and when you activate the audio profiler, it presents five circles. Tapping each one slightly adjusts the sound to enhance bass, boost highs, and more. You can easily switch between them and experiment until you find the profile that suits you best, then simply move on. Repeat this process a few times, and you’ll have your personalized equalizer settings, delivering the finest sound tailored to your preferences. Moreover, if you’re into immersive 360-degree reality audio experiences, Sony has now incorporated head tracking support into these earbuds as well.

Active Noise Cancellation (ANC)

Active Noise Cancellation

Sony is touting the WF-1000XM5s as the best noise-canceling true wireless earbuds, and they have good reason to do so. These Sony earbuds have earned a stellar reputation for their ability to effectively eliminate ambient noise. With three built-in microphones, they adeptly capture background noise, which is then processed by the integrated V2 processor and the HD noise-canceling processor QN2e. The resulting data is used to generate noise-canceling waves through Sony’s Dynamic driver X. It may sound like a lot of technical jargon, but the real question is: Does it work, and is it improved in the Mark V?

First and foremost, those foam tips contribute significantly to the noise reduction. As mentioned earlier, they conform to the contours of your inner ear, effectively blocking out a substantial amount of ambient noise. When you activate the active noise cancelation (ANC), it further enhances the effect, immersing you in a tranquil listening experience. Of course, these earbuds can’t perform miracles; they can’t completely eliminate extremely loud noises. For instance, they may not entirely eradicate the piercing screeches of a subway train, but they can significantly improve the situation, which is still quite impressive.

The WF-1000XM5s undeniably offer the best ANC that I’ve personally tested on any pair of true wireless earbuds. They excel in various scenarios, allowing you to enjoy a peaceful podcast even amidst the hustle and bustle of a busy highway. They are also adept at minimizing the rumble and vibrations of trains, making them ideal for commuting and travel in general. Although I haven’t had the chance to test them on an airplane yet, I anticipate their performance will be equally impressive. Furthermore, there was minimal wind interference experienced, making them suitable for windy environments or for activities like jogging.

In summary, the WF-1000XM5s live up to their noise-canceling reputation, delivering an immersive listening experience even in noisy environments, and thus making them a top choice for anyone seeking high-quality noise-canceling true wireless earbuds.

Mic Test and Call Quality

The WF-1000XM5s have notably enhanced call quality, thanks to their noise-canceling capabilities. The inclusion of a bone conduction sensor assists in distinguishing the user’s voice from background noise, leading to crystal-clear and distinct phone calls. These earbuds perform exceptionally well in noisy surroundings, effectively isolating the user’s voice and ensuring uninterrupted and clear communication during calls.

Battery Life and Charging

Battery life and Charging

The WF-1000XM5s offer an impressive battery life of approximately seven hours on a full charge, making them stand out among true wireless earbuds. Even a brief charge in the compact case for a few minutes adds an extra hour of playback time, making them ideal for extended trips and hectic schedules. Additionally, the case can be conveniently charged using either a Type-C USB cable or wirelessly, offering flexibility for recharging.

Final Thought

In conclusion, the Sony WF-1000XM5 true wireless earbuds certainly live up to their reputation as the top noise-canceling buds on the market. Their outstanding ANC, premium audio quality, comfortable design, and user-friendly touch controls combine to offer a superior listening experience. However, it’s worth noting that their higher price tag may be a drawback for budget-conscious consumers.

For those whose budget doesn’t accommodate the WF-1000XM5s, there are alternative options available, such as Soundcore earbuds, which provide good audio quality and noise cancellation at a more affordable price point. Ultimately, the choice between these options hinges on individual preferences and budget constraints.

With the Sony WF-1000XM5s, users can immerse themselves in an unparalleled audio experience, making them an excellent investment for audiophiles and anyone in search of the best ANC in true wireless earbuds.

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