In this article, Reviewing the Sony WF-1000XM5 true wireless earbuds, which claim to have the best Active Noise Cancellation (ANC) among all TWS buds 2023. After testing these earbuds extensively for a month, I will provide my honest verdict on their noise-canceling capabilities, audio performance, battery life, design, and other essential features.
Design and Comfort
Sony has made significant improvements in the design of the WF-1000XM5s, making them 25% more compact and 20% lighter than their predecessors. Despite the slight protrusion from the ears, the buds remain comfortable to wear for extended periods without causing any discomfort or fatigue. The foam tips play a significant role in enhancing comfort by molding themselves to the contours of the ears. With four different tip sizes available, users can find their perfect fit for a secure and comfortable experience.
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Setup and Sony Headphones App
Connecting the WF-1000XM5s to your smartphone or audio streaming device is effortless, thanks to Bluetooth 5.3 technology. Notably, these earbuds can maintain a stable connection with two devices simultaneously, ensuring uninterrupted audio quality even in crowded areas. Sony’s headphones app offers a plethora of features, including battery level checks, sound quality prioritization, and customizable touch controls. Users can select their preferred voice assistant, such as the Google Assistant, for seamless voice commands.
Touch Controls and Voice Assistant
In the sony headphones app, you can also customize the touch controls for the Sony WF-1000XM5 earbuds. Personally, I just left these on the defaults because I found them to work really well. A quick tap of the left bud toggles the noise cancellation mode, while all the standard media controls are assigned to the right bud. One unique feature that Sony offers is the repeat tap function, which I haven’t seen on any other buds I’ve tested.
Moreover, the earbuds have an auto-pause feature that comes in quite handy when you remove a bud from your ears. This feature pauses the audio playback, which is helpful if you need to have a sudden conversation with someone and the transparency mode isn’t suitable.
I found the touch controls to work well overall, and there is tonal feedback when you tap and poke the buds, so you know that you’re using the controls correctly. It’s all very intuitive, and I didn’t experience any learning curve. Additionally, I didn’t accidentally activate the controls at all, mostly because I wasn’t constantly fiddling with the buds since they were just so comfortable to wear.
With the Google Assistant activated, I received the usual messages in my ear every time a new notification popped up on my smartphone. The assistant could also announce exactly who was messaging me, including the app they used. Moreover, if I preferred, I could demand that the assistant read out my messages aloud, making it convenient when I didn’t want to pull out my smartphone from my pocket or bag. What’s even more impressive is that I could respond to messages right there and then, making the whole process super simple and seamless.
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The Sony WF-1000XM5s pump out premium sound with minimal distortion, thanks to the dynamic driver X Tech and the high-quality DAC. With 24-bit audio signal processors and support for high-res audio wirelessly, including LDAC support, these buds deliver top-notch audio performance.
If you happen to have any old, low-quality compressed tracks, Sony’s digital sound enhancement engine, Extreme, can give them a bit of a boost and make them sound less cacophonous. While I wouldn’t necessarily consider myself an audiophile, I thoroughly appreciated being able to hear every little tiny element of every single track I played, especially on more complex tracks. The buds allow you to pick up on little details that you might not hear with other earbuds.
Diving back into the headphones app, I also found Sony’s audio profiling tool to be quite impressive. It customizes the audio to suit your hearing abilities and preferences. Using the audio profiler is quite easy; all you do is play any song of your choice from your device. Then, when you start the audio profiler, it’ll display five circles. By tapping each one, the sound will slightly tweak to enhance the bass, boost the highs, etc. You can skip between them and test them out until you find the profile that you prefer, and then simply hit next. Repeat this a few times, and you’ll have your very own equalizer set up to enjoy the best possible sound tailored to your preferences. and if you’re into immersive 360-degree reality audio experiences, Sony has now added head tracking support to these buds too.
Active Noise Cancellation (ANC)
Sony is marketing the WF-1000XM5s as the best noise-canceling true wireless earbuds, and rightfully so. These Sony buds are renowned for being absolutely fantastic when it comes to cutting out all the ambient noise around you. With three onboard microphones, they efficiently pick up all that background noise, and then the integrated processor V2, along with the HD noise-canceling processor QN2e, work their magic by processing the data. The result is then fed to Sony’s Dynamic driver X, which produces the noise-canceling waves. It may sound like a lot of technical jargon, but the important question is: Does it actually work and is it improved in the mark fives?
First of all, those foam tips are doing a lot of the work themselves. As mentioned before, they mold themselves to fit the shape of your inner ear, effectively blocking out a lot of the noise around you. When you activate the active noise cancelation (ANC), it adds an extra impact on top, leaving you in complete peace and bliss. Of course, these buds can’t work miracles; they can’t completely dampen out extremely loud noises. For instance, they may not eliminate the hideous screeching of the Northern line entirely, but they can make it considerably more bearable, which is still quite good.
The WF-1000XM5s undoubtedly offer the best ANC that I’ve personally tested on any pair of true wireless earbuds. They excel in various scenarios, like allowing you to enjoy a quiet podcast even when you’re next to a busy motorway. They are also excellent for cutting down the rumble and vibration of trains, making them ideal for commuting and traveling in general. Although the user hasn’t had a chance to test them out on a plane yet, they expect the performance to be equally impressive. Additionally, there was almost no wind feedback experienced, making them suitable for windy environments or for use during jogging and other activities.
In summary, the Sony WF-1000XM5s live up to their noise-canceling reputation and provide an immersive listening experience even in noisy surroundings, making them a top choice for anyone seeking high-quality noise-canceling true wireless earbuds.
Mic Test and Call Quality
The WF-1000XM5s feature improved call quality, thanks to their noise-canceling smarts. The bone conduction sensor helps separate the user’s voice from background noise, resulting in clear and distinct calls. Even in loud environments, the earbuds excel at isolating the user’s voice, ensuring seamless communication during calls.
Battery Life and Charging
With around seven hours of playback on a full charge, the WF-1000XM5s deliver an impressive battery life for true wireless earbuds. Charging the buds in the compact case for a few minutes provides an additional hour of playback, making them suitable for long journeys and busy schedules. The case itself can be charged either via Type-C USB cable or wirelessly, providing flexibility for recharging.
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In conclusion, the Sony WF-1000XM5 true wireless earbuds live up to their reputation as the best noise-canceling buds in the market. With their exceptional ANC, premium audio quality, comfortable design, and convenient touch controls, they offer a superior listening experience. However, the higher price tag might be a drawback for budget-conscious consumers.
If the Sony WF-1000XM5s are beyond your budget, there are alternative options like the Soundcore earbuds that provide good audio quality and noise cancellation at a more affordable price. Ultimately, the choice depends on individual preferences and budget constraints.
With the Sony WF-1000XM5s, users can enjoy an unparalleled audio experience, making them an excellent investment for audiophiles and those seeking the best ANC in true wireless earbuds.
Are the Sony WF-1000XM5 earbuds comfortable for extended use?
Yes, the Sony WF-1000XM5s are designed with comfort in mind, featuring foam tips that mold to the shape of the ears, allowing for extended wear without discomfort or fatigue.
Is the ANC on the Sony WF-1000XM5 earbuds effective in busy environments?
Absolutely! The WF-1000XM5s boast exceptional noise-canceling capabilities, making them ideal for use in crowded areas, public transport, and other noisy surroundings.
How long does the Sony WF-1000XM5 battery last on a single charge?
The earbuds offer around seven hours of playback on a full charge, providing sufficient usage time for daily activities and long journeys.
Design and Comfort9
Active Noise Cancellation (ANC)8.5
Mic Quality and Call Performance7.5
Connectivity and Controls8
Value for Money7.3