Sony WH-1000XM5 headphones hands-on preview

For many, Sony’s WH-1000XM4 headphones are some of the best on the market. They aren’t going anywhere, remaining on the market for $350. However, the long-anticipated followup was announced last week – the Sony WH-1000XM5.

Sony was gracious enough to send me a set to review for a few days before they launch on May 20. So let’s break it down.

The first thing you’ll likely notice is the price point. The Sony WH-1000XM5 are available for pre-order for $399. So we’re officially in the ‘premium headphone’ territory (although these are still significantly cheaper than the Apple AirPods Max ($480).

So are they worth the price point?

Well, I suppose it depends on your needs. But I will say that the Sony WH-1000XM5’s are the best headphones I’ve ever used.

They’re available in both silver and black (I was sent the black pair) and weigh in at .55 lbs. The battery lasts for 40 hours on a full charge (30 hours if you’re using the noise cancellation) – and just three minutes of charging will give you three hours of playback.

When it comes to sound quality, I don’t think there’s a device on the market that can compare with these. The WH-1000XM5’s utilize an automatic noice cancellation optimizer, which is nothing short of excellent.

Basically, the headphones contain eight small microphones and two processors. The microphones pick up all the outside noise, and then a counter sound wave is produced to ‘cancel’ out the noise. I tested them in a few places, with pretty positive results.

Box fan in the bedroom – could still hear a light humming, but nothing too distracting. The lawnmower – I mean, it’s a lawnmower. Of course I still heard it. But it wasn’t coming remotely close to drowning out my music. Driving – look, using headphones while in the car isn’t really my thing, but I wanted to give it a go. Like the lawnmower, I could obviously still hear my car’s engine, but the outside noise from other vehicles was pretty minimal.

Obviously, these headphones don’t cancel out all outside noise. That would be nearly impossible. However, they do a better job than probably every other set of headphones on the market.

From a design standpoint, they look as sleek as over-the-ear headphones can get, but for me it was all about comfort.

The ear cups fit my ears well, and even when I wore my glasses I didn’t experience any discomfort. That’s a testament not only to how lightweight the headphones are, but how good the ear cup padding is.

Overall, there’s really not much to gripe about with these. The case could be a little less bulky and there could be a wireless charging option, but those are true nitpicks.

If you’re interested, you can pre-order the Sony WH-1000XM5 today at Amazon.

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